Watch the whole thing HERE!
Posts Tagged ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’
Watch the whole thing HERE!
For years Cameron Crowe could do no wrong. As the screenwriter of Fast Times at Ridgemont High (based on his book of the same name) and director of Say Anything and Singles, he became what The New York Times called, “a cinematic spokesman for the post-baby boom generation.”
His biggest hit, Jerry Maguire was a romantic comedy that gave Renée Zellweger a career, Cuba Gooding Jr an Oscar and us the catchphrase, “Show me the money!”
Then came his acknowledged masterpiece Almost Famous. The semi-autobiographical story of a young music journalist on the road with a band at an age when most kids still had a curfew.
He was a critical darling with box office clout but then came a string of films that failed to connect with audiences.
This weekend he’s back with Aloha, an “action romance” starring Bradley Cooper as a military contractor stationed with the US Space program in Honolulu who reconnects with a past love (Rachel McAdams) while developing feelings for a stern Air Force watchdog (Emma Stone).
Pre-release the film may be best known as the subject of a brutal Amy Pascal e-mail. In the Sony hack leaked correspondence from the former SPE co-chairman suggested she was not happy with the movie. “I don’t care how much I love the director and the actors,” she said, “it never, not even once, ever works.”
Variety recently reported that the film has been recut since Pascal’s scathing review and quotes a current Sony executive as saying, “Is it Say Anything or Jerry Maguire? Probably not, but is it a really entertaining movie for an audience? Yes, it is.”
Moviegoers will decide the fate of Aloha, but its release begs for a reassessment of Crowe’s recent, less successful films.
A remake of the Spanish film Open Your Eyes, 2001’s Vanilla Sky starred three of Hollywood’s hottest stars of the moment, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz in a dark thriller about a self-obsessed playboy whose life is turned upside down after reconstructive surgery on his face. The surreal blend of romance and sci fi threw critics off but a another viewing a decade after its release reveals a daring movie that examines regret, desire and mortality.
An enjoyable darkly comic romance, Elizabethtown got trounced by critics (it currently sits at 28% on Rotten Tomatoes) but is a great showcase for star Kirsten Dunst. She is frequently good in films, but here she really steals this movie as the cute and kooky stewardess who has several unforgettable moments—when she tells Bloom (Orlando Bloom) to stop trying to break up with her and her giggly reaction when Bloom asks her a personal question on the telephone. Without her performance the trip to Elizabethtown wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.
Finally, We Bought a Zoo, the story of a widower who swallows his grief by buying a zoo and finding love, shouldn’t work. It’s too sentimental and manipulative by half but luckily Matt Damon is there to ground the flighty story. Even a postscript (and no, I’m not going to tell you what it is), that even Steven Spielberg would find schmaltzy, works because star Damon hits all the right notes and Crowe’s dialogue sings. A father and son argument is a showstopper and you’ll likely never use the word “whatever” again without thinking of this movie.
I am a fan of Cameron Crowe. Not only did he live out my childhood dream of being a teenage rock journalist and touring with Led Zeppelin but he also wrote “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and gave us the sublime “Almost Famous.” So when it comes to his new film, “Aloha,” it gives me no pleasure to report, in a paraphrase of one of the master’s greatest lines, it didn’t have me at hello. Or goodbye for that matter.
Bradley Cooper plays Brian Gilcrest, a disgraced defense military contractor hired by his old boss, billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray), to supervise the launch of a satellite in Hawaii. He’s a brilliant but troubled guy—he’s described as a “sad city coyote”—with a history who is immediately confronted with his romantic past in the form of his former flame Tracy (Rachel McAdams). At his side is the stern Air Force watchdog (Emma Stone) assigned to keep him out of trouble. Romance blooms as international intrigue brews with Gilcrest at the center of each scenario.
“Aloha” is part rom com, part industrial thriller and part redemption tale. Crowe covers a lot of ground here but the story elements are as flavourless as a Virgin Mai Tai and just about as potent. The director attempts to mix the various components together under the soft sheen of Hawaiian mythology and spiritualism but the film still feels disjointed as though it’s two different stories mashed into one.
Crowe’s dialogue occasionally sparkles—“You’ve sold your soul so many times nobody’s buying anymore,” is a great line—but it’s not enough to connect us to the situation or the characters. As a result it’s a film with good actors who feel disconnected from one another.
“Aloha” is a sweet natured misfire, a movie that, to once again paraphrase Crowe, does not show us the money.
A cleverly edited YouTube video featuring a montage of Nicolas Cage “losing it” in the movies has racked up 1,677,816 views, which is probably more people than saw his recent trilogy of Razzie-worthy work, The Wicker Man, Bangkok Dangerous and Knowing.
The vid is an eyeopening look at Cage’s trademarked brand of extreme acting — a method of over emoting perfected in the 66 movies he’s made since his debut (under his real name, Nicolas Coppola) in 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Citing The Incredible Hulk star Bill Bixby as a major acting influence, he has always been, for better and for worse, one of our most completely fearless (and cuckoo bananas) actors.
This weekend’s Season of the Witch promises an extra helping of full throttle Cage and will likely do some bang-up box office, but the actor who is best known for hits like Adaptation, National Treasure and Leaving Las Vegas, has made many other, lesser known movies that are also worth a look.
One writer called Cage’s work in Vampire’s Kiss “a grand stab at all-out, no-holds-barred comic acting or one of the worst dramatic performances in a film this year” and 21 years after those words were written it’s still hard to judge. The story of a man who may—or may not—be turning into a vampire is best remembered as the movie in which Cage ate a live cockroach, but also features one of his most unhinged performances.
A few years later, somewhere between Honeymoon in Vegas and Guarding Tess, came Red Rock West, a genre busting movie—Ebert said it “exists sneakily between a western and a thriller, between a film noir and a black comedy”—that unfairly barely made it to theatres. Cage hands in some of his best work as a broke but honest drfiter, but only took the role after Kris Kristofferson turned it down.
Existing at the intersection of Vampire’s Kiss and Red Rock West is Wild at Heart, a film that perfectly showcases Cage’s manic energy. As Sailor, a lover boy on the run from hit men hired by his girlfriend’s mother—he’s a one of a kind—an Elvis wannabe with a snakeskin jacket and an attitude. It’s a bravura performance that, like the jacket which he says, “represents a symbol of my individuality,” is a symbol of his artistic individuality.