It’s been ages since I’ve featured a Casting Crew column on this blog! In fact, most of you current readers haven’t been around long enough to even remember it. A refresher then – it’s time to cast the hypothetical small-screen-to-big-screen adaptations of the future. The ‘crew’ has already stopped by many other old shows, but for this entry, it’s all about the other kooky family of the undead, The Munsters.
All right, so this one’s kind of a no-brainer – it’s one of the greatest adventure flicks of all time, and there’s just no way around the fact that Raiders of the Lost Ark and the character of Indiana Jones are both essential viewing (just forget about that fourth movie). Boasting the best “Jones girl,” I guess you’d call it, of the series, Karen Allen is spunky (and a wee bit o’ action hero herself) as Marion Ravenwood. Let’s face it – Kate Capshaw was a shrieking mess in Temple of Doom and though Alison Doody was a formidable bombshell of an opponent in the quite good Last Crusade, she hardly counts (you know, because of that whole being a Nazi thing). But Marion is a feisty bar owner who would sooner deck Indy than kiss him. And then, of course, there are the iconic scenes that Raiders boasts. Who among us hasn’t attempted to reenact that opening montage of peril, with the giant ball and the dramatic removal of the sacred artifact from its pedestal? And then there’s Indy himself – Harrison Ford has never been better (yep, I think this character is seven better than Han Solo). He’s the ultimate action hero, and it’s a true shame that this sort of level of character can’t really surface these days. It seems that the Indiana Joneses and Hans Solos died with the 1980s. But every time we want to reminisce, we’ll just strike up that genius John Williams score.
Say what you will about its validity as the Best Picture winner in 2006, but it’s hard to deny that at its core The Departed is a captivating thriller. From its expertly filmed and directed twists and turns to its killer lead performance from Leonardo DiCaprio (could this be his best and most underrated performance?), Martin Scorsese‘s modern masterpiece is more than a throwaway cop drama – which we seem to be barraged with excessive amounts of lately. It has a mesmerizing cat-and-mouse mystery at its core. And who but Scorsese could draw such a great performance out of the typically flat Mark Wahlberg? Top that off with a demented (as usual) role from Jack Nicholson and an astutely subtle one from Martin Sheen, and you’ve got an expertly assembled cast. Oh, and did I mention Vera Farmiga is in it as the torn-between-lovers post-traumatic stress therapist? Yeah, and she’s typically wonderful. But what seems to be the real person to watch in this film is Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese’s go-to film editor, whose Oscar-winning work on this film had the intense and steady touch that only she seems to offer in this genre.