Best Seller (1987) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|Best Seller (1987) is a thriller staring Brian Dennehy as a career cop, who has written and published a few books, but has had writer's block since the death of his wife from cancer. He is doing a great job raising his daughter, but is not doing well financially.||
|A bust goes wrong, and a mysterious
gunman (James Woods) saves his life by shooting one of the bad guys who
is about to shoot Dennehy. Seems Woods has a private agenda, and a
history with Dennehy. He wants Dennehy to write his own story, which
will be a sure best seller. He worked as a hit man for a rich and
powerful industrialist, who fired him. He is hoping for fame, fortune
and revenge with his plan. Dennehy finds the man's claims to be dubious,
and much of the film is spent with Woods trying to convince Dennehy.
Finally, there is a showdown, in which Dennehy, his daughter, and Woods
are in jeopardy.
Roger Ebert savaged this film and awarded one star, basically because he hates stupid heroes who can't recognize the obvious. I think it was Ebert, in this case, who didn't recognize the obvious. Dennehy needed absolute proof before publishing a book trashing one of the most important and powerful men in LA. He was also still a cop, in addition to being a novelist, and knew that he was collaborating with a criminal.
|IMDB readers have this at the luke-warm level. I liked it much better than that. Woods created a fascinating character. While clearly a cold blooded killer, he also has a sensitive caring side, his crimes are workmanlike and dispassionate, and he is clearly very intelligent. In keeping with this tone, the film was shot in good neutral light, which means you could see what was going on.|
|Scoop's thoughts in
It's interesting to me to see the way three of us responded so differently to the way that the cop took so long to trust the hit man.
So I guess it's all in your perspective, or your sense of paranoia. I agree with Tuna that Roger Ebert missed the boat. The cop never really trusted the hit man because he shouldn't have. The killer may have been telling a completely true story with the motivation being exactly as he presented it, or he may have been telling an almost true story based on a completely different motivation, and there was no way the cop could have sorted all that out from the information given to him. In fact, the hit man lied to him about some important things, so why not suspect other lies as well?
As to the larger question of the film's merit, I agree with Tuna's assessment. It's a solid genre flick with good characterizations from Woods and Dennehy. It is not a high caliber theatrical release, but it will not disappoint genre fans as a casual rental.
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