Tag Archives: directors

“When you use more than 5 percent of your brain, you don’t want to be on earth; believe me.”

I was raised in a very small town in Southeastern Idaho.  Quite conservative as you might imagine.  I was raised Lutheran, but my mother’s background was baptist.  She was very serious about our faith and we were the most faithful damn Lutheran’s in Blackfoot, ID goddammit!


There was heaven, where everyone wants to end up…and hell of course.  I noticed that we always talked an awful lot more about hell.  Probably because nobody knows shit about heaven, but we can all agree that having our souls burnt for eternity for turning our backs to God is quite a motivator…especially to four year olds.  Just sayin’.

Believing that there were any other options for the afterlife was not…well, an option; under our roof any way.

When I got into college, I found that I tested my limits.  Not only with my faith, but with my ability to stay awake at night, and to explore different kinds of movies.  The one that I  found very interesting, and understood why my mother never let me watch it, was “Defending Your Life.”

Late one weekend night when I couldn’t sleep, I turned on the TV in my apartment and flipped through the channels (there were 5 options).  *Commercial, commercial, late night movie…Oh, Meryl, and the guy from “Broadcast News.”*  

I loved the simplicity.  Everyone was in white robes, unless they were an attorney.  The dialogue was great and witty, and I can’t imagine two better actors than Albert Brooks and the Meryl Streep to take on this material. Rip Torn is also fantastic as the man that is tasked with advising Daniel Miller (Brooks) through the defense of his life.

albert court

Basically, Daniel winds up dead and before he can get into heaven, he has to go through a “trial” of sorts.  If you can prove that you truly lived your life without fear, you are worthy of getting in.  The court has every second of your life recorded, including your inner thoughts.  When they show Daniel’s pep talk regarding his salary requirements and the “actual” salary that he sufficed with; lets agree it’s a good laugh.  Being that you may not have lived your “given” life without fear, you would then be sent back to live another life.  Each time you have to defend it.

This would be about where my mother would FREAK!

“What? No! There is heaven and hell.”

End a story.

Right.  Well, this is a movie and I find it entertaining.  I find it to be a creative love story that happens to have a lot of laughs.  I also found the “world” creative and inspired.  You can’t just die and go to heaven.  There is a stop off at a way station where decisions will be made as to your worthiness.

Fair enough, I say, and definitely worthy of a watch.


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“Killed anyone today? – The day ain’t over yet…”

I had no idea who Jack Palance was.

What started out as another simple Billy Crystal comedy became something with a bigger heart than most.  It almost lost me in the first fifteen, and then we met Curly.

He had presence like “The Duke” in all those movies I grew up watching.  He walked on screen and every character knew to stay on his good side…behind him.

I remember watching and laughing with my mother and father.

The premise is about a trio of late-thirty-somethings that take Man-cation adventures together once a year.  They start running from the bulls.  The majority of the story takes place on their latest venture, a cattle drive across the the plains of the American West.

My dad kept saying, “That rancher’s a genius.  He got those idiots to pay him to drive his cattle for him.”


Yes, that’s what my father took away from that movie…and he was right.

The movie has a multitude of great laughs.  There’s some slapstick, there’s some sarcasm (it is a Billy Crystal movie after all), and there is plenty of great one liners.  Palance steals the show and has three great ones.

I found that the majority of the greatness of the movie was the writing of the conversations that were had between the three men: Crystal, Bruno Kirby, and Daniel Stern.  The chemistry between these three men was fantastic and it felt like they were truly friends for the last twenty years.  They rib each other, they know each other’s tendencies, and in the end, they are always there for each other as best friends–that are like brothers–are.

I remember feeling that the movie was going to be pretty predictable, and for the most part it is, but they did manage to throw some curve balls along the way, some of them quite tragic…not “sad” tragic, but tragic in the sense that, “Damn, that was short…I can’t laugh at him anymore.”

I wanted to find more Palance movies.  My mom and dad seemed to know who he was.  I remember my mom telling me that he was known for being a villain.  He appeared to have a bit of villainess in him on the surface for Curly, but in the end, he was just a good “man’s man” that wanted to help people become better at driving cattle.

