Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

A re-review: I have mellowed somewhat in my feelings toward Déjà Vu since it was new, but not enough that I’d feel the need to revise anything I said before, except that my original review, however fair or not fair at the time, has become unspeakably tasteless in light of the manner of Scott’s death […]

One year after Man on Fire, Tony Scott directed Domino, and the vast chasm between the two of those films is telling. Of what, I’m not sure – but man, is it ever telling. Domino, I believe, has its share of passionate defenders, and it ought to: it’s the kind of movie precisely designed to […]

The word “problematic” connotes different things to different people in different contexts, to the point where it’s best used precisely to avoid committing oneself to anything specific and meaningful. Yet there are occasions where it’s absolutely the perfect word: and if there was ever a platonic idea of a “problematic” motion picture, surely it would […]

The IMDb trivia section is not inherently trustworthy, it being a user-submitted (but, unlike Wikipedia, not user-edited) collection of data, but this one nugget about Spy Game seemed entirely worth sharing on the grounds that, accurate or not, it was still illustrative: When the film was previewed in the summer of 2001, Brad Pitt said […]

I’ll tell you what one does not expect of a thriller produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Tony Scott, and starring Will Smith, released in 1998 when Smith, for one, was at his all-time most commercially marketable: that it would predict, so casually that it’s almost banal, one of the biggest U.S. domestic policy shitstorms […]

With The Fan, we arrive at a very curious question that isn’t really as interesting as I probably think it is: can a performance be too good for a movie? The reason I ask this is because The Fan pairs the slick manipulations of a Tony Scott-directed thriller with the Method acting of Robert De […]

To me, Crimson Tide has the feeling of being a homecoming of sorts for director Tony Scott: in large part because it returned him to the comforting bosom of producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, five years after Days of Thunder. There are plenty of just fine movies that Scott made without those producers; there […]

The organising principal which brings us to this point is a retrospective for director Tony Scott; but 1993’s True Romance is special in being the child of two auteurs, and its historical reputation undoubtedly owes less to the man who directed it than the man who wrote it. For the film’s script was by none […]

Nihilistic violence, caustic misogyny, soullessly ironic humor: The Last Boy Scout should feel indistinguishable from all the other early-’90s action movies on the same post-Die Hard model, yet it is vastly more fascinating than any of them. Not, to be sure, for reasons that are entirely to its credit. At its worst, the film is […]

Days of Thunder shouldn’t be as good as it is, I want to say; but that would imply that it is good, and I’m not entirely sure if that’s the case. It oughtn’t be good, at least. Not with that script. And yet it’s so much better than the combined quality of its elements that […]

The reason that there are two wildly different versions of the 1990 film Revenge is a great deal more interesting than the movie itself, for from the title on down it is but a meanly typical and pedestrian early-’90s erotic thriller whose chief point of significance is that, 14 years before Man on Fire, director […]

NB: At this point in this retrospective, I should be turning to the 1986 film Top Gun, but I have already reviewed it, and have nothing substantial to add to what I said at that time. The 1980s were a sequel-mad decade nearly on par with the present day, so it is no surprise at […]