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A Movie A Day: Oliver Stone’s SALVADOR (1986)
You gotta get close to get the truth. You get too close, you die.

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 or from my DVR and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] Our James Woods marathon is in full swing. We started with his one-scene early career role as “Bank Officer” in the James Caan flick THE GAMBLER, then was second only to Robert De Niro in yesterday’s amazing ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA and now we get to James Woods in the lead role in Oliver Stone’s SALVADOR. One could make a rather strong case that this was the world’s first real introduction to Oliver Stone as he would come to known. Sure, he had worked before. In fact I quite like the bizarre internal horror film he did with Michael Caine, THE HAND, but 1986 marked the release of this film, in April and then PLATOON in December. In fact, both films were nominated for Oscars that year, with PLATOON ultimately taking best picture. They fought for best writing (alongside CROCODILE DUNDEE! No shit!) losing to Woody Allen’s HANNAH AND HER SISTERS.

When we first meet James Woods and his partner in crime, Doctor Rock (James Belushi), we’re led to believe they are losers. Not likable, crazy fun losers, but really worthless people. They reminded me a little bit of Dr. Gonzo and Raul Duke, actually. Woods plays Richard Boyle, a war photographer and journalist, living in San Francisco. His wife takes his kid and leaves, he is evicted from his apartment and is stopped for speeding while racing towards his one hope at a job. Turns out the dude has a few outstanding speeding tickets, over 40 parking tickets and a revoked license. He’s arrested and bailed out by Belushi, who is creepily channeling his brother here. I never saw much of John in James before, and I grew up loving shit like MR. DESTINY, so I saw a lot of his work, but here it’s kind of creepy how much slips through. It doesn’t hurt that he’s playing a character John would have been at home playing. He’s a chubby, drug-addicted comic relief character for the first bit of the film. Belushi is just as much a loser as Woods, so these two head south and Woods ends up going much further than he told Belushi and they end up in El Salvador where Woods does whatever he can to cover the brewing revolution taking place. About halfway through the movie I thought that Woods and Belushi weren’t such bad guys… then by the end I was totally on their side, but I realized something… they didn’t really change. Sure, Belushi learns to cope with his situation without freaking out every 5 seconds and Woods re-assesses his priorities, but they’re pretty much the same people we met in San Francisco, but a simple change in location and circumstances makes all the difference. Especially with Woods’ character. He’s at home in El Salvidor, as dangerous as it is. He has friends and even another family there, consisting of a girlfriend and her two children. The girlfriend, Maria, is played by Elpidia Carrillo who a couple years later would go on to star alongside Schwarzenegger in PREDATOR. Woods juggles his relationships with the US embassy people and the military (as it straddles the fence, trying to decide if they’re going to support the crooked regime in place or let revolution happen) and the revolutionaries as well as those already in charge. You never really know who Wood’s batting for, if anybody.

John Savage plays a fellow photobug who meets up with Woods and I think Savage goes a long way to humanizing Woods’ character. Woods clearly respects him and maybe even idol worships him a little bit. Woods doesn’t grovel at the dude’s feet, but he definitely treats him differently than anybody else in the movie with the possible exception being his girlfriend and her young brother, who doesn’t make it. Basically the film is all about complexity. The good guys are fighting the bad guys. Easy enough right? The bad guys are the ones sending out death squads, killing anyone who doesn’t have the right paperwork or who might look at them funny. They’re certainly bad. The revolutionaries must then be the good guys. Woods believes that and we believe that, but when they do rise up we see them using the same ruthless tactics as those in power. Woods’ character is likewise complex. He starts out a loser and like I said above he doesn’t really change, but what’s asked of him does. In many ways he’s a hero, in many ways he’s a fool, in many ways he’s a fucking prick, but no matter what he is you’re on his side by the time the credits roll. That might be because he seems to be dealt bad hand after bad hand and you have to sympathize with someone trying to hard to work towards their happiness and just having it all pulled away every time they get near.