There is no profound ending and there is some “campy action” that seems out of place for plot-device-sake, but the earlier comedy and interactions make up for it.  If you need a good laugh and you don’t want to spend too much time delving into and analyzing what the auteur was trying to say, try out “The City Slickers.”

The early 90s were known for making a bunch of films with a good laugh.

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“I’m having a thought. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I’m gonna have a thought. It’s coming… It’s gone.”

I have a confession.  I think the Oscars are bullshit and they were put on this earth for two reasons.  One, to make really rich people feel like they’ve accomplished even more in their lives. Two, to ignite a fire of rage and debate in all of us.

I used to think the Academy Awards meant something.  I mean, it was peers determining which of them had the best performance, directing, writing, picture, etc.  They should know, right?  They’re the professionals.  Then you go back and look at the past winners over time and realize that the “true” winners with lasting power were never picked.

I ramble on…

1990 was an amazing year for film:

Goodfellas” (I’ll get to this one down the road…)

Home Alone” (Thank you John Hughes)

Edward Scissorhands

Pretty Woman




Lord of the Flies

Miller’s Crossing

I didn’t even list the ones I’ve already written about.  Trust me, there are plenty.  But…some things I cannot understand.  How did “Dick Tracy” get left out of the best picture mix…?  How did Al Pacino win for “Scent of a Woman,” but get stiffed for his role as Big Boy Caprice in “Dick Tracy?”  Rhetorical really…but I continue to ponder…

To my mind, “Dick Tracy” is the most underrated “comic book” movie of all time.  I did not say it was the best.  I said it was the most underrated.  You know, the one that is G-R-E-A-T great, but you always forget about it when you are thinking about Superman, Batman, Captain America, Spiderman, Iron Man, etc.

Warren Beatty’s vision was a marvel (pun/jab intended) and deserves all the credit that has been thrown it’s way–and more–over the years.

It was visually stunning (throughout every frame).  It was perfectly cast, had a great script, and stayed true to the source material.  I don’t know if it is true, but in my mind, I like to believe that when Warren was a child he grew up reading Dick Tracy just like I grew up reading about Wolverine and Gambit.  He had to.  The attention to detail was incredible.  The lighting, the costumes, the makeup, the sets, the props…it truly was a world that existed in the pictures of a comic book.

The characters were all larger than life and the photos I’ve added don’t display a quarter of all of the great ones.

“Dick Tracy” was a tricky movie for my mom.  It was rated PG.  I was old enough to watch it.  I had seen way worse in terms of violence and gore at that point in my life…but this picture had one thing in it that my mother had a hard time with.


Yes.  My mother is not a fan of Madonna.  She was a very “controversial” figure in the 80s. I grew up in a small conservative town…Madonna wasn’t very popular to anyone over 30 in  Blackfoot, ID in 1990.  She was skeptical and encouraged me not to watch it, but she relented.  She, however, refused to watch it with me.

Her loss.

Forget about the technical aspects.  We all know the makeup, costumes, lighting, sets, etc. were amazing.  The performance by Al Pacino is the glue that keeps this picture rolling.  Has there ever been a character that is so dangerous in one second and hilarious in the next?  He boogied with Madonna as Breathless Mahoney, which is meant to be a funny scene…but as you watch the scene unfold, you know that Big Boy Caprice is unpredictable and could snap and break her neck for singing out of key if he felt like it.

There is drama, suspense, humor, action, and a little romance too.  I feel that it is a movie that deserves to be in my top 10 list, but I never count it among those.  It’s probably that guilt from enjoying a movie so much that I know my mother didn’t want me to ever see.

Totally worth it…

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“My 350-pound babysitter would be chasing me for the half-eaten pastrami sandwich I stole from her.”

For those of you that have been loyal readers over the years, you’re aware that I like to talk about firsts.

Flatliners” was the first movie in which I invited upperclassmen friends over to watch at my house.  I was a soccer player my entire life.  I was fortunate enough to make the varsity soccer team as a freshman.  I became friends with a lot of people older than me because of that.  I had many birthday parties to this point in which I invited a lot of my friends over, but they were always my age or younger.  These were older guys that I really wanted to impress with my movie taste.

