Saturday, January 27, 2007

DON'T EVER ARGUE WITH THE BIG DOG, BECAUSE THE BIG DOG IS ALWAYS RIGHT: Watching big chunks of The Fugitive and Say Anything on cable today made me realize that these two very different films have two things in common:
  • Both feature something that's fairly unique in films -- antagonists who aren't villains. Both The Fugitive's Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) and Say Anything's James Court (John Mahoney) exist to thwart the protagonist's ambition, but neither is intending to do evil to them. They believe their heart's in the right place, and (with the obvious exception of Court's business improprieties) are acting in a way that, objectively, seems sensible as a method of protecting the country/the daughter. And both performances are pretty awesome. (Add as a third in this category, if you want, Tom Hanks' role in Catch Me If You Can, which I mention because it's on ABC as I type this.)
  • Both are intensely Chicago movies. I don't need to make the case for The Fugitive on that count, but Say Anything is full of Chicago actors -- John Cusack, obvs, from Evanston, and his Evanston buddy Jeremy Piven as one of the boys outside the Gas and Sip. John Mahoney's a Steppenwolf Theater Company member, and Lili Taylor's a Glencoe native who went to New Trier High School. It's uncanny.
This thread is open for all discussions of films you end up watching whenever they show up on cable.

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