My weekly movie reviews. You can also read these on letterboxd.

This week focuses on three films I hadn’t seen starring Jeff Bridges.



Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I’ve skipped over this one for years but when Jeff Bridges recently cited it as one of his three favorite films from his career, I had to give it a shot.

His reasons are not immediately clear. THE AMATEURS begins as an early 2000s forgettable adult comedy about a bunch of guys deciding to make a porn film. But slowly, maybe brilliantly, the movie pulled me in. The characters, played by a lineup of incredible actors from Pantoliano to Ted Danson to William Fichtner, started to really grow on me as the story moved along and by the mid-point I felt myself really caring for these individuals. The humor, mostly subtle, played better in the second half as the humans took form. Bridges has one scene with actor Isaiah Washington that I’ll never forget and will most likely quote from now on.

Ultimately, it’s a low key film about being creative and chasing an idea. It works.

Watched on Tubi.


NADINE (1987)

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Robert Benton… talk about a director who doesn’t get mentioned enough these days. From PLACES IN THE HEART to NOBODY’S FOOL, he created some of the best American films of the 80s and 90s. This is not one of his masterpieces but it has a lot of charm.

NADINE isn’t a laugh out loud comedy. It’s a “smile a lot comedy”, a term I use for a more subtle take on humor that plays less with gags and more with human behavior. The film rests completely on the shoulders of Bridges and Basinger who, after a bit of stumbling, manage to create realistically quirky and lovable characters. It’s their relationship and how Benton frames the story around it which makes NADINE memorable. That and how simple the narrative is. Benton doesn’t get caught up in a bunch of silly plot mechanics (a note I could take for my own work); he crafts a very basic crime tale that could be explained in 1-2 sentences and focuses entirely on character.

I also love that the action sequences, especially the chase through the house, play out how they actually might in real life. The bad guys get tired. The good guy and girl are awkward in their movements. And nothing is too far fetched. In a world where every fight/chase scene these days is completely blown out of proportion, it was refreshing to watch some down-to-earth action.

Watched on Tubi.



Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Honestly, I don’t get why Bob Rafelson is considered a great filmmaker. I was underwhelmed by FIVE EASY PIECES, which I’m probably due to re-evaluate. KING OF MARVIN GARDENS was flawed, interesting film. His POSTMAN remake is clumsy at best and his best work I’ve seen to date is the thriller BLACK WIDOW which no one talks about.

STAY HUNGRY does not increase my estimation of the late director’s work. It’s a messy, aimless collection of scenes. I found most of them to be loud and obnoxious. It wastes the talents of Jeff Bridges, who tries an accent that doesn’t work, and Sally Field, whose character is severely underwritten. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the only actor who doesn’t disappoint, giving exactly what we’d expect . But I can’t blame the cast for this chaotic coming of age story.

Rafelson’s tone is all over the place, from broad comedy to a disturbing climactic fight sequence (the best scene in the film but it belongs in a completely different film). It’s also another example of New Yorkers and Californians making a movie about the South when they don’t know anything about it. It’s just one big jumbled caricature of life.

Watched on Tubi