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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Robert Loggia

Lost Highway (1997)

Sometimes, you’ve just got to get off the road. Like, way off the road.

Cool and happenin’ jazz musician Fred (Bill Pullman) lives a pretty fine life with his lovely wife (Patricia Arquette). But for some reason, he constantly keeps on thinking that she’s having an affair, driving him to go a little bit nuts in the head. However, he is shocked when he discovers that she’s dead and is being framed for it all, without he himself knowing whether or not he actually did it. Meanwhile, I think, there’s a young mechanic named Pete (Balthazar Getty) who is suddenly drawn into a web of deceit by a temptress (Patricia Arquette) who is cheating on her gangster boyfriend (Robert Loggia). Are these two tales linked? And if so, by what?

Uh. I’ll take my chances at a Motel 6.

Lost Highway is, no surprise, another one of David Lynch’s mind-benders that probably takes more time to watch and decipher it, again and again, than is probably necessary. However, there’s also some fun to be had in that, what with the movie not forgetting to constantly throw small hints, clues and little bits and pieces at us that may or may not tell us the whole story, or may just lead us down a path towards more darkness and confusion than ever before. Then again, there’s some fun to be had in that, especially when Lynch himself seems to know of the maze he’s taking us on, rather making stuff as he goes along, as he can often sometimes seem to do.

And in Lost Highway, there’s some fun to be had, but also some annoyance, too. In a way, it’s hard to really pin-point what it is about this movie works and what doesn’t, as much as it’s easy to say what’s hitting its mark the way it’s intended to, and what isn’t. For Lynch here, it seems like he’s got the mood down perfectly; there’s a creepy air of neo-noir mystery, coldness, and darkness that actually makes it more interesting to watch, despite the slow pace and sometimes meandering story. But Lynch clearly put a lot of effort into the way the movie look, felt and sounded, with all aspects being top-notch and creating a very paranoid, sometimes eerie aura of danger lurking somewhere underneath, and it pays off.

Then, you get to the story and well, there’s a lot to be desired.

It’s not that Lynch made a mistake in telling these two different stories and demanding that we make the connection in our times, by ourselves, it’s just that they aren’t all that interesting to watch. Bill Pullman’s story has some interest-factor because of it seeming like an attack on the male-psyche, whereas Balthazar Getty’s seems to sort of go nowhere. It’s as if Lynch was so enchanted with Arquette in the first place, that he didn’t really care how much mileage he could get out of her – so long as she was willing to act in two, somewhat different roles, then so be it.

Like, is she even real?

And well, there’s not a problem with that, either, because Arquette is quite good in both roles, playing up her beauty and sweetness, as well as her possible viciousness and danger, too. Arquette’s dual roles, while showing her off as being both sleek and sexy, also give her a chance to fool around with the audience, not allowing us to know whether or not she’s a good person, a bad one, or even a person at all. After all, she could just be a figment of these two guys’ imaginations, as well as our owns. The movie doesn’t always make that clear and while it’s a solid job on Lynch’s part for keeping that guess up and about, it’s also a solid job on Arquette’s too for never losing our attention.

But it does deserve to be noted that Lost Highway, by a certain point, at least, does seem to have painted itself into a corner that it can’t get out of and when it’s all done, there’s a big question-mark left. While you can say that about practically every other Lynch flick, it feels more frustrating here, where it’s as if Lynch himself didn’t have the answers or conclusions, but instead, just wanted to take his good old time, going wherever he oh so pleased. Sure, that’s fine, mostly because it’s an entertaining and compelling watch, but sometimes, a little help here and there could definitely help.

Actually, I know they do. But hey, that’s why I am me and David Lynch is, thank heavens, David Lynch.

Consensus: Odd, creepy and downright freaky, Lost Highway highlights Lynch at his most subversive, but also shows that his knack for storytelling doesn’t always pan-out as well as he may intend.

7 / 10

Yeah, don’t ask.

Photos Courtesy of: Jay’s Analysis

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An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

Being in the Army can blow, especially if the guy who’s constantly yelling at you really wants an Oscar.

