Archive for 1991

CLASSIC SCENE: “I Don’t Tip”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 1, 2013 by Mark Walker

Film: RESERVOIR DOGS.
Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino.

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Setting the Scene:
Eight men dressed in Black suits, sit around a table at a breakfast cafe. They are: MR. WHITE (Harvey Keitel), MR. PINK (Steve Buscemi), MR. BLONDE (Michael Madsen), MR. BLUE (Eddie Bunker), MR. ORANGE (Tim Roth), MR. BROWN (Quentin Tarantino), NICE GUY EDDIE (Chris Penn) and the big boss, JOE CABOT (Lawrence Tierney). Most are finished eating and are enjoying coffee and conversation. Joe had been flipping through a small address book that Mr. White took from him and Mr. Brown had just finished telling a long and involved story about the meaning behind Madonna’s song “Like a Virgin”…

[Everyone at the table is laughing as Joe stands up.]

JOE
Alright, I’ll take care of the check you guys can get the tip. Should be about a buck a piece.

(to Mr. White)
And you! When I come back I want my
book.

MR. WHITE
Sorry, it’s my book now.

JOE
Hey, I changed my mind. Shoot this piece of shit,
will ya?

[Mr. Blonde pretends to shoot Mr. White with his finger. Joe exits.]

NICE GUY EDDIE
Alright, everybody cough up some green for
the little lady.

[Everybody whips out a buck, and throws it on the table.
Everybody, that is, except Mr. Pink.
]

NICE GUY EDDIE
C’mon, throw in a buck.

MR. PINK
Uh-uh. I don’t tip.

NICE GUY EDDIE
You don’t tip?

MR. PINK
No. I don’t believe in it.

NICE GUY EDDIE
You don’t believe in tipping?

MR. BLUE
Do you know what these chicks make? They make shit.

MR. PINK
Don’t give me that. She don’t
make enough money, she can quit.

NICE GUY EDDIE
I don’t even know a Jew who’d have
the balls to say that. So let’s
get this straight. You don’t ever
tip, huh?

MR. PINK
I don’t tip because society says I
have to. Alright, I mean I’ll tip if somebody
deserves a tip. If they
really puts forth the effort, I’ll give them
something extra.
But this tipping automatically,
it’s… for the birds. As far
as I’m concerned, they’re just
doin their job.

MR. BLUE
Hey, this girl was nice.

MR. PINK
She was okay. She wasn’t
anything special.

MR. BLUE
What’s special, take ya
in the back and suck your dick?

[They all laugh.]

NICE GUY EDDIE
I’d go over twelve percent for
that.

MR. PINK
Look, I ordered coffee, right? Now we’ve
been here a long fuckin time, and
she’s only filled my cup three
times. I mean, when I order coffee, I
want it filled six times.

MR. BLONDE
Six times? Well, what if she’s too fuckin’ busy?

MR. PINK
The words “too fuckin busy” shouldn’t be
in a waitress’s vocabulary.

NICE GUY EDDIE
Excuse me, Mr. Pink, but the last fuckin’
thing you need is another cup of
coffee.

[They all laugh.]

MR. PINK
Jesus Christ! I mean, these ladies aren’t starvin to
death. They make minimum wage.
I used to work minimum wage, and when I did… I
wasn’t lucky enough to have a job
that society deemed tipworthy.

MR. BLUE
You don’t care they’re countin’ on your tips to live?

[Mr. Pink rubs his thumb and forefinger together.]

MR. PINK
Do you know what this is? It’s
the world’s smallest violin,
playing just for the waitresses.

MR. WHITE
You don’t have any idea what
you’re talking about. These
people bust their ass. This
is a hard job.

MR. PINK
So’s working at McDonald’s, but
you don’t feel the need to tip
them, do ya? Why not? They’re servin ya food, but no, society
says “Don’t tip these guys over here, but tip these guys over here”. That’s
bullshit.

