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Hooper X looks at Norman Jewison's THE HURRICANE

Hey folks, last time we heard from ol Hooper X here, was about 10 months ago (if memory serves) when he was talking about ENEMY OF THE STATE. Well, this time he's here to discuss a totally different type of film.... And one that he claims may very well be in the running for a bunch of Oscars (of course it's always tough to start talking about that sort of thing till January 1st... but it never stops people) We've been hearing good things about this movie for a while now, and I have to say that I am a big fan of Norman Jewison's work and am hopeful for this movie. Word has it that a couple of Moriarty's henchmen might have been at this screening as well... I hear from him later I'm sure. Well... Here's Hooper X...

hey harry,

long time, no talk. i finally have a reason to write ya again. i've just returned from the film that will give Denzel Washington his first best actor oscar ("Glory" was a supporting oscar nimrods!). the film in question is of course, "The Bone Collector". just kidding about that, i just like getting nasty talk backs. actually, the film i just saw is Norman Jewison's "Lazarus and the Hurricane". We were told upon release (late dec.) the title would be "The Hurricane", but the print that screened tonight had the longer, and much more fitting title still attached.

for those of you not familiar with the story of Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, here it is in a nutshell. he was a very promising boxer in the 60's until he was framed for murder, and sentenced to life in jail (three times over!!). everyone from Ali to Dylan lent their support to free this man, with Dylan penning the classic song to help publicize the case. later on, some "do good" canadians (aren't they all?) and a high school kid befriend Carter and try to help him with his case. if this synopsis sounds simple and cliché, fear not, this film takes the story and fleshes it out with great detail.

this film is all but perfect in every detail. the acting by Denzel is incredible, this is an actor who when he's "on", there are few people that can match him. in this film he's on, and his portrayal of Carter is amazing. this man can say more with just a simple gesture or look in his eyes than a whole cast of the latest teen flick. plus, Denzel pulls a deniro by getting into insanely great shape for this role. the man looks bad-ass!!! the supporting players are all above average too. vicellous shannon plays the high schooler who, while learning to read, "discovers" the autobiography of carter which leads to their friendship. i have no idea what this kid has been in before but he is a real find. his scenes with Denzel are just further proof this kids got a great future, he reminds me of a young forrest whitaker. deborah unger, liev schreiber, john hannah, & dan hedaya round out a very good cast.

i feel like i've already gone on for too long so i'll try to wrap things up now. this film should be in the oscar hunt for more than just Denzel, too. jewison has crafted an incredibly well-made film, i just pray that no one steps in to screw things up. i predict that universal will try and persuade him to trim the roughly two and half hour film down to make it more "user friendly", hopefully the buzz will keep the film intact. in this year of great films (iron giant,limbo,run lola run, just to name a few) it's pretty amazing to see one that stands above all others. "Lazarus and the Hurricane" does just that.

take care harry

Hooper X out!!

Oh yeah, on a completely non-review note the real Rubin Carter was their too. saying he looked happy is a huge understatement!!

we also "ran into" adam sandler coming in the see something on our way out- just to complete the surreal post screening part of the evening.

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 25, 1999, 3:09 a.m. CST

    Everybody hide under there seat!!!! I'm gonna be frank!

    by mademan

    Now don't get me wrong, I love "Rocky" and "Raging Bull", but the boxing thing doesn't entice me anymore. To me there is no feeling to it. No emotions. Thats why I can't wait to see "Fight Club". Men get in the fights IN SEARCH OF emotion and feeling in that film (or the book at least). I think we're looking at another "Beloved". Lot's of Oscar hype, no turnout.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 4:01 a.m. CST

    Everybody hide under their seat! I'm goona be Marge!

    by Nordling

    He he he...actually looking forward to this one. Hey, it's this or another Rocky movie...

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 4:44 a.m. CST

    Everybody hide under their seat!!!! I'm gonna be McBain!

    by rulookin

    Just felt like continuing the line... anyways, I've not really heard of this movie, but, I sure hope Washington gets his "Best Actor" oscar soon. He was totally robed (in my opinion) for "He Got Game". I hope he finally gets one soon, and if this the one that gets him one, all the best. I'll be their in line, waiting....

