Cop Land (1997)
Cop Land is the first movie that I remember hearing about where an actor or actress severely changed their weight for a part in a film. Sylvester Stallone gained 40 lbs. for his role in the movie. I remember thinking how crazy he was for doing that. 40 lbs. is a lot of weight to gain, and it is a lot more to have to lose again. Now, 16 years later, I realize that it was just Stallone’s awesome dedication to doing what he loves that allowed him to do what was necessary for his role in Cop Land.
The film is about an army of corrupt New York City cops with ties to the mob who buy themselves a chunk of New Jersey. They are virtually untouchable until the sheriff of their little “Cop Land” (Sylvester Stallone) becomes wise to their ways.
The movie was written and directed by James Mangold and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra, Janeane Garofalo, Noah Emmerich, Cathy Moriarty, Frank Vincent, John Spencer, Arthur J. Nascarella, Edie Falco, John Ventimiglia, Robert John Burke, Michael Gaston, Bruce Altman, Tony Sirico, Frank Pellegrino, Vincent Laresca, Victor Williams, Paul Calderon, and Malik Yoba.
They brought in all of the big guns to make this film. The cast list is so staggering that I am sure that I left someone out. You couldn’t ask for a better cast in a movie.
Because of the type of movie Cop Land is, and especially because of the cast, you can expect a lot of violence and language, but mostly, powerful performances.
Cop dramas don’t get a whole lot better than this one. Cop Land is one of those movies that gets better every time that I watch it.
It is interesting because a number of actors in the film were cast against type. Guys who usually play bad guys are now playing cops. But, it works out because some of them are corrupt. So, I guess they are just bad guys with a badge.
It is no surprise that the movie has a bit of a Goodfellas (1990) and The Sopranos feel to it, because a number of the cast members were in those shows. A couple of them were also in the film Beautiful Girls (1996).
With so many great actors in the movie, none of them really stood out over another because they were all acting on the same level.
Overall, Cop Land is a unique, underrated cop drama that packs a big bang. Like a fine wine, it gets better with age.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
What a strange coincidence that Mr. Orange from Reservoir Dogs (1992) was born a day after his co-star Mr. White (Harvey Keitel). Well, 22 years and one day to be exact. Another coincidence is that both actors are probably most popular for the same 2 movies, Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994). They both played their own part in helping to make Quentin Tarantino famous and in return he helped to boost their careers.
Even though Roth never really reached superstar status, he has still had a pretty successful career. Besides the 2 films that I mentioned, my other favorite Tim Roth films are
The Legend of 1900 (1998),
Deceiver (1997), and
What is your favorite Tim Roth movie?
Note: Random movie connection: Chris Penn played Nice Guy Eddie in Reservoir Dogs and he was also in Deceiver with Tim Roth. It’s interesting to me how often actors work together in multiple different movies or work with the same directors on different films.
Happy Birthday to Harvey Keitel! The actor who is probably most famously known for playing Mr. White in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (1992) turns 74 today. Mr. White has got to be my favorite Keitel character, although he has had a number of other very solid roles. My other favorite Harvey Keitel Characters are:
Winston ‘The Wolf’ Wolfe in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994)
Ray Donlan in Cop Land (1997)
Dad in Little Nicky (2000)
Roy Egan in City of Industry (1997)
Jack Crawford in Red Dragon (2002)
Hal in Thelma & Louise (1991)
I could not stand Keitel as The Lieutenant in Bad Lieutenant (1992). At the time that I watched that movie, it was so bad that I turned it off and didn’t finish it. I never went back and gave it another chance. It was so awful that I don’t think I will ever feel the need to revisit it.
Which of Harvey Keitel’s characters do you like the best and which do you like the worst?
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Inglourious Basterds is a World War II film of epic proportions. I think the title of the movie is enough to turn some people off from wanting to see it. That is unfortunate because those people don’t know what they are missing. The film is absolutely incredible. At the time that I saw it, I did not think that Quentin Tarantino was capable of making such a perfect movie. He writes, directs, and has an uncredited part in the film.
“Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France…”
A group of Jewish American soldiers known as The Basterds, along with a famous German actress and, a Jewish girl seeking revenge, all find themselves in a plot to try to kill high ranking Nazi leaders.
Inglourious Basterds is one of my favorite films of all time. It is definitely in my top 5 and maybe even in my top 3. I wish I had seen it in the theatre. I was a little bit skeptical of the movie when it first came out, and therefore I ended up waiting to watch it on DVD. Big mistake! If they brought it back to the theatre tomorrow, I would see it in a heartbeat.
The film has everything. Love, hate, blood, guts, war, beautiful landscapes, spies, traitors, loss, tragedy, revenge, hope, tension, an excellent story, a huge cast of amazing characters, a great director, a perfect script, and just enough humor to bring everything together.
Inglourious Basterds is probably Brad Pitt’s best movie. It is definitely his best character, but it is a toss-up between this movie and Fight Club (1999), although in recent years he has chosen his roles very wisely.
Quentin Tarantino managed to not only get a perfect cast, but somehow he got the best possible performances out of most of them. It is amazing how incredibly awesome everyone in the movie is. This is Tarantino’s best movie. He may come close, but I don’t think that he will ever top this film.
Christoph Waltz broke into American movies with his part in this film. Up until Inglourious Basterds, he was basically just a well-known foreign actor, mostly in Germany. His performance in the movie was nothing less than perfect and nobody could have done a better job. He did receive the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor which he wholeheartedly deserved. As I mentioned in my Django Unchained (2012) review, he received the same award in back-to-back Tarantino directed films. Those are both 2 characters that have really stuck in my mind. He got the role of a lifetime twice.
Like Waltz, Melanie Laurent came out of nowhere and was just astonishing. I can’t think of an actress off the top of my head that in recent years has done a better job than she did in this film. The only actress that could maybe come close is Diane Kruger also for her role in this film.
Eli Roth gave the best performance of his acting career.
The not very well-known Daniel Bruhl made his mark in this film and let his presence be known.
Til Schweiger has been acting for a while, but his breakout performance was definitely in this film. Any reference to him will be a reference to this movie.
This was Mike Myers best movie since Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002).
Michael Fassbender was an up-and-comer before he made this movie and now he is a household name.
Samuel L. Jackson plays the part of the narrator and you also hear the voice of Harvey Keitel.
The movie also includes Gedeon Burkhard, B.J. Novak, Omar Doom, August Diehl, Denis Menochet, Sylvester Groth, Martin Wuttke, Julie Dreyfus, Richard Sammel, Alexander Fehling, Rod Taylor, Samm Levine, Christian Berkel, and Lea Seydoux.
If you have not seen Inglourious Basterds then after you finish reading this review, stop what you are doing, drop everything and go out and buy it immediately. It is that good. I am not kidding. Go now!
I rate this movie a 10 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? BUY!