Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

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Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

#1 Post by Jeff » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:52 pm

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Re: Passages

#2 Post by jorencain » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:44 pm

That's awful. Although his output was a little spotty, I love "Wonder Boys." I'm going to have to watch it again this weekend.

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Re: Passages

#3 Post by domino harvey » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:10 pm

My exact thoughts. Wonder Boys (both the book and movie considered together in tandem with each other, as they both address flaws with the other) has really grown into one of my personal favorites

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Re: Passages

#4 Post by swo17 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:21 pm

I know you also like his Too Big to Fail. And I remember being fond of In Her Shoes.

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Re: Passages

#5 Post by Brian C » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:22 pm

Same here. Wonderful performances all around, including by some actors I don't normally like very much.

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Re: Passages

#6 Post by domino harvey » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:36 pm

swo17 wrote:I know you also like his Too Big to Fail
Oh that's right-- yes, that is a great one also!

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Re: Passages

#7 Post by John Cope » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:43 pm

Bad Influence. Bedroom Window. Both superior thrillers. Both overdue for that recognition and critical re-evaluation.

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Re: Passages

#8 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:31 am

I'm afraid I'm rather conventional in that I love Hanson's 90s run of films, from Rebecca De Mornay's career defining performance as the nanny-from-hell in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (so strong she was still getting similar roles in 2010 in the Mother's Day remake!), the great River Wild (which is less tougher and existential than Deliverance but also rather like Cliffhanger but with a female lead, in the sense that its another film about a confident outdoors person getting hijacked by criminals and having to fight back) and L.A. Confidential, which is absolutely fantastic for most of its running time until the slightly cliched shootout climax. But that's one recent film that seemed like it succcessfully straddled the line between being enamoured with the surface, and simultaneously appalled by the dark underbelly, of 1950s Los Angeles, bringing a modern sensibility but not letting it overwhelm its period setting.

I've also hoped that Wonder Boys might get a Criterion release some time soon. That's got perhaps Michael Douglas's best performance in it and another great Tobey Maguire performance that is kind of in the vein of his watchful Ice Storm character, only in this film the audience is looking through Douglas's eyes at the young man, rather than the young man looking at the 'adults'!

Plus there's that Eminem starring film 8 Mile - I'm not into rap but that was quite a big film at the time wasn't it?

I'd also forgotten until just now that he was one of the co-writers on Sam Fuller's White Dog, and is interviewed on Criterion's DVD of the film. Hanson also wrote the screenplay for one the best of the early H.P. Lovecraft adaptations, The Dunwich Horror.

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Re: Passages

#9 Post by Rayon Vert » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:58 am

colinr0380 wrote:I'd also forgotten until just now that he was one of the co-writers on Sam Fuller's White Dog, and is interviewed on Criterion's DVD of the film.
Seems like he was a big Fuller fan. He was also on Sony's Samuel Fuller Collection. I enjoyed The River Wild many times, just in terms of sheer thrill/entertainment.

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Re: Passages

#10 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:03 am

Terribly sad but not unexpected given that he was unable to finish his last film due to a sudden illness and that was over five years ago. Wonder Boys and L.A. Confidential are two peaks in big studio filmmaking, back when they were still interested in doing something much more memorable with their money, and 8 Mile was much, much better than anything one could expect from a Purple Rain-type cash-in of a big recording star with no acting experience.

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Re: Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

#11 Post by dadaistnun » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:57 am

I went to see Blue Steel on opening day, having been a fan of Near Dark. Either the theater didn't receive the print or that particular projector was down, so I went to see Bad Influence instead, knowing nothing about it other than it starred James Spader & Rob Lowe (plus wasn't this fairly recently after Lowe's videotape escapades?). I loved it, much more so than the Bigelow film (though to be fair, I don't think I've revisited Blue Steel since).

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Re: Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

#12 Post by Kat » Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:57 pm

Wonder Boys is one of my favourite films, a great pick me up. I'd watch it tonight but leant it to someone I'll not get it back from I think. I'm very sad to hear this.

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Re: Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

#13 Post by dustybooks » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:58 pm

I agree with everyone about Wonder Boys, such a wonderful and engaging comedy with respect for its characters. And while I'm much more strongly aware of the flaws in L.A. Confidential, I watched it over and over again as a teenager and will always fondly remember it. I'm quite sure it had some effect on my taste for classic Hollywood noir later on.

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Re: Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

#14 Post by chucktatum » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:23 pm

I'm really bummed about this news. Echoing many people on this thread, I think LA Confidential and Wonder Boys are both masterpieces - and the fact that he made them consecutively is proof he was at the top of his game. I'm also fond of his other films before and after these, especially The River Wild.

I know the low box office dissuaded Paramount from ever releasing Wonder Boys in HD. I've lost count of how many times I've emailed Criterion about it, as it seems like a perfect film for them and he's already "in" the collection because of White Dog. Maybe we can email them en masse and get them on it.

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Re: Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

#15 Post by barryconvex » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:17 pm

I always thought some of Hanson's best work was his script for the little seen 1978 heist/neo-noir The Silent Partner with Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer. I think that might've been his first screenplay credit. I also really enjoyed his piece on In A Lonely Place on the Criterion blu-ray. Definitely a talent that will be missed..

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Re: Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

#16 Post by Polybius » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:46 am

barryconvex wrote:I always thought some of Hanson's best work was his script for the little seen 1978 heist/neo-noir The Silent Partner with Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer.
I'll recommend that, as well. That era was full of little gems like that. First place I ever heard anyone tell someone else to go fuck themselves.

I don't know what possessed me to watch Wonder Boys for the first time. Douglas was at a major low ebb for me at that time but he quickly reminded me of just how good he could be in the proper context.

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Re: Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

#17 Post by D50 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:16 am

Just watched The Wonder Boys last week.

09-13-16 - Wonder Boys (2000), Curtis Hanson 111 L

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Re: Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

#18 Post by RobertAltman » Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:04 am

Recently rewatched both L.A. Confidential and Wonder Boys, and still love them both. At the time, i looked up his filmography, and read about Too Big To Fail for the first time. I hadn't heard of it before, but I see know it's been mentioned a few times on this forum. Yesterday seemed the right time to watch it, and it's a very good movie. I think it was Knives who compared the script to Mamet, and that's a fitting comparison. Is this the last good thing James Woods has done? He was great here, and it's a good reminder of how much energy he can bring to a part when he's on. I haven't seen The River Wild since the VHS days, but watched it a lot back then. For years I, for some reason, thought Kevin Bacon was the guy who played Meryl Streep's wife, and David Strathairn was the villain. This led to, among other things, an intense argument where I refused to admit that Kevin Bacon was the guy in Tremors. Those where the days before internet access...

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Re: Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

#19 Post by beamish13 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:02 pm

Even if Hanson had never directed a single film, his work on The Silent Partner, Never Cry Wolf and White Dog alone would've
guaranteed his place in the pantheon. I echo the love for Bad Influence, which is incredible fun, and Hanson deserves recognition for his
work as a consultant on WB's restoration of The Big Red One and contributions to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

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Re: Curtis Hanson (1945-2016)

#20 Post by bearcuborg » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:21 am

I can't say much more about Wonder Boys, other than I seem to love it as much as everyone here. I just caught up with 8 Mile a year ago, and much to my surprise it hit of the same notes, smaller moments with interesting characters that build towards a portrait that feels very real.

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