Twilight (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Tuna's comments in white:

Twilight (1998) is a boring and predictable gumshoe whodunit, but with enough talent in the cast to make it almost watchable. Paul Newman shines as an ex cop, ex private dick, ex drunk, and old friend (and house guest) of Susan Sarandon and Gene Hackman. As the film opens, he is on assignment to bring their daughter (Reese Witherspoon) back from Mexico. Newman grabs her, and gets shot for his trouble. All of this before the opening credits.

Newman is asked to deliver a small package by Hackman, and runs headlong into murder, revenge, blackmail, and ancient crimes.

There is nothing particularly new about the mostly predictable plot, but the cast is good enough that the film almost works. Almost.


Reese Witherspoon is topless.

Susan Sarandon's body double shows her buns (twice) and breasts (once)

Scoop's comments in yellow:

I agree with Tuna completely - it's a near miss, but a miss nonetheless.

Normally, this is my favorite kind of movie  - the existential tale of an honest, flawed, angst-ridden private eye who wanders into an inextricable tangle of conspiracy, which he often narrates in the first person.

As per the genre requirements, when the web surrounds him, some of his closest friends usually turn out to have committed the vilest crimes, and the worst bad guys often turn out to be decent people down on their luck, looking for a break.

Unfortunately, the energy level in this film is just so low that it is barely watchable, despite a marvelous all-star cast. (Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Liev Schreiber, Gene Hackman, Reese Witherspoon, Stockard Channing.)

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen letterbox format

  • no meaningful features

Paul Newman could have used a bit of Bogart's sassy humor to make the film a little breezier.  Newman played his reformed alcoholic detective as a man mumbling his lines world-wearily, as if every sentence were painful to speak. A heavy burden of sadness and disappointment permeated every scene like a fog. That carried some emotional weight, because he was betrayed by everyone he trusted, but that somber, slow delivery slowed the pacing of the film down to a crawl.

Tuna is right. It is boring. I really wanted to like it, but couldn't.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two and a half stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 2.5/4, Maltin 2.5/4, Apollo 78/100

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: it grossed a modest $15 million, despite an all-star cast.


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Tuna says, "The film has style and acting, but no real substance. A C-". Scoop agrees with the C-.

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