Reviews written by registered user
|7 reviews in total|
Based on Jason Miller's Pulitzer Prize winning play, "Championship Season" succeeds in a department many stage adaptations often find insurmountable: the transition from boards to big screen. "Season's" die-hard critics cried foul when Miller presented his work with changes in original flow and format, forgetting how such blind loyalty to purity often trapped many good works into the category of 'too boring to watch.' Some of "Championship Season's" best moments, ironically, arrive in the first half hour when Miller went out and captured his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania at one of its most desperate times; the blue collar fabric of the community had eroded so dramatically during the 'oil glut' recession that the very face of the city was changing. As Miller's characters seem desperate to cling to their old ways, the deteriorating streets of Scranton reflect their struggle. Further criticism was levelled at the play's strong language; there's something to offend just about every race, sex and religion. Miller toned it down, slightly, again - an accurate depiction of the city's character. One need only to recite their address in Scranton for any resident to know their life's story. Italians live over there, Jews there, blacks there, the Irish over there, on and on. Scranton is an old city with an old fashioned, quiet system of segregation that may not be as unusual as we'd like to think. When the Coach talks about "as a race, can't trust 'em," remember - it isn't the playwright speaking, but rather an entire city being indicted. That said, "That Championship Season" can be an enjoyable and moving film experience - that is, for those who don't carry the baggage and prejudices of the past.
Anyone not living in the immediate vicinity of our Mecca that is Hollywood, or knowing someone who does, may not recognize the appeal and ring of truth in "Jimmy Hollywood." How many actor friends living on borrowed ego (and credit cards) I see in this film; like Joe Pesce's character, we've shared those Hollywood streets of today and think how wonderful it would've been to walk among the early stars and the city THEY knew. It's enough to make anyone want to Save Our Streets...
What a rare film - to follow one woman's journey in breaking through to another side without soliciting audience approval or coating the screen in sap. Radha Mitchell shows Syd's transformation wonderfully, and Ally Sheedy shows how High Art often has its beginnings at the lowest of levels. The film's success is ultimately owed to the deft touch of its director; this is one tough balancing act that's pulled off beautifully.
One need only to watch "Vanishing Point" to recognize how it served as a 90 minute, condensed blueprint for the "Dukes of Hazzard" TV series. The camera angles, the Handsome Hero vs. Dumb Cop plot, sharp muscle cars and gratuitous female nudity, all replayed to perfection every Friday night for America to follow. But it's that vague, almost spiritual sense that keeps "Vanishing Point" interesting almost thirty years later. I own it.
"Blood on the Moon" is notable for two things: 1. It's unusual moodiness at a time when most westerns were "Lone Ranger" episodes warmed over 2. The unforgettable fight scene with the long-haired Robert Mitchum, undoubtedly an influence on the shooting of "Barfly" almost forty years later. If you enjoyed "Blod on the Moon," don't miss "Dead Man," another moody and intelligent western, as well as Robert Mitchum's final screen appearance.
Robert Deniro's portrayal of Jack Walsh, a burned out bounty hunter and former Chicago police officer is excellent, displaying the consistent chase not only of his quarry but the one big score - the Midnight Run that he can retire on. Crafty and resourceful yet convincing in his scruples, Jack Walsh is a character one can watch again and again. Charles Grodin, for all his recent annoying talk-show babble, always has this film to his credit; no one can take away the beautiful portrayal of an accountant on the run from both the mob and FBI following his embezzlement of $15 million of mob money. "Midnight Run" is one good film that brings all the crucial elements together, a rare film that's easily watched again and again.
"Dead Man" is truly director Jim Jarmusch's finest hour, having pulled together a well-balanced cast, script, and an incredible score which plays a leading role in the film's overall mood. "Dead Man" is one long walking metaphor and I love every frame. Robert Mitchum, in his last screen appearance, fits right into the western format almost FIFTY years after his legendary fight scene in "Blood On the Moon," another moody and intelligent western.