Tuesday, February 28, 2012
(June 1947, U.S.)
There are several reasons why I've always felt a certain personal connection to THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR, a wonderful black and white fantasy/love story. First, one of my screenplays in progress is a story about a man who moves into an isolated beach house and develops a relationship with a ghost (admitedly inspired by this film). Second, I was raised in a beach house in Westhampton Beach, Long Island that's been owned only by my own family and I've come to develop a very serious (and almost unnatural) connection...Hell, the right word is OBSSESSION...to that house and the memories connected with it. Third, there's a line spoken by Lucy Muir (played by Gene Tierney) that goes, "Sometimes you can be much more alone with other people than you are by yourself.", which I have to admit, every once in a while, is a feeling I briefly experience.
This is a film when, while you're watching it, gives off the very strong illusion that sea captain Daniel Gregg (played by Rex Harrison) is no ghost at all, but rather a living, breathing figure in Lucy's life. Really, how often does a ghost make great efforts to get into arguments with the living that are occupying his house? But unlike any ghost story you may have accustomed yourself to, this is one where the living inhabitant can not only make friends with the ghost, but inevitably fall in love with him, too. Then here lies the paradox; how does one live their life in the real world and for the living if they've exhausted all their love and emotions over the dead? Well, that's called fantasy, I suppose. The dead, perhaps, are more colorful and more interesting in the way they had previously lived their lives. Captain Gregg is (was) a harsh, edgy adventurous man who lived the grand life of a man at sea and has never apologized for any of his attitudes or shortcomings. In fact, everything he is (was) is just perfect for a book that he'll help Lucy write that will enable her to buy her (previously his) house because she loves it as much as he did.
Any of this confusing to you yet? Don't worry. When you watch the film, you'll likely get caught up in its fantastic magic as I do (unless you simply detest love stories!). And just what is it about a love story that takes place at the beach or the sea that tends to capture our emotions just a little more than any other locale? I suppose the sea calls to us with adventure, romance and even an element of danger that simply brings love to a higher level. I mean, when you think of romantic walks, you're likely to think of the beach first, right?
Now let me tell you about the end of the film for a moment and two parts that I find particularly intruiging. The first is when we learn from Lucy's daughter (as an adult) that she experienced the ghost of Daniel Gregg, as well as her mother. It's somehow revelating to learn that throughout the whole time the innocence of a child was not only taken with the ghost, but came to love it, as well. The second is the moment when Lucy finally dies as an old woman in her favorite chair and Daniel appears again after a very long absence to take her hand, lead her away to the next life and be finally able to express his undying love for her at a level she's now a part of. So you see, clearly, the dead seem to know how to love with a lot more romance and passion than the living...maybe.
Favorite line or dialogue:
Anna Muir (adult): "Suppose he did come back and talk to us? Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful if he had? Then you would have something, you know what I mean, to look back on with happiness."
Thursday, February 23, 2012
(July 1990, U.S.)
I've talked about this before (but I'll mention it again for the sake of clarity)...the Summer of 1990 was, perhaps, the worst summer of my entire life. Bad job, bad car, bad school and, oh yeah, my heart was being emotionally pitchforked by the wrong girl. So, naturally, the last thing I needed to see on the big screen was a deep, emotional love story to the tune of the The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" where one of the actors (Tony Goldwyn) actually looked a lot like the older brother of the girl in question. Yes, it's pretty safe to say I wasn't going to see GHOST anytime soon.
But then let's jump ahead about four months to when the film was released on VHS (a WHITE videotape, for crying out loud!); I'm feeling a little better primarily because I was dating an Italian girl who was, shall we say, very instrumental in helping me to forget the past summer. So what the hell! I gave GHOST it's fair viewing and I enjoyed it. But let me break this down into detail a bit. As a tender love story (and I AM sensitive enough to enjoy those!), it did very little for me. I'm sooner drawn to the connection between Ryan O'Neil and Ali McGraw in LOVE STORY (1970) than I am to Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore (was that really HER ass he was grabbing or was it a body double??) having sex on a table covered in wet clay. What draws me into GHOST is the ghost story told from the ghost's perspective and his seeking revenge against those responsible for his murder. The fact that Whoopi Goldberg's character of Oda Mae Brown, a con-artist and spiritual medium, brings to the film a degree of comedic wit to a story that can already be labeled as fantasy is simply a welcomed bonus.