MR. WHITE
Waitressing is the number one
occupation for female non-college
graduates in this country. It’s
the one job basically any woman
can get, and make a living on.
The reason is because of their tips.

MR. PINK
Fuck all that.

[They all laugh.]

MR.BROWN
Jesus Christ!

MR. PINK
Hey, I’m very sorry that the
government taxes their tips.
That’s fucked up. But that ain’t
my fault. It would appear that
waitresses are just one of the
many groups the government fucks
in the ass on a regular basis.
I mean, if you show me a piece of paper says the
government shouldn’t do that, I’ll
sign it. Put it to a vote, I’ll
vote for it. But what I won’t do
is play ball. And this non-
college bullshit you’re giving
me, I got two words for that:
“Learn to fuckin’ type.” Cause if
you’re expecting me to help out
with the rent, you’re in for a big
fuckin’ surprise.

[Mr. White flicks some food at Mr. Pink]

MR. ORANGE
He’s convinced me. Give me my
dollar back.

NICE GUY EDDIE
Hey! Leave the dollars there.

[Joe's comes back to the table.]

JOE
Alright ramblers, let’s get
ramblin’. Wait a minute, who
didn’t throw in?

MR. ORANGE
Mr. Pink.

JOE
(to Mr. Orange)
Mr. Pink?

(to Mr. Pink)
Why not?

MR. ORANGE
He don’t tip.

JOE
(to Mr. Orange)
He don’t tip?

(to Mr. Pink)
What do you mean you don’t tip?

MR. ORANGE
He don’t believe in it.

JOE
(to Mr. Orange)
Shut up!

(to Mr. Pink)
What do you mean you don’t believe in it? C’mon you! Cough up a buck, ya cheap
bastard, I paid for your goddamn
breakfast.

MR. PINK
Alright, Because you paid for the
breakfast, I’ll put in, but
normally I would never do this.

JOE
Never mind what you normally would do. Just cough in your goddamn
buck like everybody else.

(If you’d like to hear the dialogue played as you’re reading, skip to 3.50 on the video)

Mark Walker

Point Break * * * *

Posted in Action, thriller with tags on January 2, 2013 by Mark Walker

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Director: Kathryn Bigelow.
Screenplay: W. Peter Iliff.
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey, John C. McGinley, Lori Petty, James LeGros, John Philbin, Bojesse Christopher, Lee Tergesen, Julian Reyes, Daniel Beer, Chris Pedersen, Vincent Klyn, Anthony Kiedis, Jack Kehler, Tom Sizemore.

Before the Oscar winning heights of “The Hurt Locker“, director Kathryn Bigelow cut her teeth on some intense and very impressive pieces of work; the brooding western/vampire movie “Near Dark“, the stylish and futuristic “Strange Days” and “Point Break“, the adrenaline filled action movie that proved a female director could compete with any male in the genre – hands down.

A gang of bank robbers known as The Ex-Presidents have been looting the banks of coastal Los Angeles towns. Not much is known about them as they commit their crimes while wearing the masks of presidents Reagan, Nixon, Carter and Johnson. What is suspected is that they are surfers, so the F.B.I send in special agents Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) and Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) to uncover more information. Soon Utah is mixed up with surfing guru Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and gets drawn into his adrenaline filled, spiritual lifestyle.

This film was a real favourite of mine growing up in the early 1990’s and still ranks as one of the very best of cop/action movies. Quite simply, where it’s strength lies is in some breathtakingly fantastic action scenes and shows that director Bigelow could always compete with the best of them when it comes to staging an action set-piece. The chase scene alone – through the streets by car before going on-foot through alleyways and houses and at one point, the involvement of a pit-bull – is one of the best action set-pieces committed to the screen and Bigelow should be immensely proud. This is also bookended by some excellent close-contact surfing scenes a spot of bank robbery and sublime skydiving. What more could you really want? It’s a film filled with testosterone and macho posturing but it’s unashamed in it’s delivery. It even throws in some light spirituality and Bigelow juggles the elements with a high level of skill. One thing she doesn’t have here is restraint but that’s entirely the appeal. She’s out to set pulses racing and have some fun and that’s exactly what she does. If you give yourself over to it, you will too. Of course, the film’s lack of restraint throws up some moments when it goes way over the top and stretches credulity to breaking point but it doesn’t matter. It’s entirely forgivable due to it’s sheer indulgment and edge-of-your-seat entertainment.

