Week in Review
Matt Dillon recently got his first Oscar nod for the Paul Haggis film Crash. While not unusual for my taste, that was one of my least favorite Dillon roles. Before Crash, Dillon made a comeback of sorts in There's Something About Mary, where he stole the show, and in the Noir As Teen Flick Wild Things. Currently, he's playing the Charles Bukowski alter ego Hank Chinaski in Bent Hamer's Factotum. Most people remember him for Singles or Drugstore Cowboy.
Dillon, in my opinion, made good choices right out of the gate from his first roles on. There were a few bad movies in there as there will be with any actor, but with his longevity, he's really shown that he has a smart mind for the business. Here, in no particular order, are some Matt Dillon movies that I would recommend as must see movies, that most people I talk to have missed.
Over the Edge
If my math is right, Dillon was 14 when he made this story about a bunch of kids living a life of boredom in a planned community. They take over the school and lock all the parents inside. Teen anarchy at its best. Makes a nice double feature with Dazed and Confused, as Linklater borrowed blocking and scenes from Dillon's debut film.
I don't know too many people who've seen this one. It's based on the SE Hinton novel of the same name. Dillon also starred in Tex and The Outsiders, the two other Hinton novels. Francis Ford Coppola did a wonderful job putting this film together with such great talent as Nicolas Cage, Mickey Rourke, and Dennis Hopper.
To Die For
Gus Van Sant, who directed Drugstore Cowboy, also directed this one. With early roles from Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix, Dillon plays opposite a ruthless Nicole Kidman in, along with Dogville, one of her best roles. When she's turned loose she can really deliver, but normally suffers from bad scripts. Dillon plays her husband who gets in the way of her career... a very bad move.
Dillon is the villain, Big Mel in this, one of the last good pre-"guns in high school' teen thug movies. It looks strangely innocent now, with the fistfighting and the skinny armed Dillon of 16 menacing only because he's bigger than Chris Makepeace, but whenever it comes on cable, I have to watch some of it. Vincent D'onfrio is also great as the troubled big lug that shows up new to the school.
Pick of the Week
Class. St. Elmo's Fire. Pretty in Pink. Less Than Zero. Andrew McCarthy was in some of the definitive youth movies of the '80s. Then he was also in the stinkers Mannequin and Weekend at Bernies. That was around the time his career went south. McCarthy continued to act, appearing recently in a recurring role on ER. But his career has had little to no pop cultural impact since that short, productive time. I wish I had watched one of his really good movies to recommend for you this week. But due to the lack of really anything phenomenal, and that the rest of the movies I watched this week were lousy, the film that gets the nod this week is Kansas, which pits McCarthy against Matt Dillon.
We see McCarthy for the first time as Dillon helps him aboard a freight train. McCarthy tells the story about getting to a friend's wedding, and doesn't mention it again until an hour and forty minutes later. Dillon convinces him to hang out with him in Kansas for a while before heading on. What follows is two hours of interesting film, but it's not without its odd unexplained moments. About halfway through, McCarthy comes upon a woman who has paid him no attention whatsoever, but as they are in a barn and it's raining out, she makes sweet frightened-horse love to him. There's a bank robbery, a child going in the river in a car, wisecracking ethnic tokens, a news team that responds with the speed of psychics, and many pints of whiskey. Dillon gets a job as a carny, running a Tilt-O-Whirl or something and immediately shacks up in the trailer home of the carnival's owner, who just happens to be single, blonde, and beautiful. There are many stupid plot moments, but overall, I still liked the film. Dillon and McCarthy are fun to watch together, and this came out way back in 1988, so you probably haven't seen it, as it's too old to be in the videostores, but not old enough to really be a classic. So this is my pick.
What fascinates me most about McCarthy is a strange physical characteristic. He's seemingly able to close his eyes by shutting his lower eyelid upwards. Check it out. Anytime his character has a moral crisis, his alien eyelids snap north.
I only watched 7 this week. 347 DVDs in 260 days. 153 DVDs left in the next 105 days for a pace of 10.2 per week. I'm back over 10. It's mostly my fault. I am missing one DVD, Triumph of the Spirit was due over a week ago. But I left Wednesday night's movies on the kitchen table rather than throwing them in the mail on Thursday. I noticed them Friday evening after the mail pickup. Had I gotten them in the mail, I most likely would've gotten them replaced on Saturday. I should have The Klansman coming on Monday, so maybe I'll hit 11 or 12 next week.