Other Movies Seen By This Director (9)
- American Sniper
- The Eiger Sanction
- Flags of Our Fathers
- Gran Torino
- Heartbreak Ridge
- Letters from Iwo Jima
- Million Dollar Baby
- Sudden Impact
|08.31.07||Friend's House|| Wanted to see this again because I just read the book and luckily my parents collect mediocre movies so they had it in their library. It's a pretty bad movie. I remember seeing it when it came out and not liking it, thinking Eastwood looked 85 years old in both this and True Crime. In this he's even more fragile though because he's supposed to have just had a heart transplant.|
On my first viewing, I blamed everything on screenwriter Brian Helgeland, who aside from Highway to Hell I am really not a fan of. I remember the acute sensation of seeing LA Confidential again for the first time after reading the book and being so mad... so so mad... that it took years for me to overcome it. Luckily, that movie had enough elements other than the plot to make it a good movie and now I can see it again and not get too pissed. Well, with this Helgeland does it again, taking an interesting albeit complex plot and Frankensteining it up to the point where it feels deliberately antagonistic to those that read the source material. Only this time, Curtis Hanson and Jerry Goldsmith's score and the wonderful art direction and top-notch ensemble acting weren't here to back him up. Instead, there Clint being clint in front of the camera and really hamming it up behind (there's a scene where he's supposed to remember something he saw earlier and it's like soap opera levels of ham and cheese). Even with the twisted distorted script though, I don't point the big blame at Helgeland for this one. Instead, that honor goes to the woman who plays the main love interest. Oh man. Every second on screen... it's so painfully evident how bad of an actress she is. And then when the story calls for her and Eastwood to go all lovey and make tender love in the moonlight... it's enough to bring up bile. She's horrible. Shouldn't be in this movie. Speaking of that...
I remember going to see the Bruce Willis suspense movie Striking Distance with my mom and after it was over with the climactic reveal of who the bad guy is, My mom said she knew it was going to be him because there's no way such a big name actor (Robert Pastorelli, famous at the time for playing a painter on Murphy Brown. hah!) would take a role where he dies in the first 15 minutes. I call this star-spoilage. You either see the name in the beginning titles or recognize the face early on and simply know their role isn't simply the maid or innocent witness or alibi guy #2. And so it is here with Jeff Daniels playing Clint's neighbor.
And here's the messed up thing (spoilers in this paragraph. Nobody should care though; the movie's old and crappy to boot). In the book, Jeff Daniels' character is NOT the killer! So people that read the book in which the neighbor character is a nosy but likeable and ultimately good guy all rejoice because jeff Daniels is a great choice for the role! AS A GOOD GUY. In fact, they don't even let on that you changed his last name from the book until late in the movie, like it's all a suckerpunch for the small percentage of the hopefully millions of people that watch this movie... Then when they give the innocent bystander Buddy's last name and Buddy the killer's last name and start setting up some lame device where Clint only pays with checks, anyone that read the book groans. It would have been SUCH a better movie if the innocent bystander (a good actor by the way, he'd go on to play the guy in Hostel in the dressing room wondering how to handle his prey) is actually the killer (as he is in the book) and leave Jeff Daniels as the nosy neighbor! Because Jeff Daniels doesn't take roles where he's JUST the neighbor... does he?
So anyway, this movie is bad on multiple levels. I'm glad I didn't love the book as much as I loved LA Confidential or my Helgeland hate would grow. As it is, it's just staying the same.