TALKED UP AT FLICKERING MYTH, SCREEN RANT, AND FEELIN' THE LOVE IN PHILLY
"You liked Rocky. You loved Witness," Gary Thompson, film critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, said to readers in an online post this morning. "And now readers have flooded The Inquirer’s 'One Movie, One Philadelphia' with excellent suggestions for other movies to watch together while we’re in lockdown — the strong favorite being Blow Out, the 1981 Bicentennial thriller with John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, and Dennis Franz (as lowlife Manny Karp, the anti-Sipowicz). But before we move on to Brian De Palma and his R-rated hooker noir, we wanted to find something appropriate for all ages to watch this weekend and weigh in on."
And so, while this week's "One Movie, One Philadelphia" will have The Inquirer's readers watching Nicolas Cage in National Treasure over the weekend, and posting their comments about that film before midnight on Sunday, it looks like Blow Out will definitely be highlighted later this month. In the meantime, two other websites included Blow Out in their lists today. At Flickering Myth, Tom Jolliffe offered up "10 essential paranoia films," a list that includes The Conversation:
Possibly the greatest paranoia film ever. Francis Ford Coppola’s masterful film sees Gene Hackman catch a suggestive conversation from two ‘targets’ he’s been asked to tap. A progressive trail of events unfold and Hackman, still haunted by the collateral damage from some of his previous jobs, believes he’s unwittingly put a young couple in danger.
The nefarious company Hackman deals with make vague threats when he questions them, and then his mental state begins to unravel. For a film that Coppola did as a kind of quickie between his two Godfather epics, The Conversation is stunningly crafted. The offsetting score really adds to this unsettling atmosphere. By the time Hackman has lost his marbles completely, and the film has ended brilliantly, you’ll be left stunned.
And of course, Jolliffe also includes Blow Out:
Back to a sound man finding himself drawn into a web of murder after recording more than he bargained for. Brian De Palma’s wonderful homage to vintage era Hitchcock (as well as no small nod to Antonioni’s Blow Up, and the aforementioned The Conversation) has everything you’d expect from his peak era work.
Travolta probably gives his best performance. Given how huge a fan Tarantino is of this film in particularly, and the surprising choice to cast Travolta in Pulp Fiction back in the day, it’s likely his work in this contributed heavily to why he ended up dancing with Uma Thurman on screen in 94. Travolta and fellow Carrie alumni, Nancy Allen are both excellent in this and the film is brilliantly shot and expertly paced. De Palma’s trademark style is in full effect, and completely effective for this kind of histrionic thriller. If Coppola dialled it all back for his thriller, De Palma keeps it all out and it contrasts beautifully with The Conversation (rather than battling it for supremacy).
"TRAVOLTA'S BEST-YET-MOST-UNDERRATED ROLE"
And also today, Jake Dee at Screen Rant ranks Travolta's "10 best roles," with Jack Terry in Blow Out coming in at number 5...even though it sounds like Dee is actually saying it is Travolta's best...? Read on:
Travolta's best-yet-most-underrated role is almost certainly that of Jack Terry in Brian De Palma's equally unheralded 1981 thriller Blow Out. See this movie if you haven't already!
Jack Terry is a soundman for low-budget horror films. While out recording nighttime sounds, he accidentally records a car crashing off of a bridge into a lake. The car belongs to a powerful politician who dies in the wreckage. What seems like an accident is discovered by Jack to be an assassination conspiracy after he carefully studies his recording. The final line Travolta gives is truly chilling!
Jake Dee's top four Travolta roles: Vincent Vega - Pulp Fiction (#1), Tony Manero - Saturday Night Fever (#2), Danny Zuko - Grease (#3), and Chili Palmer - Get Shorty (#4).