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Posts Tagged ‘Throwback Thirty’

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE – John Williams

June 20, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The third movie in director Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones series was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and whereas 1984’s Temple of Doom was a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Last Crusade was a direct sequel, set just two years later in 1938. Harrison Ford returns as the titular archaeologist-adventurer, who is sent off on a globe-trotting escapade when he receives news from American billionaire Walter Donovan (Julian Glover) that his long-estranged father Henry Jones (Sean Connery) has gone missing while searching for the holy grail. Jones teams up with his old friends and colleagues Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) on the quest to find his father, and quickly becomes embroiled in a vast labyrinthine plot involving ancient myths and legends, a brotherhood of religious warriors, way too many Nazis, and a beautiful Austrian art professor named Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) to whom there is more than meets the eye. The whole thing is a delight from start to finish, with several wonderfully exciting action set pieces, and beautiful location settings, but the cornerstone of the film is the father-and-son chemistry between Ford and Connery, whose outward gruffness and constant bickering masks a deep love and affection. Whereas Ford is an all-action matinee idol hero, Connery is a slightly bumbling academic, more at home with books and libraries than punching Nazis in the face, but who is still able to make his son feel like a 12-year old when he calls him ‘junior’. Read more…

DEAD POETS SOCIETY – Maurice Jarre

June 13, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

There have been a lot of great movies about inspirational teachers over the years, from Goodbye Mr. Chips in 1939 (and its musical remake in 1969), to Dangerous Minds and Mr. Holland’s Opus in the 1990s, but for my money the best of them all is Dead Poets Society. Directed by Peter Weir and written by Tom Schulman, the film is set at an elite all-male New England prep school in 1959, a stuffy establishment whose school motto – tradition, honor, discipline, excellence – tells you everything you need to know about the faculty. Everything changes when a new English teacher, John Keating, joins the school, bringing with him a brash and innovative philosophy that teaches students to think for themselves. Keating has a particular influence on a group of seven young men who, having been inspired by Keating’s love of classic poetry, form the eponymous society and begin to embrace their lives, loves, and ambitions more than they had ever done before. The film is anchored by an utterly astonishing lead performance by Robin Williams as Keating, who brings depth and emotion and sincerity and manic energy to what is, to my mind, the greatest role of his entire career. The young men of the society are also superb, notably Robert Sean Leonard as a boy whose passion for acting is constantly crushed by his overbearing father, and Ethan Hawke, who overcomes his crippling shyness as a result of Keating’s encouragement. Read more…

LONESOME DOVE – Basil Poledouris

June 6, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Lonesome Dove, an epic western mini-series based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Larry McMurtry, was one of the television successes of the year after it premiered on CBS in the spring of 1989. Directed by Simon Wincer and starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, and set in the closing years of the Old West, the story focused on the relationship between Gus (Duvall) and Call (Jones), two retired Texas Rangers who decide to leave their quiet town on the Mexican border and drive a herd of cattle north to Montana. McMurtry’s original novel – which explores themes of old age, death, unrequited love, and friendship – was based on a screenplay that he had co-written with Peter Bogdanovich for a movie that was intended to star John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda, but the project collapsed when John Ford advised Wayne to reject the script. Prior to its airing, the ‘classic western’ was considered to be a virtually dead genre, but Lonesome Dove almost singlehandedly re-vitalized it. The series drew staggering viewership numbers of more than 20 million homes, went on to win 7 Emmys from 18 nominations (including Best Director and a slew of technical awards), and paved the way for the cinematic resurrection of the genre with Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves in 1990 and Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven in 1992. Read more…

