Re-watching Fear

Fear is a film from 1996 with a two young actors getting their start in the movie business. I think both of them have done pretty well since this film. Mark Wahlberg was more well-known for being a rapper at this time then an actor. This was his first starring role after having a few supporting roles. Reese Witherspoon had a few starring roles under her belt by this time, but most where in low-budget films. This was these two stars introduction to most film goers.

Our two stars were put in pretty good hands with James Foley directing, coming off directing an all time classic Glengarry Glen Ross. Foley has had a pretty good career in the thriller and neo-noir genre. With some classics under his belt and a few misses this one falls somewhere in-between. We also have veterans William Petersen and Amy Brenneman playing Witherspoon’s parents. Alyssa Milano who had already been in the spotlight quite a bit by this time in her career stars as Witherspoon’s best friend.

Fear starts out with our two best friends accompanied by their male friend to a coffee shop in the wrong part of town. This is where Wahlberg catches her eye. We soon realize that Witherspoon lives in an overprotective house while her best friend runs free. Wanting a taste of her friend’s freedom, she soon joins her to go to a party. Here she meets and talks to Wahlberg and after a fight breaks out and the police come in, Wahlberg is her knight in shining armor as he leads her out of the mayhem to safety. A young romance starts until Witherspoon sees a side of Wahlberg that scares her. He is violent and bets up her male friend out of jealousy. This starts a chain of events which pits Witherspoon’s father, played by Petersen and Wahlberg against each other for the love of Witherspoon.

I really liked this film when I watched it back in the 1990’s and after re-watching it I still do. After revisiting it, I can see glimmers of greatness to come. I thought Wahlberg was great as the psycho boyfriend and have always enjoyed his work. Witherspoon  shows her charm and you easily side with her in this film. I also thought Milano was great as wild and free friend that makes some bad choices. Petersen is always good in these thrillers as the average joe that rises to the occasion.

This film is worth watching for fans of Witherspoon, Milano and Wahlberg. It is also a must see for fans of Foley. If you are looking for a modern noir thriller it is worth a look.

Review: Inherent Vice

I’ve been waiting to watch this for months! I take that back, years! This first came on my radar when I heard Robert Downey Jr. was attached to play the lead role. I still would love to see that by the way. I went right out and bought the book by Thomas Pynchon, but I never finished it. I’ve tried to read three of his books now and have only completed one. He is a brilliant author, I just can never commit to the book long enough to get through them. I may go back and give this book another try. Paul Thomas Anderson directed and wrote this for the screen. I really like Anderson’s work and really want to re-watch his last neo noir, Hard Eight.

So we don’t get Robert Downey Jr. as our main character,”Doc,” we get Joaquin Phoenix.  Not a bad second choice, if you ask me. Supposedly Anderson thought Downey Jr. was a little to old for the character. Doc is visited by his ex-girlfriend who is our femme fatale for this tale and is played by Katherine Waterston. She has a new boyfriend who happens to be a real estate mogul played by Eric Roberts, worth a lot of money. Robert’s wife and current boyfriend have a plot to get rid of him and want our femme fatale to help. This leads us on multiple cases for Doc that all seem to be intertwined. Doc has a love hate relationship with his police connection, “Bigfoot” played by Josh Brolin. Doc is also dating assistant D.A. Reese Witherspoon while broken up with his femme fatale. He takes on a case for Jena Malone who is looking for her husband Owen Wilson. We have great actors cast in minor roles such as Michael Kenneth Williams, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short and Maya Rudolph as Doc’s secretary. We also get an interesting scene with porn star Belladonna showing her acting chops and former MMA fighter Keith Jardine playing a Neo-Nazi bodyguard. There are to many great little appearances to list them all, but you get the idea.

This movie is long at almost two and a half hours, but it is worth it! We have no idea where it is going and how are hero will ever get out of this mess. This film is highly praised by critics, but is not well liked by the general public. I loved it! This is not a film you can be distracted while watching, because every little conversation is important to the story. I think people who really like great cinema will love this and those that don’t, won’t like it. I plan to buy this on Blu-Ray as it is one of those films where you will learn new things on each viewing. I highly recommend this to everybody. Maybe it is just me, but after watching this I think I will go get some pizza now.

Favorite Tidbit: According to Josh Brolin, Thomas Pynchon, who keeps a pretty low profile, appears somewhere in this film. There are a couple of theories on where in the film he appears, but nothing is verified yet.