Happy Birthday to Willem Dafoe, who is 62 tomorrow.
I have to admit that I’m not necessarily a huge fan of Dafoe. I think he’s a decent actor & has been in an interesting range of films but my main reason for even giving him much thought is probably because he’s one of so few actors from my home state. Why are there so few famous people from my state?!
As with all my actor top tens, these are ranked from my least favorite to favorite movie instead of by performance (Although, to be honest, number one is probably my favorite performance as well. He’s awesome in that!). So here are My Top Ten Willem Dafoe Movies:
*Updated July 2018 to add The Florida Project & Nymphomaniac: Vol II*
The Rest That I’ve Seen:
20. The English Patient (screw this movie)
19. Speed 2: Cruise Control
18. American Dreamz
17. American Psycho
16. Nymphomaniac: Vol. II
14. Born On The Fourth Of July
13. The Last Temptation Of Christ
12. Clear And Present Danger (barely remember it, to be honest)
Honorable Mention: Finding Dory, because it’s just a small cameo
Some Of The Many I’ve Not Seen: To Live And Die In L.A., Mississippi Burning, Wild At Heart, Body Of Evidence, Basquiat, The Boondock Saints, Shadow Of The Vampire, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Manderlay, Inside Man, Tales From Earthsea, Antichrist, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Cirque Du Freak, John Carter, The Grand Budapest Hotel
I was sad to hear of the death of Bill Paxton over the weekend. He has such an impressive movie resume! It’s funny how, even though he was only in very small roles at first, he still managed to be in so many beloved, kick-ass classics. Especially numbers one & two on my list… AWESOME films! It’s great that he ended up in bigger roles in things such as Twister & Apollo 13 but I’ll always first think of him as the lovably annoying Hudson in Aliens and as the hilarious asshole brother Chet in Weird Science.
I honestly thought I’d already done a Bill Paxton Top Ten list in the past as he’s been in several of my favorite movies but it looks like I never did. As always, I’ve ranked these in order from my least favorite to favorite movie as opposed to character role. So, in his memory, here are My Top Ten Bill Paxton Movies (counting down from 16 to include everything I’ve seen):
16. True Lies
15. Mighty Joe Young
12. The Last Supper (but need to re-watch & refresh my memory, really)
11. Near Dark (also need to re-watch)
Seen But Don’t Remember:
Navy Seals (Can you believe that, with my Michael Biehn crush??)
Brain Dead (I like the sound of this one…)
The Evening Star
A Simple Plan
Finally, I think most people my age know that Bill Paxton directed & starred in the bizarre Barnes And Barnes “short film” video for the song Fish Heads.
In looking up his film credits, I noticed he was also in two other music videos. Love the Pat Benatar video for Shadows Of The Night! I’d forgotten about that video. I miss the “story” videos of the Eighties. Anyway – watch out for Paxton in a small role as a WWII baddie in that video. Also, he starred in New Order’s Touched By The Hand Of God, which I must admit I’d never seen. What a great, eclectic career. Bill Paxton will be missed.
R.I.P. William “Bill” Paxton (May 17, 1955 – February 25, 2017)
Happy (belated) Birthday to Diane Lane, who turned 51 on January 22nd. I’ll be honest – I never really noticed Diane Lane that much when I was younger as she was mostly in movies that were just a little bit too old for me. Heck, I’ve only just watched Streets Of Fire and The Outsiders for the very first time this past year! Shame on me.
I think that I first started paying attention to her after the movies Unfaithful and Under The Tuscan Sun. Although I’m not normally into movies aimed at “middle-aged women” (even though I AM one), I think I just really appreciated how sexy the late-thirties Lane was in those films. And she’s still gorgeous at 51! Hollywood has always been obsessed with youth, especially when it comes to actresses, so I love seeing those such as Lane still in the acting game.
I decided to fully explore her older films after watching and thoroughly enjoying the obscure Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. So I’ve now seen just over ten of her films, which means that two not-very-good ones are included at 9 & 10.