I was someone that had already seen the film and enjoyed it.  My “older” friends had not.  I brought them over to meet my family, drink Mountain Dew, and watch it on VHS.

I know:  “Flatliners?”

You might ask that, but at the time it was kind of the perfect movie.  Interesting, suspenseful, not too scary but scary enough, and there was a ton of old and young talent in that film:

Julia of course (I think she was in every movie in the 90s after “Pretty Woman“), Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, William “Billy” Baldwin, and Oliver Platt.  Everyone knew Julia at the time, Kiefer was “Donald’s son,” Billy was “Alec‘s little brother” (still is, quite frankly), Kevin Bacon was…well Kevin Bacon (old, well established talent), and Oliver Platt was, “the 90s token, witty, chubby guy.”

The premise: A number of med students come up with this idea of forcing themselves into a flatline state (really, just killing each other), in which they are under for a short amount of time before being revived again.

The thing that I thought was cool about this was, in theory, you could conduct this type of experiment.  They were in a setting in which all of the necessary medical equipment was available and many people have died and been revived in such a manner.

The movement in the story comes when the members that were flatlined start to see the karma of their past looking for a paycheck in the form of the people that they had wronged.

Again, for those that have yet to see this movie, I don’t want to be the one to spoil the details.  Just know that there are moments of hilarity amidst an environment that is quite dark and disturbing.

I remember being very thankful for this movie.  It helped me show people that I knew what I was talking about when I would recommend a movie.  My friends loved it.  There were questions afterward that couldn’t be explained (I remember the director using cyclists in a number of different shots)…there was something about the sound of a group of cyclists riding in the dark of night that added to the eerie…

My friend asked me, “What’s with the cyclists?”

I remember being quick on my feet and saying, “I think it is a metaphor for his soul gradually getting away from him.”

My friend nodded his head as he looked at me like I was Buddha.

I really think the director was trying to make his own atmosphere and the cyclists happened to be pretty cool (looking and sounding)…

I’m just glad I was able to impress.


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“We all forget things. That’s what reminding is for.”

There was a “little” movie that you might’ve heard of in the early 90s called “Pretty Woman.”

…and a star was born.

Being a 13 year old boy, I had no interest in that film.  Mainly because at that point, my sister had a huge interest in it and I knew the kind of movies she loved when she was in high school: lame, comedy romance.  I avoided it…for a few years anyway…

Even though I had not seen it, pretty much every other person on the planet had, so there was no escaping it.  There were clips on “Entertainment Tonight,” trailers shown on every other television break, and trailers again whenever I went to a movie.  The scene that I remember is when Gere closes her hand in the jewelry box and she cries out her boisterous, yet feminine laugh.  I also remember seeing a scene of her singing in the bath tub to “Kiss” by Prince (RIP)…I remembered that because of the song.  She was America’s new sweetheart and she was not going away.


Man, I sound like I wanted her to go away…I didn’t, I just wanted “Pretty Woman” to go away.  Which brings me to my very first Julia Roberts experience; and WOW-was-it unexpected.

I remember thinking that she was beautiful, yet she had this very honest, kind, and gentle quality about her.  She gave the impression that she could be talked to by anyone.  She wasn’t goofy like I had been made familiar with through all of “Pretty Woman‘s” advertising.

In “Sleeping with the Enemy,” Julia plays a very timid, kind, and gentle housewife that is the victim of an abusive husband played by Patrick Bergin in a very aggressive, haunting performance.

The great thing I remember about her performance was the fact that the audience is not witness to an actual case of physical abuse until the end of the first act; yet her unease makes us feel like Bergin is a pitbull, just waiting for a reason to lash out.  We find out that he is and before we do, we are as tense as Julia is.  That is because of Julia (although Bergin did help portraying a total psychopath).

This movie wasn’t just a basic woman escapes a monster through “the system.”  It is a clever psychological thriller that tells us what we need to know, when the writer felt we were ready to know it.

