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Johnson County War (2002)
"War Against the Poor"
If you love the wide open space of horse & cattle country, you'll love this mini-series!
Spoiled rich cattle barrons in the 1800's want to drive out the poor squatter/settlers who gather up & keep any stray calves they may find. But that's not the real reason they have to be driven out. It's just plain greed & prejudice.
Rachel Ward is always likable & here plays a harlot w/a newspaper-writing husband.
Tom Berenger is clearly the star of this series & is the eldest & most respected of the 3 Hammett brothers doing battle w/the barrons & trying to keep the peace. Luke Perry is certainly playing a different role here & deservedly so. I heard he didn't know how to ride a horse before he signed on for this part. You'd never know it watching him do practically nothing BUT riding in this! (Goodbye, 90210!)
The ending is too long for my taste & is very disappointing. I will not spoil it here by telling you who else is killed though.
One romantic scene I must comment on: When Berenger is getting his hair cut out on the porch by his widowed sister-in-law. Ladies, you will totally melt...
Can you spell "D-I-Z-Z-Y" ??
I was wondering when the camera would 'cutaway' from all the skydiving here & give us some actors in their acting mode!! Whew!! So much for dizzying heights!! I've had enough!
Movie Point: Don't 'cutaway' your fomer life to engage in death-defying stunts just for the thrill of it. You'll either break the law or end up dead. RedLine (the ever-interesting Tom Berenger) does both. So does Turbo (the ever-weird Dennis Rodman).
This was really Stephen Baldwin's film. He had the most screen time although Tom Berenger has top billing. Baldwin's FBI infiltrating the world of skydiving so he can nab Berenger selling drugs to keep his head in the clouds, sorta speak. The two become 'air buds' before Berenger cuts loose from his parachute & purposely falls to his death as Baldwin reads him his rites in the air.
If you're a Berenger fan, keep watching him here. He needs to lose the earring but I think he has it just to endear him to the younger crowd he's mentoring. He's a no-nonsense skydiving teacher!
Someone to Watch Over Me (1987)
I'll 'watch' it again
Brooklyn detective (Berenger) gets promoted & has new assignment - Keep watch over rich & sultry Manhattanite Claire Gregory (Mimi Rogers) becuz she witnessed a murder. NEVER pair up 2 good-looking people for night time (or daytime) close association no matter HOW solid one's marriage is!! And why not? Becuz THIS could happen!
'Watch' this film & find out.
Berenger looks fit & handsome as usual, especially back in the '80's. Rogers should have gotten a better hairdo. Larrainne Bracco, a NY favorite of mine, is just great in this role. Jerry Orbach, Berenger's superior is another NY favorite of mine. Tony DiBenedetto (the big burly limo driver from My Favorite Year) was also 'on the watch' & played Berenger's best friend. The most annoying thing about this film is the slow awful tune sung by Sting here! When the credits role in the beginning, we're shown The Big Bad Apple in all it's glory, lit up in the dark like nobody's business! But that song makes you just want to fast-forward!! Arrrgh!! Then he sings it again at the end!! Arrrgh!!
The Big Chill (1983)
I 'chilled' so much, I coulda fell asleep!
This film is b-o-r-i-n-g! College friends from 10 yrs ago all sit around & dish about the deceased, one of their friends from way back then who committed suicide & no one knows why. They all come together after the funeral in a big southern mansion that one of them owns & spend the weeked getting high, eating, talking, eating, getting high, complaining, rekindling old romances & getting high again. NOT a fun scene! But all the actors mesh together for this film & do their job.
Note: Tom Berenger wears his jeans VERY nicely here, is in great shape & is a much larger person than is normally realized while standing in the dining room with everyone. I know he's a 6-footer but you never really know that in some of the roles he takes becuz he's usually outdoors or in a big room so you don't really see his real stature. It's just something I never noticed before.
CHASE this film down & see it for laughs!!
This movie is funny!! Actor Robert McNamara, the Ricky Nelson look-alike is 1 day away from being done w/the Navy when he's given an assignment w/the gruff-voiced Rock Reilly (Tom Berenger) to escort a female prisoner to another facility. They don't find out she's a female till it's too late & the 'fun' begins. She flirts w/Rock but he defiantly resists, has McNamara by the nose, runs away, etc, etc, & the CHASE is on!
Actually, the 2 fall in love, Rock (Berenger) allows them to escape, they go to an island & live happily ever after. Marilu Henner, always a pleasure to watch, is a waitress in a restaurant they all go to & that's who Rock gets together with at the end of the film. That's nice to see since he's such a 'by the book' officer who needs a good woman & some spice in his navy life.
I recommend this film but I didn't like Erika Eliniak, the girl prisoner. I've never seen her again in anything & I wouldn't want to. She's too skinny, her eyebrows are too dark & thick & her acting is just ok. She's nothing to write home about in my book. But that Tom Berenger is another story!
Berenger's torn between 2 worlds
This film is L-O-N-G but has great scenery out in the Amazon. Berenger plays a 1/2 Indian (w/those blue eyes) who plugs along in life not really caring about anything except drinkin' & bummin'. He flys a plane w/a Jewish buddy named Wolf delivering goods, etc. He's asked to drop a bomb or 2 near the Amazonian Indians but not to kill them - just to scare them deeper into the forest. This is all political. They are going to get wiped out anyway for the gold that lies there.
The painful contrast here are the Protestant missionaries that arrive. Darryl Hannah is the wife of the most arrogant 'missionary head' ever who treats her like a child & even tells her to 'Go to her room!' Aiden Quinn is the more passionate man having a high interest in the Indians, learning & respecting their culture. Kathy Bates is the mother of a young son who dies from fever & then she goes crazy.
