Curtis Hanson

Curtis Hanson had some popular movies but nothing really acclaimed until L.A. Confidential, which was really acclaimed. Wonder Boys and 8 Mile were also well-received, and he hasn’t done much of notoriety since. I really don’t know what to think of him as a director, as he’s had movies that were worse than they should have been and better than they should have been, if that makes any sense.

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle: Rebecca DeMornay is a nanny who is seemingly perfect, and of course her plan is to destroy the family. Over the top, obvious. Fantastic death scene, at least. Bad, but somewhat entertaining.

Grade: D+

The River Wild: Meryl Streep is an expert river rafter, which makes her the target of a couple of armed criminals (Kevin Bacon, John C. Reilly) who want to use her (and her family) to escape the country. The acting is pretty good, but the script is really underwhelming. The rafting scenes are also not nearly as exciting as they should have been. Mildly suspenseful at times, which is not a compliment

Grade: C-

L.A. Confidential: Film noir about a three cops from a corrupt 1950’s L.A. police force who all try to solve the same brutal murder in three different ways. Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, and Russell Crowe are all good, as is Kim Basinger, who won an Oscar. Beautifully shot, captures film noir perfectly, oozing cool and suspense.

Grade: A-

Other Curtis Hanson Films You May Have Seen

8 Mile
Wonder Boys
In Her Shoes
Lucky You
Chasing Mavericks
Bad Influence

3 thoughts on “Curtis Hanson”

  1. Cradle and LA Confidential are the only two here I’ve seen, and I couldn’t have named Curtis Hanson to save my life. The latter is required viewing for actors as well as directors; the former is what you say it is. I enjoyed it at the time, though I was about 16 and obvious revenge fantasies were pretty cool to me at that point.

    I’ve considered The River Wild because of the cast, but no matter how good a cast is, it’s pretty damned difficult to overcome a bad script, which this apparently has.

  2. LA Confidential is a top ten for me.

    I remember 8 Mile being alright, but it was 2003, so I put no stock in my opinion of it.

    I remember In Her Shoes being decent, and I’ve seen parts of River about twenty times, without ever seeing the whole thing.

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