So here are My Top Ten Diane Lane Movies, counting down to my favorite film (not ranked by performance. no, I’m not saying I prefer her as a cartoon – number 1 is just an excellent film). 😉
Starring: Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan, Willem Dafoe, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Bill Paxton, Elizabeth Daily
Music by Ry Cooder
Running time: 93 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB): A mercenary goes after his ex-girlfriend, a singer who has been kidnapped by a gang.
Streets Of Fire is one of those movies I always regretted not seeing back in the Eighties. Then, after watching The Warriors a couple of years ago and absolutely loving it, I knew I should finally watch Streets Of Fire as it was also made by Walter Hill. But I still didn’t get around to it! I finally decided to check it out after watching Diane Lane in the great little obscure 1982 film Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. Unfortunately, this is definitely not as good as The Warriors and even The Fabulous Stains is better in a lot of ways. This has a cheesy sort of appeal, though, and I’m sure it has its fans amongst those who saw it at the time & grew up with it. But it probably won’t connect with anyone watching it for the first time nowadays whereas I think The Warriors continues to gain new fans.
As the poster says, this was apparently marketed as “a rock & roll fable”. There are a lot of songs in this and I think whether or not you buy into the movie will depend on if you like the music. A lot of the music was by Ry Cooder and I can’t say I remember any of it after a first watch even though it wasn’t long ago that I saw it (except for I Can Dream About You by Dan Hartman since I already knew that song. That was stuck in my head for days afterwards!). The songs by Diane Lane’s band in the film were a bit bland & reminded me of something Meat Loaf might sing. The movie is a very odd mix of the Fifties rock ‘n’ roll thing and the early Eighties style-wise & musically. I’ve never really been a fan of the Fifties rock ‘n’ roll thing so that may be why the movie didn’t work so well for me. Also, I just couldn’t really take the two main male characters seriously when they wore their pants so high. Seriously! This is NOT a good look. Especially whatever the hell Willem Dafoe is wearing here:
Hilarious! The hot one in the stupid suspenders there is Michael Paré, the film’s hero. I don’t think I’ve seen him in anything else and as I watched this I thought “he’s cute but he’s a pretty damn bad actor – no wonder he wasn’t in anything else”. Then I looked him up on IMDB and he’s been in 126 things & he’s still going strong! What?! What are all these movies Paré has been in? This dude’s career has completely passed me by – I knew of him & that he was in Streets Of Fire but that’s all. Huh. Hopefully his acting improved? I suppose he worked as the sexy but dumb hero that women want to sleep with…
Diane Lane’s character was a pretty big disappointment, especially just after seeing her in The Fabulous Stains where her character had far more personality & depth. She’s nothing but a pretty “damsel in distress” in Streets Of Fire. Luckily we got two better female characters with Amy Madigan’s soldier who helps Paré to rescue Lane & Deborah Van Valkenburgh, who was also great in The Warriors, as Paré’s sister. I’ve already mentioned Dafoe & his silly pants – it was funny seeing him in this as I didn’t know he was in it (he plays the main bad guy & kidnapper). Rick Moranis was also a surprise as was Elizabeth Daily once again starring with Lane in a slightly bigger role than she had in The Fabulous Stains. Plus we also get Bill Paxton once again looking like a total douche in an Eighties film! I miss good old douchey Bill Paxton from the Eighties. He was more fun than leading role Bill Paxton of later times. He’ll never top his Weird Science role! Remember when he was in that Fish Heads video? Am I going off on one of my tangents again?
I clearly don’t have much to say about this film so I’ll just wrap this up. These are the kind of movies I find most difficult to write about: the “meh” ones. I can get a little passionate when I really love (or hate) a movie but have very little to say when I don’t really care. I know I’d like this a lot more if I’d seen it at the time but, despite it trying for a bit of a Fifties feel, it’s a little too stuck in 1984. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll always like a mediocre film from 1984 a million times more than a mediocre film from today and I did enjoy this a lot more than I’ve made it sound. I just feel bad because I really wanted to like it more than I did. I thought I might be discovering yet another little gem from my favorite era just like The Warriors & The Fabulous Stains. Oh well – two out of three ain’t bad. Hey, that’s a Meat Loaf song!