I truly thought William Friedkin had a much more illustrious career. Yet when I look back, I find he has his share of some real truly great films and some horrific duds.
The French Connection
Gene Hackman deserved his Academy Award for his role as Manhattan homicide detective Popeye Doyle who furiously tracks down a heroin ring. Boasts one of the best car chases of the time, rivaling Steve McQueen’s Bullitt.
The movie that has scared audiences around the world for decades still does today. The film stays true to William Peter Blatty’s bestseller and gives us our first glimpses into demonic possession, not to mention a little girl cursing, growing lesions on her face, spinning her head around and puking green bile into a priest’s face.
The most overlooked film in history. This is a remake of the French film Wages of Fear with an international cast headed by Roy Schieder about fugitives from the law driving dynamite across treacherous terrain through South America. Featuring Schieder’s best performance ever with a throbbing soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, the dazzling filmmaking and editing are mesmerizing while the jaw dropping suspense causes unruly tension. It’s in my top ten list movies of all time and the poster hangs on my wall. It is a masterpiece.
Al Pacino stars as a cop who goes undercover in the S&M gay community to catch a serial killer. Very disjointed to say the least and a big hit in Europe. But after three decades it still feels too artsy. Pacino’s performance is also strange, but it’s pretty damn funny to see Tony Montana snort poppers and dance with men at a club.
This flick put Michael Shannon on the map with one of the greatest performances of all time. Perfectly showcasing the beautifully demented script by Tracy Letts. A well-written psychological mess, this is an elaborate guessing game as to what’s real, imagined and/or manipulated. A deliberate study of the psychosis of loneliness and madness; this is all about paranoia and surreal to the hilt.
I am probably the only person who likes this flick. This is one of those nanny-gone-wrong flicks with a twist: she’s a druid and wants to sacrifice the child to the tree god/monsters. Lots of slime in this one.
Decade Under the Influence
A very cool “must-see” documentary about the anti-establishment flicks of the 70’s. Rebellious and heavily creative, this was a time when producers, directors, writers and actors all went at it with the same integrity—a time long forgotten at this point. Friedkin is one of the most animated and vocal interviewees.
To Live and Die in LA
Great cast yet intensely lame and riveting at the same time. A hell-bent Secret Service agent (CSI’s William Peterson) will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner. A revenge flick that defines the 80’s and plays out like homage to Sam Peckinpah and Grand Theft Auto.
Truly a WTF were they thinking movie. Friedkin pits acting giants Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio Del Toro in a game of cat and mouse. Ridiculous from start to finish and filmed right here in Oregon.
The Birthday Party
Friedkin and Harold Pinter bring to life the big screen version of Pinter’s vision about a lodger in a seaside boarding house who is menaced by two mysterious strangers who berate him by asking idiotic, unanswerable questions and then throw him a party.