Dreams of being a Navy pilot prompt Zack Mayo (Richard Gere) to enroll in officer training school, where he runs afoul of a drill instructor (Louis Gossett Jr.) who senses the cadet’s loner instinct and aims to school him on the importance of teamwork — or break him in the process. In the meantime, Mayo romances a working girl (Debra Winger), ignoring warnings to steer clear of the local lasses out to bag hotshot Navy flyboys.

This is a film that I’ve heard so much about from my parents, aunts, uncles, and even grand-parents. But since it has Richard Gere in the main cast, I wasn’t too happy to see it but I can say that this is one of those very few Richard Gere flicks that I actually enjoyed. Did I mention Richard Gere by any chance?

This film has a very old-fashioned feel to it but its set in the cool and hip 80’s. The whole idea of the modern “American dream” was still alive in the U.S. and this film showed how young working-class citizens could still have that dream fulfilled, and this is what sort of reminded me of films from the 40’s when we were off fighting in the war. I liked this feel and most of that is that is thanks to director Taylor Hackford.

Hackford does a great job with this material because he keeps this story building-up, to where we have a feel for all of these characters and why or why not we should give a rat’s ass about them. I liked how Hackford also kept this happy spirit alive within the film, even though there are some pretty dark moments that will sure ring into your mind as shocking but still very well-placed. Hackford is basically creating a happy-go-lucky story about a young and restless kid going into his life of manhood, something that was a huge staple back in the black-and-white days of film, but he adds a little bit more edginess with some sexy time, rough language, and a lot more violence than I actually expected.

The problem with this story and with this film overall is that even the film entertained me for the most part, I still couldn’t get involved with this story at all. I knew what was going to happen with this story because it’s all so cheesy and predictable at points, but I could never get involved with the character Zack Mayo. This guy seems like a total dick, who doesn’t really care about himself or the others around him and the whole time we’re supposed to watch him on-screen and possibly root for him. I didn’t take this in by one second and at the end of the film we’re supposed to believe he’s a changed man by saying thank you to people. Yeah, OK!

Speaking about the ending, I knew exactly what was going to happen since I’ve heard about it 100 times beforehand and seen it spoofed in all of these other shows and what not but my main problem with this ending was that it was way too sentimental and by the end of the flick, I didn’t think anything was changed. Mayo still seemed like a dick, but this time he just had a love in his life. Nothing new, just the same old dude.

Richard Gere has never been one of my favorites and here he does an OK job as Zack Mayo, but once again he’s not really doing anything new that I haven’t already seen him done before. Mayo is a dick and Gere is pretty good at playing that but I just never could get behind this guy for some odd reason. Debra Winger is very good as “his girl”, Paula, and actually creates a character that you can root for because she doesn’t want to love him, but sometimes, you just gotta give into the love. They create a good chemistry together and it’s a shame that I don’t see Winger in anything anymore other than indie productions like ‘Rachel Getting Married’. David Keith also is fine as Mayo’s good buddy, Sid, who always seems to be there for him no matter what.

The best performance out of the whole cast actually won an Oscar, which isn’t a real surprise but it’s Louis Gossett Jr. as Sgt. Emil Foley. Right from the get-go this guy is a total bad-ass that just shows up and tears about every single person he sees into pieces. He’s loud, funny, and altogether, just a total joy to watch even when this film does start to get very serious and dive into some pretty dark material, but he still found a way to keep me laughing and just pretty intimidated as well. “Mayooonaiseee!”.

Consensus: Some moments are cheesier than others, and the central character isn’t a very likable one, but An Officer and a Gentleman still has a lot of heart when it comes to creating a genuinely entertaining story, with good performances to back it up as well.

7.5/10=Rental!!

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (2012)

Being on Adult Swim does not mean that making a film is the next step. Just stay on TV.

Two guys (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) get a billion dollars to make a movie, only to watch their dream run off course. In order to make the money back, they then attempt to revitalize a failing shopping mall.

I will say that on occasion, I have found myself watching the 15-minute, Adult Swim TV series that this flick is made from. However, as funny as that show may be at times, I can’t help but think that maybe they should have just stayed doing what it was that they were doing rather than just really stretching it all out.