So is the action genre just one for the boys? According to Bigelow, the answer is a resounding… No. She displays such skill and conviction that she crafts one of the most enjoyable action yarns available. It’s tagline is “100% pure adrenaline…” and on the evidence, it’s not far off it.

Mark Walker

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Cape Fear * * * *

Posted in Horror, thriller with tags on October 6, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: Martin Scorsese.
Screenplay: Wesley Strick.
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Joe Don Baker, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Martin Balsam, Illeana Douglas, Fred Dalton Thompson.

Martin Scorsese is a director that has a massive reputation on the sub-genre of gangster movies but he’s never really been known to tackle a specific genre itself. Due to a contractual obligation with Universal studios and the encouragement of friends Robert DeNiro and Steven Spielberg (who was originally supposed to be the director), he decided to go ahead with this 1991 horror/thriller, making it his first genre and Hollywood movie and also his first remake.

After 14 years in prison, psychopath Max Cady (Robert DeNiro) is released where he begins to seek revenge on his former lawyer Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte). He believes that Bowden deliberately held back a report during his trial that would have saved him doing time and vows to make Bowden’s life a living hell by terrorising him and his family.

The original “Cape Fear” was released in 1962 and Scorsese makes great references to it. He employs the original actors Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck and Martin Balsam in cameo roles and has Elmer Bernstein adapt the Hitchcokian original score by Bernard Herrmann. Despite the courteous regard to the original though, Scorsese makes this film his own and updates the material for a contemporary audience by using a more layered approach. He delivers more of a backstory and questions the ethical and moral history of not just DeNiro’s character but also Nolte’s. As we are introduced to them, Nolte’s Sam Bowden dresses in pastel coloured suits and exudes an air of righteousness and innocence while DeNiro’s Max Cady is a cigar chomping, tattooed brute. All is not exactly black and white between them though and there’s also tension and discord between Sam and his long suffering wife Leigh (Jessica Lange) and their awkward teenage daughter Danielle (Juliette Lewis). Meanwhile, a manipulative and calculating Cady gets his revenge by using the conflicts within the family. By delving more into his characters, Scorsese skilfully cranks up the tension and with superb production design by Henry Bumstead and marvellous cinematography by Freddie Francis he manages to create a real sense of claustrophobia within the family household. While everyone are doing their job behind the scenes though, the ones in front are delivering some of their career best performances. The entire cast deliver the goods here; Nolte and Lange’s on-edge, afflicted couple couldn’t be better and a young – Oscar nominated – Juliette Lewis is a revelation as the awkward, self-conscious impressionable teenager. However, despite these excellent deliveries, this is DeNiro’s film. He is absolutely outstanding and delivers a character that is amongst the finest of his career and another highly impressive transformation; his physique is in exceptional peak condition (apparently he brought his body fat down to 3%) and he has a creepy southern accent that just rings in your ears. The foreboding and malevolent presence that DeNiro shows is deeply unsettling and he, like Lewis, also received an Oscar nomination. Personally, I hold the opinion that he should have taken the award that year. He’s such a threatening character and one of cinema’s most frightening.
The only major problem I had with the film was the denouement. It veers heavily into formulaic territory and despite it sharing the themes of a horror movie, the ending is just a bit too far. For the most part though, Scorsese’s audacity pays off and it’s an highly admirable addition to his impressive canon.

