Category Archives: Harrison Ford
Since I’ve gotten my iPhone, with the miracles of streaming Netflix and HBO Go, I have been stripping entire TV series before I go to bed instead of reading myself to sleep. I have gotten to see some pretty cool programs, stuff like “Oz,” “Avatar the Last Airbender,” “Nip/Tuck,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Big Love” and “Deadwood.” Great stuff, just amazing television. And also through apps like Miso and GetGlue, I’m able to let folks know what I’m watching.
My most recent project has been “Six Feet Under,” and a friend of mine saw I was watching it and offered his opinion that the first season was great (of which I’m only almost done), the second was only okay and that the third and fourth seasons jumped the shark. Now I know that “Six Feet Under” is more than a handful of years old, but it got me thinking about spoilers, and when is it safe to talk about something after it happens without spoiling it?
I would think that news and sports would have the absolute shortest shelf life. News travels at the speed of light nowadays with Twitter. Sports would be only as long as you can keep a secret I suppose. I have a friend, seriously not into sports, who used to make it a game to see how long he could go without knowing who was playing in the Super Bowl each year. He used to do quite well, but this was back in the days before the Super Bowl was about more than football. Now it’s more about middle-aged women exposing themselves or which ancient rocker was going to break a hip in stage this year.
In my tiny world of comic books, where the new titles come out on Wednesdays and most folks don’t buy them until Friday, mid-weekend seems to be safe harbor to talk without spoilers. For TV, even in the age of DVRs and OnDemand, it seems a good idea to avoid the water cooler and not speak until at least the next episode airs.
Movies are a little different and I think fall into my “Six Feet Under” problem. Everyone knows Rosebud is a sled, but how many folks know the calls are coming from inside the house, Deckard might be a replicant, and that Bruce Willis is really dead – or do they?
Should it just come down to a matter of courtesy? If you know someone hasn’t seen something, just be cool and don’t spoil it, or should there be a statute of limitations on entertainment? What are the rules for spoilers?
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, besides having three too many words in the title (“the Kingdom of” should be removed in my opinion), is more of a ride than a film. In fact, I suspect that someone, probably Disney or Universal, have one in the works already, but there’s really no need. The film is the ride. And trust me, it’s a better ride than a film.
We pick up with Indy in 1957, and we know it’s 1957 because we are hammered over the head with this fact several times. The rock ‘n’ roll, the atomic bomb tests, the Cold War and the McCarthyism of the time are beaten into us enough to make it a distraction more than a background. It seems to me that if George Lucas wanted to make a film about America in the 1950s he should have just done it and left Indiana Jones out of it. Of course, however, with our principal character, and the actor Harrison Ford, feeling and looking his age, the time really had to be some time in the 1950s.
The rest of the cast is really outshown by brunette Soviet psychic spy Cate Blanchett. She is more than suitably evil and engaging. The screen lights up when Cate’s on it – an excellent foil opposite Ford, who for the first time in years (maybe since the last Indy flick) isn’t playing wooden and unlikable on the screen. Oh, Karen Allen is back again too, John Hurt does his best catatonia and schizophrenia, and then there’s Shia LaBeouf, the homeless man’s Marlon Brando imitation. Sorry, for me he justs gets more annoying in every movie I see him in.
Storywise, what story there is, seems to indicate that George Lucas has been listening to far too much Coast to Coast AM. This shift in the Indiana Jones series from Christian mythology to crypto-mythology is especially jarring. For me, the mix of Indy with aliens is akin to mixing fudge and mayo. It ain’t pretty. This flick is a mix and match nightmare of the paranormal culture, throwing in such aspects as Roswell, Nasca, Eldorado, among others to tell Lucas’ tale of the crystal skulls.
That’s not to say that it’s all bad. There are interesting nods and winks to “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” and Star Wars, and we even catch a peek at the Ark of the Covenant in a loose end that could, if pressured by box office success, lead to a sequel. There are a few memorable lines, and a sweet ending, but in my opinion, this is the weakest of the series. Still, see the flick, and ride the ride – it’s still worth it.
God Said, “Ha!” – I have always been a fan of Julia Sweeney’s work on the big and small screens and her writing. Well, almost everything. I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of her “It’s Pat,” which unfortunately what she is primarily known for. There is thankfully very little of “Pat” in this flick. God Said, “Hi!” is Julia’s fairly successful one-woman stage show set on film. She talks about her experiences with a brother dying from lymphoma and her own battle with cancer. She manages to inject humor into the situations smoothly and effortlessly. There are also difficult parts where you know she’s having trouble continuing where you know know she just wants to run off stage crying. Sweeney holds it together though, and puts on a wonderfully bittersweet and amusing show.
FM – This used to be one of my favorite movies both before and after I worked in radio. Unfortunately with the radio industry so changed in the last decade or so, the entire concept of this flick is outdated, like a piece of ancient history. Many hilarious performances, Martin Mull especially, displays why he was so popular in the 1970s. Highlights include bits of a Linda Ronstadt concert and a Tom Petty cameo. Great music of the era.
The Conversation – A terrific thriller that I can watch again and again. I never tire of Gene Hackman in this one. He is at his most intense pre-Luthor brilliance. His character reputedly even reappears in 1998’s Enemy of the State. Great twist ending and fun early performances by Harrison Ford, Cindy Williams and Teri Garr.
Firewall – I have to wonder if Harrison Ford got the memo that no one cares anymore? When was the last time he had a hit movie? It might be time to make a new Indiana Jones or Star Wars flick before it’s too late because he’s not aging gracefully. Sean Connery is hotter than Ford at this point. Dude is looking old and not able to do the action hero anymore. Not that Firewall, a cutting edge bank heist thriller, has cast him in that role, but he’s not even cut out for the passive role he has here. The flick does have its share of suspense and tense moments but Ford doesn’t supply many of them. It might also be nice if all the loose ends were tied up at the end.
The Notorious Bettie Page – I’ve never been a hardcore fan of cheesecake or Bettie Page, but I know my share of the phenomenon from Dave Stevens art and working in a video store with a healthy old school burlesque collection. Gretchen Mol is beautiful and stunning, and her acting is top notch as well. Props to writer/director Mary Harron. Beautiful women and wondrous cinematography.
Oldboy and The Boondock Saints – Both of these flicks came highly recommended by friends. There are elements to them that I really liked but overall I was bored and disappointed. The latter was many levels more engaging than the former until its anticlimactic ending.
A Video Review of Regarding Henry
Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker
Harrison Ford is one of the best living actors today. Everything he appears in bears a certain standard of quality and his skill as an actor is always top notch. Such is the case with Regarding Henry.
Unlike other actors in similar roles; Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, Tom Hulce in Dominick and Eugene, Sean Penn in I Am Sam, Adam Sandler in all his films; there’s an unwelcome urge to laugh at the mentally challenged. Here, with Harrison Ford, that doesn’t happen. Here you can only marvel at his performance.
Ford stars as Henry Turner, an evil lawyer (is there any other kind?), who is shot in the head and goes into a coma. Upon awakening and rehabilitation he becomes a new man, a kinder, gentler and much better husband and father. We watch him confront his past and his sins and make a new start.
Annette Bening as Henry’s wife and Mikki Allen as his daughter hand in equally excellent turns. Bill Nunn as Bradley the physical therapist gives the performance of his life and makes you wonder why we haven’t seen the like since.
This is an excellent film that should not be missed.