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January 06, 2012


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Glenn! I know you don't like the film, but surely Freeman's performance in SE7EN is a notable one in his career? It fits the wise man advising younger, white men category somewhat, but here with a world weariness and a cynicism that isn't nearly so inspirational.

Glenn Kenny

Agreed, Edo, except that it's just so EXPECTED, you know? I'd really prefer to turn people on to his work in "Nurse Betty" than praise ANOTHER film that everybody's seen (the other being "Shawshank")...


I've long wanted to see STREET SMART. I should probably do that. Especially after seeing DEATHTRAP and realizing how good an actor Reeve could be.

James Keepnews

"You play rough!"

Josh Z

I believe you meant to say that Driving Miss Daisy gets a lot of "flack" for its politics, not "slack." Unless I'm misreading you entirely, which is possible. :)


Freeman could hardly have played anything other than a "lordly suave bad guy" in 'Wanted', given that an entirely accurate adaptation of the original story would -- as I believe David Cronenberg once said of 'Naked Lunch' -- have cost $300 million and got itself banned in every country in the world.


Also, NURSE BETTY is an odd and interesting film.


One film Freeman's great in that doesn't get nearly enough mention is JOHNNY HANDSOME. I'm not the Walter Hill fan many people I know are, but this is a great old-school crime movie (despite the fact you pretty much know what's going to happen), and one of the reasons for its greatness is Freeman's turn as the utterly cynical sheriff hounding Mickey Rourke. The scenes between Freeman and Forest Whitaker as an idealistic doctor are some of the finest acting I've seen from either of them.

Dan Coyle

"This is what that damn doctor couldn't understand, huh Johnny?"


Glenn, I'm so glad to hear you like "Nurse Betty", and recognize Freeman's good work in that film. "Nurse Betty" is LaBute's most inventive and unpredictable film (at least that I've seen...I never bothered with 'Posession'). Everyone in that film gives a first rate performance, and "Nurse Betty" has an odd and somewhat dark warmth and heart that is largely missing from LaBute's misanthropic and abrasive body of work. It's a good one, and I think it will find a bigger following in the future.


Wasn't Nurse Betty the first LaBute film where he didn't write the screenplay?

Would explain the surprising heart and warmth. And it's a great film, but I think his earlier work is really what made him distinct. In The Company Of Men and Your Friends And Neighbors are certainly misanthropic but they were very well-done.


@ Lazarus, I agree with you that 'In The Company of Men' and 'Your Friends And Neighbors' are both very misanthropic while being well-written, acted, and executed. Those films along with 'The Shape of Things' are the closest of his films that represent the style and themes (and structure) that most often appear in his stage work.

Personally, I like 'Nurse Betty' the most because it feels so different from the rest of his films.

(Then again, 'The Wicker Man', 'Death At A Funeral', and 'Lakeview Terrace' don't feel like LaBute movies, but they're also all so bad)


He may have been a hired director for Nurse Betty (not sure how he became involved with the project), but yeah it's a great film and certainly doesn't belong with that hack work you mentioned at the end.

Looks like David Gordon Green is taking some notes from that playbook.

Michael Dempsey

Morgan Freeman's portrayal of a psychopath in "Street Smart" has never been surpassed and has rarely been equalled for stark yet workaday human-too-human terror.


@ Lazarus Your connection between how LaBute and Gordon Green's careers have both turned into major hackwork in the past two years could not be more astute. That being said, at least Neil LaBute is still writing compelling and original plays while he makes bad movies for a paycheck. Gordon Green is just making bad movies. I would give him points for his work on 'Eastbound & Down', but I mostly get the impression that Jody Hill is the brains behind that operation and Green is just one of the hired hands behind the camera.


Green may be taking notes from a playbook in LaBute's possession, but Michael Lehmann must've been the one who wrote it. :-)

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