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 4:56 a.m. CST

    Everybody hide under their seat!!!! I'm gonna be Sir Edmund Hil

    by mrbeaks

    It'd be nice to see Norman Jewison return to form, but I'd be most pleased to see Denzel get the Best Actor Oscar he was denied for MALCOLM X (you know, the year Pacino got what amounted to a Lifetime Achievement Award for his subtle, nuanced work in SCENT OF A WOMAN.)

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 5:37 a.m. CST

    Don't Forget FAT CITY

    by mrbeaks

    That was a great boxing flick directed by John Huston, and starring Stacey Keach and Jeff Bridges. Pretty downbeat, but worth it for the performances, and the typically great direction. Also, I think DIGGSTOWN is a fantastic boxing movie. Great twists, well-choreographed fights, and immensley entertaining. It bombed undeservedly upon its initial release back in '92, but has steadily built up a solid reputation since then. If you haven't seen it, rent it immediately.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 5:56 a.m. CST

    It's not really a boxing film.

    by gilmour

    Who said that this is going to be a boxing film? Ruben Carter spent 20 years in prison for a crime he didnt commit. The film will mainly concentrate on his prison time and the process of trying to get him out.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 7 a.m. CST

    look at it this way. . .

    by MadBoy

    Saying you're not going to like a film because it is about boxing is like saying you didn't like The Natural, or Bull Durham, because they were about baseball. They are fantastic films which use the sport as a vehicle for a story about people. It's not about *boxing*, it's about a boxer, and that's an important distinction.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Why Mr. Beaks, What Are You Implying?

    by Anton_Sirius

    If I were half the man I was twenty posts ago, I'd take a FLAMETHROWER to this site! (Sigh.) The really sad part of it all is that Al saw that Oscar as some sort of validation, and proceeded to ruin his career by going further and further over the top. I truly fear for Every Given Sunday- Stone isn't exactly noted for reining in his actors. And why has no one mentioned When We Were Kings in the great boxing movie sweepstakes? Sports only make good movie vehicles based on how much they speak (metaphorically) to the human condition, and there is nothing quite so primal as boxing. Man vs. man, man vs. himself- classic stuff. Hockey movies are invariably the worst (well, not counting arm wrestling). I don't know why that is.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Hockey movies are the worst?

    by gilmour

    Then you obviously havent seen "Slapshot" one of the funniest damn films ever. Because it was comedy ,no one mentions it as one of the best sports films but damn is it funny.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 8:51 a.m. CST

    No. . . .

    by MadBoy

    WRESTLING movies are the very, very worst. Hockey. . . at least we have Slapshot, and Mystery, Alaska has promise. Baseball is a great vehicle because it's such a popular game. Football is rarely done well (Necessary Roughness, anyone? But then there is The Best Of Times), basketball has some good ones (Hoosiers, He Got Game), but also some terrible ones (Blue Chips? UGH). Boxing, in many ways, is the most successful sports genre, for exactly the reasons mentioned above, because it's not just about beating another man down, it's about inner strength as well. Sports like boxing are so hard because there is only one person to blame for the loss, it's all about you. Somewhat irrelevant because this movie isn't about the sport itself, but about what happens to him. BUt I'm sure it will be filled with metaphor, which I can easaily see. I have great faith in this one.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Well Allow Me To Retort

    by Anton_Sirius

    Slapshot is indeed an amazingly funny movie, but can even the Hanson Brothers overcome the unrelenting evil of the Mighty Duck, er, products? (I refuse to call them movies.) And wrestling? I'm sorry, I thought we were talking about SPORTS movies... that is, when we weren't talking about how great Denzel is and how awful Pacino has become. Besides which, if I'm not mistaken, by the bounds of the debate as defined above Barton Fink qualifies as a wrestling picture, so nyah nyah. And I'm truly shocked that more people so far have leapt to the defense of hockey movies (2) than have stood up for the star of Scarface, Serpico and the Godfather trilogy (0). C'mon people, I'm here at work for another six hours and I am BORED STIFF. Throw me a frickin' bone.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 9:16 a.m. CST


    by gilmour

    Ok he has given great performances but did you see him in "Heat" , man that was overacting at its finest. De Niro blew him away in that film. I loved the movie but that scene with Al screaming , "Give Me What You've Got", "Give me What You've Got" was histerical

