“Forgotten Hollywood”- 21st Century 50 Fav Films (#30, #29)…

Posted on July 15, 2021 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`Movies with questionable points of view seem to find their own legion of fans. As I continue the countdown of my fifty favorite flicks of the twenty-first century, let me offer two productions that curtail political correctness in favor of what are charitably called arresting approaches to storytelling. But the scripts are well-defined in their purpose and they should be in the conversation.



“`A private dick with Tourette’s syndrome is out to solve the murder of his mentor. Edward Norton heads a formidable cast and portrays the gumshoe with the disease.  This neo-noir crime film was written, produced, and directed by Norton.  It was a passion project for the actor after reading Jonathan Lethem’s novel of the same name in 1999, but the production took nearly twenty years to get made. Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, Bruce Willis, and Bobby Cannavale offer able support.

“`Despite an outstanding script, the film was only nominated by the Golden Globes (for Best Original Score). Like Cold War and Whiplash, improvisational themes are used to offer the colorful backdrop. Set in mid-twentieth century, New York, Norton enlisted musician Wynton Marsalis to re-create the cool-jazz sound reminiscent of Miles Davis in the mid-1950s. Daniel Pemberton complimented the effort with a stunning score.

“`Tourette’s syndrome is a neurodevelopmental condition that develops in early adolescence. Symptoms remain at the more severe end of the spectrum of tic disorders; sudden repetitive nonrhythmic movements that involve discrete muscle groups. It is characterized by blinking, coughing, throat clearing, sniffing and defined facial expressions. The entertainment industry has been criticized for depicting those with Tourette as social misfits, and whose only tic is to randomly shout obscenities.

“`In my estimation,  Norton straddles the fence of providing an accurate characterization of a person with the disorder. As a method actor, his attention to detail is pristine and he succeeds in the effort.


~ #29 – CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR (2007)

“`Male chauvinism is at the heart of this  Mike Nichols comedy-drama based on the story of United States Congressman Charlie Wilson and CIA operative Gust Avrakotos, whose efforts led to Operation Cyclone,  a covert program to organize and support the Mujahideen during the Soviet–Afghan War. The witty banter is predictably written by Aaron Sorkin.

“`On my list of favs, this is the second of three appearances for Tom Hanks (previously The Post); the first of two appearances by Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams; plus, Julia Roberts and Ned Beatty shine is this offering. Hoffman earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his effort.

“`Some Reagan-era officials criticized elements of this film. In February 2008, it was revealed that the film would not play in Russian theaters (What a surprise!). George Crile III, author of the book on which the production is based, wrote that the Mujahideen’s victory in Afghanistan ultimately delivered the power vacuum for Osama bin Laden. The original ending included the 9/11 attacks, an unintended tragic result most likely caused by Washington politicians leaving the country in ruins. Tom Hanks balked at the notion of the film becoming his generation’s Dr. Strangelove or Fail Safe with such a tragic ending. Instead, the rewrites included Avrakotos offering a cataclysmic warning with regards to American disengagement from Afghanistan and Charlie Wilson winning a clandestine award from the CIA.

“`And so it goes…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

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