GHOST is fantasy and it's comedy, too, but the film also doesn't fail to touch upon the rather creepy mysteries of life after death and what (possibly) happens at the moment the body is terminated and the spirit tries to make sense of what just happened. Watch carefully Sam Wheat's (Swayze) horror and confusion as he appears to be stuck between life, death, dreamstate and reality at the moment he's shot to death on the streets of New York City. Watch with awe the moment when Sam's killer, Willy Lopez (played by Rick Aviles) is killed himself and dragged away into Hell by a group of black howling demons. Freaky, indeed. Freaky, also, is the fact that all of this mystery and emotion is brought to you by Jerry Zucker, the director of AIRPLANE!
GHOST has its legacy for all the reasons that have often been linked to the lovely romance between its two stars. Not for me. A true ghost story, as any other that follows the traditional cliches, wants to give us an idea of life after death and what it means to the deceased and those who have been left behind. I'd also like to point out that GHOST is the only Patrick Swayze movie I own in my collection (the DIRTY DANCING dvd belongs to my wife!). I'm sorry, but any guy who can actually say, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner!" and keep a straight face is not an actor I'm determined to take seriously.
Favorite line or dialogue:
Oda Mae Brown: "Look, you're holdin' onto a life that doesn't want you anymore! It doesn't want you! Give up the ghost!"
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
(October 1995, U.S.)
In between URBAN COWBOY (1980) and PULP FICTION (1994), can anybody really remember one damn thing John Travolta did with his career? Sure, he worked, but what of it was really memorable? LOOK WHO'S TALKING sequels?? Gimme a fucking break! But anyone who's followed his career and that of film in general knows that PULP FICTION turned everything around for him and much of what he did following put him back on top again. GET SHORTY, a crime/comedy film based on Elmore Leonard's novel is a perfect vehicle for Travolta's attitude and gives him the opportunity to bring a blend of comedic timing and dialogue along with the traditional cliche of the Mafia "tough guy".
So, here we have the story of Miami loanshark Chili Palmer (Travolta) who comes to Los Angeles to collect on a gambling debt from hack film producer Harry Zimm (played by the great Gene Hackman). Chili just also happens to be a great lover of film, so his transition into L.A. culture (as fucked up as it is!) seems perfectly comfortable for him. And as we likely suspected, the movie business is about as cut-throat as the Mafia business. The egoes, the self-promotions and the pompous demeanors are pretty much equal to that of the Mafia hard asses, as well. Danny DeVito as movie star big shot Martin Weir seems the perfect poster boy (and a very SHORT one, too!) for the rich and famous who are so caught up in the bullshit world of "La-La Land" and seduced by their own pathetic personalities to have any clue (or even care) about the real world around them. Horror movie actress Karen Flores (played by Rene Russo) clearly points out that movie stars have no idea what things cost and never pick up the check at lunch. I believe it! And speaking of Rene Russo...well, let's just say in the older women department, I consider her quite a gorgeous piece of ass...at least I did once.
Back in the 1990s, before marriage and a child, I was hell-bent on trying to get into the movie business with my screenwriting. It's not a dream that's totally dead, mind you, but like I said...marriage and a child. Anyway, I was writing my scripts and trying to promote myself as an unknown writer to the best of my abilities. Watching GET SHORTY at my local multiplex seemed to give me enthusiasm and discouragement at the same time for attacking my dream. The movie business is cold and cruel and will eat you up to the bone if you're not prepared. However, if you have the strength and attitude of someone like Chili Palmer, then you know how to take and it and strike back so it'll work for you and do what you say. That's probably why I love the character so much. And hey, any loanshark who loves Orson Welles' TOUCH OF EVIL (1958) can't be all that bad, can he? I should also point out that back in the 1990s I was flying to Los Angeles often to see my family and found after about five or six visits just how predictably-off-the-wall-phoney the town of L.A. was. I used to tell people that Los Angeles residents wouldn't survive one week on the streets of New York City!
Favorite line or dialogue:
Bo Catlett: "It says here you're getting Martin Weir for the part of Lovejoy?"
Chili Palmer: "That's right, we're getting Martin."
Bo: "Come on, how you gonna do that?"
Chili: "I'm gonna take a gun, I'm gonna put it to his head, and say, "sign the fucking papers, Martin, or you're dead." That's it."
