“This is a movie I gotta remember for the Kevin Bacon game: Woody Allen, Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Natasha Lyonne, Alan Alda, Gaby Hoffman, Tim, Roth, Goldie Hawn, Natalie Portman, Lukas Haas, and of course, Edward Norton. When I first watched this, I remember it being the first Woody Allen film I actually enjoyed. I’m sure I’ve said this before but I knew someone in high school who was to Woody Allen what I am to Quentin Tarantino. He subjected me to many of his films and I never really liked them. But then I watched this one out of my own free will, but why I mean I was still on my quest to see all of Edward Norton’s work.
This was just before I started to get into musical theatre, so I think I still found the musical set up kinda strange. Certainly something I have more of an appreciation for now. Actually watching this now, and after IMDB trivia told me that Edward Norton was asked to sing a little less good (Woody Allen wanted very real sounding voices) I kinda wanna see him in a legit musical. That’d be kind of amazing.
Here he plays the love-ably doofy, Holden, which is prolly his sweetest performance. It’s also a side we haven’t seen as much in recent years, but it looks absolutely adorable on him as a young’un.
But yeah this movie def has a very Woody Allen vibe, plus jazz hands!! Which I certainly have a new appreciation for that I didnt have ten years ago.”
“Ah yes, the typical I-remember-when-I-first-saw-this-movie antecdote that tends to accompany any write up I do on an older movie. Let’s journey back to high school. I’d already established Edward Norton as my favorite actor. I was determined to watch every single one of his movies, and was in the process of realizing that I very much enjoyed every single one of his movies. As I was making my way thru the list, the time came for me to use the power of my Blockbuster card to rent The People Vs Larry Flynt. Now, let me remind you a little bit about High School Dawn. High School Dawn lived at home with very conservative Christian parents. High School Dawn was very active in the church youth group. High School Dawn was about as much of a quiet and shy goody goody as you could possibly get. And now High School Dawn walks into the house with a movie about the guy behind Hustler magazine. Yeeeeeah, I waited until the ‘rents weren’t home to watch it. And I was kinda squeamishly uncomfortable thru most of it. I spent a good while just wondering what the \m/ I was doing watching this movie, and even wondered if I’d gotten the wrong thing since it takes a good 30 minutes for Edward Norton to first make an appearance.
But as the movie went on, I was drawn in. At this point, all I knew of Woody Harrelson was those few episodes of Will & Grace that he did, though of course at the time I didnt know him by name yet. But since then he has been towards the top of my watch list. Just such a stunning and deep and mezmorizing portrayal. The details of what were going on may have made me uncomfortable during that first watch, but I was so completely allied with the characters and the overall story. The idea of freedom of speech and expression is something that is very important to me.
As far as Edward Norton goes, I do love his limited scenes. He’s got some great courtroom scenes. Certainly a smart career move taking on this film as a follow up to Primal Fear since it kept him in the big leagues with some big names in Hollywood. He masterfully holds his own against such an insane larger than life character.
High School Dawn has definitely grown up and come a long way in the 10 years or so since I first watched this. For one, I’m not shrinking into my seat in shame as I watch this today. There’s this one bus stop in LA that I tend to end up at at least once per trip that’s right by the Flynt Building, and I can’t help by smile as I see it.”
“First movie on the Edward Norton mini project and we’ve already got our first repeat with my Top 100. There’ll be a few of those. Although there wont be any overlap with AFI on this one, but I do forsee a possible double overlap with the subject of the next planned mini project. Lips sealed.
Even though there’ll be some redundancy, the focus on these posts will be Mr Norton. That said, he is prolly factor number one that put Primal Fear on my fave list. I said it then, and I’ll say it again now. This is the movie that made him my favorite actor. In high school, right as my interest in movie started to ramp up, I was talking with one of my so called friends. He knew I had just recently become obsessed with Fight Club, and he had just stumbled on Primal Fear. He told me the full plot, including the twist and the ending. I ran straight to Blockbuster as soon as school let out that day.
We all know I play by the rules, so I wont do what he did and spoil it for you. Unfortunately, it really is kinda impossible to fully describe this movie or gush over Norton’s performance without it. But what I can talk about is his stuttering shy altar boy, Aaron Stampler, accused of violently murdering the archbishop of Chicago. Such a vulnerable and desperate performance from someone who would become such a powerhouse actor. Did I mention that this was his first film role? That according to IMDB trivia, he beat out over 2100 other actors? And that it scored him his first (of two so far) Academy Award nominations (this went to Cuba Gooding Jr for Jerry Maguire)?
Any time I’m discussing movies, which is kinda often, and the subject of Edward Norton comes up, also kinda often, my first question as soon as the subject is breached is “”have you seen Primal Fear?””. From there, the conversation can go one of two ways. If no, I essentially repeat everything I’ve told you so far about the movie. If yes, it turns into a Norton love fest, and while I’ve found a friend for life, any outsider in the conversation usually walks away.”
“It has been way too \m/ long since I finished the last ExpDel side project, where I blogged thru my Top 100. Speaking of, I need to review and revise that list, but that’s beside the point. I decided after spending nearly 8 months on that and even more on the AFI 100 Years 100 Movies project, that I should look at smaller scale things. That way it’s not so daunting of a time commitment. I can get thru a project, catch up on my inevitably large unwatched movie queue that results, and start up the next one when I know I’ll have time for it (read: not before a show I’m in opens). For these smaller projects I’ll pick an actor or a director or maybe a sizeable franchise and blog thru them. So we’ll be more on the scale of 20 instead of 100 to get thru.
For the first project, we’ll be looking at my favorite actor, Edward Norton, going chronologically thru all his many roles throughout his career. I’m just focusing on his movies, though if Hulu has some of his tv guest spots, I may throw those in as a bonus. If you were too lazy to click on the IMDB link, here’s what we’re in for in order:
-The People Vs Larry Flynt
-Everyone Says I Love You
-American History X
-Keeping the Faith
-Death to Smoochy
-The Italian Job
-Kingdom of Heaven
-Down in the Valley
-The Painted Veil
-The Incredible Hulk
-Pride and Glory
-The Invention of Lying
-Leaves of Grass
There’s a few I haven’t seen in a while, so I’m kinda excited to revist them. Also he’s got a couple coming out this summer, so I’ll def be including those as part of my usual keeping up with the recent stuff blogging. One last note, as with my top 100, I’ll be live blogging-ish as opposed to waiting until its all over.
And here we go!”