The final scene in the movie is not nearly as harsh as individual scenes that came before it… the cute peace corp girl and the nuns who get sexually assaulted and murdered, the pit of death that Woods photographs… both those scenes are in your face and rough, much more so than what happens at the end of the movie, but for some reason the ending is worse than any of that. Without spoiling it, I think the reason that ending is such a gut-punch is precisely because of what came before. And that peace corp girl, Cathy, was someone I recognized right off the bat but I couldn’t place her. The actress’ name is Cynthia Gibb and when I looked her up on IMDB, I got it. She was Fisher Stevens’ love interest in SHORT CIRCUIT 2. That’s what it was. “Help me, Rhonda… Help, help me Rhonda…” All the acting is great, but this James Woods’ movie, a real chance to explore a character of depth and challengingly unlikable for the first part of the movie. If Woods hadn’t pulled it off, I wouldn’t have given a shit about this guy and would have disconnected from the movie. Luckily, I was in good hands as a viewer. Stone’s direction is raw and had a purpose. I don’t think he does much subtle work visually, but that’s fine. The character are subtle enough, all he has to do is shoot it and he does that well. It’s a much bigger film than I expected, some really huge production design moments, like the aforementioned death pit. You can definitely see PLATOON when watching this movie. The main difference, actually, is that the iconography in PLATOON is much, much stronger. He has those iconic moments (reading to the heavens) that really stick with the viewer. In SALVADOR the moments that stick with us are the character moments. Final Thoughts: SALVADOR is a powerful, well-made early effort by Stone that really marks his first step to becoming the kind of filmmaker he became famous for. Woods proves he earned that Best Actor nomination and makes me sad as shit that he’s not in more things these days… and it also makes me wish I could play a game of poker with him and hear his stories about working with Stone and Leone… It’s been a good run of AMAD here. I very highly recommend this one as well.

Here’s what we have lined up for the next week: Tuesday, November 18th: BEST SELLER (1987)

Wednesday, November 19th: THE HOLCROT COVENANT (1985)

Thursday, November 20th: BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ (1962)

Friday, November 21st: WHITE HEAT (1949)

Saturday, November 22nd: MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES (1957)

Sunday, November 23rd: EACH DAWN I DIE (1938)

Monday, November 24th: THE BRIDE CAME C.O.D. (1941)

Lots and lots of Cagney coming up. Can’t wait! I’ve loved the Cagney we’ve covered so far in this column and it’s about goddamn time I finally saw WHITE HEAT from start to finish. See you folks tomorrow for another instalment of our James Woods mini-marathon: BEST SELLER! -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
October 6th: Bad Dreams
October 7th: The House Where Evil Dwells
October 8th: Memories of Murder
October 9th: The Hunger
October 10th: I Saw What You Did
October 11th: I Spit On Your Grave
October 12th: Naked You Die
October 13th: The Wraith
October 14th: Silent Night, Bloody Night
October 15th: I Bury The Living
October 16th: The Beast Must Die
October 17th: Hellgate
October 18th: He Knows You’re Alone
October 19th: The Thing From Another World
October 20th: The Fall of the House of Usher
October 21st: Audrey Rose
October 22nd: Who Slew Auntie Roo?
October 23rd: Wait Until Dark
October 24th: Dead & Buried
October 25th: A Bucket of Blood
October 26th: The Bloodstained Shadow
October 27th: I, Madman
October 28th: Return to Horror High
October 29th: Die, Monster, Die
October 30th: Epidemic
October 31st: Student Bodies
November 1st: Black Widow
November 2nd: The Ghost & Mrs. Muir
November 3rd: Flying Tigers
November 4th: Executive Action
November 5th: The Busy Body
November 6th: It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World
November 7th: Libeled Lady
November 8th: Up The River
November 9th: Doctor Bull
November 10th: Judge Priest
November 11th: Ten Little Indians
November 12th: Murder On The Orient Express
November 13th: Daniel
November 14th: El Dorado
November 15th: The Gambler
November 16th: Once Upon A Time In America

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 18, 2008, 1:58 a.m. CST

    You doity rat

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    you killed my brudda. You doity rat hmmmmmmhmhmhm.....oops sorry, wrong talkback

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 2 a.m. CST

    Salvador is one fucked up film

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    still my favorite Stone film is.......DANANANAAAAAAAA THE HAND!!!!!

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 2:43 a.m. CST

    Best film on your list that I've seen so far

    by seppukudkurosawa

    along with Libeled Lady. And I've seen most of them- apart from about two thirds of the horrors (even I have a breaking point when it comes to how many b-movies I can stand).