Bo: "I wonder, would that work?"
Saturday, February 18, 2012
(May 1944, U.S.)
George Cukor's GASLIGHT is a mystery/thriller that I like to affectionately refer to as the "ultimate mind fuck" film. Confused? Then think about this...imagine a married couple in a London house that was once the scene of a brutal murder where the husband is systematically trying to get his wife to believe she's losing her mind. It's probably not that difficult to do, when you think about it. Take a woman who's already of a fragile mind and deceive her into thinking that she's forgetting things, losing things and frequently stealing things from you and you're bound to succeed in getting what you want. Imagine the husband Gregory is French with a frequent fierce temper (played by Charles Boyer) and the wife is tender and afraid Paula (played by Ingrid Bergman) who's easily susceptible to believing she IS going mad.
(By the way, am I starting to sound like a used car salesman with this??)
Okay, so without getting into too much more detail, I think you get the basic premise of GASLIGHT. Bear in mind, though, Gregory isn't doing all of this just for kicks. The motive of lost and valuable jewels in key here and they're hidden somewhere in the mysterious attic that looms over Paula's head in her bedroom. Every night she hears the footsteps, watches the gaslight dim in her room and truly believes she's losing her mind. She's convincing because as the viewer you're almost tempted to believe it's true, even though we know better as we watch her husband (a truly vicious prick, by the way!) slowly drag her down into the hole of her own madness. As cliche would have it, though, where there's a bad guy, there's also a good guy who wants to help the lady (played by Joseph Cotten) in distress and convince that she's not only sane, but that her husband is the one doing all this to her and is also responsible for the murder that took place in this house so long ago...all in the name of precious jewels. It's intruiging to watch the frail mannerism of gently Ingrid Bergman transform itself into something a lot more brutal and vengeful when she finally realizes that her mind and her soul have been fucked with by the man she's married to. Love sure sucks sometimes!
By the way, from the film's title, "gaslighting" has come to describe a pattern of psychological abuse in which the victim is gradually manipulated into doubting his or her own reality. This can involve physical tactics (such as moving or hiding objects) or emotional ones (such as denying one's own abusive behavior to a victim). The effect is to maintain the abuser's self-image as a sympathetic person, while simultaneously priming the disoriented victim to believe that he or she is to blame for (potentially escalating) mistreatment. You see how culturally significant film can be to our social culture? Well, it USED to be, anyway.
It's important to note that this (second) version of GASLIGHT (based on an original) play was released in 1944. I point this out because if you watch it today, you'd swear it closely resembled just about every television mystery film they've ever shown on the Lifetime network. After watching GASLIGHT again for this blog, I pointed this Lifetime fact out to my wife, to which she replied, "That's why I love that movie!" Yes, she loves Lifetime (nobody's perfect).
Favorite line or dialogue:
Paula Anton: "If I were not mad, I could have helped you. Whatever you had done, I could have pitied and protected you. But because I am mad, I hate you! Because I am mad, I have betrayed you! And because I'm mad, I'm rejoicing in my heart, without a shred of pity, without a shred of regret, watching you go with glory in my heart!"
Monday, February 13, 2012
(December 1982, U.S.)
Before we begin, if you're unfamiliar with the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and have NOT seen Richard Attenborough's triumphant epic biop on the great man who led the nonviolent resistance movement against British colonial rule in India during the first half of the 20th Century, then I suggest you look it all up. I'm here to discuss films and tell my own stories, not give history lessons.
GANDHI, in its own way, was a real turning point in my moviegoing experiences. For starters, it was the first epic motion picture (three hours plus) that I'd ever seen on the big screen (Zeigfeld Theatre, New York City). Second, it was perhaps also the first real serious adult drama of its kind that I'd ever seen. Up until then, then so-called "adult" films I'd see had consisted mostly of romantic comedies and the occassional thriller. GANDHI, for all practical purposes in the eyes and mind of a fifteen year old boy, was the first true grown up art film I was seeing on screen for the first time. And by the way, the moviegoing experience in itself is a story to be told. It wasn't just another weekend excursion to the movies. THIS, my friends, was a high school field trip. No joke. My tenth grade social studies teacher decided to take his classes into the city to see this monumental epic film on the big screen as a day of film leisure and practical historical education. At the age of fifteen, you're just happy to be getting out of school for the day and going to the movies. However, when the lights went down and the film started I suddenly found myself captivated by not only the life and struggle of Gandhi, but the incredible and astonishing performances displayed on the screen (Ben Kingsley be praised!). This was no longer the year of 1982 that I'd experienced with the sci-fi wonders of E.T. and STAR TREK II and the outrageous comedy of TOOTSIE. No, this was now a 1982 that was being capped off with a true piece of film making worthy of every Oscar award it was to inevitably receive.
