All right, first things first. In last week’s exciting issue of Graham’s Grumbles, I may have been a little hasty. In my review/thoughts on Signal To Noise by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, I said something to the effect that I didn’t enjoy it and that I wouldn’t read it again. Well, I did read it again. I felt that I had to refresh myself on it for my exam. Well, it turned out that I enjoyed it a lot more the second time around. Having gone through the lecture, and reading in an environment other than a speeding bus certainly helped. Skipping the intro material and the chapter breaks also did wonders. It’s a profound, sad, and beautiful story. If you do plan on reading it, though, I recommend giving it time to digest before you take to your Internet Blog and shit on it.
Anyhoo, on that emotionally complex note, I would like to turn my attention to the passing of Mr. Tony Scott. I was stunned when I read that he had died, and then doubly stunned when I read that it was a suicide. Whenever I saw interviews with him, or read a profile about him, he always seemed like such an old fashioned tough guy. The sort of guy who would see John Wayne as a hero. A real stiff upper lip sort. It goes to show, you never know what’s going on in someone’s head.
We may never know why he did what he did, but I think it’s only fair to discuss his accomplishments in his field of choice. I’ve read that he directed hundreds of commercials, but in this case I’d like to look at the films he directed that I’ve seen. Sadly, he didn’t direct as many as I had expected. Sixteen, by my count. Even more surprising, I’ve only seen four of them! But I have some pretty distinct memories of each of them.
The Hunger – I’m not including this in my count of his movies that I’ve seen because I’m pretty sure I watched most of it on fast forward. It stars David Bowie as a vampire, and it was Scott’s first big American production. My parents had it on VHS and in a hormonal teenage daze I discovered it and its R rating. I zipped through it looking for any signs of nudity from the female stars, Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve. I vaguely recall being disappointed…
Enemy Of The State – I watched this soon after seeing Mallrats and Chasing Amy when I was desperate to get my hands on anything Jason Lee related. I was disappointed that he was only in it for a few minutes before getting run over by a fire truck. The rest of the movie was pretty entertaining as I recall. In one of the obituaries for Scott that I read, they described it as a spiritual sequel to Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. I think if I were to see it again with that in mind I’d see it in a whole new light. I’ll let you know if I do.
True Romance – My friends and I were on a Tarantino kick, but this was in the dark period between Jackie Brown and Kill Bill. The local comic book store guy (Cyber City Comix 1025A Steeles Ave. W., Toronto) recommended we check this movie out as it was written by QT. We did, and it rocked. Scott had a knack for pulling together great casts, and this has to rank as one of the all time best. Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson, James Gandolfini, etc. It’s an incredibly charming film, and holds a special place in my heart as the main character of this action flick is a comic book nerd.
Spy Game – I saw this at a cheap second run theatre. We went after school during a phase where we’d go see something there every week. It’s definitely the first Robert Redford movie I saw… That’s about all I can think to say about this one. It was probably the best movie we saw in that stretch considering the other ones I remember seeing are Shallow Hal, The Transporter, Not Another Teen Movie and Charlie’s Angels.
Unstoppable – Scott’s last film. We saw this because of the ridiculous “Speed on a train,” plot, and it ended up being as fun as it looked. After making a few more experimental movies like Domino and Deja Vu, this was more of a return to his straight up action roots. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine do a fine job, but Scott’s thrill-a-minute style was the real star.
I’ve made it a goal to watch more Scott films in the near future, and have a stiff drink in memoriam before each one. I’m most interested in Crimson Tide (Tarantino supposedly did a polish of the script), The Last Boy Scout (Shane Black ((look him up)) wrote it), and Domino (for that experimental phase style I mentioned above). Anything else you would recommend?
Graham Becksted sends his condolences out to Mr. Scott’s friends and family. He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 69th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.