When Berenger decides NOT to bomb 'his people', he goes into the forest & consumes himself w/them, marrying & having a baby son w/one of the beautiful Indian women. Take note: These people do not kiss & are not romantic in the least. When Berenger spies Darryl Hannah skinny-dipping, he approaches her silently, strokes her blonde hair, gently kisses her face & then her mouth NOT REALIZING SHE'S CARRYING THE FLU! He unknowingly brings it back to his people, decimating the whole tribe, along w/bombing that goes on anyway. The film leaves us wondering what Berenger will do w/the rest of his life after he leaves behind everything & everyone. The close-up of his scared, sad face emotes tremendously. He refuses to live as white men do but where will he go? We are left w/no answer.
There is nudity in the film thus the R-rating. I'm reviewing the edited TV version but this is the Amazon, folks! Native people there don't wear full clothing! See this for it's story of a man torn between 2 worlds.
See it once or twice to get a SNIPER's eyeview
I don't particularly like Billy Zane becuz he looks like he could play a drag queen. But he's a rich-boy sniper here with NO kills. He out-ranks Berenger who has LOTS of kills & the 2 go at each other throughout till the end of the film when Zane finally 'feels the rush' & achieves a kill. Then he saves Berenger from the enemy drug-lords.
It's a sad thing that 'sniping' is all Berenger's got while Zane has a fiance to go home to. But that's probably why he's so good at his job. He focuses on it & he does it & that's it.
The jungle scenery is appropriate here but after awhile, it gets pretty boring. There's really no one else to hone in on except these 2 in the jungle. SNIPER's not my favorite film of Berenger's but I'm glad I got to see it so I got a SNIPER's eyeview of it all.
This is Sheen's movie, pure & simple
I only watched this for the sake of Tom Berenger. (Sgt. Barnes) But the movie really belongs to Sheen. He's an innocent who quits college to go to 'Nam to serve his country. When he gets there, he's racked with stinging ants, murder & chaos & a loss of his own innocence as he kills 'one of his own'. Not until he does this dirty deed does he realize he has just become what he wanted to get rid of. And he got rid of Sgt. Barnes, the scar-faced 'shot 7 times & hasn't died yet' Tom Berenger in an oscar-nominated role.
Johnny Depp was in this, too & should've had more air time. He spoke Vietnamese & was used much as a translator. I don't veer towards war films, especially about 'Nam but like I said, I saw it for the sake of Berenger. He was compellingly 'evil' but it's understandable why. It's also understandable why many who return from war are apt to relive their worst nightmares from over there & end up in prison or just continually violent throughout their lives. "Where does the war end & real life begin?!?" They can't figure it out. This is what war does to people. I say remain neutral & leave the blood & guts routine to those who don't want a future.
Law & Order (1990)
Interesting show - Keeps you watching
I got hooked just seeing one episode of Law & Order! I don't watch it ALL the time but I enjoy it when I DO see it. I've always liked Jerry Orbach's no-nonsense style. I especially was interested in episode 10.13 from 2/16/2000 called "PANIC". The wonderfully talented Tom Berenger was in this episode & it sure had a twist to it!...
Bookish female writer gets shot while leaving restaurant with man who also gets shot but is killed. Gun used belongs to FBI woman who's brain's been picked by writer for her books. No problem till it's discovered FBI woman didn't do it. So was writer having an affair with FBI woman's husband, Berenger, who's also FBI? No. Turns out HIS WIFE is having the affair with bookish female writer! So who shot her? FBI husband? He certainly had cause. Nooooooooo! Shots fired with FBI woman's gun by their 15 yr old daughter who found out about the affair the same way the husband did, over the phone. So who took the rap? Husband lied in court & said HE shot writer. He protected daughter & went to jail for like, 15 yrs!!! Daughter's plea at end of show was so touching! She tells her mother, "You were supposed to love Daddy, not that b----!! You were supposed to be with Daddy!" And Berenger willing to go to The Big House for his kid is just so galant! Ya gotta love that guy!
The Substitute (1996)
'Unbelievable' Action in Local High School!!
In some ways, you'd WANT a guy like Shale - A.K.A. Smith (Tom Berenger) - to sub at your local high school if the school is THIS dangerous! Most of the kids look like adults & they 'play' with guns like they were toys while trying to protect their 'drugstore', the school! But the story goes like this -
Shale's an ex-mercenary seeking out whoever it was who beat up his teacher-girlfriend (who BTW, looks MUCH too young for the craggy yet eternally handsome Berenger! I thought she was his daughter when he went to her home until they began trying to get romantic on the couch while her broken leg kept getting in the way!) So he fakes all the right credentials to get into the school by substituting. He finds her attacker, impresses the students with his 'don't mess with me' attitude, discovers a huge drug ring that the principal (Ernie Hudson) is running inside the school & calls for 'back-up' from his other ex-mercenary pals when this unbelievable action film is almost at its end. How much death can a high school stand?!
I kept wondering all thru this film how come no one ever called the cops! Until I realized they were also on the take. Teens will like this film & will remember Berenger by it. If they see him in nothing else (& he's done films MUCH better than this in terms of storyline), they'll remember him in this.
Oh, one memorable scene - When Shale helps the librarian lady to her feet, that killer smile of his lights up the screen! The camera stays on him long enough for you to keep in mind that this guy really does have a more human side! All throughout, he's quite the stone-faced 'non-expressionist'. But in this one scene, his smile is the scene STEALER! Watch for it!