The Ref was the 10th Spacey movie I have seen, and while it disappoints on the level of the story, Spacey does not disappoint. The acting between Judy Davis and Spacey as a bickering couple is effective and funny. I read somewhere that there was a lot of improv involved. They must have had quite a few laughs filming some of those scenes! Denis Leary, I don’t know where he got his trashy mouth, but it is prevalent in this film. The movie was great portraying a disfunctional family, but when things get a little out of hand at the dinner party, it’s all downhill from there. Isn’t it a little twisted to have kids tying up their elders? From the movie’s point of view it wasn’t, apparently, but aside from it’s flaws, Kevin’s acting once again continues to amaze. In Swimming with Sharks, he plays a hostage, and in the Ref he also plays a hostage, but very differently. Which just goes to show what a talent Kevin really is.
Swimming With Sharks
First time seeing the movie, I couldn’t sit through the parts where Buddy is tortured. It wasn’t the makeup that Spacey was wearing, but his acting that made those scenes almost unbearable. This was the movie that made Kevin known, his big breakthrough to the main screen. For any serious Spacey fans, this movie is a must to see. It displays his versatility, drama, comic timing, everything. My all time favorite scene is the Equal and Sweet and Low. I can never stop laughing. And, from a purely acting standpoint, Kevin, and I think some others will agree, portrays a better sadistic boss than Guy. At the end when Guy takes Buddy’s position, we see hear him say the same lines that Buddy says in the beginning: “shut up, listen, and learn.” Well, Spacey says it much more effectively. And when I ask myself what do I really want, it is to see superb acting no other than Kevin’s.
Well, I got my hands on an old copy of the video of this movie. I haven’t finished watching it yet. It’s a cute enough movie, I suppose, but what is with the costume department making Kevin wear those awful shirts? And his hair! Looks like he stuck a finger in a socket.
The movie itself is kinda slow-paced. Kevin is a great actor but this is not a great role. The character, Dwayne, is a stand-up comedian but he isn’t funny.
Anyway, it’s an earlier role for Kevin, and we all know that things got MUCH better for him. 🙂
Henry and June
by Joan from Cypress
what a confusing mess! KS must have needed money for rent or food or hair pieces. I think KS was a friend of the character Henry Miller, but I’m not sure.
Austin Powers in Goldmember
I am a devout Austin Powers fan, and an even more devout Spacey fan, so obviously I enjoyed the movie. A lot, baby!
The movie’s plot is obviously completely convoluted beyond belief, but that doesn’t detract from the movie’s quality. WEll…not exactly quality…but likeability.
Kevin’s cameo is a funny (but sadly, brief) one. Of course, he’s not the only celebrity with a cameo. There’s Katie Couric, Gwenyth Paltrow, Tom Cruise (yay!), John Travolta, the Osbourne family, and Danny DeVito.
The plot has something to do with Dr. Evil wanting a tractor beam to melt the polar ice-caps and drowning the world…or something. Mike Myers plays 4 characters, Dr. Evil (the real one!), Austin Powers, Fat Bastard, and a new villain, Goldmember. Goldmember is some psycho Dutch guy with golden genitalia (don’t ask.) He teams up with Dr. Evil to try to take over the world (or just get some gold.)
Beyonce Knowles plays Foxxy Cleopatra, some airheaded 70’s groovy girl wearing bikini tops and tight jeans. I don’t think there is a single scene where her belly isn’t showing. She has no acting ability…and her vocabulary includes such words as “Shazaam” and “Sugar.”
Myers is great…in all his roles…and of course Mini-Mi (Verne Troyer) is hilarious.
As you know, I was terribly afraid of how Kevin would look bald….and my fears were unfounded. He looked terribly sexy, even though he’s wearing a gray jumpsuit, he’s bald, and he’s stroking a furless cat. I love him!!!!!
Swimming With Sharks
by Noerf Spacey Carter
Oh my gosh. Woah. This movie is a RUSH man! I read reviews with almost all of them saying it dragged in the middle. DRAGGED? No way! This movie had me laughing, squirming in my chair, and feeling sad all at the same time. A rollercoaster, a complete ride. And the ending! That was probably the one ending I DIDN’T even consider. Wow. What a great film.
First of all, I’d like to say that since I became a Kevin fan only a matter of months ago, I’ve heard so many people talk about this movie. And I’ve wanted to see it very badly. I finaly got it, and I was a little concerned about if it would live up to my expectations. Again I get taught, over and over, do not doubt Kevin! This movie is deffinately near the top of my fav Kevin movies now. I would have to give it either a 9 or even a 10 out of 10!
Ok, so let’s talk about Buddy, shall we? Well, I don’t think there is anyone on this earth who could see this movie and not realize how great of an actor Kevin Spacey is. I just don’t. This performance is so unique, not just of Kevin’s roles, but of almost any role. At first, Buddy’s just funny. And I think he remains funny throughout the film. But he also gets progressively more evil and demeaning. This character is one that you would just want to… well, torture. And so I can see where Guy is coming from. Then, there is something else. Something I think only Kevin could manage to bring to this role- sympathy. Maybe no one else felt it, but I sure did. I felt sorry for Buddy. A wild thing to feel, I know. But somehow Kevin just plays with your emotions. He makes you feel sorry for the biggest jerk ever. Because you realize as the movie goes on that Buddy might not have ended up that way had Hollywood not been like it is (at least this theoretical Hollywood.)
This is where I think this movie is totally the biggest bash on Hollywood ever made. It’s just so revealing of how everyone is striving for their own thing and will do whatever it takes to get there. It’s such a horrible attitude! It’s what made Buddy like he is and in the end it’s what drives Guy to resort to killing Dawn to climb the ladder.
A question. Do you think that Buddy knew what Guy was going to do in the end? I think it’s obvious that Dawn didn’t, but what about Buddy? Let me make some comments on the ending of this movie. There are several possible things that could have happened as I see it:
Guy kills Buddy- Buddy wins, Guy goes to jail
Guy kills Himself- Buddy wins, Guy is dead
Guy doesn’t kill anyone- Buddy wins, Guy goes to jail and his career is ruined
Guy kills Dawn- Buddy wins, Guy wins, Dawn is dead
So basically, Guy could have picked a scenario in which he owned up to what he did, or accepted punishment, or just ended it for himself (not saying that’s right). But instead, Guy picks the one way that he can escape scott free. No matter what Guy did, Buddy was going to win. Either by going back to his job or by ruining Guy’s life or both. So he decided he would compromise. He would take an innocent person’s life for his own good. He listened to Buddy. He let that scumbag get inside his head! (Like I said, Buddy is scum, but I do feel sorry for him because he has had some things happen to him which have made him think that being nice always make you lose.)
“What do you really want?” Buddy asks him, time and time again. I think the end makes us realize, he wasn’t asking what Guy wanted of him, but what Guy wanted for himself. He says he wants Dawn. He says he wants love, a normal life. He says he wants respect. But in the end, are those things what he really wants? No. Hollywood, the glamor and appeal of it has gotten to him just like the hardened men and women who went before him. He no longer really cares about being respected or loved. He cares about getting ahead. So what was Guy’s mistake? I think his mistake was wanting the one thing he wanted. What did Guy want? He wanted to be Buddy. And in the end, he was.
A Time To Kill
As most of you who go the the Saturday Evening Movie Chats know..Rufus Buckley (Rufey!!) is my favorite Spacey. First of all..I absolutely ADORE Kev’s Southern accent! He was so good…(my favorite line “Our society cannot condone men who take the law into their own hands”!!)…and I thought he would make a great lawyer. About the movie…it was very exciting and, i thought, very well directed. The whole movie depicted a very realistic picture of a trial in the South..except I don’t think the movie seemed like it took place in 1995 very much..it should have been set in the 60’s..it would have been much more realistic..but I’m not complaining. Anyway..great movie..great acting..and now I will tell you why I loved Rufey. First..he looked SO HOT IN THAT MOVIE!!!! Second..he was SO GOOD IN HIS ROLE!!! Third..i loved his ACCENT!!!! Fourth…well, I didn’t love his character (i’m not a racist) because he was trying to prosecute a man who I believe acted out of extreme anger and fatherly love..but it was his job to prosecute him. Anyway..see the movie..and then you will understand!!!
Swimming With Sharks
‘Guy’ (Frank Whaley) fresh out of film school lands a top job at Keystone Pictures, Hollywood. Working as a P.A. to the high-powered, studio film exec ‘Buddy Ackerman’ (Kevin Spacey), Guy soon discovers the road to dreamland isn’t all fairy dust. Told in flashbacks we see how Guy had suffered a year of endless insults and 24hr demands from the Buddy factor. When happiness arrives in the form of attractive producer ‘Dawn’ (Michelle Forbes) its soon shattered by Buddy’s harlious interruptions and backstabbing. ‘Shut up, Listen and learn’. It’s payback time.
SWS is a very fine example of what a dark comedy should be: great script packed with cynical humour, one-liners, actor/character moments. Whaley’s great as the fall guy caught between saving his relationship with Forbes’ character and serving the egotistical Buddy. Forbes is good too, as the bitchy, manipulative, ambitious ice queen trying to get her project in the can. But the 2 are ultimately outshined by Spacey’s brilliant ‘Boss from hell’- the man can spit insults quicker than a fish. “You are nothing! If you were in my toilet bowl I wouldn’t bother flushing it. My bathmat means more to me than you!” Pure genius! The ending is a wee bit contrived but when the (dark) humour’s this good, you won’t actually care. A great pic to add to any Spaceman DVD/video collection.(4 out of 5)
by Jaye D.
Well, the film stars a brillant ensemble cast to die for – Sean Penn, the lovely Kevin Spacey, Chazz Palminteri, Gary Shandling, Robin Wright-Penn, Meg Ryan & Anna Paqiun.
HurlyBurly’s essentially about how friendships can be ripped apart by causal sex, lies, jealously, ambition. It looks at the relationships between 4 men & the women who drift into their lives & bedrooms. But it mainly centers on the 2 male leads: ‘Eddie’ (Sean Penn) drug-taking, wannabee, Hollywood casting director & his not-so best friend/business partner, the smooth-talking ‘Mickey’ (Kevin Spacey). Their so-called buddyship’s threaten when Mickey sleeps with Eddie’s lady, Darlene (Robin Penn). Eddie’s way of denial is by partying hard but still his growing resentment over Mickey begins to show. Eddie became trapped in his own self-delusional world causing everyone around to leave. Things turn take a turn for the worst as tradegy enrolls near the end of film.
Based on the stage play of the same name which Kevin also played the original character Mickey – its a brutal examination of the male psyche and obsession (pardon the pun). It’s also a satire on living life in the fastlane in Hollywood. The performances from the whole cast are superb! Especially, Penn & Spacey, who share great chemistry, being so convincing as the bickering buddies. You’ll either love or hate this film. Not something you can sit down, enjoy with your brain on cruise control. You may find it a load of pointless tosh as its just a bunch of guys around a table, getting high, talking about sex & bitching about everyone in very long sentences that make no sense. Its a hard film to watch you really have to sink your head into it.
I personally thought HurlyBurly was good but not great. I loved the interplay between the two leads, pure brilliance. The actors command your total attention. The film did drag on a bit & can be tiring. But if you like your flicks with great acting, dialogue then its a must-see. But be warned it’s a 2hr movie where nothing actually happens except maybe last 10 minutes. Ratings out of 5, I give it a good 3.
The Movie: The Ref
The Review By: S. Renee S., The Writer
Here we have a comedy. Starring Denis Leary, Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis. Three Very Talented Actors. Very Funny I would say the movie was. I love that they start out in their Therapy Session. To show how crazy they really are. Then you have Denis Robbing someone’s house, get sprayed with cay urine. Well then we go back to Lloyd and Caroline. A long time ago they were happy now all they do is bicker this is where the real comedy and talent comes in. To me I think that Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis played this so well, I actually thought they hated each other for real. But then they had their tender cute moments as well. Like the scene when they are in the bed tied together face to face. I love Kevin’s Line. ” It’s just affection.” I wish you would have got to see them share a kiss in the movie but someone always had to walk in and screw it all up. But hey, the movie was excellent, good holiday fun. And I would recommend it for anyone to see. 3 1/2 stars only because Lloyd! and Caroline didn’t kiss.
S. Renee S. The Writer
The Ref *** – A very funny movie with KS showing great comedic form. Some of the verbal battles are priceless and he and Denis Leary are great together. Go see, you’ll laugh out loud.
See no evil, hear no evil
review by spacey’s sweethart
Kevin doesn’t play a big part in this film, but still he’s good. I hadn’t watched this film for ages, but i came across it, and i was shocked to see his pic on the back! He does a brilliant english accent, and being english myself, he doesnt do an accent like me, its more.. aristocratic! Plus he has a cute little moustache to go with it. He is good at the bad guy part, as usual, and although the storyline ends predictably, with Kevin holding an extra bullet in his body than usual, its a brilliant, original comedy!
Glengarry Glen Ross
review by Simplilo
This is not primarily a “Spacey vehicle”, yet he has a substantial part and I find it to be an interesting film. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it – if you like dramas.
Kevin plays an “office manager” and is very believable as the stern, “all business and no play” character, supervising a group of guys who are in “sales” and trying to make a buck.
I find the story and characterizations portrayed by a group of great actors, rather riveting – especially Jack Lemmon, who moved me by his touching performance. The other salesmen are played perfectly by Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin and Alec Baldwin.
I would be happy to hear other people’s comments regarding this film. If you have ever had any dealings with generating sales in this fashion, you might relate. (I had a job once unfortunately where I had to make outbound calls from “leads” on 3×5 cards and I guess that’s partly why it gets to me.)
Okay, I have more, but for now – Simplilo
Swimming With Sharks
I kept thinking this would do well as some kind of Business Training Video(!) though I couldn’t quite decide what kind. Should it be about how to be the perfect ruthless boss or how to be the employee who wins in the end though with some very weird antics en route! Or should it be “Right and Wrong Ways to Deal With the Coffee Break to Minimise Stress!!”(see below)
I felt the cutting to the final scenes which kept being made at the beginning of the film did not entirely work. It was alright to see the body being brought out to the ambulance because it was not clear exactly what had happened, but the cuts to the torture scenes seemed to be giving too much away. I would have preferred to see these scenes in their correct place at the end of the film but I did recognize that it cranked up the tension nicely to keep cutting to those scenes. In fact the film keeps the tension boiling throughout . Firstly , we sympathise greatly with the gauche Guy and cringe and squirm with his every wrong move, and Buddy’s every rapier-like put-down. Also, the theme of the film – “the boss from Hell”- is something that most people have some experience of. Even if, like me, you have been lucky enough not to experience it directly, you will have heard hair-raising tales of Buddy Ackermanns all over the place. I could imagine people nodding in recognition at the “Sweet & Low” episode! Morning coffee in the work-place seems to be an area of strong potential for exerting dominance, and using manipulation. It ranges from “Where’s my ******** mug!!” to “So you’ve broken my special edition “Present From Brighton” café au lait goblet, have you – well, you can make the drinks for all 20 of us!!” or “I assume someone is going to replace my exclusive box of special Green Tea leaves which I’ve just found in the bin!”. Yes, I would have sympathised greatly with exploited Guy if I hadn’t spent most of the film drinking in the outrageously delectable Kevin. Musing on the disturbing thought that though his clothes suited him perfectly it would be better if we could have them off (!) I got caught up completely in his outrageous confidence, his yelling his head off and everything else. And here, I think, was one of the problems of the film. Though they were no doubt doing their best, Frank Whaley and Michelle Forbes, seemed to be making rather heavy weather of their parts. Where Kevin shone like a star and revelled in every new twist of the knife, Frank and Michelle seemed dull and plodding by comparison. It was one of the few times that I noticed “star quality” really showed. I feel if the two parts had been played by , say, Sandra Bullock and Leonardo di Caprio ( these are only suggestions as I’m not very familiar with film actors in general) we might have got a more balanced film. However, I believe Kevin Spacey likes to encourage newcomers in film and if that was the aim that’s admirable.
The relentless pressure of Buddy created an excellent sense of tension. The audience starts to wonder what the next test will be and how far the hapless Guy will fall short of it and is therefore held completely by the plot as if they were trapped in a net or under Buddy’s control themselves. What is really going on in the film is another matter. I got the feeling there are homosexual undercurrents at work. Buddy and Guy are certainly bound together from the start by bonds that are stronger than anything else in the film. The relentless pressure Buddy imposes which ends in Guy indeed “learning” and turning into a fledgling “Buddy” could be seen as a sinister illustration of how dictators can gain control of individuals or whole groups of people. And don’t forget we are in Hollywood . Doesn’t Kevin’s acting of the part dangerously captivate the audience? And doesn’t his sinister controlling personality echo the villains of countless Hollywood films? The torture scene at the end shows how dangerously Buddy’s “lessons”have affected Guy. But hate is supposed to be akin to love, and I speculated that Buddy had seen Guy before (pointed out probably by his loyal team who “see he gets laid”) and, in parallel to the business aspects of the relationship, was thinking of it as something akin to a violent “courtship” because this is what turns him on. After all, we have no proof that the line of women visiting Buddy “after midnight ” are actually women though he does seem to have had a relationship with Guy’s producer girl friend. At the end of the film he invites Guy into the office, holding the door open, very much as he invited the female producer into the office and pulled down the blind near the start of the film. It seemed to me that any stories could be invented here (even the one about the death of Buddy’s wife) because this is Hollywood and an all-powerful man can make up what he likes without opposition. A frightening, subtle and hilarious film with Kevin’s trademark quirkiness.
Cynthia , Manchester , UK
Looking For Richard
This film was a delight for a Shakespeare fan like me. The atmosphere was created sensitively at the beginning of the film by cutting from weathered, ancient stone buildings with a voice over of a speech from The Tempest (“Our revels now are ended—“) to a dilapidated modern urban area where a boy kicks a ball. The scene was set for the question “How can the modern generation be encouraged to appreciate Shakespeare?”. A number of people were then interviewed who seemed to have very little interest in the Bard while plucky Al Pacino studied an enormous old text to try to get clues, finally remarking “Look, can we have a SMALLER BOOK!!” Kevin Spacey’s film “Beyond The Sea” was about Kevin playing Darin as well as about Darin himself. Similarly, this film is not just about trying to understand Richard III or making people appreciate Shakespeare, but is also about Al Pacino’s relationship with Richard/Shakespeare. We watch him becoming more and more involved in the personality of the king. This is shown as he moves from wearing modern clothes to being continually in Shakespearean costume and speaking more and more lines from the play. At the end he collapses as if copying Richard’s death. He has, it seems , become Richard, ironically showing the power of a play that most people seem to ignore.
As if undertaking some ancient knightly quest to seek out and destroy monsters, Al begins by getting help from “wise people”, in this case Shakespearian scholars and notable actors who have played Shakespeare often. His directing skills showed to advantage here as he allowed them to give just the right amount of significant information without being too long-winded and their comments were fascinating and highly relevant. At the start of the film it was noticeable that the scenes were broken up, filled with odd camera angles and arguments between the actors and directors among coffee cups (or in Kevin’s case a can of Coke!). Pacino’s quest began to have a manic intensity about it emphasised by perpetual walking the streets and incessant talking. Touchingly, he wants to have the sets just right – the perfect old tower for Clarence to be murdered in! – and he even goes to Shakespeare’s birthplace to try to capture the magic. This mish mash then became gradually and movingly welded into powerful scenes performed in full costume as the actors began to understand what they were about and fall under Shakespeare’s spell. I was particularly impressed by the scene between Richard and Lady Anne. I’ve seen several productions of Richard III and it is always impossible to believe in this scene because the text is unbelievable – it is very hard to accept that a woman would so quickly agree to marry someone who has killed the husband whom she adored! But Pacino and Winona Rider played it so slowly and subtly that you could almost believe it could have happened.
After the first shock of seeing Kevin in Shakespearian costume (it suits him just as well as all his other clothes do!), I was impressed by his subtle handling of “deep, revolving, witty Buckingham”. He was particularly impressive when Richard wanted his support in killing the young princes as conflicting emotions crossed his face before he abruptly left the room and we were still unsure whether he would have agreed or not. Of course fans would like to have seen a lot more of Kevin but I felt after watching this that he would do very well in the forthcoming Richard 11 at the Old Vic. It was amusing, incidentally, to see Al and Kevin puzzling together over how they could best portray Richard and Buckingham who were, after all, the Shakespearian equivalent of the criminals/gangsters that these actors had often played. You should know, boys!
And so we come to the point which was best expressed by Vanessa Redgrave who said something like “You have to cut through the language till you come to the personalities and feelings underneath. Then the understanding and the wonder begins”.In the end putting together the perfect set and seeking significant echoes in Shakespeare’s birthplace may not matter that much. Speaking with an American accent won’t matter either as long as it doesn’t inhibit you. But empathising sensitively with the feelings of the characters does. Shakespeare wrote about the human heart and that doesn’t change from generation to generation. All the Iagos, Hamlets, Portias and Beatrices are with us still though today they may wear trainers and carry mobile phones. So use your mind to act or watch Shakespeare (nothing is worthwhile without a little effort!) but most of all use your heart and you’ll end up falling under the spell like Al and his mates did!
Cynthia , Manchester , England