As of this writing I have Two And A Half Men on in the background as I wait for Archer to come on (if you don't watch Archer you should) and it got me thinking. Some of these crazy actors used to be talented. So, in that vein, here are 3 forgotten movies from the 3 major 'gone crazy' actors: Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen.
Tom Cruise's movie, this, like so many good movies, is adapted from a Phillip K Dick story. The premise is that 3 psychic teenagers have the combined power to predict when someone is about to get murdered, allowing the police to prevent the murder. But it turns out, as you might guess, it's not 100 percent reliable and a police captain is being accused. So he kidnaps one of the psychics and bolts.
In terms of Phillip K Dick based sci-fi films it's nowhere near the heights of Blade Runner or even A Scanner Darkly (which, if you haven't seen you need to). The abilities of the psychics are a little too vague, a lot of interesting ideas are hinted at and then forgotten, at times it seems torn between being a serious piece of cinema (ala Blade Runner) and an action heavy chase movie (ala Total Recall) and the ending is kind of a copout. But all those problems don't stop the film from being fun, and a smart script and some good acting makes it actually pretty damned good. So if you like smart sci-fi, give it a look.
This one's a bit weird. Based on an old western tv series and starring Mel Gibson, it's based around the titular Brett Maverick trying to get a hold of 25,000 to enter a poker championship and prove to himself how good he really is. Along the way he meets an aging lawman (James Garner) and a sexy thief (Jodie Foster).
It's a film who's problems are all overridden by how much fun it is. Mel Gibson plays a perfect suave but awkward and cowardly card shark (there are remarkably few gunfights), Jodie Foster does an amazing sexy (no really) and Graham Greene appears in a small role doing a fantastic comedic spin on his usual role. Oh and there's the funny meta casting with James Garner who played Maverick in the tv series (and there's a twist involving that, trust me). It's not a world changing classic, but it's funny and enjoyable and remarkably pleasant when you're in the mood for it.
Hot Shots! & Hot Shots! Part Duex
Approximately 10 percent of you have actually seen these two films and are nodding in appreciation. I won't even go into the plots, because these 2 are working the same basic style as Airplane! only focusing on Top Gun and Rambo, respectively, with Charlie Sheen in the lead of both (and he pulls both off, both personality wise and physically).
Yes, this particular sub-subgenre would eventually stagnate into pure shit (Epic Movie is one of the most atrociously awful films I've ever had to sit through) but it has been responsible for some of the best comedies ever made too. Airplane! Top Secret. Naked Gun. And these ones work, so fantastically, from their laser focus on their respective movies (The second one is essentially a beat-for-beat comedy remake of the third Rambo movie), to Charlie Sheen's incredible ability to deliver absurd dialogue and do absurd things with a complete straight face, to Lloyd Bridges' FANTASTIC mix of crazy old man and physical comedy, to Cary Elwes reminding us why Mel Brooks chose him to hold up his Robin Hood spoof.
And before I go, if you haven't seen Top Secret! do so ASAP. Not just because it's hysterical, but because you need to see how well Val Kilmer can sing (he spends the entire movie doing a long form Elvis riff).
So that's 3 movies...well 4 that I've recommended. Well 5. 6 if you count A Scanner Darkly. Yeah. That should last you a while.