by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Tom Cruise has become something of a joke over the past few years, attributable to his middling theatrical output — I'm pretty sure last year's Knight and Day has already been justly forgotten. And his well-noted Scientology-induced media breakdowns and questionable marriage to Katie Holmes, couch-jumping excitement and all, haven't helped matters in the slightest. But, there was a time when he was The Man. Any day of the week you can pop in Top Gun, The Color of Money and the dramedy Rain Man, which I'd go as far as to say is his best, most definitive work, and be entertained and enthralled. He plays Charlie Babbit, a smug yuppie (and proto-Jerry Maguire, now that I think about it) who finds out that he has an autistic older brother named Raymond (Dustin Hoffman, who won a well-deserved Oscar for his performance). They travel cross-country, with the typically unresponsive Raymond on the receiving end of Charlie's psychosis that is equal parts comedic, tear-jerking and uplifting. Plus, it gave me the idea to find a savant to take to Vegas. I wish I had thought of it earlier!
The old-fashioned romance Moonstruck won numerous Academy Awards in 1987. That's the highest praise that a movie could possibly receive, so, really, whatever one says today will never make a difference in its legacy. That being said, Moonstruck is one of those wistful, sweet and comedic movies that older people yearning for a simpler time will love, but, for people under, say, 40, they will be bored out of their minds and continually playing Angry Birds while catching snippets of dialogue here and there, possibly while viewing with an elderly relative who is desperately in need of attention. Multi-talented Cher is a superstitious Brooklyn widow who is surrounded by the greatest Italian stereotypes this side of a Sopranos episode. She's engaged to Danny Aiello (playing basically the same character he did in Do the Right Thing) but is falling for his brother, a maimed Nicolas Cage who is hell-bent on romantic revenge. Hip young things, like you, have no business watching this, but it'll make a great gift for Grandma. Maybe even incentive enough to buy her a Blu-Ray. She's not gonna be around forever, so this might be your last chance to make sure you're kept in the will.
If I ever lose someone close to me, like a wife or child, I am going to go on a total sexual bender, doing all the things that I've wanted to do but were afraid to admit, dare I be judged by society, and, in the end, chalk it all up to the immense grief going through my system. Hey, if it worked for Marlon Brando in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1972 masterpiece of erotica, Last Tango in Paris, maybe it'll work for me? In what's widely regarded as one of the most controversial and scandalous — and greatest, natch — films of all time, Brando is an American living in Paris, suffering a breakdown due to his wife's recent suicide. He finds balm in Gilead by having nameless, tortured sex with a fresh-faced, nubile Parisian (Maria Schneider) wherein, in the most notorious scene, he forces her to denounce the Catholic Church while having anal sex. Of course this is all going to end tragically, and those looking for quick get-off material will be sorely left unaroused, instead facing conflicted feelings of loneliness and abandonment.