Where my problem with this film lied was in its overall pacing. Even though there is an occasional spark of humor found, the film starts off terribly slow and doesn’t really build-up anything all that interesting or compelling about it other than that these dudes are trying to re-build a mall so they can pay off debts. I definitely would have not minded this as much if it was consistently funny but it just felt like Tim and Eric didn’t really have any idea where to take this film other than just try and tie all of these funny sketches they had in their heads with some story that was just about every bit as lame. In fact, even this film just feels like one whole sketch being stretched out a little too far even if it is only about an hour and a half time-limit.

This film first gained a whole bunch of controversy at Sundance because the gross-out stuff they have going on in this flick was apparently a little too much for the crowd, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I mean you got a while scene of diarrhea, a scene of Eric jizzing, and a whole simulated sex scene where Tim and this chick are basically rolling around with one another, giving each other some fun dildo action in the you know where spots. These guys definitely know how to push the boundaries which is always something I like but here it didn’t really do much other than gross me out just a bit.

Where my compliments of this film lie is actually that some parts of this flick really had me laughing, despite the other parts where I felt like they just ran every skit/joke they had into the ground and stomped on their face while they were done. Yeah, I know it sounds brutal but after awhile you may start to think that too. The film isn’t hilarious but there are a couple of times where it seems like Tim & Eric are obviously having a lot of fun with all of the money they’ve been given to make this flick so they choose this as an opportunity to poke fun at some major Hollywood happenings as well as just poke fun at certain type of plot conventions. The bright moments here in this flick had me remembering exactly why the show is so cult followed today but there just wasn’t enough of it to fully have me hitting up the Netflix account looking all over for their show.

Tim and Eric are both good here as themselves but since they are on-screen the whole time, it doesn’t much matter because this is all about who these two dudes actually know well enough to get them to show up in their movie. Will Ferrell plays the mall’s original member and his one early scene with Tim and Eric really shows all three of their great chemistry together; Zach Galifianakis plays a hippie friend of these dudes named Jim Joe Kelly and it’s great to see him being sort of funny again; and it was also pretty funny to see John C. Reilly play Taquito, the janitor of the mall, and basically looks like he always does in every flick but has this strange, Mexican-like accent going on that doesn’t really work but then again, maybe that’s just the point that Tim and Eric are at least trying to get through.

Consensus: When it comes to pushing the boundaries of how far a flick can go with its gross-out humor, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie definitely succeed, but when it comes to making a full-length feature flick and actually making it seem funny without stretching their sketch comedy skills a little too far, they don’t do so well. Still, fans of the show will definitely love this a lot more than myself.

3/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!

Scarface (1983)

Basically, don’t do coke.

Al Pacino plays two-bit Cuban hood Tony Montana, who makes his way into the U.S., where he and his friend Manny Ray (Stephen Bauer) soon enter the world of crime. They murder a political figure for drug dealer Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia) to get their green cards and are soon on his payroll. Tony’s elimination of rival Colmbian drug dealers gives him a more prominent role in the organization.

This is that film that everybody always praises and loves because it is just iconic. Every time you hear lines like “Say hello to mahhh litttle fienddd” or when somebody mispronounces “cockroach” this is the reason for it all. But it’s not as amazing as it legacy may show.

Director Brian De Palma does a great job here with re-amping this story and simply making it still tense but exciting to watch. As always, De Palma has a whole bunch of violence and bad language here that will probably shock a lot of people, but how De Palma films this with long tracking-shots, beautiful and vibrant colors to add to the dark material of the film, and the beautifully choreographed gunshots and violence is where De Palma really works well here. De Palma keeps a lot of scenes tense but then keeps that style he has for the other scenes, and make’s this film great to look at, while everybody’s cursing and getting shot.

The script from Oliver Stone has a lot of twists and turns that keep this film on it’s toes but his way of showing the decent of gangsters all-over-the-world and how they all start off well, but soon start to fall into a daze of problems until they can’t get out is very true and actually something a lot of gangster films do nowadays. You can tell that there’s a lot of the usual gangster-film conventions here that you always get, but somehow Stone makes it all seem new and fresh with his twists.