There are two particular points about GANDHI I'd like to mention. The first is a particular sequence when Gandhi is setting off on his march to the Indian Ocean where he'll make salt. There is a particular moment where a young Indian boy is climbing a tree to get a glimpse of the great man. The camera takes a second to get a close up of his face. Why this boy? Why throughout the entire film does the director take the opportunity to show us HIS face? I can't help but get the feeling that it is THIS boy who will eventually grow up to be the man who will assassinate Gandhi in 1948. The film gives no indication of this whatsoever, but it's a theory of mine that I like to entertain. The second point is a particular characteristic trait of Gandhi's that the film touches upon here and there (but I can't honestly claim its accuracy without looking it up) and that's his laughter. When you follow Gandhi's life in this film, it's pretty clear that it's filled with struggle and sorrow. However, every once in a while, he has a irresistable tentancy to enjoy a good joke and express joyous laughter. It's a very minor point, indeed, but it does have the capacity to put a smile on your own face when you're watching it.
Speaking from a personal view of Gandhi's philosophies, I can only say that while they're truly admirable and did seem to win the freedom of India, they're not philosophies I personally agree with. Turning the other cheek and loving thy enemy don't exactly conform with my own beliefs and feelings. If I had to lend my agreements to a historical figure's beliefs and opinions, I would likely go with those of Malcom X, who considered it quite unintelligent to not strike back at those whom would seek harm against you. Gandhi said (paraphrasing), "An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind." Perhaps he was right. But we're all only human, and human nature (like it or not) has a very ugly side, and that ugly side often says hurt those who would hurt you first. Can't say I disagree with it. Can you?
GANDHI won the Oscar for best picture of 1982. There are still those out there you feel E.T. should have taken home than honor. To that I can only say that as incredible as E.T. was, how could it possibly win the big prize over a piece of serious adult film making depicting the life of one of the most important historical figures of the 20th Century. It can't and it didn't.
Favorite line or dialogue:
Brigadier: "You don't think we're just going to walk out of India!"
Gandhi: "Yes. In the end, you will walk out. Because one hundred thousand Englishmen simply cannot control three hundred fifty million Indians, if those Indians refuse to cooperate. And that is what we intend to acheive; peaceful, non-violent, non-cooperation...'till you yourself see the WISDON of leaving."
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
(June 1987, U.S.)
I can still remember my initial reaction when I first saw the movie poster for Stanley Kubrick's FULL METAL JACKET (I didn't even know the film had been made). My thought was, "Not again!" You see, Oliver Stone's PLATOON (1986) had just spent the better part of many months dominating the screen as the quintessential film about Vietnam and had even won the Oscar for best picture of the year. So why have another Vietnam film so soon? Yeah, but people, we're talking about Stanley FUCKING Kubrick here! Like there was any chance in Heaven or Hell I'd miss his next film!
From the moment the film begins, it's very clear that in its own particular style, FULL METAL JACKET is almost nothing like PLATOON. Sure, it's about Vietnam combat, but it's about so much more in that we go back to the very beginning of Marine recruit training when these men are fresh young meat eager to discover their inner killer instinct and be sent into combat, or "the shit", as they refer to it. From the instant that their Senior Drill Instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (played by actor and real life former Marine drill instructor R. Lee Ermey) starts talking (shouting, actually!), he's got you by the balls and you're hoping to Hell he won't let go! The dialogue is just that fucking good as only the great Stanley Kubrick can deliver it. Hartman is, without a doubt, the most hard-ass character I've ever seen on screen whose sole purpose in the Marine Corp is to create killers by employing harsh draconian tactics . Never is he more determined to do that than when training and abusing Private Leonard Lawrence (nicknamed "Gomer Pyle" and played by Vincent D'Onofrio), a bumbling overweight idiot who can't seem to stop making mistakes and getting the rest of his squad into trouble. The abuse takes its toll, though, when "Pyle" becomes very unstable, and frankly, quite frightening looking just before he kills Hartman and then takes his own life. Take a look...