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 10:35 a.m. CST

    sports films

    by MadBoy

    More great sports films? Major League, He Got Game, The Best of Times, Tin Cup (though golf is questionable), DIGGSTOWN!!!(GREAT boxing movie), Cobb, Hoosiers the list goes on. Hell, I even got a kick out of Varsity Blues A greta film CAN be made out of sports films. And I truly think this will be a great film. Denzel deserves recognition, and doesn't get it enough. I mean, he was ROBBED for no supporting actor oscar in Phialdelphia. Robbed, I tell you. This will be his new chance. And as for Any Given Sunday, I think the key to it will be Jamie Foxx, not Pacino. Pacino in HEAT mode might be just right for a football coach. Jamie Foxx is still very unproven (um, Booty Call anyone?). But Denzel will shine in Hurricane. Mark my words.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 11:25 a.m. CST

    getting your oscars off

    by JEZEBEL

    What is this constant reference to the oscars have to do with anything? Haven't you people learned by now that the Oscars are meaningless? And what do you care if Denzel has won or might win the oscar? What the hell does it have to do with you? Besides, you haven't even SEEN the movie yet! All you should concern yourselves with is whether it is a good movie or not. God, you Americans and your constant need to be scorekeepers and making note of what is #1 or what is making the most money. Your such a bunch of lemmings. Do any of you honestly believe there is anything all that great about Roberto Benigni, or Shakespeare in love, or that Gwyneth Paltrow's performance was anywhere near the caliber of Cate Blanchett's in last years oscars? I'm beginning to think it is like some surrogate penis or something.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 12:11 p.m. CST


    by gilmour

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Hey Jezebel. . .

    by MadBoy

    "YOU AMERICANS" ??? At the risk of sounding offensive. . . Eat shit, motherfucker. 1) I am not an American. 2) This has nothing to do with keeping score, it has to do with what I consider to be a great actor getting the recognition he deserves. 3) SOME people are interested in the Oscars, not as a popularity contest or as keeping score, but because we simply find it interesting to compare films. 4) When you go to a baseball game or a soccer game or whatever the fuck sporting event you go to since you're so obviously and vocally not an American, do you care who wins? Answer me that. Of course I do, I care about the things that I enjoy, and I wish them the recognition they deserve. Oh - one more thing. Watch your mouth the next time you choose to make sweeping generalizations.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Rob Lowe hockey flick?

    by TheDman

    When one is discussing excellent cinematic treatment of sports, one must always include that glorious Robb Lowe movie about junior league hockey. It also starred Patrick Swayze as the learned veteran, and Cynthia Gibb as the (often naked!!) coach's daughter. Does anyone out there remember the name of this garbage flick?

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 12:38 p.m. CST


    by MatrixOracle

    Man, considering the number of Oscar-worthy films Universal is coming out with/ has come out with this year, I don't know if there's any point in any other studio guys even bothering to show up. Besides this one, they've got Snow Falling on Cedars, Man on the Moon, and October Sky, which are all credible Oscar contenders. I don't work for Universal, but considering the crap they've been coming out with for the past few years, this is quite a turnaround.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Hurricane? HURRICANE?

    by Pencil-Neck

    Volcano, Twister, Armageddon, and now Hurricane? How many more of these stupid disater movies will Hollywood churn out. This flick will rot.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 1:36 p.m. CST

    The Best Movie Of The Year.........

    by Felix The Cat

    I was there last night as well. Had just gotten back into to town after a two week absence and in no real mood to care about any picture about boxing. I got dragged and will be thanking my friend forever for having done so. This movie is not gonna be easy to market by any means. It can't really be defined that easy. It's so many things and in the end is all about hope and the human spirit. I would implore Universal to keep the title of "Lazurus And The Hurricane." It's the true title of the film as this is not just about the life of Ruben Carter. Marketing the movie as that is missing a even bigger part of the film and the life of all those he touched and in turn fought for the man. Not just because he was innocent but because it was right. That is the heart of the film. Ruben may be the anchor but the story isn't just about him. It's about everyone and everything that led to his release. And the heart of that is Lesra. I don't know what it took to get this movie made and i'm sure it wasn't easy. I have a draft that is over 12 years old. Never got around to reading it but flipping thru it now, I can see the changes that didn't happen. This is a amazing movie and pray and hope it will find it's audience. It did last night. I have no doubt that buzz will carry. As for Denzel, I love his work forever and never seen him put more heart into something. I pray he gets the respect and reviews he deserves as we know Norman Jewison will. All and all it's my favorite film of the year. They did us proud. FTC