This is the part where I remind everyone that I would hate to give anything away.  Know this, the moment of truth is EXTREMELY satisfying.

Julia, like Denzel, was another “new” star, that we all wanted to see more of.  The rest of America knew that a little quicker than I did re: “Pretty Woman.” Just like I did with Denzel, I looked for prior movies and got excited for new ones with her.  I later found that Julia had already made a GREAT movie that just didn’t hit it too big unfortunately.  For those of you that have not seen “Mystic Pizza,” put it on your list.  It is a great coming-of-age story told through the eyes of teenage girls unlike any other.  Keep your eyes peeled for a very young and fresh Matt Damon.  If you blink, you’ll miss him.

She had a very minor role in “Steel Magnolias,” which I watched a number of years later as that was labeled another “sister” movie (cue gag noise). That is a sign of my immaturity, not that the film was bad.  I thoroughly enjoyed it later.

Julia made A LOT of different movies that I enjoyed over the next twenty years…but I can’t tell you all of them at once.  I have to write about something, after all.

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“I want to hear yes.”

There are some movies that come to mind and it takes everything that I can not to smirk.  So I give in and I smirk.

This can be awkward when you’re in a dreary meeting at work, lose consciousness, and then smirk.  People begin to wonder if you’re not taking things seriously.

You can’t just say, “No, really, I was just thinking about ‘The Freshman‘.”

Now with a title–and response–like that, people start to wonder if they need to call the authorities and have them check in on you.

I can’t help but smirk and sometimes giggle when I think about this absolute, underrated, perfect comedy from 1990.

For starters, it has one of my huge 80s man crushes in it in Matthew Broderick.  Add Bruno Kirby, Penelope Ann Miller in one of her earliest roles, and who makes better facial expressions when they know the heats on than Jon Polito.  If you’re unfamiliar with Jon (we’re close, it’s a thing) you should check him out in any Coen Brothers movie Following “Miller’s Crossing circa 1990.  He is a regular of theirs and he can play uncomfortably comedic and a ruthless villain within the same scene; and we buy it.  He’s very underrated.  

Broderick is perfect casting for this role.  He is one of the greatest lovable loser actors of all time.  I have mentioned “WarGames‘” David and “Ladyhawke‘s” Gaston, there is also Eugene Morris Jerome from “Biloxi Blues and Clark Kellogg from “The Freshman” is no different.  With slapstick, it can be very easy to look fake or forced.  Broderick as Clark makes it look seamless and true.

Oh shit…

Did I forget to mention Brando?  WOW. Yes.  I just did that.  I also forgot to mention that he “unintentionally” intentionally reprises his role as Don Vito Corleone in his Carmine Sabatini.


It’s only fair that one make a disclaimer here.  If you have not seen or are not a decent sized fan of the “Godfather” films; you won’t get a lot of the jokes.  That might be why so many people I have talked to over the years either love (deeply I might add) or dislike this movie.  It’s hard to enjoy this fresh with no perspective of the “Godfather” films as so much of that character (Don Vito) is important to this story.

People ask me often about my favorite actors.  It is an unfair question as there are so many.  Brando is in the top five easy.  His influence is too deep not to include him on such a list.  He proves it here for me with a rare comedic turn in this film.

For those of you that are familiar with my blog, you know how important comedy is to me as a genre.  It is the one I share the deepest respect for.  Drama comes with its challenges, but we can all agree that death from a character we’ve grown to love is dramatic.  There are so many different variations of comedy out there that being able to get one of them right that a large group of people enjoy is quite a feat.  Mel Brooks and Woody Allen are two very different kind of directors and comedians.  Both funny.  Both work. Completely different.  Some people like Brooks, some prefer Allen, some don’t like either, some like both…where am I going here?  Brando is known for his deep seriousness within each of his dramatic characters.  He would develop amazing backstories that would explain why the character might react in this way and use it.  It’s enough to drive directors crazy, which he was known for, but it also worked and brought forth some of the most passionate performances one could have in a lifetime.  He then turned around and made this witty comedic play on one of his most famous roles and hit the right notes.  Every moment that he is on screen, he understands exactly the impact he has to make with his humor, and gives it just the right amount.


