Tag Archives: William Hurt

42 of 366: The 4th Floor

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I didn’t realize it until today, but nothing would be more terrifying than being trapped in an apartment piled with packing peanuts at the hands of your creepy neighbor.

Luckily Juliette Lewis, as Jane Emelin in The 4th Floor, made it out but what she doesn’t know is if her creepy neighbor was really behind terrorizing her for weeks after she moves into her late aunt’s fourth-floor walk up or if it was someone close to her.

I won’t spoil it because the suspense in the film, also starring William Hurt and Shelley Duvall (you won’t recognize her), keeps it going for the 90 minutes of neighborly arguments turned — almost — deadly.

Emelin is dating William Hurt’s character, a television weatherman Greg Harrison, but decides to delay moving in with him to stay where her aunt lived. The fact that her aunt fell down the stairs and died in the very building Jane moved into should have been her first red flag, but she had memories of visiting the building and clearly wasn’t ready for shacking up with her local celebrity boyfriend.

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Fletchels sleeping through The 4th Floor.

That turned out to be a bad decision as the neighborly issues escalated from notes on her door to loud banging, knocks on the door in the middle of the night and eventually the classic mice and maggots infestation trick,

The 4th Floor obviously isn’t the source of William Hurt’s Oscar-winning performance, but it does present just enough suspense and scares if that’s what you’re in the mood for and has a good enough twist ending — even after the packing peanuts scene if you can believe it.

Writer and director Josh Klausner presents the question of who is really terrorizing Jane up until the end. Is it her neighbor downstairs, the super, her best friend who is jealous of her apartment, the man across the street who she perhaps witnesses commit a crime or someone else entirely?

The 4th Floor, as far as apartment-building centered thrillers goes, is not nearly as weird as Single White Female (at least I remember it being that way) and if nothing else is another excuse to watch William Hurt on screen. Just know that he, and Greg Harrison, will do whatever it takes.

38 of 366: Smoke

“You never know what’s going to happen next. And the moment you think you do, that’s the moment you don’t know a goddamn thing.”

Auggie Wren

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I watched Smoke over the past few days in between having a fun time with my family and all I could think is how have I never seen this movie before?

It’s such a prize and just takes you in immediately with vignettes about different characters all connected through a cigar store in Brooklyn owned by Auggie Wren (best character name ever), played by Harvey Keitel.

William Hurt is introduced early on as Paul Benjamin, a writer who lives in the neighborhood and exemplifies the literary feel of the film as he tries to finish a book and ends up incorporating his experiences stemming from Auggie’s shop into the story.

Auggie and Paul build a friendship throughout the film while they work through their own life struggles and trying to be happy.

Another great quote from Auggie: “If you can’t share your secrets with your friends then what kind of friend are you?”

Auggie and Paul are also connected through helping a boy in the neighborhood, Rashid Cole (Harold Perrineau). Rashid has had his share of trouble, but is a good kid and equally helps Auggie and Paul through his outlook on life despite what he has been through.

Stockard Channing rounds out the main cast as Auggie’s ex, Ruby McNutt, who comes back into his life wanting money to help her support their (supposed) daughter Felicity, played by a scene-stealing Ashley Judd.

Forest Whitaker also plays a key role when it comes to Rashid’s story and the way director Wayne Wang and writer Paul Auster weave all the plot themes and characters together is well, marvelous.

As much as the prominent themes of Paul finishing his literary work and moving forward in his life after a loss, Auggie trying to keep his business afloat and Rashid finding his place in the world anchor the film, the little moments between the characters and especially when they are on their own make it complete.

The soundtrack of instrumental songs and crooning by Tom Waits and The Jerry Garcia Band take you right into the film and effectively match the stories it tells.

I have to watch a lot of movies by the end of the day tomorrow to get caught up on my challenge, but I definitely want to see Smoke again when I have the time. That is, of course, after I use any spare moments I have to find everything in Stockard Channing’s wardrobe in the film — eye patch included.

 

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11 of 366: Altered States

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I still don’t know exactly what to think about Altered States, but I will say I enjoyed pondering the film and William Hurt’s wardrobe  (when he has one) in between writing about money and debt and all that jazz today at work.

I don’t watch a lot of science fiction movies, but I did like the juxtaposition of Eddie Jessup’s (William Hurt) scientific quest to explore sensory deprivation and hallucinogenic drugs against his relationship and family life with Emily (Blair Brown) presented in Altered States.

The effects were impressive for 1980 and really brought out the film’s weirdness and Jessup’s dedication to finding out if different states of consciousness can cross over into reality.

Deep down I like to think that director Ken Russel and writer Paddy Chayefsky, who also penned the novel the film is based on, really wanted the viewer to question how far the characters would go for love or their career, or both.

What would it take for a William Hurt-type in the late 1960s to realize he can be in love?

In this case, it’s some weird stuff that I will never fully understand but he does fall in love. Maybe that’s all he ever wanted. I might watch this movie again someday or read the book, but not in 2016. I have to move on with my own quest. 355 to go!
Stars: 2 1/2 out of 4.
“Turn and face the strange / Ch-ch-changes / Oh look out now you rock and rollers / Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older.”