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 3:01 a.m. CST


    by BadMrWonka

    I got nothing to say about this film or any of the upcoming ones, but I just wanted to say, as someone who comes to the site every day (and has for almost 9 years), I LOVE what you're doing here. <p> it's a testament to the love that you, and by extension this site, have for movies in a really pure sense. they might be good or bad, they might be big or small, but you're gonna watch them no matter what. someone spent the time and money to make a movie, and no matter how ridiculous it might have the potential to be (which can also lead to greatness) just the mere act of making it is deserving of enough respect that we watch it and think about it.<p> to say, "hey, there are a lot of movies I've never seen, and I'm going to watch one of them a day...(well...until I croak?)" is a testament to a deep and undying love of movies. <p>I love movies, and you love movies, that's why we're here. that's why this site exists. as long as that's still the gold standard for this site, I'll be here every day. thank you Quint, and thank you Harry and Mori and everyone for making my day, every fucking day for almost a decade.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 3:09 a.m. CST

    And I'd say Stone didn't just BEGIN to show promise here

    by seppukudkurosawa

    After this, it seems Stone and Spike Lee joined a pact akin to the infamous Lucas, Milius and Spielberg deal of the late '70s, whereby they both agreed to make movies crammed with distracting "Filmmaking with a Hammer" scenes which sacrificed the believablity of the story in order to ram home the director's rhetoric. Take Platoon, for example, which had Charlie Sheen ranting about the atrocities of war in his letters home to grandma...Mmmmmmkay. Salvador was Stone's high-water mark!

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 3:30 a.m. CST

    This is one great movie, one of Woods' best BUT

    by malificus

    don't get off your James Woods jag without checking out The Onion Field.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 3:40 a.m. CST

    Quint, have fun with Best Seller

    by cinemaniac

    I enjoyed the hell out of that. Great chemistry between Woods and Dennehy, and a cool script by Larry Cohen. ..And I agree with seppukudkurosawa, SALVADOR was Stone's high-water mark, not to mention Jim Belushi's best work next to RED HEAT with Arnie.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 3:46 a.m. CST

    Great great movie

    by AdmiralNeck

    Easily Stone's best, and I say that as a fan of some of his other work (you can hate JFK for the conspiracy theories, but the editing in the final summing up is some of the best I've ever seen). It's been a long time since I first saw it, and I've given Woods a break on all of his subsequent weirdnesses ever since. That was one of the great screen performances.<p> Quint, when you see Best Seller you will be one up on Vern, I think. When he wrote that (excellent) obit for John Flynn, didn't he say he hadn't seen Best Seller? For shame! It's the nuts.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 4:49 a.m. CST

    Yep Best Seller Is Wood's finest

    by theycallmemrglass

    And Dennehy's! Oh and Wood's other finest piece of work is in Simpsons as the QuickyMart shop keeper! Seriously though, his turn in The Hard Way shouldnt be overlooked either.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 5:24 a.m. CST

    Early love for BEST SELLER

    by palimpsest

    A great little thriller... And if you're still jonesing for Dennehy and Woods after it, check out SPLIT IMAGE.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 6 a.m. CST

    thanks palimpsest

    by cinemaniac

    ...for reminding me about SPLIT IMAGE. It's been many many years since I last saw it, but I remember it being pretty damned good and Woods is terrific.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 7 a.m. CST

    Jimy Woods- can he give a bad performance???

    by j2talk

    even a bad movie benefits from him....

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 7:40 a.m. CST

    I love "Salvador" but...

    by The Central Scrutinizer

    ...I always felt bad for that poor Mustang convertible. It really takes a beating in this film.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 7:52 a.m. CST


    by LGM

    Great movie. The confession scene is incredible and it was improvised. It wasn't scripted, it was all James Woods.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Easily Oliver Stone's Best Film To Date :

    by PTSDPete

    This movie is singularly his bravest, most controlled, most mature, most disciplined, principled stuff he's ever made. Perfect synchronization of impeccable ' Roger Donaldson ' cinematography, measured directing, gripping, edgy script, and FRICKING KICK-ASS POSTERS !!! It's one of the most exact melding of hyper-kinetic, inflammatory filmic vision and execution that is so damn precise it's documentary - not only in its presentation of facts, but in the realization of a brutal, horrid ( and unfortunately, ongoing ) political reality. The ' Mean Streets ' of his oeuvre, no doubt. Fucking fucking excellent.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Love Woods but what happened to John Savage?

    by JackRabbitSlim

    He started with such acclaim in Deer Hunter and Onion Field but his man-on-the-ragged-edge characterizations seem to have fallen off and he never got the work I always thought he should have - though I notice him in quite a few Spike Lee films, Spike having (whatever you may think of him personally) an undeniable eye for underappreciated talent ... with the exception of Theresa Randle whom i never liked.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 9:25 a.m. CST

