Tag Archives: Jack Nicholson

My Favorite Scene: A Few Good Men (1992)

I’ll make no bones about it: I would be willing to eat Aaron Sorkin‘s brain if I could ingest his writing ability.  That’s not a threat!  I’ve written so many love letters to Sorkin’s writing ability over the years in various forums that I’m probably on some kind of restraining order watch list.  Sorkin is my favorite writer working in any medium.  Period.  Whenever his scripts get published in any kind of form, I have them pre-ordered on Amazon by the time they finish typing the code to post them.  I’m trying to get across the point that I think he’s talented.  Is that coming through? Continue reading My Favorite Scene: A Few Good Men (1992)

My Favorite Scene: Batman (1989)

I try to pick the movie to select my favorite scene from with some kind of tie to current events.  With the biggest news of the week the casting of Ben Affleck as the new Batman, the natural thing to do would be to do the Dark Knight Trilogy, but Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises were the first three movies I did for this column.  Feel free to click on any of them to see my picks from the Nolan movies.

I’m very persnickety about my Batman.  I have a very specific idea of what Batman does and does not do and I am freaking unbearable to be around when I think he’s being misused (my wife will sign an affidavit to this effect).  Nolan’s films and Batman: The Animated Series are the two best representations of the character, to me, ever.  I think Christian Bale is the best Batman, but close behind is Kevin Conroy, who you’ve probably never seen, but you’d recognize his voice as the voice of Batman in animated series and video games for over twenty years.

The first four films of the modern super hero age featuring Batman are a mixed bag to me.  They slope in quality sharply downward from Batman to the horrifying Batman & Robin (probably the worst time I’ve ever had in a movie theater).  The first film is great, but not perfect by a long shot.  The decision to make the Joker the killer of Bruce Wayne‘s parents undermines a key aspect of the character, which is there was no great evil or maliciousness behind his parents’ murder.  They just were in the wrong place at the wrong time and senseless violence took them.  That’s what Bruce is fighting to prevent.  You can’t put that on the Joker and give him some kind of closure, because closure is impossible to Batman.  I have other beefs with Burton’s first film, especially what he did to the character of Jim Gordon, but let’s focus on what he did get right.

Gotham City as a gothic urban nightmare was spot-on.  Michael Keaton, who if you think Affleck was a reach for the role-recall what happened when Keaton was cast, was a great Batman.  He was a better Bruce Wayne, but he would be #3 on my Batmen list.  Jack Nicholson grabbed the Joker and gave a definitive performance of the Joker’s “Clown Prince of Crime” persona.  Like Batman, the Joker is open to many interpretations.  Affleck would be wise to choose a different facet of the character to focus on as Heath Ledger did when he did the impossible and out-Jokered Jack Nicholson.  Ledger’s Joker is an anarchist; a murderous chaotic force of nature.  Nicholson’s performance is still just as good; it’s just another side of the coin.

I’m going to cheat and put two up here because the last isn’t really a scene but it is my favorite image from the film.  The first is the scene between Bruce and the Joker where Nicholson gets to deliver two of the best lines in the film.  The second and best moment of the film to me is the very end, the unveiling of the Batsignal and the slow pan upwards to the hero shot while Danny Elfman’s score bellows triumph.

This is my favorite column I write for this site and, because I publish it on Saturdays so I have time to really think and write about it, it almost gets no views, which is fine, I don’t care.  But if you ever want to comment and past a YouTube link of your favorite scene into the comments section, I’d love to hear what other Time Killers think is the best part of the movies I pick.
Batman, Batman 1989, Michael Keaton, Tim Burton

 

Oscar 2013 Not-so-live Blog and Wrap-Up

Best Picture 2013
Best Picture 2013

What a weird, wild Oscars.  Eleven different films got Oscars.  Life of Pi got the most little gold men with 4, but Argo took home Best Picture with only 3.  Also winning 3 was Les Miserables; Django Unchained, Skyfall and Lincoln all picked up 2.  Three for a Best Picture is the fewest Oscars since Crash won, but unlike that year, Argo’s win was well-deserved.  I actually had very few qualms with the choices made, which is even rarer.  Killing Time’s predictions went 14/20 and most times I was happy to be wrong.  On a night as odd as last night, 70% isn’t too shabby.

I thought about live blogging the show on Twitter, but thanks to the miracle of connectivity, that would have meant everyone’s phones would have been bonging and bleeping every other minute and I couldn’t do that to-say-my mother in law without dire familial consequences.  So here is my stream of consciousness Oscar log.

7:00 – 75% female house majority has E! broadcasting red carpet banality.  For someone who operates their wardrobe on the Charlie Brown model, listening to people break down dresses like football plays is agonizing.
90 MINUTES OF THIS.  IT’S LIKE A BIBLICAL PLAGUE!