However, as bloody as the violence may be and no matter how bad these characters curse, I still didn’t find myself terribly riveted by this story, as well as not shocked one bit. I think the story kind of lost it’s way half-way throughout because it doesn’t really do much to support the characters around Tony while he’s falling into this huge-ass coke addiction. I didn’t hate Tony, I just didn’t understand why nobody tried to chill him off of that stuff for awhile, and why he kept making so many deals with all these major kingpins when he knew was soon going to be a wanted man. The film also needed some help with its editing because some scenes here don’t even feel needed, while others just linger on for about 10 minutes without any real meaning.

Although countless movie-goers were probably so taken aback by everything they saw on-screen here in 1983, 27 years later this film doesn’t really shock all that much since we have seen worse practically come out every Friday. I think the film was trying to push the envelope incredibly, which it did, but some of this violence just feels terribly gratuitous, just so De Palma could shock a couple of people, and I’m never down for shocking to be shocking.

It’s funny that the most Italiano man in the history of men, Al Pacino probably plays one of the best Cubans in a film ever. Al Pacino plays Tony Montana, and right from the get-go you know this guy is a smart-ass, hilarious, smart, but also very riveting and almost every scene this guy has you cannot take your eyes off of him at all. Pacino throws himself into this character and makes him seem like a larger-than-life character that may never die and could quite possibly take over the world. Some will say Pacino’s acting is over-the-top, but I say it’s one of the main reasons this film will always be remembered for the classic that it is and by also showing why Al Pacino is one of the best actors of all-time.

As much as I may talk ish on this film for not being amazing still 27 years later, I still have to say that this film is iconic with good reasons because it’s just great how everything looks. The dialogue, I will still find myself quoting 30 years from now at a lame adults b-day party, and the violence, I still find memorable and probably will always have it plastered into my mind. It’s crazy how certain films may not have it all to be a classic, but have just the right amount of whatever it is their doing right, to be awesome.

Consensus: Though it may not be as shocking 27 years later, Scarface is still a gangster classic with stylized action, quotable lines from start to finish, and a powerful lead performance from Al Pacino that shows his insane range he has as an actor, which almost makes me forget about 88 Minutes. But I still remember that piece of crap sadly.

8.5/10=Matinee!!

Return to Me (2000)

Oh how love is so beautiful.

A building contractor (David Duchovny) donates his wife’s heart after she’s tragically killed in an accident. A year later, he falls in love with a plucky waitress (Minnie Driver), only to discover she had received a heart transplant at the same time and place. Directed by Bonnie Hunt, this charming romantic comedy about second chances at love – and life.

This film is so resolute old-fashioned and sweet, that I felt like I was going to completely hate every single part of this film. However, that was not the case.

The film is not so funny as it is quite charming and cute. There are little parts in the film that will make you laugh but they are never over-zealous or annoying, there more cute and harmful.

Now with a story like this you kind of just have to go along with it, and forget all teh corny stuff. I found it really crazy since she is trying to hide the scar she has, that they have never slept together after have been going out for months. As I said this film is very harmful, but this is just too sweet to be true.

It incorporates several good laughs and it is not too much of a chick film. It has a lot of good “guy” material. This balance is not easily installed into the first draft of a script, nor are the charming nuances of affection between characters, nor is it easy to make a family style film with a variety of generations so comfortably represented in a cohesive romantic dramedy.

The one thing that makes this film work for me is its genuine chemistry between Duchovny and Driver. Driver in particular, gives a performance that supplies a dimension more deeper than the material suggests. I really felt how vulnerable she really is throughout the film.

But the best thing about the film is that it doesn’t just focus on these two, but also on all the other couples that surround them. Like James Belushi and his wife Bonnie Hunt kept me laughing. And also, the little group of old guys with Robert Loggia and Carroll O’Connor, they all provide good laughs and make some of the dry spots funny.

Consensus: Return to Me is heavily-cliched and not very funny at some parts, but features a genuine chemistry between Duchovny and Driver, and just a sweet and lovely outlook on love.

5.5/10=Rental!!!