Thursday, April 21, 2011

MIAMI BLUES & THE GETAWAY


Over the last few days I had the chance to rewatch these two flicks, MIAMI BLUES and the Alec Baldwin/Kim Bassinger remake of THE GETAWAY.

They hold up each in their way. MIAMI BLUES is the classic, still so unique a trip the ride is worth it. And Baldwin [full disclosure, he's an old friend] along with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Fred Ward are all so terrific it's like an acting class for future movie stars. But it's Alec's show all the way. He's mesmerizing, and his performance is so well calibrated every nuance registers as authentically original, while evoking shades of film noir past in this sunny Miami setting.

It was one of two performances as hookers (the other was LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN) by Jennifer Jason Leigh at that time (c. 1990) that were each impeccably nuanced as well, and each in totally different ways. The same can be said for Baldwin in MIAMI BLUES and THE GETAWAY. In both he plays ex-cons who can be brutal, but each as different as Jennifer Jason Leigh's prostitutes.

As a once film actor I can say that despite some film noir cliches in both these films and some obviousness that can't seem to be avoided (especially in THE GETAWAY, like Tilly's and Madsen's over-the-top yet still watchable badseed antics and Madsen's gratuitous evilness) Baldwin's performances alone make each worthwhile checking out again.

As do the other actors in these films, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Fred Ward in MIAMI BLUES like I said, and Bassinger, Michael Madsen, Jennifer Tilly, Richard Farnsworth, and one of my favorite underrated actors David Morse in a creepy role in THE GETAWAY. James Woods is in it too, but this time he's doing the totally expected without his usual more original edge, and Philip Seymour Hoffman has a small role he kicks ass in as usual (billed back then as just Philip Hoffman) [James Stephens also is brilliant as Tilly's character's poor husband as is Burton Gilliam as "Gullie"].

I've been under the weather again, so to catch a couple of old escapist flicks [even though I don't normally like such explicit violence] fit the doctor's orders, this doctor.

2 comments:

Fred said...

Funny you should mention "The Getaway". Next week is the 18th Anniversary of Beth and I meeting in Arizona. I will always remember our phone conversation with you regarding her and I.
Hope you feel better Michael. Freddy Liberman

Lally said...

Thanks Freddy, I remember it well, and I'll keep working on feeling better (especially since I have a reading tonight in the city!).