The experience in Vietnam begins as more of a vacation for many of these men. Life is easy and even boring as their only real challenge for the moment is haggling price with the local whore ("Me so horny!). Not for long, though. Kubrick or no Kubrick, this is the part that becomes more like the traditional combat film, though much of the fighting is concentrated in the city ruins rather than the jungle. The men we watch are hard men who are determind to kill their enemies with the greatest of ease in order to stay alive. It would appear that their killer instincts are alive and well in Vietnam. Ironically, though, it's at a pivotal moment at the end of the film when the men must decide if they're going to heartlessly execute a female sniper that their personal conscience and morality begin to conflict with what they're been trained to do. Watch carefully, the look on Private "Joker's" (played by Matthew Modine) face as he stares down at the girl and struggles with what he knows he HAS to do and what he feels would be the more human thing to do. I suppose sexism has a funny way of playing with our minds in any fashion. In the end, though, the killer instinct wins.
You remember how I described the film grabbing you from the very beginning and never letting go? I don't think I could possibly be more accurate than that. Even at the end, when the fighting is over and the men are returning to their base, it's impossible not to feel intruiged and experience a strong sense of awe and wonder as they march together harmonizing the 1950s theme from "The Mickey Mouse Club". It's a stupid song, yes, but the spirit of the men and the joy they feel because they're still alive at the end of the day is impossible to ignore. Then, just when you think it's all over and you'll come down from this cinematic high, the end credits begin to the Rolling Stones "Paint it Black" and you're still sitting there, unable to leave the theater until the lights come on. THAT, people, is the power of the immortal Stanley Kubrick and FULL METAL JACKET!
Man, I really miss him!
Favorite line or dialogue:
Sergeant Hartman: "I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your senior drill instructor. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be "Sir". Do you maggots understand that?"
Recruits: "Sir! Yes Sir!"
Hartman: "Bullshit! I can't hear you! Sound off like you got a pair!"
Recruits: "Sir! Yes Sir!"
Hartman: "If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day you are pukes! You are the lowest form of life on Earth! You are not even human fucking beings! You are nothing but unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian shit! Because I am hard, you will not like me! But the more you hate me, the more you will learn. I am hard but I am fair. There is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless. And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps. Do you maggots understand that?"
Recruits: "Sir! Yes Sir!"
Hartman: "Bullshit! I can't hear you!"
Recruits: "Sir! Yes Sir!"
Hartman: "What's yer name, scumbag?"
Private Brown: "Sir! Private Brown, Sir!"
Hartman: Bullshit! From now on, yer "Private Snowball"! Do you like that name?"
Brown: "Sir! Yes Sir!"
Hartman: "Well, there's one thing that you won't like, Private Snowball - they don't serve fried chicken and watermelon on a daily basis in my mess hall!"
Private Joker: "That you, John Wayne? Is this me?"
Hartman: "Who said that? Who the fuck said that? Who's the slimy little communist shit twinkly-toes cocksucker down here who just signed his own death warrent? Nobody, huh? The fairy fucking godmother said it! I'm fucking standing! I will P.T. you all until you fucking die! I'll P.T. you until your assholes are sucking buttermilk! Was it YOU, you scroungy little fuck?"
Private Cowboy: "Sir! No Sir!"
Hartman: "You little piece-a-shit! You look like a fucking worm! I'll bet it was you!"
Cowboy: "Sir! No Sir!"
Joker: "Sir! I said it Sir!"
Hartman: "Well, no shit. What have we got here? A fucking comedian! Private Joker! I admire your honesty. Hell, I like you. You can come over to my house and fuck my sister!"
I probably could've kept going with this, you know. Every single word that comes out of R. Lee Ermey's mouth in this film is priceless!
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
(August 1993, U.S.)
From the moment THE FUGITIVE (based on the popular television series) begins, it grabs you. In less than fifteen minutes, we've witnessed the murder of Dr. Richard Kimble's (played by the great Harrison Ford) wife, his arrest, his conviction and his death sentence. Because of our knowledge of television history, we know Kimble is innocent, we know the one-armed man did it, we know Kimble will escape his prison sentence and we know he'll be chased all over the place as he desperately tries to clear his name and find his wife's true killer.
