A Movie A Day: Quint on Hopkins in THE GOOD FATHER (1985)
If I ever let myself get angry I could do some real damage.
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] Today’s movie is a the little seen British drama called THE GOOD FATHER, directed by Mike Newell (who would go on to direct HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE) and starring Anthony Hopkins, Jim Broadbent and Simon Callow. Now looking at the video cover, you’d think this was a heartwarming family drama… maybe a little KRAMER VS. KRAMER, but definitely a warm and fuzzy movie. Wrong. This movie is actually a little creepy. Anthony Hopkins plays a recently divorced man who is filled with anger. He’s scary when he’s angry. He seems to hate his ex-wife and resents his young son, but we don’t know why. He even has visions (really creepy David Lynch-like visions) where his boy is suffocating under a plastic sheet while Hopkins himself presses his face against another sheet of colored plastic, back-lit to make it even more monstrous. You can see a little bit of Hannibal Lecter in this performance, which completely unexpected. But even then this isn’t a thriller. Hopkins’ character, Bill Hooper, passes his anger over to Jim Broadbent, another recently divorced father. Broadbent is much more happy-go-lucky, not indulging in his anger. He’s the one who gives the quote from the subhead. Hopkins can’t do anything to get back at his ex, other than call her names and be a rude dick to her, but when he finds out that Broadbent might have a case to take full custody of his kid he slowly exerts his influence, riding the coattails of the pain he inflicts on this woman. Reading back over that, this sounds like a much better movie than it is. Newell’s direction is very… British. Stilted, bleak, non-involving. While the acting is great from both Broadbent and Hopkins, the script loses its way about three quarters of the way into the movie. Suddenly what was nice and subtle now has to now be the focus of on-the-nose conversations. It’s a very small story and one that I think could have been told better, but I don’t know if they could find people to give better performances. As it stands, it’s not a bad film or one that I found hard to sit through, just one that I think could have been done better and should have been more impacting with the talent they had. Also look out for a nice turn from Miriam Margolyes as a radical feminist and lawyer (there’s a scene, a flashback, where she’s with Hopkins and his then wife and baby where Hopkins tells her, “I was reading your tits.” And she shows a shirt that says “All Men Are Rapists.” It’s a nice scene, watching Hopkins react to that.) as well as Simon Callow (or the bad guy from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls) who plays a sleaze-ball of a lawyer. Not a great film, not a bad one. I wonder if someone would remake this flick. It’s a good candidate. A strong premise that is very much an actor’s dream, but was pulled off rather clunkily in the mid-‘80s. The schedule for the next 7 days is: Tuesday, July 1st: SHOCK TREATMENT (1981) Wednesday, July 2nd: FLASHBACK (1990) Thursday, July 3rd: KLUTE (1971) Friday, July 4th: ON GOLDEN POND (1982) Saturday, July 5th: THE COWBOYS (1972) Sunday, July 6th: THE ALAMO (1960) Monday, July 7th: SANDS OF IWO JIMA (1950) Tomorrow we jump to 1981’s SHOCK TREATMENT following composer Richard Hartley over… I hope his work there is more memorable. As a die hard Rocky Horror fan, I’m quite curious… not to mention how much of a crush I have on Jessica Harper… But that’ll all be covered tomorrow. We’ll see what we’re in for. -Quint email@example.com
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July 1, 2008, 12:48 a.m. CST
by --- Emperor ---
Damn you to hell!
July 1, 2008, 12:48 a.m. CST
i was confused :P
July 1, 2008, 1:11 a.m. CST
I have and it is indeed awesome.
July 1, 2008, 1:47 a.m. CST
He was for me at his peak in the mid-eighties, into the early 90s. Ever see "The Bounty"? He plays Captain Bligh, of course, but gives him a humanity that no previous actor did. He didn't even get an Oscar nomination - I think he should've won it! He also blows his top a few times in that movie, with great authenticity. I think I read him say he was an angry man back then, battling booze and so on, and I think it helped his work. Great actor!
July 1, 2008, 2 a.m. CST
by long live the new chris
July 1, 2008, 2:13 a.m. CST
July 1, 2008, 2:14 a.m. CST
July 1, 2008, 2:32 a.m. CST
Has there ever been a movie where the acting pretty much saved the picture?. I kind of feel that way with "The Libertine" and Johnny Depp. Great job at the acting, but the story itself was lacking.
July 1, 2008, 2:46 a.m. CST
nor do i want to, despite the fact that i adore sir anthony...cant wait till he reviews klute... and if he hasnt seen shock treatment, he definitely has never seen phantom of the paradise...shock treatment was an attempt by the makers of rocky horror to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time...but they miss...come on quint, admit you have never seen phantom of the paradise...i remember dragging all my friends to that movie, and them almost crucifying me for doing so...fucking idiots didnt get it...one of the most brilliant flicks ever made...but awful marketing campaign....
July 1, 2008, 2:53 a.m. CST
where do you get your year releases from cripes.