Yes.  I’m smirking thinking about him as I write this.

If you haven’t seen the first two “Godfather” pictures that’s a shame.  Not just for the simple fact that they are “classic” movies by every definition.  I feel sorry for you in that you won’t be able to enjoy such a great comedy on each level awarded.  Yes, you can watch this movie fresh and still have a good laugh and enjoy a very well told story (it’s not just funny, the plot is clever as well); but there is a cloud of underlying winking from Brando, Broderick, and the rest of the players that you will miss out on.

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“Sir, it’s tomato soup!”

It’s interesting what different generations assume as common knowledge.

Mom had rented a movie and I asked her about the title:

“What’s the “Memphis Belle?”

She looked at me, sideways.

I just threw her the “wuh?” arms and waited for a response.  I think she was too tired.  Her day job was cleaning houses and she would sometimes fit in two a day.  I think that was a double day.

She just said, “I don’t want to give too much away, you’ll just have to see it.”

You know I did.

I found out that it really is an underrated war picture for starters.  I’ve seen the movie twice.  This time with my mother when I was almost a freshman in high school and again when I was in college.

In my first viewing, I was bored with the first 20 minutes of the picture.  There was a lot of talking in big groups in rooms.  Then there was a party and I suppose we were supposed to familiarize ourselves with a few of the characters, but at my age, I found it boring.  In the second viewing, I had a higher appreciation for those opening scenes.

The real story starts when the Belle takes off.  You learn about the amount of men it takes to successfully drop one bomb.  Those ships were massive and carried a lot of heavy artillery.  I don’t think there was an angle that would be uncovered by a high calibre rifle.


You also learn how hard it is to accurately drop a bomb when given the chance, and that bombs sometimes, don’t “work.”

The gist of the story is that after 25 successful missions, the entire crew is able to go home, regardless if the war wants to cooperate or not.  We of course meet the members of the Belle between their 24th and 25th mission and then take the journey with them on the 25th.  The movie has quite a crew:

John Lithgow, David StrathairnSean AstinHarry Connick Jr.Billy ZaneMatthew ModineEric StoltzTate Donovan, and D.B. Sweeney to name a few.  

There is a lot of action, as you’d expect in a war picture, but it’s different…

For the most part, it’s claustrophobic. The majority of the movement happens “outside” of the bomber, and we can only see from each crew member’s point of view.  The enemy fighter planes are like sharks, circling in the air, in the frame for a split second and then gone, with each member trying to track it down with gunfire as they sweep around from different angles.  All the while firing at the bomber as well.

I count three laughs in the picture and a smirk.  There is one deep belly laugh that made it completely worth a view itself.

When I think about movies that attempt to make inorganic forms of transportation seem like another character, three come to mind instantly:

  1. The Millennium Falcon (this goes without saying for someone like me that grew up watching the trilogy a couple times in a row on summer Saturdays)
  2. The Delorean from Back to the Future, and
  3. The Memphis Belle

That’s the impact the belly of this monster made on me.  I’m sure that I am going to hear about it from a number of people, “What about the Orca from Jaws?” or “The VW Van on Little Miss Sunshine?”

Now you know my top 5…

I would hope that no one would mention Herby.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Herby movie, but that car is actually “Disney Alive,” okay?  Different category entirely.

I am sure that there are others, the point being that the writers and director did a great job bringing that wonderful flying beast to life and I hold it as a valuable and worthy character. I’m afraid if I tell more, I’ll give too much away…and you know I don’t like doing that.  Just know that this great cast–including the Belle– makes the journey worth it.

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“I’m the Party Pooper.”


Not at first.

Like most of Arnold’s films, we start out with a pretty nice action set.  He is searching for a bad man.  We’ve seen enough of his films to know that the people he’s about to interact with are in for a southern ass whoopen.  Much like the “Terminator” movies, he struts through a room of villains–very nonchalant–pulls out a shotgun and starts firing.  The difference here, he’s not seen killing anyone…huh?

