Friday, May 31, 2013
A Fistful of Progeny! (Brad's Picks)
No one in Hollywoodland seems to want you to know that M Night Shyamalan has a new movie out this weekend. Shhhhhhhh! Don't mention The Last Airbender. No, what we have this weekend is the new Will Smith movie. But the more I see and the more I read about After Earth the less interested I become. It doesn't look like much of a Will Smith movie anyway; it's really Jaden Smith's show, and frankly, I think that kid stinks. I guess he was ok in that boring Karate Kid remake, but he almost single handedly brought forth my rage in The Day The Earth Stood Still remake (Keanu gets a chunk of the credit). Such an annoying brat, and I really want nothing to do with him now. Sure, that sounds pretty harsh and totally unfair. But this is my blog; let me have my irrational, hypocritical opinions. You know I'm gonna drop my cash for After Earth, and maybe - just maybe - it's a solid post-apocalpse flick, and my mind will be forever altered in regards to all Smith offspring. After all, Hollywood has produced a lot of talented babies...
5. Jason Robards: The son of Hope Maxine Robards & Jason Robards Sr, Junior here eventually surpassed his father's notoriety as a stage actor with a little help from Eugene O'Neal (Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Iceman Cometh, Hughie, A Touch of the Poet). From there, Robards found his way onto television, lent a little credibility to Roger Corman's The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, and found critical nirvana through Sergio Leone & Sam Peckinpah. His performances in both Once Upon A Time In The West & The Ballad of Cable Hogue are what lands him on this list, but I would be lying if I neglected his minor turns in Ron Howard's Parenthood or Quick Change - both were absolute staples of my youth. Also, his final credit as the neglectful dad Earl Partridge in Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia will rip out your heart, and his work there granted Tom Cruise his finest hour.
4. Nicolas Cage: His grandfather was composer Carmine Coppola, his uncle Francis Ford Coppola, and his aunt Talia Shire. If written a few years earlier, Cage would have easily landed at the number one spot of this list, but his special brand of mega-acting has not been kind to his career lately. After winning my heart with a few brilliantly bonkers performances (The Bad Lieutenant, Kick Ass, Drive Angry), Cage has pretty much sunken into the bland Direct-To-DVDers (Trespass, Seeking Justice, Stolen). It might be easy to write him off thanks to all those bees in The Wicker Man remake, but let's not forget the classics - Raising Arizona, Red Rock West, Adaptation, Matchstick Men - these are some powerhouse performances not to be mocked. And I'm betting Cage has a couple more surprises left up his sleeve.
3. David Carradine: The son of John Carradine & brother to Keith & Robert. The man pretty much ruled my childhood with Kung Fu & it's crappy sequel show, The Legend Continues. But it wasn't until Quentin Tarantino reintroduced him to the world in Kill Bill that I truly discovered the genius of his massive body of work. Death Race 2000, Boxcar Bertha, Bound for Glory, The Warrior & The Sorceress, The Long Riders, Q The Winged Serpent. The man was the king of B movies, and he was working like a beast right up to his sad end. And as a result, we're going to be getting Direct-To-DVD appearances for at least another ten years.
2. Robert Downey Jr: The son of independent filmmaker Robert Downey Sr; it's hard to remember the dark days of Soapdish & Chances Are (two charming films made in a haze of sex and cocaine), this former Brat Packer was well on his way to obscurity before Marvel's Iron Man launched his career into the stratosphere. But before he donned ol' Shell Head, Robert Downey Jr was already making quite a buzz in the small movie racket. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is an amazing bit of noir wit from Shane Black. Downey expertly charmed as the jittering literary agent in Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys. And he scored big points reaching into his drug fueled past to portray the doomed reporter Paul Avery in David Fincher's painfully overlooked Zodiac. He might be forever assembled an Avenger, but Robert Downey Jr earned his Blockbuster status, and I hope he finds some tiny gems amongst his continuing franchises.
1. Jeff Bridges: He's The Dude. 'nuff said. Oh, you want more? The son of Lloyd & brother of Beau, Jeff Bridges has rarely been on the bottom of creativity. I'd love to tell you that he had it from the start, but, gulp, I've actually never seen The Last Picture Show. No, my love for the man started with the King Kong remake (a terribly mediocre film in hindsight), survived on the original Tron, and became the god of drifter cool in The Big Lebowski. Along the way he played boy cub to Clint Eastwood's hardass in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, straight man to John Heard's psychotic do-gooder in Cutter's Way, and my all time favorite sandwich eating POTUS in The Contender. And oh yeah, FTW, he schooled John Wayne in The Coen Brothers' far superior True Grit. Done deal. Jeff Bridges is the king of Hollywood offspring.