    BTW - Woods vs Roth for that role role in Reservoir Dogs

    by JackRabbitSlim

    Im sure everyone here knows Woods was actually Tarantino's first choice for the role that eventually went to Tim Roth in Reservoir Dogs - would he have done the role justice? He's considerably older - I'm guessing - what - 20 years older - maybe the Keitel-Roth scenes wouldn't have been as poignant. Dunno.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Emergency Biro-pen tracheotomy

    by BenBraddock

    That scene haunts me to this day! Great film, liked it way more than "Platoon". "Split Image", was that the one where Woods is a 'de-programmer' for cult victims? Twas also very good.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 10:29 a.m. CST

    Cynthia Gibb...

    by dingleberryjerry

    I remember her more for "Youngblood" with Rob Lowe. Cute as a button and a nice little ass as well.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Thanks, Quint

    by pilotgrl

    Ditto BadMrWonka. These reviews are one of the best elements of this site. They're also slightly frustrating as I continually add to my extremely long Netflix list (I have no time to watch all of them). As for James Woods, does anyone remember his role on a TV miniseries called Holocaust? I looked it up on IMDB and realized it was from 1978 - yikes! It was the first time I recall seeing him and both he and Michael Moriarty really stood out from a large cast of characters. He was an artist who made it through the war in a concentration camp. It was a long time ago but his performance was wrenching best as I can recall.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 11:45 a.m. CST


    by Mr. Zeddemore

    The reviews are excellent, sir.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Seen this recently on MGM movie channel...

    by Spock

    I recently saw this again on MGM movie channel. Hadn't seen it in years, and I did see it first time it came out. Stone filmed the movie in Mexico, after his government liaison in El Salvador was shot in the face while playing tennis at the Club Deportivo in San Salvador. I guess the Salvadoran government at the time wasn't keen on a Yanqui doing a movie about the death squads. The movie does refer to many real life shocking events that occurred in El Salvador in the early 80s. I was thinking that "Under Fire" with Gene Hackman and Nick Nolte, was a similar movie, with real life events and people and fictitious main characters. In any case, a good review. "Once Upon A Time in America" is one of my favorite films of all time, and I saw the long version in L.A. when it was released, complete with a ten minute intermission...

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Saw it on TVOntario a couple of months ago.

    by Royston Lodge

    I was surprised by how much I liked it, since I usually despise Oliver Stone's work. Salvador seems to be the only one of his flicks where the hero's leftie sensibilities are actually challenged by the facts of the real world.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 12:32 p.m. CST

    re: Woods vs Roth for that role in Reservoir Dogs

    by Royston Lodge

    Roth was definitely the better choice. Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge James Woods fan. But that role required a chameleon of an actor. When James Woods is in a movie, he's always "James Woods". He's one of those actors who cannot get away from his own persona. The viewer simply cannot suspend disbelief. He's always good, but he's always HIM. Tim Roth is much better at disappearing into a role.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 12:36 p.m. CST

    Best animated James Woods appearance?

    by Royston Lodge

    Cast your votes now: 1) The Simpsons: Homer & Apu. 2) Family Guy: Peter's Got Woods. 3) Family Guy: Back to the Woods. 4) Clerks: Episode 3.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 1:54 p.m. CST

    Definitely the Simpsons

    by Aquatarkusman

    Woods: OK, let's, let's just try that again, OK? Come on. Hey, come on -- hey! Get over here. OK, now you're you, I'm me. / Jimbo: [with trepidation] I'm me? / Woods: [grabs his collar] Hey -- don't... jerk me around, fella. // As for Salvador, I like the Dennis Martinez shout-out.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Re: the Simpsons...

    by dingleberryjerry

    The scene where is scraping the cheese out of the microwave with a barrage of obsenities rips me up EVERY time! Classic.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 2:34 p.m. CST

    You forgot to include Woods as Hades in Disney's Hercules.

    by DerLanghaarige

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 2:47 p.m. CST

    You gotta watch the extras on this DVD!

    by Mysterious Bones

    One of my all time favourite films that I actually loved even more the more I found out about it. Woods met Boyle and didn't exactly like the guy but grew to respect him. Always thought it must be very odd & difficult for an actor to play somebody who is standing there watching you play them (especially when that persons an asshole!). Stone & Woods & the others actually travelled to El Salvador and Woods in particular was convinced they were going to die there (and rightly so). They ended up taking the production to Mexico when the movies military contact was brutally murdered. This is one of those films that they should show in schools to kick off a lesson on central america and how complex a place it is.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 3:22 p.m. CST

    The Onion Field.

