Welcome to CinemaToast

(December 2003)

More Actors We Like
Kevin BaconKevin Bacon is a versatile actor who has excelled at playing the common man. In Footloose (1984) he was a street-wise Chicago kid whose family moves to a small town. Although he gamely tries to fit in, his culture shock is exacerbated by the suppression of rock music and a ban on dancing. Triumphant in the end, he bests the bible-thumping minister, wins the pretty girl and dances his heart out to a great and now famous soundtrack.

Bacon was next a good old boy whose delightful interplay with Fred Ward is the heart of Tremors (1990). As “Val” and “Earl”, the local handymen, their funny bickering back and forth as they try to leave town, fight the monsters and win the pretty girl’s heart – all at the same time – well, it’s hilarious.

Apollo 13 PatchDan and Lorie (Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Perkins) are reporters working for the same paper and have opposing views on just about everything in He Said, She Said (1991). Bacon is as good in a romantic comedy as he had been as a teenage rebel and horror-spoof hero.

Launched in April of 1970, Apollo 13 was supposed to be such a “routine” flight to, and a landing on, the moon that the television networks didn’t even cover the lift-off. Ron Howard’s 1995 movie of this ill-fated mission starred Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell, Bill Paxton as Fred Haise and Kevin Bacon as pilot Jack Swigert. Swigert was an astronaut and test pilot, and had been a decorated fighter pilot in Korea but was widely known as a down-to-earth guy. Bacon brought his “common man” persona to the role with winning results. A great performance in a terrific movie.

One of Kevin Bacon’s best (and universally overlooked) roles was as Tom Witzky, a family man, a regular guy and a blue-collar utility lineman in Stir of Echoes (1999). One evening, in this psychic thriller, his sister-in-law hypnotizes Tom and leaves a post-hypnotic suggestion that he be more open minded – with challenging and unexpected results. That night he sees images of violence and he sees dead people. The rest of the movie is a race between Tom and someone who is trying to kill him before he discovers the truth about a murdered child. Another of Bacon’s multi-faceted performances to be savored Elisabeth Shue & Kevin Bacon in Hollow Manand appreciated.

What is it about the chemistry of the invisibility serum that drives men batty? In The Invisible Man (1933) a scientist makes himself transparent but then becomes insane and terrorizes the countryside as a mad- albeit invisible –man. In Hollow Man (2000) Bacon is a brilliant but arrogant scientist who, with a crack research team, discovers how to make living matter invisible. Rushing the research, Bacon’s character makes himself invisible and guess what? Yep, around the bend; killing everybody and terrifying the beautiful Elizabeth Shue.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a street-wise kid, a good old boy, a romantic newspaper reporter, a down-to-earth astronaut, a blue-collar family man, or a mad scientist; Kevin Bacon is one of the most talented of journeyman actors working in movies today. Next up: The Woodsman about a man returning home after years in prison and trying to lead a regular life. The catch- he was in prison for pedophilia. Opens early 2004.

Our founder, sitting over there in the corner drooling, recently mentioned that he would do a low crawl through a field of glass to see any movie with Jennifer Aniston or Helen Mirren in it. Go figure.

Helen MirrenHelen Mirren, the very talented and veteran actor who first teased us in 1969 as an oversexed and half-dressed nymphet in Age of Consent and later, had a wonderful run as Superintendent Jane Tennison, that tough, hardworking police officer in television’s Prime Suspect (1991 – 2003). In that period, she made scores of terrific movies including O Lucky Man (1973), Excalibur (1981) Jennifer Anistonand The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989). Next up: The Clearing, opening early in 2004. A thriller, she co-stars with Robert Redford and Willem Dafoe. No doubt our founder will fall in love with Helen Mirren all over again.

Jennifer Aniston is an under appreciated actor -given the short shrift that comic performers usually receive- who has made a few movies showcasing her superb timing and her demonstrated soul; from She’s The One in 1996, to a great job in Office Space (1999) (you just have to see her deal with “flair”) to a star-making (and non-comic) performance in The Good Girl in 2002. Now that her successful television series, Friends, is coming to an end, hopefully we’ll see more of Aniston in the movies. Next one up: Along Came Polly, opening January of next year. The trailer looks charming and we’re sure we'll fall in love with Jennifer Aniston once again.

Santa Claus

It’s the holiday season again and we’ve talked in the past about our love of Christmas movies. We truly love the sentimental favorites like Miracle on 34th Street (1946) and It’s a Wonderful Life (1947). We also appreciate those movies that take an opposite tack and dilute the sometimes over sweetness of the season. Scrooged (1988) was one example and currently in theatres is Bad Santa. Not everyone is going to like this move but we enjoyed it. It even manages to have a “Hollywood Ending” without compromising its dark point of view- too much.

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