To honour Bill Paxton I'd thought I'd see a few of his movies that I missed the first time round.
I chose A Simple Plan, Near Dark, and Frailty (which he also directed)
Out of these, Raimi's A Simple Plan is probably the most solid. Paxton is the lead for a change and carries it well. There's a slight resemblance to Fargo - as what should have been a straightforward crime caper spirals out of control. It's all plausible up to the end, when the resolution requires the plot/characters to strain slightly too far into melodrama. Decent cinematography, and career-best acting from Paxton. 8/10
Near Dark - apparently it's a cult movie now, probably among people who grew up with it. Seeing it now after a decade of vampire movies, it feels a little cheap. Old vampires lead a precarious itinerant life.. drifting vagabonds. A bit implausible. You'd think you'd have a routine down pat after a few decades where you're not going to caught outside when the sun rises. And a nice compound interest bank account.
James Cameron's Aliens' buddies are also in it (Lance Henrikson and Jenette Goldstein) and the WIKI page says Cameron Himself (Praise Be Upon Him) makes a cameo but I couldn't find it. Cameron's 3rd wife directed it (Kathryn Bigelow) with lots of cliched '80s night lighting (unmotivated harsh blue backlighting, smoke, etc) and slushy synth score. The leads are bland, and it suffers from a small budget that limits the action. They blew the money on flame effects. After it was over, I had the reaction "is that it?" - a very slight story. Paxton's over-the-top over-acting is a highlight. 6/10
Frailty - a twisty murder-mystery starring Matthew Mcconaughey. it's got the same structure as Usual Suspects where one unreliable narrator tells a story. Paxton plays a religious lunatic on a demon-killing crusade that involves his sons in the ritual murders. Feels like a TV movie (a la Stephen King) at times. More 80s-esque unmotivated lighting in that rose garden. I can understand why he didn't pursue his directing career. Few actors successfully make the transition to directing. 6/10
All three are worth seeing if you're a Paxton fan, but if you need to pick just one, go with A SIMPLE PLAN.
Any other Paxton films worth seeing (other than the obvious Cameron collaborations)???
not long to go now...