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    Ties in nicely with Salvador. Savage gives one of the all time best performances in that flick. Woods is amazing too. It's a rather flat, depressing movie, but there the kidnapping sequence and the baby sequence are some of the best put on film, especially for that period.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 5:56 p.m. CST

    James Woods

    by Continentalop

    James Woods is one of thos guys who makes almost any movie entertaining (he took the Specialist from "God-awful" to "God-awful whenever James Woods isn't chewing up scenery"). But how can any discussion about James Woods not include Videodrome? <p> "Long live the New Flesh!"

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 6:04 p.m. CST


    by Continentalop

    He was very good in two films based on James Ellroy’s work: Cop, based on one of the Lloyd Hopkin’s books, “Blood on the Moon” (not that great of movie but LOVE Woods in it); and “Since I Don’t Have You”, for Showtime’s Fallen Angeles series, where Woods plays Mickey Cohen and Gary Busey does a great job playing sleazy PI/bagman Buzz Meeks.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 6:07 p.m. CST

    True Believer

    by scors48

    You should definitely check this film out--Woods and a young Robert Downey Jr. Also--I didn't remember seeing it on the list, but another really great Caan flick is Michael Mann's "Thief".

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 7:24 p.m. CST

    My underrated Woods favorite: Diggstown

    by Chewtoy

    I don't think it's possible to make a more "80s" movie than that one... And how can you beat James Woods and Bruce Dern trying to out-con each other? It's like oily personalities ooze off the screen...

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 10:10 p.m. CST

    The rape scene in 'Salvador' haunted me for days

    by david26

    Powerful movie definitely. And yes, Diggstown is a freaking classic in my book!

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 10:45 p.m. CST

    jim belushi at his best in Real Men

    by crazy4dragons13

    belush and ritter rule

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 10:50 p.m. CST

    by crazy4dragons13

    i liked when salvador was fighting that gang in the parkinl lot and he was like i am part viking and i'm gonna take you all down to valhalla before you kill me,

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 11:37 p.m. CST

    M-O-O-N. That spells "James Woods is awesome"

    by Tom Cullen just about everything he does, and he certainly nailed it here in Stone's superb Salvador. He's teriffic is Best Seller too, have fun with that, it's a really enjoyable 80's thriller, and the Dennehy vs Woods dynamic really is something to behold. <p>Anyway, speaking of the criminally under appreciated John Savage and the always awesome James Woods, The Onion Field, with those two in starring roles, is an absolute must see if you haven't done so already. Great film from Howard Becker, who went on to direct Woods again in the criminally little seen The Boost, which boasts another great Woods performance, this time as a white collar coke junkie stuck in an endless downwards spiral. Of course it's probably most famous for being the film where Woods hooked up with co-star Sean Young, who allegedly later superglued his cock to his leg during one of her bouts of crazy, although this is likely all urban myth, and both have always denied it ever happened (though Woods once said that it wasn't his leg that she glued it to, it was his Aaanyways...<p>Amongst my other fave James Woods roles would have to be True Believer, with Woods as a burnout ex civil rights lawyer, opposite Robert Downey jnr, The Hard Way, the all but forgotten early 90's buddy comedy he did with Michael J Fox, and the exceptionally enjoyable Diggstown. But my absolute fave, Videodrome, no contest. <p>Still Woods has given so many great performances, in everything from Casino, Nixon, The Virgin Suicides, True Crime and The Getaway remake, through to lesser seen films like cult film (in both senses of the word) Split Image, the under appreciated Eyewitness, and the all-but-forgotten Fast Walking. Plus regardless of what you think of the films, who could forget his kick ass Jack Crow in Carpenter's Vampires, or his role in the Quitter's Inc segment in the Stephen King anthology flick, Cat's Eye. Yep, James Woods is the fucking man.

  • Nov. 18, 2008, 11:59 p.m. CST

    "So anyway, I'm off to fight aliens on some faraway planet..."

    by malificus

    "That sounds like a great movie!" ""

  • Nov. 19, 2008, 12:33 a.m. CST

    Hey Quint, running late today, hmmmm?

    by cinemaniac

    Keen to read your take on Best Seller...