Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1978: Barry Bostwick in Movie Movie

Barry Bostwick did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated by a few critics groups, for portraying Johnny Danko and Dick Cummings in Movie Movie.

Movie Movie is two shorter films as a double feature, both directed by Stanley Donan, one a boxing movie fashioned around seemingly Golden Boy and the other a musical fashioned around 42nd Street. The boxing film doesn't work as the film seems unsure of whether it is a comedy making fun of an old school boxing picture or trying to be one. Fittingly the musical actually is rather enjoyable, as it manages to find the right tongue in cheek tone more suited to musicals to begin with.

One of the reasons, although there are many, the second half is so much more successful is the performances seem far more properly attuned. Although really I am just referring to Harry Hamlin's leading turn in the boxing section, that cannot decide if he's doing a parody or playing it straight, problem is it makes him neither funny nor earnest in the role. Now fittingly the old pros all seem to get it, Eli Wallach, George C. Scott, Red Button, Art Carney, but the relative newcomer, who also gets it, is one Barry Bostwick. Now just to note, he does play a gangster with a heart of gold in the first segment. I hesitate to even mention it as Bostwick has almost nothing to do, other than to look honest, despite being dressed like a crook. Well he does that, but it doesn't really stress his talents in anyway. Thankfully this all changes on the musical side of things. The musical that follows an impresario Spats Baxter (George C. Scott), who is hoping to have one last musical hit before he dies from a disease that effects mainly artistic types. Anyway, Bostwick in this half plays Dick Cummings, the klutzy new accountant for Baxter, and of course wannabe songwriter. Bostwick's performance now gets it, because he throws himself right into a musical of this ilk that would be from 30's, perhaps slightly heightened, but musicals typically were heightened anyways. Bostwick making for a proper klutzy potential romantic type early on in the segment, in quite artfully hitting his properly foolish marks. This with just the right wide eyed earnest quality in selling his nerdiness along with his movements befitting a scarecrow learning how to walk. Now as much as I did enjoy Bostwick being a goofy accountant, what really makes this performance worth noting, is when Spats, in need of a new composer, lets his accountant take a crack at it. Bostwick's performance of Dick's number of "I just need the girl", is a musical marvel. This as Bostwick just is wonderful every step of the performance, from his growing, and wholly contagious enthusiasm as he describes the instrumentation/while singing the song. Bostwick though throws his own entire self into the sequence, though in every step and movement as he conducts as he sings. Bostwick just exudes the best sort of energy in his movements that he remain scarecrow, but one in his steps, with just how much he does with himself in the scene. Bostwick is wildly entertaining capturing the very best of the classic musical style enthusiasm. Although that is the peak of his work, it's quite a peak, that I've found myself revisiting by just how much joy there is in the number is due to Bostwick's performance. Bostwick's work though is right attuned in every moment. This as he captures that right type of endearing energy, that has certain comical charm of it, but also works because of how earnest it all feels. The sort of melodramatic romance, of being pulled being the equally earnest ingenue or manipulated by the prima donna, Bostwick sells the best of ways. Whether this being the most sincere of smiles to inviting the ingenue, that proper hangdog expression, when hearing what the prima donna really thinks of him, or the pouring of somber goodwill when he insists he'll do right by a dying Spats. Bostwick hits the marks so well, and his work here seems to most understand the right path for Movie Movie. This is as he's delightful by finding the right combination by having the right good natured fun perhaps technically at the expense of the performances of the time, but also by just being one.


Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on the Capone trailer.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I kinda lost faith in the project when it was constantly delayed. I really want Hardy to play more subdued roles at this point. Also it just looks like a lesser reprise of his Legend 'performances'.

Robert MacFarlane said...

My reaction to the Capone trailer is that it’s far too early for Hardy to enter the Gotti stage of his career, but I guess 2020 is truly taking no prisoners.

Louis Morgan said...


