Tag: Dustin Hoffman

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #17. The Graduate (1967)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
 Graduate 1

“Oh no, Mrs. Robinson. I think, I think you’re the most attractive of all my parents’ friends. I mean that.”

Before starting Bored and Dangerous, I knew the name Mike Nichols and knew that he was seen as one of America’s great, modern directors.  I’d even seen a few of his movies, even if I didn’t know they were his movies.  But with this blog, I end up being a lot more aware of who made what, which has made me a lot more aware of Mike Nichols and why he’s seen as one of America’s great, modern directors.  Earlier in this AFI Top 100 countdown, I was blown away by the fact that Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf was his first movie.  What’s even more impressive than an amazing debut?  Backing it up with a sophomore effort that’s even better, proving that first effort was no beginner’s luck.  And that’s exactly what Mike Nichols did with The Graduate.


Coming home from his college graduation, Ben (Dustin Hoffman) is bored and aimless.  His upper class parents (played by William Daniels and Elizabeth Wilson) indulge his lethargy, letting him laze by the pool, waiting for him to apply for grad school.  Throwing a party to celebrate his graduation and show off their award winning son, Ben’s parents surround him with their own friends, not his.  Including Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #43. Midnight Cowboy (1969)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
 Midnight Cowboy

“I’m brand, spankin’ new in this here town and I was hopin’ to get a look at the Statue of Liberty.”

When it comes to choosing the winners of the big Oscars, the Academy is accused of being pretty conservative, old fashioned and predictable.  I like The King’s Speech, but it’s generally regarded as a vanilla, by the numbers prestige piece, that in no way deserved to beat The Social Network.  And I for one never miss an opportunity point out that the Academy chose the melodramatic syrup of Ordinary People over the amazing Raging Bull.  The latter might have won the battle of enduring iconography while no one really seems to remember the former, but that doesn’t put a trophy for Raging Bull on Martin Scorsese’s mantel, does it?


I bring up this Academy stodginess, because I just realised that in 1969, they were cool enough to give a couple of the biggest awards to a dark as shit, X-rated movie about a male hustler trying to make it as a gigolo in New York.  In 1969, they were cool enough to give a couple of the biggest awards to Midnight Cowboy. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #69. Tootsie (1982)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.

 Tootsie(2).jpg

“Not threatening enough? Listen, you take your hands off me or I’ll knee your balls right through the roof of your mouth! Is that enough of a threat?”

Much like Rodney Dangerfield, comedy movies get no respect.  Sure, they can make good box office and comedy stars get massive pay cheques, but comedy movies rarely get high falutin’ awards or snooty critical recognition.  So when one does break through, it’s a sign of something special.  And because a lot of comedies rely on lazy pop culture references disguised as jokes, when one endures, it’s an even bigger sign.  Over 30 years ago, Tootsie was nominated for 10 Academy Awards.  And all these years later, Tootsie is still revered as one of the best comedies in Hollywood history.  So, does Tootsie deserve that reputation?


Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a struggling New York actor, going from one unsuccessful audition to the next.  Making money on the side as a waiter and acting coach, he helps one of his friends / students (Teri Garr as Sandy) prepare for a soap opera audition.  Not only does she miss out on the part, it also leads to Michael  finding out that he’s been passed over for a Broadway role he thought he had a real shot at.  While complaining to his agent (Sydney Pollack), who lets Michael know that the rest of showbiz sees him as a difficult pain in the ass, Michael takes it as a challenge to get a role, any role. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Papillon (1973)

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“Put all hope out of your mind. And masturbate as little as possible, it drains the strength.”

Steve McQueen is someone I’ve always thought of more as a movie star than an actor.  That’s not an insult.  I think The Great Escape is one of the best movies ever made, and he’s a big part of what makes it so good. But he’s one of those dudes who seemed to get by more on effortless cool, than he did on serious acting chops.  So after years of thinking the McQueen of movies like The Great Escape and Bullit was the only McQueen there was, I was blown away to see him act his ass off, in Papillon.


It’s the 1930s in France, and a group of prisoners are being told that their crimes were so great, their native country has basically disowned them.  They’ll be shipped off to the colonies to do serious hard time on a hellish island in the West Indies.  Wrongly convicted of killing a pimp, Papillon (McQueeen) is one of those prisoners.  On the ocean journey to his new island home, Papillon meets Dega (Dustin Hoffman), a nebbish nerd, convicted of some sort of white collar crime and forgery.  They come to a mutually beneficial agreement that sees Papillon acting as Dega’s bodyguard, and Dega promising to provide Papillon with money to escape when they reach the island. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Marathon Man (1976)

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Whenever I watch a Dustin Hoffman movie, I realise he’s a dude I don’t give enough credit.  I realise his name isn’t something that makes me want to watch a movie.  Then when I do watch a Dustin Hoffman movie, it reminds that he’s a dude I should give more credit and that his name is something that should make me want watch a movie.  When I actually stop and think about it, Dustin Hoffman as the star and hero of an action thriller sounds awesome, and he delivers on that hope of awesome in Marathon Man.