July 1, 2008, 2:54 a.m. CST
watch silence of the lambs again...he never raises his voice...he never looks angry...but you know that if he isnt shackled and gagged, he will rip your tongue out and eat it right on the spot...and in mutiny, he plays bligh to perfection, to the point where you actually feel sorry for him
July 1, 2008, 3:59 a.m. CST
Quint - why-o-why did you pick this movie in the first place to watch... I'll admit I agree with your review - the movie was not bad - not good - it just kinda laid flat - stagnant plot I thought... but - for real - what made you pick this movie...?
July 1, 2008, 4:40 a.m. CST
Hate to disappoint you, bacci, but I've seen Phantom of the Paradise many, many times. Did you not see my little note at the end talking about tomorrow's movie and how much I crush on that era Jessica Harper? That's where I got my crush from. Sure, she's hot in Suspiria, too, but there isn't anything like Phantom of the Paradise.<BR><BR>Prosser... probably same place you do, but instead of looking at the big number next to the title on IMDB I actually look at the release date. Sands of Iwo Jima released March 1st, 1950.<BR><BR>Indiethis, I picked it because I had it. Simple as that. I was on HVE's mailing list for a while, so I got a bunch of their stuff... I had this in the stacks, I hadn't seen it, so here it is.
July 1, 2008, 6:52 a.m. CST
by Grammaton Cleric Binks
Somewhere in Time: Christopher Reeve, ageless Jane Seymour, and suave Christopher Plummer quoting Shakespeare in its original Klingon. Just kidding about the last part. This movie blinked in and out of theaters, I want to say 1980. Something about a writers strike or some strike back then led to his movie getting little attention. Check out INSITE on the web,and read the history. I don't think I've ever seen a group of more dedicated fans. They were geeks before geeks were invented.
July 1, 2008, 7:07 a.m. CST
There's a reason "Shock Treatment" was referred to as "the red-headed stepchild" at a few RHPS showings out here in DC a few years ago. Good luck.
July 1, 2008, 7:26 a.m. CST
I see - well I was wondering - mainly because I knew of this movie for a long time - and for some reason I just could not get myself to sit down and watch it - and I love Hopkins - A lot - but something inside kept me from watching this movie - and when I finally did see it - it was because i read somewhere a time ago that Hopkins was very proud of his performance here... anyway - I always wondered if the "what kept me from watching the movie" - effected how much I just could not get around this movie... anyway - look forward to the next movie review
July 1, 2008, 7:33 a.m. CST
by Grammaton Cleric Binks
Yeah, I caught Neeson too. It was a decent movie, but really doesn't compare to the Clarke Gable/Charles Laughton version. Both Gibson and Hopkins are good in their roles, but they have done so much better. Funny thing is I don't remember the score by Vangelis. Maybe I'll have to dig this out and re-watch it.
July 1, 2008, 7:38 a.m. CST
by Grammaton Cleric Binks
stuff gets overlooked until we start digging back and looking at it. At least in the States anyway. Hopkins didn't become A-list here until Lechter. That movie with him and Anne Bancroft was great too. Judi Dench had a small part as well. Again,there's another actress famous in her own country who doesn't hit it huge here until a mainstream part by that I mean M in Goldeneye. That's about the point when Americans started paying attention to her.
July 1, 2008, 7:45 a.m. CST
by Thunderbolt Ross
I'm enjoying these; keep up the good work!
July 1, 2008, 9:53 a.m. CST
July 1, 2008, noon CST
I thought it was bad but I believe there's some Jessica Harper nudity to enjoy. 70's flick with Richard Dreyfuss as an old time pono director or producer or something.
July 1, 2008, 12:05 p.m. CST
you inspired me to begin my own movie-a-week thing. My first was Cool Hand Luke which I've never seen until last week, & I thought was awesome. This week it's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.
July 1, 2008, 2:20 p.m. CST
by Chadley BeBay
Brad Gorman will pay...
July 1, 2008, 5:16 p.m. CST
shock treatment ? i really dont like this movie at all. but dude freakin love rocky horror !! (damnit janet, i love you !!) susan sarandon was hot and its just such and fun stupid movie i keep getting lost in when i view it.i caught shock treamtnet hoppping for more but sadly there was none. it was just pretty bad.still love the column though !!!
July 1, 2008, 7:11 p.m. CST
is what i get when i click on release dates on the imdb page....
July 2, 2008, 9:05 a.m. CST
by Powers Boothe
list! Have you seen underrated gems like Streets of Fire, Johnny Handsome, Southern Comfort or even the fairly recent Undisputed? (which Miramax recut and butchered!). <br>Sorry to sound like a knucklehead but I can't whip up any enthusiasm for The Good Father. I watched it on videocassette back in the late 80s and it made no real impression.
July 2, 2008, 9:07 a.m. CST
by Powers Boothe
Yes, I agree Gremlins 2 is terrific. Didn't it bomb? Man, I miss 80s era Joe Dante.
July 3, 2008, 8:13 a.m. CST
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July 5, 2008, 11:04 p.m. CST
June 28, 2009, 3:51 a.m. CST
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June 28, 2009, 11:25 a.m. CST
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