Posts Tagged ‘River Phoenix’

My Own Private Idaho – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Oktober 13th, 2010


Young male gay prostitutes River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves go on a road trip in this meandering early film by acclaimed director Gus van Sant spanning from Seattle to Portland, Idaho and Rome. Along the way, they learn a lot about themselves and about life, as well as that in the end, you can’t change who you are and that your path is preordained. Or something along those lines. But the plot is not really the focus here, as van Sant experiments with the art form film, often with little success, but with a few truly memorable ideas. Phoenix delivers the best performance in his short career, anchoring a film that otherwise would have been quickly forgotten.

Random Observations:

My Own Private Idaho at the IMDb

Part of the story was inspired by William Shakespeare’s plays Henry IV and Henry V. When the characters go so far as to quote the original dialogue, it becomes a tad annoying.

Also from the experimental department: having the characters appear as cover pictures for gay sex magazines and then let them talk about that for a while. Or telling stories directly to the camera. Or sex scenes consisting of poses for still photograph. Most of these disrupt the flow of the movie even more than the Shakespearean dialogue.

In a world of gay prostitutes and their clients, of course the only truly perverted person is German. Or maybe he isn’t all that perverted and just very, very odd. Also another German trademark.

Sneakers – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, September 17th, 2010


Combining genres is tough. Combining thriller and comedy is nigh-impossible. Sneakers still attempts it – with middling success. It’s an absurd story of professional thieves that test out security systems so that real thieves don’t break in who stumble over what may be the biggest invention in human history. The thrilling moments are rare and so are the funny ones, mostly due to a charismatic Robert Redford in the lead role, while the impressive supporting cast (Ben Kingsley, Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix, David Strathairn) is mostly reduced to being annoying. Nevertheless, the film manages to be solid entertainment – and often, that is quite enough to be remembered two decades later.

Random Observations:

Sneakers at the IMDb

The film features a pre-elder-statesman-aged David Strathairn, which just goes to prove that some actors are born to play one part, even if they have to wait fifty years to fit the role.

Nice bit of Fabricated Truth trivia: this is the first “proper” entry I write since my return. And even though I’ve been back for more than a week, this is the first new film I’ve seen. (I watched Casablanca again a couple of days ago, because it’s just that awesome.)

Stand by Me – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, September 23rd, 2009


In the summer of 1959, four twelve-year-olds hear about the whereabouts of the body of a boy hit by a train. Deciding that they want to be the heroes who discover the body, they set out to bring the body back. Based on a Stephen King novella, the film is a nearly perfect character study of four boys on the brink of junior high and a changing point in their life. The drama is well played out and never overwritten, except possibly for the ending. But, as we learn on the way, even if the ending is bad, the story can still be good. And this story is worth seeing.

Random Observations:

Stand by Me at the IMDb

Directed by Rob Reiner, whose track record for the 1980s is beyond impressive and makes me wonder what could have been, had he kept making good films.

It’s interesting to see that it’s easy to recognize the adult actors Wil Wheaton and Corey Feldman as kids here, while River Phoenix looks completely different even from Running on Empty, which was made only two years later.

John Cusack has a small, but crucial role.

The film is also, naturally, a nice treatise on friendship.