He shoots up some of the room and scenery and scares a lot of shady people off and no one dies.


Again, unexpected.  He gets ahold of one of the shady characters and interrogates him there.  He is looking for a very bad man.  There was nothing worse than a villain on film in the late 80s and early 90s in America that was a drug dealer–unless there was a film with Nazis in it.

The snitch gives up some information that helps Detective John Kimble (Arnold) track a lead down to help him find Cullen Crisp.

Kimble gets assigned a new partner, Detective Phoebe O’Hara (Pamela Reed in a very brief and underrated comedic performance).  Of course Kimble is opposed to the assignment until he learns that the undercover op is as a kindergarten teacher.

Yes, “Kindergarten Cop.”  A very quoted movie and a great family comedy.

Phoebe is to be the Kindergarten teacher for a classroom of kids that may be the son of Crisp.  The detectives believe that Crisps’ ex love interest has changed her name, fled to a small town, become a teacher, and has a son in kindergarten.

After a fit of sudden illness, Kimble has to step in for Phoebe and fill in as the new Kindergarten teacher.

What could possibly go wrong?

Not the best first day, to say the least.  A lot of chaos, yelling, and crying.


The appeal to the movie is definitely not the plot–very simple and predictable–the appeal comes completely from Arnold and his persona.  I feel that it was a VERY brave decision for him to take this project on…the only other person I would probably want to see do this would be Clint Eastwood circa 1985-1989 after “Sudden Impact” but before “Dead Pool.” Those huge “manly-men” personas give this delicate comedy that human touch that it needs as a tough guy is forced to become compassionate, organized, and vulnerable.

This “bull in a China shop” has to deal with a lot of interesting personalities that are his students.  Another allure is that the kids are not just backdrop and scenery.  The writers were very skilled at giving us a lot of dynamic child characters with very little lines and screen time.  Quite a feat.

There is eventually some drama, a bit of a romance with Crisps’ ex, and a decent suspense sequence at the films climax as Crisp and his bat-shit mother step into the frame; but the draw to this movie is the comedic sequences that Arnold is put through as a large man that has to learn how to be delicate with fresh young minds.  Not to mention some comedic moments from Linda Hunt as his principal Miss Schlowski.  I don’t think it was an accident that the director chose to surround our giant with small children and a very small statured boss too.

He has to be bigger than life..so that when he does have to come down out of the clouds and relate to people, it’s both challenging and charming.


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“If you hold on to the past, you die a little each day…”

I have another first.

This would be the first Scorsese movie that I would be allowed to see.  Scorsese was a name that my mother was aware of.  I was not.  She kept it from me as long as she could, but she knew I’d eventually find out about him.

It was her fault.

She had seen the original “Cape Fear (1962),”  with Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. I’m sure she was curious about what Mr. Scorsese had to say about that story.  I watched it with my mom and dad (my little brother was still too young).  It was a hard movie to watch with my parents in the room.

My mother struggles with the infamous “F” word being used in movies.  One thing I learned very quickly about a Scorsese picture…he likes characters that are comfortable with that word.  So, for every “F,” there would be a sigh of disgust and judgment from my mother…

It was distracting…don’t mention the rape scene–that’s hard to watch without a judgmental mother in the room.  #Horrifying.

In the original story, Peck plays the hero and Mitchum helms the role of one of the greatest villains to fill the screen, Max Cady.  Mitchum did a good job with it…De Niro did what he always does…made it ten times better.

The story starts with Cady being released from prison.  He is a monster of a man, De Niro was back in “Raging Bull” shape for this picture and now he dawns some haunting prison tattoos all over his torso.  With no dialogue, we’re already aware that we need to be facing this character at all times.  Cady starts to subtly creep and stalk Sam Bowden (played by the always underrated Nick Nolte) and we soon learn that all those years ago, Bowden defended Cady and fudged some of the evidence, intentionally, knowing that Cady was guilty and needed to be in prison.  Cady of course, discovers this in prison when he starts to become obsessed with the state laws and has read every book that he has on the law, committing them to memory–at least the ones that will aid him in his justification and plot for revenge.