Everything kicks off with Roy Scheider involved in some shenanigans as Doc, some variety of spy or government spook.  He goes from one clandestine meeting to another, every time arriving just a little bit too late, with his contacts dead or the meeting compromised in some way.  He later arrives unannounced at the home of his brother, Dustin Hoffman’s Babe.  Why he’s a called Babe, I don’t know.  If it was explained, I missed it.

Babe is a male who runs, a Marathon Man, if you will.  He’s also an academic working on a dissertation about his father who was also involved in some shenanigans before he died a couple of decades ago.  Soon Doc is dead and his visit to Babe makes the baddies think Babe is mixed up in this thing too.  For the next hour and a half, he’s double, triple and quadrupled crossed by almost everyone he meets.  Including Laurence Olivier as Szell, a Nazi war criminal obviously modelled on Josef Mengele.

As a thriller, Marathon Man really does a great job of ratchetting up the tension and throwing in twists and turns at all the right times.  The story is a bit overblown and over the top, but somehow never corny.  Hoffman goes from total innocent, to mourning brother, to petrified victim, to gun wielding badass and it never feels lazy or rushed.  I believed every evolution his character went through and every decision he made.

I’m still not sure what the title means though.  Hoffman’s character runs a lot, but not enough to make it his biggest character trait.  Maybe it was addressed in Marathon Man and I missed it.  Which is highly possible as I was a few beers in before I started watching it.  And if nothing else, this could be the movie that finally makes me remember that Dustin Hoffman is a dude I should give more credit and that his name is something that should make me want watch a movie.

Marathon Man
Directed By – John Schlesinger
Written By – William Goldman

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FLOP WEEK*** Ishtar (1987)

Ishtar
How did Ishtar make so little money?  How did Ishtar win a Razzie?  How is Ishtar not more famous?  ‘Coz I’ll tell you this much, Ishtar is pretty great.  I didn’t even know it was a massive flop, so at least its reputation has improved enough over the years that I didn’t know about it for bad reasons.  I just didn’t really know about it all.


Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty play Chuck and Lyle respectively, two struggling songwriters and reluctant performers who are terrible at writing songs and only a little bit better at performing.  The movie’s opening scene of the two trying to write a song together is hilarious.  The amazingly bad lyrics that they more than once pronounce to better than anything Simon and Garfunkle ever wrote, only get funnier the more you hear them.  The most repeated being, “Telling the truth can be dangerous business.  Honest and popular don’t go hand in hand.  If you admit that you can play the accordion, no one’ll hire you in a rock ‘n’ roll band”.  Watching Hoffman and Beatty sing these words with a look of total seriousness and straight faced sincerity really is evidence of just how good they are as actors.

A flash back shows how the two met and how they’re dedication to song writing sees them both dumped by their girlfriends only a few months later.  Single and desperate, they accept a residency singing to Americans in a Moroccan hotel lobby.  Almost as soon as they land, they’re mixed up in plan to overthrow the government.  A mysterious woman convinces Hoffman to give her his passport, Charles Grodin appears in all his awesome deadpan Grodininess as a CIA operative and the mysterious woman reappears every now and again to drag Hoffman and Beatty deeper into her world of espionage.

Instead of making them totally clueless to their predicament, Elaine May’s screenplay makes them fully aware of it almost immediately, but also fully ignorant of the real consequences.  It’s the same kind of approach that made Matt Damon so funny in The Informant and the technique works just as well in Ishtar.  Hoffman and Beatty see no problem with openly talking about the few facts they know in front of, and too anyone.   The idea of them arguing about petty, everyday rivalries while world changing events happen around, or due to, them is nothing new, but they both know how to really make it work.

I’m glad I didn’t know it was a flop before I watched it.  I’m glad I dint even know it was a comedy.  I’ve seen Hoffman do some comedic stuff as he’s gotten older, and of course he was in Tootise, I just never expected this sort of broad comedy from him.  Especially co-starring with Warren Beatty, who I think the only time I can remember him being funny or even showing a sense of humour was in an episode of The Larry Sanders Show.  Seeing Hoffman and Beatty both deliver these really funny, goofball performances was such a great surprise that I think it made a solidly funny movie an outright hilarious one.

Budget $55million / U.S Box Office $14.3million

Razzies Won:
Worst Director – Elaine May

Ishtar
Directed By – Elaine May
Written By – Elaine May

Instead of Ishtar, watch Ishtar.  This move really is underappreciated.  Give it a look.