Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Woody Harrelson: fun, bad films.

Before he was Haymitch Abernathy, a renegade cop, or a bad-ass zombie killer, Woody was still making noteworthy films. You probably won't find these on anyone's list but mine, mind you, but they're fun. Sometimes it's hard to find quality (as in "quality," as in, cheesy, mostly bad, ridiculousness) with just the right balance of groan and entertainment, but these have it. You should check them out. Or not.

The Cowboy Way, 1994.

Don't get me wrong, this is a pretty terrible film, but there are several things I like about it. Woody stars as the more doltish and annoying of two cowboys with Kiefer Sutherland playing the other, heroic one. Pepper's (Woody) stetson is black, Sonny's (Kiefer) is white. Secondly, Pepper is talkative and annoying, and this pretty much drives the narrative. In one scene, Sonny gets angry and insults Pepper, who stops talking, I guess in protest. After what seems like a really long time, Sonny eventually apologizes; Pepper responds by picking up where he'd left off in his conversational rant just before the spat as if nothing had happened. (!) Southern accent is pretty rad, too.

The clip below should give you an idea of just how silly and outlandish the film is (Pepper and Sonny take down bad guy Dylan McDermott by lassoing him TO THE BACK OF A SUBWAY CAR.) But it's still fun. Sorry, the quality is pretty bad.

2. Natural Born Killers, 1994.

Yeah, I can't really say that I enjoy this film anymore, but I do think Woody's portrayal of Mickey Knox is worth talking about. I don't know that any other actor could have pulled off both the repelling and charming nature of the character so well; it's a strange thing to pinpoint smaller, aesthetic things in a film that for the most part really disturbs me, but I'd be lying if I said his initial emergence on scene (with the 50 pound bag of beef) didn't thrill me a little. The casting was pretty interesting, too (Juliette Lewis, Edie McClurg and Rodney Dangerfield as Mallory's parents, O-Lan Jones ("maybe they no-liking the . . . human being?") as Mabel the waitress, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Downey, Jr, and Tom Seizemore (no doubt in the real-life depths of similar hookers-and-blow vices to those of his character, Jack Scagnetti). It's an interesting spectacle. Which save for the clip below, I don't ever plan on watching again. (Mickey steps in around 2:06)

3. Indecent Proposal, 1993.

Adriene Lyne is one of those weird directors whose films are mostly about sex or the repercussions of sex; one of my professors made us watch many of his films, having us note how anti-woman the ideology seemed. I don't know about that, really, but I will say that this film has probably the best sex scene to come out of the nineties (between Woody and Demi Moore). So much has changed between then and now---watch one episode of Spartacus and you'll see that nearly *nothing* is left to the imagination anymore, but I don't know, theirs still seems kind of sweet.

During another scene when things are falling apart between David and Diana, he gets drunk and accosts her on the street with the new guy (Robert Redford); he's angry and almost in tears and he looks up at her from the street and says, "Did I ever tell you I love you?" (something they said to each other endearingly when they were together), and it gets me every time.

Sappy, I know, but I believed him.


Donald said...

I never did see Cowboy Way, but I saw these others and plenty more. He's awesome. I even like Natural Born Killers. I knew a guy who once described it as "not really a film so much as an experiment in cinematography," and if you watch it within those terms, it's pretty neat.

madamsvito said...

I liked all the film work for sure, and I think overall it's a well made film, I just would always fast forward through all the parts that I didn't like. the rape, in particular.

Anna said...

that was me, btw.