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Rob Lowe is... Youngblood

    by drwatson

    And yes, it was awful. By the way, the best sport movie of all time.... Rocky.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 1:46 p.m. CST


    by Thresh

    was the movie with Rob Lowe. I love that garbage... As a matter of fact, I love being American. I love big cars, big tits, and big meals. I'm 10 pounds overweight and swimming in cellulite. I also love to talk loud, eat louder, and have a trophy wife. Stereotypes, anyone????

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Brigette Wilson Is Staring At Me!

    by Anton_Sirius

    When did 'American' become such a vile insult? Was I away that day? And don't be lumping Roberto in with Gwyneth 'I'm the Whitest Woman In The World!' Paltrow just 'cause they got their Shiny Bald Guys on the same night. Roberto actually has some talent and is a very gifted comedic actor- go find Johnny Stecchino if you don't believe me. The Oscars haven't meant that much this decade (and especially since Harvey got in the game) but what would you prefer- the Golden Globes? Oh, that right, you'd prefer NO awards, that we just appreciate film for film's sake and stop trying to compare everything, right you socialist git?

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 3:35 p.m. CST

    ask ruben what he thinks of America!

    by gilmour

    It's ironic we're talking about Ruben Carter and american bashing when Ruben no longer lives in the good ol'U.S of A because america totally fucked him.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 4:52 p.m. CST

    I Just Asked Rubin Carter What He Thinks Of America!

    by mrbeaks

    He said it was "so-so," but that he's becoming a really big fan of Luxembourg. He's also an avid pog collector, and has yet to see THE PHANTOM MENACE, but was quick to inform me that he didn't mean that as a slight to George Lucas, and went on to say that he has nothing but the highest regard for the Star Wars Universe. All in all, a pretty swell guy.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 6:28 p.m. CST

    I asked Mr.Carter something too...

    by gilmour

    I asked him what he thought of Mrbeaks and he said, "so-so".

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Rubin Said That?

    by mrbeaks

    Geez, I can't figure out how to take that. Kind of fifty-fifty, no? Did he *sound* like he meant it in a good way, or was he more blase, like "beaks? I can take or leave that guy," kind of manner? Again, he seemed awfully nice to me, but what do I know? I was hangin' with Darryl Strawberry not a week before his arrest this spring, and I was like, "Darryl, you got this drug thing licked?" And he was like, "dude, ain't no thing." And I *believed* him. Can I tell you how *crushed* I was when I heard the news? Teach me to take people at their word. Like that time I was having dinner at Sizzler with Stacey Keach.....

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 7:52 p.m. CST

    yes he did...

    by gilmour

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 8:46 p.m. CST

    I'm afraid of americans

    by JEZEBEL

    First of all, I'm not saying there should be no awards shows. What I'm saying, as some of you have clearly misundersood, is that whether Denzel wins an oscar or not, it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with you. What movie makes number one at the box office on any given week-end has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with you. I would love it if this movie gets alot of recognition for being a good movie, if that is in fact the case. But since when is the oscars a validation of what is worthy of recognition? Pulp Fiction lost to FOREST GUMP for god's sake! And if it wins something because you liked it, does that make you on the winning team? Because, you realize, of course, that you had NO PART in making it. If I have offended some of you who may be american, I apologize. Just don't throw a nuclear missile on me. But you know what I'm saying is true just a little bit. If you can't see it, you're deluding yourselves. You live in a bubble. And movies are not the superbowl. And I can say, after growing up watching lame Italian game shows, that in my humble opinion, Roberto Benigni is nothing more that a typical Italian game show buffoon. And if I have offended any one of you who may be Italian, hold your keypad, because I AM Italian.

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 8:52 p.m. CST

    wha's a matter you?

    by JEZEBEL

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to take the grease out of my hair and have some pizza while my mafia dad must go clean someone's clock. I lov-a evereebodee!!!!

