Tag Archives: John Matuszak

The Goonies (1985, Richard Donner)

There’s a lack of consistent mood to The Goonies. The film has its phases and the mood and tone change from phase to phase, but Chris Columbus’s script changes characterizations between these phases as well, which is rather disconcerting. For example, while the film introduces the villains–Anne Ramsey as the mother, Robert Davi and Joe Pantoliano as her sons–with some humor, but by the end they’re entirely slapstick.

And Donner can’t really direct the slapstick. There’s a noticeable lag, which editor Michael Kahn (who otherwise does a phenomenal job) can’t do anything with. But Donner does well with the actors. Even the weak performances, like Jeff Cohen (whose annoying overweight kid isn’t just annoying, he’s also the butt of all the script’s jokes), are generally all right thanks to Donner’s direction.

There are some stronger performances–Martha Plimpton and Corey Feldman are both good. Josh Brolin and Kerri Green have their moments too. Jonathan Ke Quan simultaneously has a lot to do, physically, but not much to do acting-wise, which is good… he doesn’t do well in his big scene. As the de facto lead, Sean Astin is more appealing than good, but he does have some fine moments.

Excellent music from Dave Grusin and photography from Nick McLean help through the rougher spots–like the entire third act. Oddly, J. Michael Riva’s great production design shines brightest during that third act.

It’s saccharine and superficial, but Donner’s direction is quite good. It’s a passable kiddie adventure.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Directed by Richard Donner; screenplay by Chris Columbus, based on a story by Steven Spielberg; director of photography, Nick McLean; edited by Michael Kahn; music by Dave Grusin; production designer, J. Michael Riva; produced by Donner and Harvey Bernhard; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Sean Astin (Mikey), Josh Brolin (Brand), Jeff Cohen (Chunk), Corey Feldman (Mouth), Kerri Green (Andy), Martha Plimpton (Stef), Jonathan Ke Quan (Data), John Matuszak (Sloth), Robert Davi (Jake), Joe Pantoliano (Francis), Anne Ramsey (Mama Fratelli), Lupe Ontiveros (Rosalita) and Mary Ellen Trainor (Mrs. Walsh).


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One Crazy Summer (1986, Savage Steve Holland)

When Demi Moore gives a film’s best performance, it’s obviously not a good film.

One Crazy Summer is apparently Holland’s attempt at doing a zany teen vacation picture. It’s the kind of movie “USA Up All Night” wouldn’t have bothered playing because it’s too boring. But the real problem isn’t the lack of cheap explotation, it’s Holland’s inability to direct actors.

Or maybe to cast them. It’s hard to say.

Holland opens the film with pseudo-protagonist John Cusack. He’s apparently floundering post-high school because he isn’t a basketball superstar. But Holland never sets up why anyone would think Cusack would be good at basketball. It’s like a repeated punchline without a joke.

But Summer quickly becomes about everyone but Cusack (who romances Moore, eventually, because she’s the only principal female character and all the other guys are meant to be losers). Holland fills it with absurd characters and gives them absurd dialogue, but then either casts bad actors or doesn’t direct them.

Holland is really inept. Bobcat Goldthwait, doing his schtick, isn’t as bad as Joel Murray as Cusack’s sidekick. Murray’s presence makes it somewhat unbelievable One Crazy Summer got a theatrical release, much less Cusack and Moore to sign on. Murray can’t even raise an eyebrow believably.

Also terrible are Bruce Wagner, Matt Mulhern, Joe Flaherty and Mark Metcalf. Some of the problem is probably Holland’s bad script and direction, but still….

Curtis Armstrong is actually pretty good.

The film’s complete indifference to sincerity hurts it immeasurably.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Written and directed by Savage Steve Holland; director of photography, Isidore Mankofsky; edited by Alan Balsam; music by Cory Lerios; production designer, Herman F. Zimmerman; produced by Michael Jaffe; released by Warner Bros.

Starring John Cusack (Hoops McCann), Demi Moore (Cassandra Eldridge), Curtis Armstrong (Ack Ack Raymond), Bobcat Goldthwait (Egg Stork), Joel Murray (George Calamari), William Hickey (Old Man Beckerstead), Joe Flaherty (General Raymond), Mark Metcalf (Aquilla Beckerstead), John Matuszak (Stan), Kimberly Foster (Cookie Campbell), Matt Mulhern (Teddy Beckerstead), Rich Little (Radio contest DJ), Tom Villard (Clay Stork), Jeremy Piven (Ty), Rich Hall (Wilbur, Gas station attendant), Taylor Negron (Taylor, Gas station attendant), Billie Bird (Grandma Calamari) and Bruce Wagner (Uncle Frank).


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