Now I never saw one episode of the original TV show, so I have no basis of comparison to judge this film, so in other words, my eyes are wide open and my mind is very fresh. Ford, as in most of his roles, fills the spot perfectly with a combination of determinated strength and a desperate vulnerability. Tommy Lee Jones as U.S. Marshall Deputy Samuel Gerard represents a clear definition of obssessed committment to catching his prey. As he clearly states, he doesn't care whether Kimble killed his wife or not. He's the cat and it's his job to catch the mouse under any and all circumstances. Sounds pretty solid on paper, but somewhere along the way Gerard is inevitably apt to become more of a human being on this case and realize that Kimble IS not only innocent, but that the one-armed man does exist and he'll pay for the crime (sooner or later). Even the end resolution is not in any way cheap or limited as the corruption and deception behind the pharmaceutical company determined to get their new drug passed and approved by the FDA is ultimately responsible for the death of Kimble's wife.
THE FUGITIVE garnered critical and commercial success and was even nominated for Best Picture of 1993, which is extremely rare for a movie associated with a television series (that never would have happened with CHARLIE'S ANGELS!). For myself, during a summer that was dominated by Steven Spielberg's dinosaurs, I can honestly say that not only was THE FUGITIVE the best film of that summer, but also one of the best action thrillers of the 1990s.
Favorite line or dialogue:
Samuel Gerard: "Newman, what are you doing?"
Newman: "I'm thinking."
Gerard: "Well, think me up a cup of coffee and a chocolate doughnut with some of those little sprinkles on top, while you're THINKING."
Friday, February 3, 2012
(December 2008, U.S.)
If you go back to the earlier part of my blog and look up ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN (1976), you'll find that I mention that President Richard Nixon's resignation in August 1974 was the first political event I recall being aware of at the age of seven (I TOLD you I had an unnaturally good memory!). Nearly three years after that, I can actually recall television commercials of British television broadcaster David Frost announcing his forthcoming interviews with Nixon. Naturally, at only the age of ten, I had no interest in such things, so I never actually watched the them. To be honest, I had just about completely disregarded that small piece of television and political history until I'd heard about Peter Morgan's 2006 play, which I did find a particularly intruiging concept for a stage production. Unfortunately, I never saw THAT either.
But when director Ron Howard's film version of FROST/NIXON hit movie screens two years later, I was practically the first one on line. This is a film where dialogue, its pace and its delivery are essential to how well the drama is pulled off. In its most raw form, the dialogue of the interviews themselves are nothing short of an intense verbal boxing match with each opponent swinging at each other at various speeds and strengths to see which one is going to go down first. And just like any traditional movie boxing match, you have the underdog of Frost (played wonderfully by Michael Sheen) putting his career, reputation and finances on the line to give the American viewing audience something they so desperately need to hear; a confession and an apology from Nixon (played effectively by Frank Langella) after having put America through more than two years of corruption chaos with the Watergate scandal. In the beginning, like the lovable movie underdog, Frost is up against the ropes, taking hard punches from Nixon and it appears that he'll go down for the count. But just a moment...stop the presses! Suddenly Frost comes out swinging in the last round armed with information and secrets that will ultimately reduce Nixon to a pitiful child, filled with regret and sorrow...and the best part is that it's not fiction. Rent the original Frost/Nixon interviews of 1977 and you'll see that nearly all of the dialogue, mannerisms and reactions are virtually identical to what was portrayed on screen. You see, sometimes art can be wonderfully faithful to life.
Sheen and Langella are perfect in their roles, as they succeed in truly embodying them rather than just traditional Hollywood mimicry (they were the stars of the original play, too). I should also point out at the end of this film, there's an interesting point made about Richard Nixon's only real lasting legacy is the suffix "gate" being added to any political scandal since then. Anyone remember "Iran-gate" of 1987?
Favorite line or dialogue:
Richard Nixon: "Look, when you're in office you gotta do a lot of things sometimes that are not always in the strictest sense of the law, legal, but you do them because they're in the greater interest of the nation."
David Frost: "Alright wait, just so I understand correctly, are you really saying that in certain situations the President can decide whether it's in the best interest of the nation and then do something illegal...?"
Nixon: "I'm saying that when the President does it, that means it's NOT illegal!"
Frost: "I'm sorry?"