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 9:08 p.m. CST

    Sporting news...

    by Powerslave

    Kudos to the person who mentioned 'The Bad News Bears' as a great sports movie. It seems every kiddie sports movie tries to rip it off, but none succeed, probably because they end up making it all sweet and sappy. 'BNB' had sting, and it still holds up well. Someone also mentioned 'Major League.' A bit too formulaic for my taste, but still an entertaining movie. I especially liked the ending, with Charlie Sheen coming out of the bullpen, while 'Wild Thing' plays over the P.A., and the crowd goes nuts. Apparently, Trevor Hoffman of the San Diego Padres liked it too. Does anyone remember last year's National League playoffs, with Hoffman coming out of the Padre's bullpen, the crowd going nuts, and "Hell's Bells" playing on the P.A.? Very cool sporting moment. As for 'The Hurricane,' in my eyes, Denzel can do no wrong (except for Virtuosity, maybe).

  • Aug. 25, 1999, 9:33 p.m. CST


    by Dawson's Crack

    Sports suck, but they make for good movies.

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 12:39 a.m. CST

    Two more sports movies

    by Alessan

    Two movies you guys have forgotten: the hilarious "White Men Can't Jump", and the masterpiece "Big Lebowsky", which may not exactly be a sports film, but its "hero" truly captures the essence of what it means to be a bowler. Oh, and Jezebel, you must be a sad, sad person. You really have a problem with people having fun, don't you?

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 6:21 a.m. CST

    so if the real carter was there,

    by Mean Ween

    then i guess he was acquitted or something. anyone out there know?

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 7:10 a.m. CST

    Eggs stick to my shirt

    by nightrain

    Carter's conviction was overturned at the Federal Court level. I saw the film last week and it was incredible. IMHO the thrust of the film was what Carter had to do to "do the time" and the change that this brought in his persona. Washington's acting in this will be one of those set peices that they study in acting schools for years to come.

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Forrest was better!

    by gilmour

    Pulp Fiction screwed up its chance for an oscar with that weird,gay rape scene in the middle. If you wanna talk about dumb oscars,why the hell did silence of the lambs win in 91'? It's the only film ever to sweep all 5 top oscars, I just dont get it.

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 11:42 a.m. CST

    These things

    by Flumberjums

    Dan Hedaya is an obvious character actor who automatically decreases the value of whatever production he's in. His presence is lazy casting. Run Lola Run blows. SOUTH PARK: B,L&U is the best film of the year and it should be canonized. Julien, Donkey Boy is going to put all the geezers to shame. Ghostbusters rules and Phantom Menace shit the bed.

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Jewison's Other Great Sports Film....

    by big_rob

    While we're on the subject of great sports films, let's not forget Norman Jewison's OTHER great sports film -- ROLLERBALL! James Caan's and John Houseman's greatest performances! When it first came out (back in '75), I must have went to see it a dozen times. I can still hear the crowd chanting "Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan...."

  • Aug. 26, 1999, 3:35 p.m. CST

    What you talkin about flumberjums?

    by gilmour

    Dan Hedaya is a great character actor.

  • Aug. 30, 1999, 12:58 a.m. CST

    And the Best FUTURE Sports Film Is...

    by Agent Mulder

    Anybody out there read or know anything about "The Almost Perfect Game"? Woody Harrelson's attached to produce and star as nutball Red Sox pitcher Bill "Spaceman" Lee and the thing's been in development hell at Paramount for a couple years now. The script (by love-him-or-hate-him CNN movie reviewer Paul Tatara) kicks major ass; it reads like one of those mid-70s rebel-with-a-cause flicks Nicholson used to star in (Cuckoo's Nest, Five Easy Pieces) before he started doing Christian Slater impressions. Great dialogue, hilarious setpieces, paced like a bat out of hell -- would somebody in charge smarten up and make this thing already?

  • Feb. 13, 2003, 9:24 a.m. CST

    This movie is a disgrace. It would be easier

    by ZappaDawg

    to point out what is true in this movie than what is false, because the latter would take way too long. Carter was a thug and is dishonest. He got "framed" liked OJ got framed.

  • Aug. 30, 2006, 10 a.m. CST

    I'm out of TP, so I can use him.

    by Wolfpack