It may lack the subtlety of the original and if it wasn’t for the extreme horror denouement, this film would be worthy of a rating higher than the 4 stars I’ve given it. That being said, it’s still one of the most powerful and memorable performances that DeNiro has ever produced.

Mark Walker

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JFK * * * * *

Posted in Drama, Mystery with tags on September 29, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: Oliver Stone.
Screenplay: Oliver Stone, Zachary Sklar.
Starring: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Joe Pesci, Kevin Bacon, Sissy Spacek, Donald Sutherland, John Candy, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ed Asner, Vincent D’Onofrio, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Rooker, Jay O. Sanders, Beata Pozniak, Sally Kirkland, Brian Doyle-Murray, Wayne Knight, Tony Plana, Tomas Milian, Gary Grubbs, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Dale Dye, Bob Gunton, Sean Stone, Jim Garrison.

Director Oliver Stone is no stranger to biopics or documentaries covering the lives of influential or powerful people. He has looked into the lives of Vietnam veteran and political activist Ron Kovic in “Born On The Fourth Of July“; Jim Morrison, the lead singer of “The Doors“; military general and conquerer “Alexander” the great; Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in “Comandante” and two films on the exploits of American presidents Richard “Nixon” and George “W.” Bush. In the films mentioned, Stone explores the lives of these men but in “JFK” he does the opposite and explores the death of the man and in the process, crafts one of his most accomplished films.

In Dallas, Texas on November 22nd 1963, President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. The official explanation released by the F.B.I. doesn’t make sense and is very suspicious. As a result, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) decides to investigate and uncovers a dangerous conspiracy that may involve more than he could ever have imagined.

Oliver Stone has done his homework here and bombards the audience with facts, theories and reports from the media, interviews and eyewitness testimonies. He covers the history of events right across the board from the Bay of Pigs to the Warren Report via the questionable marksmanship of “lone gunman” Lee Harvey Oswald. Whether or not you agree with Stone’s theories is of little importance. What is of great importance is his ability to pose serious questions on one of the most tragic political events and biggest conspiracies in American history. It could easily come across that Stone (or Garrison) have all the answers but they don’t. This is a film that endeavours to get to the root of the truth. Many questions will remain unanswered but it’s also not the type of film that claims to provide them. Some information is pure speculation but the very place where Stone succeeds is his ability to instil debate. He welcomes it and the film is far more powerful because of it. It’s a tangled web that has been weaved and Stone deserves the utmost respect in tackling it head on. What’s most impressive though is that it’s never boring. With all the details, it could be in danger of losing the audiences attention but it doesn’t and this is thanks-in-large to editor’s Pietro Scalia and Joe Hutshing in skilfully piecing all the fragmented narrative strands together. They won an Oscar for their work and deservingly so. Another deserving Oscar winner was cinematographer Robert Richardson for his marvellous attention to detail in capturing the look and feel of the 1960’s. Amongst the the brisk pace and attention to detail is an abundant cast of quality actors and no matter how small the role, each of them get a chance to shine; Gary Oldman makes a perfect Oswald and other notable displays from Kevin Bacon, Joe Pesci, John Candy, Donald Sutherland and an Oscar nominated turn from Tommy Lee Jones as eccentric socialite, Clay Shaw. It’s Costner who is the main focus here though and he delivers a solid and determined performance. More importantly, he’s an appealing presence which is very much required when the film steps over the 3 hour mark. He captures the obsession of Garrison and in a lot of ways makes it our own; his dogged determination for answers reflecting ours. When all the dust has settled, the film culminates into a conventional court room drama but still remains riveting. It’s during this time – despite some already shocking revelations earlier in the film – that Stone finishes with aplomb and takes his chance to disclose some staggering pieces of information.

A conspiracy theorists dream, that may take some criticism for being hypothetical or one-sided but there’s no denying Stone’s bravery or his skill in encapsulating the paranoia and unrest at this time in history.

Mark Walker

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