Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Obscure Movies I Love, pt. 3: the Jason Priestley double-feature

Yeah, that's right, I said Jason "90210" Priestley.

It's easy to pick on Priestley. He was in one of the most over-rated, idiotic shows of our youth; and he's mostly done crappy TV stuff since then. However, he's been in a few good movies in the meantime. Most likely, you've seen Tombstone - one of the coolest westerns ever - but you may have forgotten that Jason got a small part in that (he was the gay guy). There were a couple of straight-to-video movies he was in that I rather liked, though:

Nowhere to Run

This coming-of-age/murder thiller movie starring Priestley and David "Kung-fu" Carradine is actually fairly well done. It does move a bit slow, and suffers from some plot schizophrenia, but the elements of a good '60s crime caper are all there. With some plot ideas and setting somewhat reminiscent of parts of Stand by Me, but with older kids, Nowhere to Run tells the story of high school kids dealing with impending graduation and the rest of their lives, until they run afoul of a violent and dangerous moonshiner (Carradine) who's back in town and stirring up trouble.

The director, Carl Franklin, went on to later make One False Move - a tight crime drama written by and featuring a then-unknown Billy Bob Thornton. Like he did in One False Move, Franklin is good at keeping the threat of impending violence alive even during slow parts of the movie, and maintaining some tension. Given "ok" performances by Priestley and Carradine, Franklin actually turned out quite a good movie - just not one popular enough to get wide release or attention.

Alas, this has not been released to DVD yet, so no Netflixing for this. But if you get a chance to watch it, give it a shot.


In a role that actually calls for flat, detached, almost robot acting, Jason Priestley is apparently your man. In Coldblooded, he plays a weirdly apathetic and detached bookie named Cosmo, working for the local mob boss at pretty much the bottom rung. When the boss dies and a new capo takes over, Cosmo is inexplicably "promoted" to being a hit man - whether he wants to or not.

Partnered up with an experienced killer played by the hilarious Peter Riegert, Cosmo has to learn the ropes of being a mob hit man. Until he falls in love, which complicates things. Hilarity ensues.

This black comedy is far better than "Jason Priestley as a reluctant hit man" has any right to be. I laughed out loud through much of the movie, even when watching it a second time. The scene with Michael J. Fox is particularly funny.

Unfortunately, this one hasn't been released on DVD either, but I give it a higher recommendation than Nowhere to Run - if you haven't seen this, and you have a VCR, go see if your local video store has this. You won't regret it.


Memophage said...

Hey, you wouldn't be writing blog posts on company time, now, would you? :)

Mattbear said...

Only all the time.
If they don't give me enough to do, that isn't my fault.

You wouldn't be reading blog posts on company time, would you? Next time a Pentium chip ships with a math defect, I'll know why.

jinsane said...

Nice post! I loved all of them too!!

And I ain't afraid to admit it! LOL