In the original, there is a brief moment in which Peck’s past judgment with how he handled the Cady defense all those years ago, upsets the unit of his family…In the Scorsese film, it is a black cloud that lingers throughout the picture and probably after…This is where the Scorsese film brings a sense of reality and tension to a new level as we have a family (Jessica Lange is Bowden’s wife and Juliette Lewis is their daughter) that is in danger together, but also does not trust each other.

Cody quickly escalates from stalker to dangerous threat when the family realizes that their dog has now been murdered…and that’s just the start of the terror.  If I had to put a label on this movie, I think it would be psychological thriller; if someone labeled it horror and watched it every Halloween, I wouldn’t put up a fight.

Because of the graphic material, it was not a movie that I wanted to re-visit right away.  You have to give pictures like that some time to settle.  I did watch it again and I find it to be so stressful and suspenseful still, even when I know what will come next.  This is a testament to the atmosphere that Scorsese developed with the screenwriters, cinematography (tone), and last but not least, everyone of the amazing performances in this film.

Remember, always face Cady when he walks through a room.  #WildCard…to say the least.


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“Everything’s all right then.”


The emotions I went through watching this movie.  That pretty much describes it.

I remember my mother being very excited to share this one with us.  It had Sean Connery in it, so why wouldn’t she…but it was more than that.  I realized after I watch–no, witnessed it–why she was so excited.

It was made in 1975, so I wasn’t too excited being a 15-year-old that only wanted “new,” but she talked it up…it better be good or she’d hear “what.”  I like Sean too, let’s not kid ourselves.

It also starred an often forgotten Michael Caine–rarely mentioned among one of the great actors of our time.  He most certainly is and this is one of the films that proves that.

I remember listening to a couple of pretentious, talentless hacks on a podcast at one point (needless to say, I do not listen to their podcast presently and I cannot make note of who they were) stating that Sean was not much of an actor and made a living off of his looks.  I think this was the final conversation that made me stop listening.  It was apparent to me that the two of them had never seen “The Man Who Would Be King.” Even if they had seen it and felt that Connery was not good in this role, showed they had it in for him for being a Greek God any way.


The movie begins with a story being told to Rudyard Kipling. It is told by someone I did not recognize, until he spoke, then I realized he was played by Michael Caine.  Peachy is his name and has to share the tale of his adventure with his best friend, Daniel (Connery).

The story within the story starts off in British occupied India where the two soldiers decide to “escape” the soldiers life and enter a land that “has not seen a white man since Alexander.”  Daniel has a crackpot idea to become their gods, at best, their kings.  And we’re off!  On the road with these two.

Peachy plays the conscience, the advisor, the voice of reason…can I do more phrases that mean the same thing? Yep! Cognoscenti–look it up.

Daniel is the “idea man,” and Peachy is a natural follower, however, he can generally steer Daniel in the correct direction and keep him out of total disaster…generally; key word.

We see this dynamic after their first interaction together in the beginning of the film.  I have always counted Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the gold standard for chemistry on film together.  I stand by that.  Little known fact however; Huston was coming to the end of his career and had wanted to tell this story for decades.  He wanted Bogart and Gable, then Lancaster and Douglas, then Burton and O’Toole.  When it landed on Newman and Redford, Newman recommended Connery and Caine.  Yes, the princes of chemistry relented to the masters of suave.  It is unfortunate that they only ever appeared together in one other film in very small roles (A Bridge Too Far).  We have to remember though, this was back in old-Hollywood when enough of a good thing was “enough of a good thing.”

To see these two men interact with each other as our speaking box together amongst a number of people that do not speak our language is comical, thrilling, and eventually tragic.  Watching the change that occurs in Daniel from the start of the story to the end is something to behold.  A very bright and energetic “idea man” slowly turns into a hypnotized, prideful, monster that eventually takes one thing too many on his journey.


Peachy is the result of this pride.  Daniel’s once best friend who is nothing more than a voice for the story in front of us.

If you have not seen it yet and you are a fan/student of cinema, go see it right now.

It will be beyond deliverance.


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