Tag Archives: Eddie Murphy

Martin Brest

Despite directing some pretty successful movies, Martin Brest has had a relatively small career, directing only six movies. His last movie, Gigli (2003) is considered one of the worst movies ever, but it was reportedly butchered by the studios (who forced it to be a rom-com), so how much blame Martin deserves is questionable. From the rest of his movies, he seems to be a competent director who has difficulty making cuts as they tend to run on the long side.

Meet Joe Black: A remake of sorts of the 1934 movie Death Takes A Holiday, where Death (Brad Pitt) strikes a deal with a multi-millionaire (Anthony Hopkins); the millionaire can live a little longer if he gives Death a tour of mortal pleasures (one of those being Claire Forlani). Well-acted, and a somewhat intriguing premise, but at three hours is about ninety minutes too long. My most significant memory of this movie is how bad I had to pee when it was over. At least I felt it was good enough to stay in the theater until it was over.

Grade: C+

Beverly Hills Cop: Eddie Murphy at his best in a only slightly dated comedy about a rogue Detroit cop solving crime in Beverly Hills. Judge Reinhold is fun and Bronson Pinchot’s cameo is fantastic.

Grade: B 

Scent of a Woman: Al Pacino, a blind former colonel, takes a desperate-for-cash college student (Chris O’Donnell, who thought he’d just be babysitting an old person) to New York City for one crazy weekend filled with many antics and some predictable moral lessons. Pacino won an Oscar for his performance. He was electrifying for sure, a bit of a caricature, but still entertaining.

Grade: B+

Other Martin Brest Films You May Have Seen

Going In Style
Midnight Run

Tom Shadyac

Tom Shadyac has made fewer than ten movies and I’ve been tricked into seeing more than half of them. It is painfully obvious he isn’t very good at his job, but despite the fact he’s directed so few movies, the ones he has been greenlighted for have been almost exclusively big budget films with big name actors. One could argue he put Jim Carrey on the map, but I would argue that Jim Carrey put Jim Carrey on the map and then helped out Shadyac in a couple other movies as well.

Shadyac does comedies almost exclusively and his movies seem to advertise that a joke is only done well if it’s exaggerated to the breaking point. I don’t know if Shadyac purposefully directs actors who love physical comedy and fast-talking jokes (Murphy, Carrey, Williams) or if he just doesn’t know how to rein an actor in for the more subtle nuances of comedy. Maybe both. What I do know is that he tries to plug dramatic, tear-jerker moments into many of his comedies, and without exception every one of these moments is awful.

Stay away, and read below if you want the evidence.

Evan Almighty: I haven’t seen the whole movie from start to finish, but I’ve seen the beginning and the last forty-five minutes or so. Carell really looks like he doesn’t give a shit. I haven’t seen Bruce Almighty, which I’m sure is better, but I’ll do my best not to.

Grade: F

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective: This was my first introduction to Jim Carrey and I carried a special loathing for him for way too long because of it. It took me a while to realize I hated the character and not the actor, but I was so angry that other people loved this movie that I couldn’t get over it. The only part I enjoyed was Dan Marino, not because of any skills he has in front of the camera, but the jokes at his expense. For a while after this movie, whenever the Dolphins would get knocked out of the playoffs, I’d yell for him to get gonorrhea and rot in hell.

Grade: F

Patch Adams: Roger Ebert had a special, angry place in his heart for this movie, which I didn’t understand when I was 17. In fact, I laughed a lot when I first saw it. Now I can barely stomach it. The whole premise, a wannabe doctor who truly believes laughter is the best medicine, is irredeemable and insulting, and that’s before Patch begins tearing down the evil straw men presented to him. The romantic subplot is beyond manipulative, and the final courtroom scene is so laughably out of place one wondered if the writers forgot what script they had in front of them. Robin Williams has become a comedic hack, but nobody could have saved this script with this direction.

Grade: D-

The Nutty Professor: A pretty decent cast, and Eddie Murphy does a remarkably pointless job of playing several different fat characters, but everything’s just a bit too obvious.

Grade: D+

Liar Liar: Easily Shadyac’s best movie.  I don’t like it quite as much as I did at the time. It has the same problems most of Shadyac’s movies have, false sentimentality and dishonest character motivations. However, Carrey is at his absolute best, playing a lawyer who suddenly cannot lie, even with something as banal as the color of a pen (rrrrrrooooyal blue!). Beyond his antics and the easy but fun jokes the premise delivers, there’s not much there.

Grade: B-

Other Tom Shadyac Movies You May Want To Avoid

Bruce Almighty

Tony Scott

For the most part, Tony Scott (brother of Ridley Scott) stuck with the action/suspense/thriller genres. Dialogue often seems to just be filler in between action shots, at least for his earlier films. Looking at his career, he seemed to get better as he got older, the movies improving in quality regardless of the scripts he was using. Getting away from using Tom Cruise couldn’t have hurt, either. Scott passed away last year at the age of 68

Beverly Hills Cop 2: I honestly remember virtually nothing about this movie, other than I didn’t laugh much and whenever I flip by it on TV I don’t find myself laughing.

Grade: D-

The Last Boy Scout: The opening scene to this movie is awesome. A star football player finds out in the locker room that he’s S.O.L. with the wrong man. Back in the game, he catches a pass, makes a few good moves, then pulls out a freaking gun and shoots a bunch of defensive players, including one in the face; he scores a touchdown, kneels, then kills himself. Holeee shit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get better after that. Bruce Willis plays buddy cop with Damon Wayans, delivers some corny one-liners amidst some awful clichés and decent action scenes. It’s fine, but it’s not Die Hard.

Grade: C-

Top Gun: All homo-erotica jokes aside (or perhaps because of them!), Top Gun is a decent time-waster when you want a testosterone laced dogfight. The dialogue is an extra helping of ham, and Tom Cruise’s character would be given a dishonorable discharge in reality–if not a fast trip to Fort Leavenworth–for the stunts he pulls. It’s a largely offensive movie with a terrible romantic subplot and a terrible romantic song, but the actors have a lot of fun with it and the action shots are top-notch. It’s not as fun or as dumb as Iron Eagle, but it’s a close second.

Grade: C

Crimson Tide: We move from battles in the sky to battles under the water. Hackman and Denzel are really fun to watch (“I’m the commander of this ship!”), and there’s a good sense of claustrophobia on the submarine. The military protocol broken is laughable, and the movie’s denouement is ridiculous, but it’s entertaining if you can look past those things.

Grade: B

Enemy of the State: Scott utilizes Hackman again for good results; this time his partner is another young black actor, Will Smith. Smith is just a normal dude who accidentally gets his hand on evidence of a political crime, putting his life and his family’s life in danger. Hackman, who knows a lot of inside info, begrudgingly helps Smith avoid being taken. Sometimes funny, sometimes suspenseful, but never quite as engaging as it could be. Still, it has a fun ending and the performances are solid.

Grade: B+

Other Tony Scott Moves You May Have Seen

Man On Fire
Deja Vu
True Romance
Days of Thunder
The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3
Spy Game
The Fan