James Le Gros

Hunters (2020) s01e06 – (Ruth 1:16)

This episode opens with what seems like a dream sequence for Tiffany Boone, who outside getting to have a giant afro and an occasionally acknowledged daughter, doesn’t have a character. Not really. She gets home from her shootout with the rest of the “Hunters,” covered in blood (not hers), and gets into bed with aforementioned daughter. It’s not a dream sequence though, it’s just showing the mundanity of being a late seventies Black single parent Nazi hunter.

Boone’s got such a thankless part on the show I’m not even sure if she’s good or not. She’s fine… she just literally gets nothing real.

The main story involves Saul Rubinek and Carol Kane’s daughter’s wedding. Everyone’s going to the wedding, including Kate Mulvany, who’s ostensibly got a double agent plot line to work through this episode, but no, not really. I don’t even feel bad about “spoiling” it since it’s obvious red herring; the reddest herring. She gets some flashbacks—she was a Jewish kid sent to the Catholic Church in England before the war and the nuns made her reject her Judaism, which she did after she got too hungry and seems to forever resent herself for it. Fine.

Rubinek and Kane get some flashbacks too, which are going to be important with Mulvany, but it’s a bummer they don’t really get an episode to themselves. Rubinek and Kane are both really good.

There’s some more great stuff from Dylan Baker and some “I’m more Jewish than Tevye” moments for Al Pacino. Both Baker and Pacino chew the scenery into sawdust, but for Baker it’s a great acting success, for Pacino it’s an appropriate use of his schtick. It’s kind of weird with Pacino, especially during the wedding sequence, which should trigger Godfather memories but doesn’t at all.

The wedding is a lot, especially since it ends up being a target for the Nazis, even though Pacino’s blathering about how they’d never hit it. He’s really unprepared, especially when it comes to keeping stately Wayne Manor protected.

Jerrika Hinton’s continuing her “Mindhunter”-esque story arc with the girlfriend and possibly trusting boss James Le Gros (who’s good) way too much. There’s no reason to trust him. Of course she’s not really grokking the danger of Nazis yet so… it’s on par. She’s also pretty chill about the “Operation Paperclip” stuff (google it), like way too trusting of her government who smuggled Nazis into the country.

Speaking of trust, turns out Pacino’s got another secret from Logan Lerman but not the rest of the team. Lerman has another visit from ghost grandma Jeannie Berlin… weird how it’s ghost Berlin for good stuff and the younger version of her for bad stuff.

The episode pushes a little too hard, especially with Louis Ozawa visiting an old war buddy for information, only the old war buddy has been used in U.S. government experiments (with an ex-Nazi doing the experimenting).

The episode’s fine it’s just… nothing more than fine.

Phantasm II (1988, Don Coscarelli)

The first Phantasm wasn’t just an exercise in inventive low budget filmmaking, it dealt with the cultural fear of cemeteries. The second film has no such allusions. In fact, it’s just an example of bad low budget filmmaking. Clearly–and one can just google for more information–there were a lot of behind the scenes squabbles between director Coscarelli and Universal Pictures… but knowing the reasons for the problems doesn’t make them go away.

First and foremost is James Le Gros. He worked again after Phantasm II, which doesn’t seem possible. He adds a cartoony atmosphere to it–a way too buff (considering he’d just spent seven years in a mental institution) blond-haired emo kid. It’s such a terrible role–Coscarelli, regardless of studio interference, shares some of the blame as his writing for the character is atrocious–I’m using the term “emo” for the first time on The Stop Button.

I think.

But Coscarelli doesn’t only write bad stuff here–he writes lots of good stuff for Reggie Bannister, lots of funny material. The sex scene between Bannister and Samantha Phillips (who’s more annoyingly mediocre than bad) is absolutely hilarious, as she reveals she has a fetish for bald men–Bannister’s reaction is fantastic.

The ostensible female lead–Paula Irvine–is pretty much a lame eighties ingénue, but not bad.

And Coscarelli also turns Angus Scrimm’s previously nearly silent and very scary Tall Man into a talkative and lame eighties horror movie villain.

Some good effects–but otherwise disastrous.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Written and directed by Don Coscarelli; director of photography, Daryn Okada; edited by Peter Teschner; music by Fred Myrow and Christopher L. Stone; production designer, Philip Duffin; produced by Roberto A. Quezada; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring James Le Gros (Mike), Reggie Bannister (Reggie), Angus Scrimm (The Tall Man), Paula Irvine (Liz), Samantha Phillips (Alchemy), Kenneth Tigar (Father Meyers), Ruth C. Engel (Grandma), Mark Anthony Major (Mortician), Rubin Kushner (Grandpa) and Stacey Travis (Jeri).


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