One very excellent film just missed out…
Critics seem to have a strange relationship with Quentin Tarantino, and his latest film, Inglorious Basterds, already looks to have split opinions right down the middle. But here in the gigantic Interestment offices which overlook a lake, we love him. He literally hasn’t made a bad film, nor has he fallen into the trap of making the same kind of movie over and over again. Jackie Brown received lukewarm reviews for not being anything like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill hardly set anyone’s trousers alight – except ours. And Death Proof was entirely panned, but, honestly, it’s an excellent film, as any fan of old exploitation/slasher movies will attest to. He’s a master of any genre he deems worthy of a toe-dip, so with that in mind, we spent hours sifting through footage to find the four scenes that wholly befit our devotion. It was a tough process…
1. Pulp Fiction, Breakfast Scene
No doubt about it, Pulp Fiction is his masterpiece, so coming up with a single scene was emotional. The Christopher Walken “watch” monologue very nearly made the cut, as did the opening diner scene, the drugs overdose, and Harvey Keitel as The Wolf. But in the end, we simply had to go with Samuel L Jackson’s finest cinematic hour, as two heavies set about scaring the hell out of some very nerdy criminals eating a fast food breakfast. WARNING: contains scripture.
2. Kill Bill, The Bride versus Crazy 88’s
A fantastic martial arts epic, Kill Bill was another with plenty of scenes to choose from, pretty much all of them extremely violent. The final fight with Bill himself – who recently died in a weird penis-related incident – just missed out, as we went for her blood-soaked frenzy against the Crazy 88 instead. It’s almost impossible to watch without whooping.
3. Death Proof, Lapdance and Crash
For those yet to see it, watch Death Proof. It’s all there – a slow build up of tension, sudden gory deaths, a magnificent car chase, Kurt Russell putting in one of his all-time great performances – which is saying a lot for the man who was in The Thing and Escape from New York. Plus this, the wonderfully hip, yet slightly creepy lapdance scene, followed by exactly what-happened-next.
4. Jackie Brown, Intro
Tarantino is the master of the title sequence, and it was a seriously close call coming up with our favourite. Reservoir Dogs‘ slow-walk-brick-wall intro was literally pipped at the last second by the airport arrival in Jackie Brown. And for one reason only – Bobby Womack. Great song, supercool opening, the legendary Pam Grier. The film promises much, and delivers!
Reservoir Dogs Trailer
Three Little Pigs, by Christopher Walken
It’s a strong day for the sisterhood, a very strong day indeed. Meryl Streep turns 60, which would normally be the biggest news imaginable. And yet, she’s been pipped at the post by Cyndi Lauper, who we prefer by a fraction. She’s 56 today, she’s a loon, she’s the one we’d like to spend the evening smiling widely at as she thrashes her head around in a gigantic chocolate cake. Hence, we thought we’d buy her a gift, so we bought four walkie-talkies from a nearby toy shop, then ran around town, hiding in bins, behind walls, in toilets at the back of poky Italian restaurants, simultaneously pretending to be on the run from some bad Transformers, and also discussing present ideas. It boiled down to a toss up between some peach coloured sandals or a clip of Christopher Walken doing a story. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Lauper!
Ladies and gentleman, John Cazale!
Don’t be fooled by the way they stride grinningly around the planet, when the doors shut, and the staff have been angrily dismissed, actors weep hysterically into pillows. If discovered, they claim to be getting into character, but the truth is that they’re petrified that one day they might make a bad film. Everyone’s done it – De Niro, Pacino, Brando, Nicholson, Depp. Everyone. Sean Penn’s been in mostly appalling films. But, of course, as with everything, there is an exception that proves the rule – in this case, it’s the late John Cazale, who made just five films before bone cancer got him in 1978. All of them excellent. The five – The Godfather, The Godfather Part Two, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter – were all nominated in the Best Picture category at the Oscars, and his co-stars included: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Christopher Walken, Harrison Ford, and his girlfriend Meryl Streep. In each of the films he was absolutely brilliant. Hence, the greatest of all time? Quite possibly.
These men did not make the cut…
Actors tend to get divided into two camps early on. You get the pristine stars with their squeaky clean images, questionable religious beliefs and arranged marriages. And then you get the real heroes – the men with bad skin, anger problems, strange methods of preparation, addictive personalities, worrying intensity. They tend to be the ones that we like the most, the ones who can turn a good film into a brilliant one. Here are four of the best:
1. Mickey Rourke
By far the coolest man ever, he has enjoyed two excellent careers. One as the great looking heartbreaker in films like Angel Heart, 9 1/2 Weeks, and The Pope of Greenwich Village (below), and another as the heavy set lunatic in Sin City, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and The Wrestler. He has never been bad in a film.
Christopher Walken, great actor
No, nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. It’s good.