Tag Archives: Gene Hackman

Richard Donner

Superman: Saw this several times a kid but never as an adult. I do remember liking Hackman’s Lex Luthor and some of the story.

Grade: N/A

The Goonies: Some nerdy kids find a pirate treasure map and try to save the neighborhood from a crime family by getting the treasure. Written by Spielberg and Columbus. I remember kind of liking it as a kid. I saw about 75% of it a few months ago, and was pretty lukewarm about it.

Grade: N/A

Lethal Weapon 3: See below.

Grade: C

Lethal Weapon 2: See below.

Grade: B

Lethal Weapon: Danny Glover is the veteran cop, Mel Gibson is the suicidal young cop. Both hate working together, but because this is a movie, they get paired together for a lot of funny one-liners until they catch some drug smugglers. All three movies are ridiculous and fun, though the third one lacks a bit of the spark.

Grade: B

Maverick: Based on the television show, Maverick (Mel Gibson) finds himself weaseling his way out of many sticky situations while hoping to join a huge poker tournament for a big pay day. He gets competition along the way from a thief (Jodie Foster) and a marshal (James Garner, the original Maverick). The movie goes on a bit too long (just over two hours) but I love every minute of it. Donner really knows how to get comedy out of Gibson, and Foster is fantastic. It’s not particularly laugh-out-loud funny, but it’s consistently charming and amusing from beginning to end. The climactic poker tournament is a blast and features many cameos from famous country singers. It also has a great country-music soundtrack with nearly all original music that fits the movie’s theme.

Grade: A+

Other Richard Donner Movies You May Have Seen

Lethal Weapon 4
The Omen
Conspiracy Theory
Superman II

Sam Raimi

Somehow I’ve managed to see over half of Sam Raimi’s movies.  He’s good at camp, not so great at anything else. Even his movies that I enjoy watching aren’t terribly good, and are more likely to have great scenes dropped in to an otherwise snoozer.  I have yet to see a movie of his that was solid from beginning to end. At least the movies are never manipulative, so I have no ill-will towards the guy.  Just wish he had more skill, as he’s got the occasional brilliant spark.

Spider-Man 2: I know this is considered by most to the best of the Spider-Man series. I think the plot is decent and Alfred Molina is pretty good as the bad guy, but something really rubbed me the wrong way. Spider-Man’s effects seem cheesy and over CGI’d, and I think I was beginning to loathe Peter Parker.

Grade: F

The Evil Dead: Raimi’s first full-length movie, it has a cult following but is really got nothing to make it stand out from every other gore-fest from the 70’s and 80’s, complete with gratuitous female nudity, gratuitous blood, and of course bad lighting, bad acting, and a recycled plot. Bruce Campbell’s character hasn’t evolved yet, and he’s just another actor here.

Grade: D

Spider-Man: I like the beginning of this movie, as we get the back story to Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man and I thought some of the special effects were done pretty well. But then the last-half is a CGI fest and I just really, really don’t care about any interaction between MaGuire and Dunst.

Grade: D

Oz the Great and Powerful: Even more of a disappointment than I was expecting. The story itself of how the wizard came to be is kind of interesting, and there’s a few shining moments. I think Rachel Weisz is pretty good, Mila Kunis is capable, and Bruce Campbell is fine. But there are too many uninspired performances. James Franco is never convincing as the wizard, Zach Braff plays a talking monkey, and all I could see the entire time was J.D.  Finally, Michelle Williams is really flat as Glenda, and it made me long for the smirky charm of Billie Burke. The highlight of the movie is the China Girl, a tiny little doll played endearingly by Joey King (and by the animators).  Not a big enough highlight to recommend anyone waste their time, though.

Grade: D+

The Quick and the Dead: Cheesy western that isn’t western enough or cheesy enough. Sharon Stone is laughable as the lady avenger. But there’s a charm to this movie that makes it watchable. Gene Hackman and Leonardo DiCaprio (two competing gunslingers) help that quite a bit. The premise of the movie is that this town decides it has too many live people and holds a gunslinging tournament.  I think this could have been better if written more like the Evil Dead movies; as it stands it tries to take itself seriously a few times and falls flat when it does.

Grade: C+

Evil Dead II: The scene where Bruce Campbell gets his arm cut off might be the best of Raimi’s career, and possibly the best of Bruce Campbell’s career as well. Essentially a remake of the first movie, but instead of horror, it’s now a comedy, somewhat in the vein of The Cabin in the Woods, only not quite that polished or plotted out. It’s still cheaply made, but it has several hilarious moments, and it helped Campbell find what’s he’s really good at.

Grade: C+

Army of Darkness: This…is my boomstick! The third movie in the Evil Dead series, it is now firmly placed in the comedy genre, as Campbell is set up for one quotable one-liner after another as he tries to blow up medieval zombies back to hell. The movie isn’t paced all that well, and it’s not as hilarious as the previous movie, but it’s an enormous guilty pleasure for me. Pure camp, through and through.

Grade: B

Other Sam Raimi Movies You May Have Seen

Drag Me To Hell
Spider-Man 3
The Gift
For Love of the Game
A Simple Plan

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