PET SEMATARY – Elliot Goldenthal

May 30, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Pet Sematary was an adaptation of a popular novel by horror author Stephen King. Directed by Mary Lambert from a screenplay by King himself, the film starred Dale Midkiff as Louis Creed, a doctor who moves with his family – wife Rachel (Denise Crosby), children Gage and Ellie (Miko Hughes and Blaze Berdahl) – from Chicago to rural Maine. Louis befriends his elderly neighbor Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne), who alerts him to the existence of a pet cemetery in the woods on his new property. One day, months later, the family cat is run over and killed on the highway outside their home; wanting to save little Ellie from the pain of losing her beloved pet, Jud reveals to Louis that things that are buried in the cemetery often return from the dead, and sure enough the cat comes back, albeit with a much different, more aggressive personality. Months later still, little Gage is hit by a truck and killed on the same highway – and despite dire warnings from Jud, Louis buries his young son in the cemetery too. Sure enough, the next day, little Gage returns… but, as the film’s famous tagline suggests, sometimes dead is better. Pet Sematary was a popular success at the box office in 1989, despite many critics feeling that the sense of dread that was prominent in the book, as well as its more thoughtful ruminations on grief and death, were missing from the finished film. Read more…

LEVIATHAN – Jerry Goldsmith

May 16, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Hollywood has long had a history where multiple studios release films about the same general subject at around the same time, in an effort to one-up each other. In 1989, the hot topic was ‘people who live and/or work underwater being attacked by monsters,’ a somewhat niche genre if ever there was one. Sandwiched between the schlocky low-budget Deep Star Six and the more respectable and ultimately Oscar-winning The Abyss was this film: Leviathan, directed by George P. Cosmatos for MGM. It’s odd that Leviathan has been somewhat forgotten these days, considering that it starred Peter Weller hot-foot from his success as Robocop, and has a supporting cast of reliable character actors including Richard Crenna, Daniel Stern, Ernie Hudson, and Lisa Eilbacher. Weller plays Steven Beck, the head engineer working on an underwater mining rig, whose team discovers the wreck of a Soviet submarine called the ‘Leviathan’. Of course, this discovery leads to terrible things happening to Beck and his crew, as the mystery of what happened to the Leviathan is revealed. Unfortunately the film was not especially financially successful and, like I said, is virtually forgotten now, despite the fact that it boasted a respectable crew including the writers of Die Hard and Blade Runner, as well as special effects wizard Stan Winston. Read more…

THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS – Dave Grusin

May 9, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Fabulous Baker Boys is a musical comedy-drama, written and directed by Steve Kloves. It stars real-life brothers Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges as Jack Baker and Frank Baker, jazz musicians who are struggling to find success. Frank is a happy family man, whereas Jack is single and lonely, his personal life little more than a series of one night stands. Things change when Suzie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer), a former escort and aspiring singer, comes into their lives; in addition to having a surprisingly terrific singing voice, she also increases their commercial potential, and soon the duo becomes a trio. However, as it always does, trouble rears its ugly head when Jack and Suzie start having romantic feelings for each other, a relationship which has the potential to drive the brothers apart. The film was a massive commercial and critical success at the time, and received four Academy Award nominations, but is now mostly remembered for the scene in which Pfeiffer performs an impossibly sexy rendition of Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn’s “Makin’ Whoopee” while draped across Bridges’s grand piano. Read more…

FIELD OF DREAMS – James Horner

May 2, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Field of Dreams is a film about baseball, but it’s also about much, much more than that. It’s a film about regret, about missed opportunities, about the relationships we allow to fritter away through petty disagreements and neglect. It’s a film about life, about how the ambitions we had in our youth turn into something completely different in adulthood, and how we deal with that change. It’s a film about hope, about how each of us longs to re-capture that innocence and optimism we once had, and the things we will do to get it. And it’s a film about reconciliation, coming to terms with the mistakes we have made, and making things right. The film is written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson, based on the novel ‘Shoeless Joe’ by W. P. Kinsella; it stars Kevin Costner as Ray, a corn farmer who lives in Iowa with his wife Annie (Amy Madigan), and their young daughter Karen (Gaby Hoffmann), on the property that his late father left him. Ray had been estranged from his father for many years before he died, and the legacy of that relationship weighs heavily upon him. One day, while out in the cornfield, Ray hears a spectral voice whispering the words ‘if you build it, he will come,’ and he is subsequently inspired to build a full-size baseball diamond on his property. This event sends Ray off on a voyage of personal self-discovery involving Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) and the ghosts of the disgraced 1919 Chicago White Sox team, a reclusive political author (James Earl Jones), and a beloved country doctor (Burt Lancaster) who played just a single game in the major leagues for the New York Giants in 1922. Read more…