RARA-AVIS: Re: Payback/Point Blank

Kevin Smith (kvnsmith@colba.net)
Mon, 2 Aug 1999 11:50:08 -0400

Gee, you people really don't like Gibson, huh?

Ah, bien, I still prefer PAYBACK, but don't get me wrong, I thought Lee Marvin was great in the same role in POINT BLANK, a cold machine, totally professional. It was the way Boorman told the story that I found less than enthralling.

In fact, if the time machine was working, it might have been neat to see Marvin in PAYBACK. Maybe Gibson is too much a lippy smart ass for some of you, but look on the bright side: at least it wasn't Bruce Willis. Would Marvin in the lead change the way you see the rest of the film? I've just always thought Gibson has a dark side that is sorely underused, and often betrayed by his own worst instincts (pick a LETHAL WEAPON, any number).

And I'm sorry for linking Brian Helgeland to the direction of LA CONFIDENTIAL. That's another highly-touted flick that failed to impress me. I mean, Bassinger Best Actress? For what? Wearing a dress? What are the members of the Academy smoking out there?

I guess I'm just a guy that likes his movies as stories, well-told. The best of the pulp writers, be it Black Mask or Fawcett Gold Medal, Hammett or Chandler or Spillane or Collins or Ellroy or whoever, whatever else they did, told their stories well. The art was in the telling. Any writer who let his art get in the way of telling a good story didn't last.

I guess I feel the same way about movies. Gussying up a story with tricks, be it too many slo-mo split screen flashbacks or 300 pages of sub-plots involving the hero's love life, just don't impress me much.

Kevin Burton Smith The Thrilling Detective Web Site http://www.colba.net/~kvnsmith/thrillingdetective/ Now available! Our Summer Issue, focussing on Radio Private Eyes, plus new fiction by Peter Parmantie and Kathy Korty.

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