What I’ve Caught Up With, January 2021:
Film: North Dallas Forty
I hadn’t seen this in probably 15 years, and it’s a worthy rewatch. Nick Nolte plays a battered professional football player in the era where the fame and glamour was there, but the money wasn’t. Nolte’s wide receiver Phillip Elliott drinks too much and takes too many drugs, and then takes more to keep playing. This is not a film about the rigors of football, though, at least once you get below the surface. It’s kind of a buddy film between Nolte and Mac Davis, who plays the team’s quarterback. But how good can buddies be when they are mercenaries? While a comedy in many ways, North Dallas Forty is pitch black in the lessons we take away from it. This is among Nolte’s best work on camera.
Film: Dolores Claiborne
Stephen King doesn’t always translate to film well, but sometimes, he really, really does. Dolores Claiborne is an interesting King story in the sense that there is no supernatural element here. No, the horrors are more prosaic, and because of that, a lot more real. Kathy Bates plays the titular role about as well as possible, and she is ably assisted by Jennifer Jason Leigh as her estranged substance abuse-riddled daughter. A good supporting cast helps here as well. The story is a good one, and the reveals are surprising and dark. It’s too long, though. Cut 20 minutes from this, and this is a much tighter and better movie.
Film: Batman: The Movie
When it’s done accidentally, camp can be a lot of fun. Most of the time, intentional camp feels forced and doesn’t work. Batman from 1966 is the exception that proves the rule. This is a completely ridiculous movie in almost every aspect, but it contains so much of what made the original television show fun. Seriously, Cesar Romero gave so little of a shit that he just put the Joker’s white greasepaint directly over his mustache. I’d have loved to have seen Eartha Kitt here instead of Lee Meriwether as Catwoman, but Frank Gorshin was absolutely the best of the Batman villains as The Riddler. This is dumb, but it’s the right kind of dumb. Shark repellent bat spray? Genius!
Film: Easter Parade