How'd I miss this one on the big screen? True Crime may have that feel of typical Clint Eastwood-self-promotion, but it is ultimately a considerably gripping meditation on the press and its role in the legal system. While elements feel a bit too much like Dead Man Walking, some excellent performances by Eastwood, Leary, and Woods make this a film worth watching. The story can be tepid and predictable at times, but overall it's a credible stab at crafting a legal thriller.
I recently caught Risky Business on cable for the umpteenth time, and realized that the roots of American Beauty can all be found in this groundbreaking film. Think of Tom Cruises's Joel as a Lester Burnham before he lost his wide-eyed youth. You can see a glimmer of it in Joel's existential monologue ("It seems to me that if there were any logic to our language, trust would be a four letter word."), and he's certainly got the devil-may-care attitude locked up. Case in point is the plot itself -- when Joel wrecks his parents' Porsche, he turns their house into a one-night-only brothel to raise the money to pay for the damages. Even the soundtrack has the same feeling to it. Of course, Cruise owns this movie -- with some excellent one-liners and a certain renowned dance move through the living room -- but what of the rest of the cast? Joe Pantoliano and Rebecca De Mornay have struggled to find some measure of success, but writer/director Paul Brickman is the film's most curious alumnus. In nearly 20 years, he's written a smattering of scripts and has directed only one additional picture, 1990's Men Don't Leave. Paul, didn't you learn anything from your man Joel?