Tag: Billy Bob Thornton

“Faster” Dwayne Johnson, kill! kill!

I don’t know whether I’m fighting off a bug or if I’m being taken over by an alien pod, but I’m just not feeling cogent enough for reflection tonight. Good night to catch up on my TV viewing or on less creative writing tasks no matter how much movie news is going on out there.

As if to fit that mode, via Mike Fleming, here’s a very violent and bloody (nice close up of someone getting their throat cut) red band trailer from CBS Films for “Faster.” It shows Dwayne “no longer related to geologic formations” Johnson going very far out of his way to get the taint of all those family movies off of him, with a little help from Billy Bob Thornton and director George Tilman, Jr. Mr. Tilman seems to be channeling a bit of John Woo and Sam Peckinpah.

Fleming refers to Johnson’s characters as an “action hero”? No matter what they did to him, does a “hero” run around killing numerous unarmed people in cold blood? Not in my world. Still, looks like it might be an interesting ride. They haven’t had much luck with movies at CBS so far. Could this be the one that changes the new film division’s luck?

A press conference chat with Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek of “Get Low”


In case you haven’t been paying attention to limited release movies aimed at an older audience, “Get Low” is one of the year’s real success stories. My pretty negative review, notwithstanding, I’m surprised but not upset that the movie is doing as well as it is, both commercially and critically. These days, it’s nice to see a movie with a coherent story, at least, doing well. As for its star, Robert Duvall, being an apparent lock for an Oscar nomination, I can hardly complain. This may not be even close to being his best performance, but it’s a very good one and he’s a national treasure at this point. That’s how these things work sometimes.

“Get Low” stars Duvall as Felix Bush, an irascible and sometimes frightening hermit who contracts with the mildly rapacious local mortician (Bill Murray) to stage his funeral while he’s still alive. Though Bush says the funeral is to hear what people think of him while he’s still alive, it’s clear something in his past is disturbing him. Mattie Darrow (Sissy Spacek) is a former girlfriend who may hold the key to some of that.

Arriving right on time for the press conference, I saw that things weren’t quite ready and decided to grab a quick (and free) beverage. Looking over the soft drink selection in the hospitality area, however, I turned around and saw a serenely patient Sissy Spacek beaming at me and, before long, talking to me as if I were an actual human being while looking so good I was slightly stunned. As her assistant smoothly parried my lame request to turn on my digital recorder for a brief impromptu interview, she asked that I inform the public that she, at least, had showed up on time for the event. I was too charmed to do anything else but comply with the wishes of the luminous star of “Carrie” and “In the Bedroom.”


Mr. Duvall, it turned out, was only a couple of minutes late and the event started before I could make a proper drink selection. It was immediately apparent that Spacek and Duvall get along quite well and enjoyed joshing each other in front of reporters. (They last appeared together in 2008’s “Four Christmases.”)

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The Informers

Typically, when you hear about movies premiering at Sundance, it’s because the film in question was well received. Not so for Gregor Jordan’s “The Informers,” which was torn to pieces by online critics, many of whom went on to describe the film as one of the worst they’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t go that far, because while the movie may not exactly be good, there are quite a few noteworthy performances hidden within it. Based on a collection of short stories by Bret Easton Ellis, “The Informers” takes place in 1983 Los Angeles and follows a series of intertwining narratives about a drug-dealing college man (Jon Foster) who’s worried that his girlfriend (Amber Heard) is screwing his best friend (Austin Nichols); a big-time movie producer (Billy Bob Thornton) forced to choose between his ex-wife (Kim Basinger) and former fling (Winona Ryder); a neurotic loser (Brad Renfro) who receives an unwelcome visitor (Mickey Rourke); and an international rock star (Mel Raido) suffering yet another major meltdown.

Unfortunately, my favorite story in the book – one involving a vampire named Jamie – has been axed from the movie, and along with it, the satirical bite (no pun intended) that Ellis is famous for. Instead, Jordan plays the whole thing serious, and though it doesn’t really change the outcome of the stories, it does change the tone. The characters are essentially the same, however, and in some cases, are even given more depth thanks to the actors playing them. Foster, Nichols and Lou Taylor Pucci are all solid as the film’s emotionally detached hipsters (an Ellis trademark), while Brad Renfro turns in a great performance in his final role. It’s not enough to convince non-Ellis fans to see the film, but if nothing else, it’s a good excuse to check out Amber Heard in all her naked glory.

Click to buy “The Informers”

Billy Bob Thornton’s uncomfortable interview

…and “uncomfortable” is an understatement.

By now you may have heard about Thornton’s interview (along with his band, The Boxmasters) with a Canada’s QTV where he takes exception to the host mentioning his acting career in the introduction. If you watch Thornton during the intro, you can see him shake his head a couple of times. For the first six or seven minutes of the interview, Thornton acts like a petulant child, giving short, ambiguous answers to direct questions. Then he goes off on a tangent talking about a monster magazine contest that he entered as a kid. Finally, around the seven-minute mark, he tells the host why he’s acting the way he is.

Thornton keeps asking the host, “Would you ask Tom Petty that?” The thing is — Billy Bob Thornton is no Tom Petty. Thornton is best-known as an actor who sees himself as a musician. Tom Petty is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

I feel for the host — he simply introduced Thornton and the rest of the band, and has to deal with pissy Billy Bob for the rest of the interview. He didn’t ask him any questions about his acting career and it’s completely understandable why he would mention Thornton’s history as an actor in the intro to give the interview context. It would be really odd if he just started the interview without mentioning it at all.

Thornton later says that Canadian audiences are like “mashed potatoes with no gravy” and canceled their two remaining Canadian shows after being booed in Toronto.

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