My weekly movie reviews. You can also read these on letterboxd.
This week focuses on a random assortment of movies expiring from Tubi at the end of the month.
Tin Cup (1996)
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
This is the most fun I’ve had watching a movie in weeks. I’d only seen pieces of this over the years in hotel rooms and about to expire from Tubi, it was time to give it my full attention. Its entertainment value is obvious; what isn’t is a deceptively simple but great performance from Kevin Costner.
As the man-child golf pro with a good sense of humor but a low IQ and poor judgement, Costner plays half-against type here. He’s the romantic lead but an unusual one and he pulls it off from beginning to end. Roy is one of Costner’s best performances. Rene Russo does her job but ultimately this film is a boy’s club. By Kevin’s side is a charming Cheech Marin. The two have such great chemistry, it’s a shame they haven’t made another movie together. As the antagonist, Don Johnson is a perfect foil for Kevin’s shaggy dog. It’s so important to cast good guy/bad guy (even in a lightweight sports movie) who can be believed as sexual competitors. Unlike most of the villains cast in movies today, Ron Shelton and co. choose the right rival in Johnson to keep the conflict interesting.
Speaking of Shelton, he needs to get more attention for dedicating his career to making mostly sports movies.
Watched on Tubi
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
Peter Yates is a peculiar director, one of those who made some brilliant films (Breaking Away) but whose career just sort of bounced around in an inconsistent way. Still, I’m slowly watching his filmography, searching for hidden gems.
Sadly, Suspect isn’t one of them. Yates takes a suspense story that seems a perfect fit for a Hitchcockian treatment, like the one he gave The House on Carroll Street, and instead treats it like a political drama. The film’s pace is quite slow, plodding along through the motions of the case and trial with many subplots that could have been told in a shorter time or cut altogether. Perhaps Yates was trying to switch things up and make a different kind of thriller but the results drag and the script isn’t good enough to support any kind of emotional weight. Ironically, he does hit the Hitchcock button in the final fifteen minutes, suddenly moving into classic thriller territory for a grand finale that doesn’t come off because of everything else that came before. This thing needed to be tightened up so that the narrative holes didn’t show as much.
I will say that the movie is worth watching just for John Mahoney’s performance. The actor who will unfortunately be most remembered as Frasier’s dad does some very solid work here as the judge.
Watched on Tubi
The Third Miracle (1999)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Not many films take a serious look at religion and even fewer do so successfully. Surrounded by a bunch of Hollywood films coming out in the late 90s about anti-christ and apocalypse (End of Days, Stigmata, etc.), there came a quiet film that did just that.
Directed by Polish filmmaker Agnieska Holland but led by Hollywood actors Ed Harris and the late Anne Heche, The Third Miracle feels like an odd blend of foreign and American industry film practices. It is a nuanced story about faith and the complicated, political process of making someone a saint in the Catholic Church. At the same time, it plays with dramatic conventions like a Hollywood melodrama. The mixture isn’t unsuccessful, providing the kind of earnest drama that doesn’t get made these days. Ed Harris plays his priest with sincerity and doesn’t try to over do it. That approach is why he’s always been one of my favorite actors and one of American cinema’s least appreciated. Heche is a nice contrast to the film and it’s one of the few times I’ve seen the actress cast correctly (Birth comes to mind too).
The Third Miracle presents questions about the church and god but thankfully doesn’t provide definitive answers. It’s refreshing to see a movie attempt to tackle such a big subject and do so in a smart way.
Watched on Tubi.