Well you know, there was nothing alarming about Jack Lowden, Kyle MacLachlan or especially Matt Dillon's performance...Tom Hardy less so, but you never no. Unfortunately it doesn't help if the film looks like generic gangster dreck anyways.

Calvin Law said...

Seems like a fun performance, I’ll make sure to check the second half out.

I actually think MacLachlan could be promising. Some of the dialogue in that trailer was appalling.

Lucas Saavedra said...

Louis: ratings and thoughts on the rest of the cast?

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your 2010s choices for these James Mason roles?

Ulysses Dielo
Captain Nemo
Norman Maine
Ed Avery
Phillip Vandamm
Colonel Brandt
Ed Concannon

Louis Morgan said...


I quite frankly prefer "Outer...Space".


Van Devere - 3(She's actually fine as the plucky love interest, then the shallow prima donna. Finds the the right tone in being just bit too modest on one side, and being just a bit too much as well. I think someone could've done more with the secondary role but she's fine.)

Wallach, Buttons and Carney - 3(All don't have too much to do, but each capture style, of both stories, quite well.)

Reinking - 3(Although brief, she actually does the questionable "sultry dame" fairly effectively.)

Harris - 2.5(Surprised she had such a small role, which she is more than decent in but seems quite underused.)

York - 2.5(Charming enough, that doesn't make too much of an impact.)


Ulysses Dielo: Tom Hollander
Captain Nemo: Mads Mikkelsen
Norman Maine: Well technically Bradley Cooper, but more inclined to NORMAN Maine, Robert Downey Jr.
Ed Avery: Martin Freeman
Phillip Vandamm: Damian Lewis
Colonel Brandt: Gary Oldman
Ed Concannon: Jeremy Irons

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Fair.

Michael McCarthy said...

Thoughts on the “trailer” for Zero Hour? That was a big highlight of this movie for me.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your ratings and thoughts on the cast of Naked Lunch?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the original trailer for In Bruges?

Honestly, saying that it doesn't do justice to the film is a grave understatement.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Thoughts on these two Japanese versions of the Joker interrogation scene?

Anonymous said...

Good grief, that makeup on Hardy is awful.

Calvin Law said...

RIP Brian Dennehey.

Matt Mustin said...

RIP Brian Dennehy. I saw him on stage twice, he was amazing.

RatedRStar said...

RIP Brian Dennehy.

Luke Higham said...

RIP Brian Dennehy

His fictionalized portrayal of John Wayne Gacy was pretty good.

Aidan Pittman said...

R.I.P. Brian Dennehy and Allen Daviau

Anonymous said...

Louis: Thoughts on this cast for a 60's True Lies (directed by J. Lee Thompson)?

Harry Trasker: Gregory Peck
Helen Tasker: Janet Leigh
Albert Gibson: Alan Arkin
Salim Abu Aziz: Anthony Quinn
Simon: Tony Curtis
Juno Skinner: Julie Newmar
Dana Tasker: Lori Martin
Faisil: Eli Wallach
Spencer Trilby: Spencer Tracy

Mitchell Murray said...

Rest in peace, Brian Dennehy and Allen Daviau.

Also, I'm a little late to the "Capone" trailer, but my god am I not on board. It just looks, in the make up and the brief premise. I love Hardy, but he's so not Capone here, and its going to be extremely hard for me to buy him in the role.

Luke Higham said...

RIP Allen Daviau

Louis Morgan said...


It's a hoot, particularly the bad effects of Scott in the plane, and the terrible grease paint mustache, and the whole list of rather aged pilots. Also extra point for the accents of Scott and Wallach, which is another bit, that works as a rather endearing spoof, that I'm pretty sure the whole picture was going for.


Yeah it's quite terrible, selling it as Guy Ritchie style nonsense, and completely lying about the tone. Although it also makes some of the funniest bits from the film a lot less funny through the goofy music/editing of it. Just a horrible trailer.


Neither really sold them well for me.


Not so sure about Peck there, never seen him do comedy all that well, the rest though most definitely.

R.I.P Brian Dennehy and Allen Daviau