Thursday, November 30, 2023

Three Thumbs Up: Ridley Scott

Well I haven't done one of these, my most backhanded of complimentary posts, in awhile! Indeed it's been so long that my old computer crashed and took with it the little thumb art that I made to go along with these posts but I think we can all agree that my rudimentary photoshoppery will not be missed. Anyway my "Three Thumbs Up" series is where I force myself to choose three things I like from an actor or a director or a whatever that I'm not especially a fan of. And today's lucky person is the fella I consider wildly overrated named Ridley Scott...

... who is turning 86 today and who has another messy slop-heap of a movie in theaters right now called Napoleon. Funny enough my last edition of this series was for Ben Affleck and one my choices was his role in Ridley's film The Last Duel -- a movie I genuinely loathe, except for Ben's performance. Funny -- right, Ridley? Hardy har. Anyway Ridley has some genuine masterpieces under his belt! I don't deny that! I just happen to think those happened many many decades ago and almost everything he's dropped since then has been stylish unfocused flim-flam. That said it's not like we're talking about someone deeply untalented. He remains an incredible crafter of images and atmosphere. I'm just of the mind that he's weirdly incapable of taking anything across the finish line anymore. His scripts are often to blame, but one gets the sense that he's chasing too many thoughts down too many tangents and (even worse) by the time the process is nearing completion he's just lost interest. (Fingers crossed he does right by Paul Mecsal in his Gladiator sequel.)

That said there are three movies he's made that I think
are genuine masterpieces. So let's focus on the good!

1. Alien

2. Blade Runner

3. Thelma and Louise


Runners-up: Legend has its moments (i.,e. Tim Curry), as does the homoerotica of White Squall, and I like Prometheus more than most people even while I need to specifiy that I dig it as fun trash, full stop. And I genuinely loved The Counselor, as I think it was a truly madly deeply psychotic story that benefitted from Ridley's kitchen-sink approach, but I haven't re-watched it since it came out. And I have heard that the longer cut is even better, but then that's become the drum-beat with Ridley -- "Watch the director's cut, it's better!" But that's certainly not true about Blade Runner, and I still find Kingdom of Heaven a big honking snooze however he cuts it. 

Let's hear your thoughts on Sir Ridley in the comments!


bdog said...

I actually love Scott, and I agree with you on his 3 bests. I also like Covenant, All the Money in the World and Someone to Watch Over Me.
Legend has one of the best Bryan Ferry songs ever, Is Your Love Strong Enough?.
The thing I love about Scott is how good his films look. They're a visual feast.

Spideu137 said...

I just rewatched "Alien" and "Aliens" this week. I was shocked at how much more I love the first film more than the second one. The set pieces are insanely gorgeous and the alien is more interesting in the first film. An unqualified masterpiece.

jack said...

I brought up a list of his movies just as a reminder, just so I wasn't accused of leaving one out. the result is a list of movies to watch for the weekend.

I will always have a soft spot for White Squall, and how can you ignore The Martian?
He is just so good!

Anonymous said...

I pretty much agree that he’s made a lot of unfocused movies, but there’s definitely something to be said for how he produces such great visual images. And the trio of Alien, Blade Runner, and Thelma and Louise… what director doesn’t wish they had made those films?

mrripley said...

I think The Duellists is underrated,GI Jane is schlocky fun,most of his stuff is entertaining and I have to agree his visuals haven't lost their power but at the expense of a story and acting,some performers seem totally lost under his direction,I have to admit I was a Ga Ga fan for House of Gucci,she's doing a lot better and having more fun than Kidman and Stewart we're doing playing real figures in those 2 disasters.

The 3 classics are the ones you chose though some would maybe add Gladiator to that list.