8:30 – Thank God!  Here we go: showtime.  Go Argo & Pi!  Will be attempting to measure the amount of time that could have been saved had my suggestions for reforming the show (see last week’s Top 5) been implemented.  Forgot to include acceptance speech shock collars and auto-host replacement in my list…

8:35 – Shatner?  ….and a song about boobs.  Five minutes in and two musical numbers.  Forget measuring wasted time.  Have a suspicion already that will prove a frustrating pursuit.

8:37 – LOL Sock puppet Flight.  Nice.

8:39 – Musical Number 3.  I have absolutely no alcohol…

8:41 – Musical Number 4.  Seth MacFarlane’s monologue is just like an episode of Family Guy.  Islands of laughter in a sea of awkward silence….except all the targets are sitting there.

8:45 – First award!  Best Supporting Actor to…Christoph Waltz!  Wow, didn’t think he’d get another so soon.  Thought this was a DeNiro v. Jones toss-up, but happy to be wrong.  He owned that movie.

8:55 – How did someone manage to de-funny Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy?  WOO HOO! Paperman for animated short and Brave for feature!  How long before they just name this trophy the Pixar Oscar?

9:02 – Cast of the Avengers giving out Cinematography and F/X.  Cinematography to Pi (Skyfall deserved that) and F/X to Pi.  Beginning of a run? LOL Jaws theme chases F/X winner off-stage.  Should be the new standard practice.

9:12 – Costumes to Anna Karenina.  Predictable in giving it to the film that least deserved it.  Ugh, Oscar nominated film Mirror Mirror.  That’s a phrase now.

9:15 – Makeup to Les Miserables over the Hobbit?  What the what?

9:17 – 50 years of Bond tribute begins.  How do you make Halle Berry look ugly?  Just wow.  First montage of the evening.  47 minutes for a montage must be an Oscar telecast restraint record…..and there’s musical number 5.  Goldfinger has not aged well.  On any level.

9:30 – Shorts/Documentary awards.  Time for traditional nap and/or snack making.

9:47 – Yeah, 150 years IS too soon for that Booth/Lincoln joke.  Yikes.  Affleck heard one too many.  He’s turning on MacFarlane. 

9:48 – Jaws 2 Boring Acceptors 0

9:50 – Amour gets Foreign Film. 

9:53 – Travolta introduces ode to musicals (which is odd because this whole show has been oding musicals since it began).  Montages 2-4 and musical numbers 6-8 by Chicago, Dreamgirls and Les Mis casts.

IT HAS BEEN AN HOUR SINCE A REAL OSCAR GOT HANDED OUT. 

10:05 – Scientific and Technical Awards montage

10:08 – Sound awards.  Mixing to Les Miserables (over Zero Dark Thirty?) and Editing is a TIE?  WOW!  Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall tie.  I cannot remember the last time there was a tie. (Research: last one was in 1986 for Best Documentary; only five in Academy history)
Jaws 3 Winners 0; people are looking terrified giving their speeches.

10:15 – Chris Plummer hating on MacFarlane too.  Supporting actress to Anne Hathaway.  No surprise and totally deserved.  Les Mis has 3 now…making a run?

10:28 – Film Editing to Argo; finally one for Argo.  Nine different films have already won a trophy.

10:30 – Adele performing the only nominated song that matters (musical number 9)

10:44 – Production Design to Lincoln?  Okay ten different films.

10:50 – I’m just going to estimate my suggestions would have shaved an hour off this show as we sleep through the Governor’s Awards.

10:57 – Clooney and the annual death montage (#5).  RIP Ernest Borgnine, Jack Klugman, Michael Clarke Duncan and Ray Bradbury.  Oh good Streisand makes musical number 10. 

11:05 – Score to Pi and song to Adele and Skyfall!  Adele’s got half of an EGOT!

11: 20 – This show is dragging badly.  Screenplays to Argo & Django, very nice.

11:24 – I want to play Unicorn Apocalypse!  These ads, culminating in the Tim Burton one, make me want to play this game.  I want it to exist.

11:28 – Lol @ cocaine trees.  Best Director goes to Ang Lee.  Best of the ones that were nominated.  Kudos to not giving it to Spielberg.  That movie was good in spite of his sloppy directing, not because of it.  Ok, so is Pi taking this now?  Argo only has 2 and Lincoln is clearly out of it…

11:35 – The French guy from The Artist whose name I cannot commit to memory is the new F. Murray Abraham.  This is the last time anyone will hear from him.  Best Actress to Jennifer Lawrence…should have been Chastain..AND SHE’S DOWN!  DRESS CASUALTY ON THE STAIRS!  Nice recovery though.

11:40 – Biggest lock of the night.  Daniel Day Lewis gets his third Best Actor and no one was even in his league.  Classy funny acceptance speech.  Can’t believe Streep got bored and opened the envelope during the clips lol.

No idea who’s taking Picture at this point

11:45 – Nicholson and….the First Lady? Present Best Picture to….ARGO!  Yes!  Awesome for Affleck and a worthy best picture.

11:55 – Of course there’s another musical number.  Eleven different musical numbers to only five montages.  I swear I’ll never make fun of montages again.  See you next year, Oscars!