FIVE EASY PIECES (Bob Rafelson)
“I want you to hold it between your knees”
Many may know that line, but there’s also a breakout performance by Jack Nicholson on both sides of that classic scene. FIVE EASY PIECES is the kind of film that is now called an Indie; character-driven and about real things. From here on out, it was pretty much non-stop for Jack.
THE MUSIC LOVERS (Ken Russell)
Ken Russell’s exuberant bio-pic of Tchaikovsky may not be for purists, focusing as it does on Tchaikovsky’s troubled sexuality. But this is one case where Russell’s flamboyant style and penchant for excess serves his subject well. Even in occasional exaggeration, it is the essential truth that Russell seeks, and in THE MUSIC LOVERS is what is so often revealed. THE MUSIC LOVERS is a tribute and a celebration, even while Russell’s unflinching camera seems a tool for a scathing critique.
THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (Billy Wilder)
Billy Wilder made other films after this one, but for me this will always be thought of as his exit piece. Made in the twilight of his great career, the film was a long-time pet project, intended to be longer and more ambitious. Not only is it simply a good, fun movie, it is also a surprisingly tender meditation on love and friendship. Miklos Rosza, composer of Wilder’s earlier classics reunites with a beautiful score derived from one of his earlier musical concertos.
WHERE’S POPPA? (Carl Reiner)
First it was his buddy Mel Brooks who went into directing with THE PRODUCERS. Not to be outdone, Carl Reiner followed with this darkly hilarious comic gem featuring the unforgettable Ruth Gordon. Original, off-center and very Carl Reiner.