Bill Murray, Christopher Walken, Dustin Hoffman, Goodfellas, Henry Hill, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Michael Cimino, Nicholas Pileggi, Oliver Stone, Platoon, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, The Deer Hunteer, Tootsie, We Were Soldiers
Turner Classic Movies’ “31 Days of Oscar” celebration has some good selections tonight (Friday, Feb. 12).
7 p.m. — “Tootsie” (1982) — This is a solid comedic film. I’m just not that big a fan of it. It’s a story of a struggling actor, Dustin Hoffman, who dresses up as a woman to land a role on a major television soap opera. What I like about this movie is the deadpan humor of Bill Murray, who plays Hoffman’s roommate and is a playwright. He’s not in it enough.
11 p.m. — “The Deer Hunter” (1978) — Winner of five Academy Awards including best picture, director and co-writer Michael Cimino’s tale is of lifelong friends from a Pennsylvania steel mill town who go and fight in the Vietnam War. The all-star cast includes Robert De Niro, along with Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep who were in the early stages of their film careers. This film is remarkable on many fronts. It’s rich in detail, especially dealing with life in a Pennsylvania steel town in the 1960s, and is indeed epic. However, the screenplay lacks substance in dealing with the Vietnam War because it’s a completely fictional work. I just think that movies such as 1986 Academy Award best picture “Platoon”, directed by Oliver Stone, who fought in the war, and “We Were Soldiers” (2002), based on a non-fiction book, bring a greater accuracy to the screen about the Vietnam War. If you haven’t seen “The Deer Hunter”, I encourage you to do so because it’s still a great film in many other aspects.
2:15 a.m. — “Goodfellas” (1990) — What I liked about this movie was that it showed the reality of life in the mob. It’s based on the book “Goodfellas” by Nicholas Pileggi and Henry Hill and recounts Hill’s rise and fall in the New York Mafia over three decades. While “The Godfather” movies glamorized the Mafia, “Goodfellas” showed that while there were financial rewards to be gotten, they always came at a price. Director Martin Scorsese, who co-wrote the screenplay with Pileggi, should have gotten his first Oscar as best director with this movie. There’s not one performance in this movie that’s less than very good. The cast included De Niro, Ray Liotta, Paul Sorvino, Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco. Pesci received the Oscar for best supporting actor and his “How am I funny?” scene with Liotta is one of Hollywood’s most classic moments.
UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .