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Movie Reviews

DVD Roundup: “Jeff Bridges Movies NOT in the Retrospective!”

Regina wanders through Jeff Bridges’ back-catalogue and finds some of the hidden gems that won’t be featured in this month’s retrospective at the MFAH.

SEE YOU IN THE MORNING. (Warner Archive, 1989, directed by Alan J. Pakula). Second movie Jeff made with Farrah Fawcett, after the forgettable Somebody Killed Her Husband; this one’s better, but still a lesser-known entry in the Bridges canon. He’s a psychiatrist; she’s a supermodel. They’re married with kids (including a pre-Home Alone Macaulay Culkin, hidden under the hat in the photo) but she’s unhappy. They divorce, and Jeff woos a widow (Alice Krige) with her own brood (Drew Barrymore and Lukas Haas). Watchable drama focuses on the man’s point of view on dealing with blended families. I always enjoy seeing Frances Sternhagen, Farrah’s mom here (if you don’t know her name, she played Cliff’s mom on Cheers).

Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges in Jagged EdgeJAGGED EDGE. (Sony. 1985. Directed by Richard Marquand. Music by John Barry.) Here’s a goodie. Jeff is a (young, stunningly attractive) newspaper magnate who’s accused of killing his wife; Glenn Close (pre- Fatal-Attraction) is the defense attorney who gets a little too close to her client. Interesting supporting cast includes Peter Coyote as the D.A. and Robert Loggia (Oscar-nominated) as Close’s foul-mouthed legman. THE MORNING AFTER. (Warner Home Video. 1986. Dir. Sidney Lumet. Music by Paul Chihara.) You know it’s going to be a bad day when you wake up in a strange bedroom and the guy next to you has a knife in his chest. Two-time Oscar-winner Jane Fonda earned her seventh nomination as Alex, an alcoholic has-been actress cast in the real-life role of Suspect #1. Panicked at facing the police, Alex runs for it – right into the battered convertible of a washed-up former cop (our Jeff). Raul Julia and Kathy Bates round out the ensemble. Jeff is good as always, but it’s really worth watching for Fonda and the uneasy alliance the two form.

Kim Basinger in NadineNADINE. (Sony. 1987. Dir. Robert Benton. Music by Howard Shore.) Jeff and Kim Basinger are a squabbling married couple in 1950’s Austin who stumble into murder, mayhem and a land-grab scheme. Enjoyable blend of comedy, action and romance. The leads are charming, funny, and have real chemistry. Good support from Rip Torn, Jerry Stiller, Mickey Jones, and Gwen Verdon. WINTER KILLS. (Anchor Bay. 1979. Dir. William Richert. Music by Maurice Jarre.) The “lost” Jeff Bridges movie! Based on Richard Condon’s book (inspired by the Kennedy clan), the plot centers on a powerful Irish-American family, headed by John Huston. His oldest son was elected President, then assassinated in office; younger son (Jeff) finds a clue to the killing and of course becomes a target himself. The tone of this oddball effort is all over the map, but it’s worth a look just for Huston and the rest of the old-Hollywood cast (Eli Wallach, Anthony Perkins, Sterling Hayden, Dorothy Malone, Ralph Meeker, Richard “Palladin” Boone, Toshiro Mifune, even Elizabeth Taylor shows up as a high-end mistress). Look for the two-disc DVD with the backstory (drugs, murder, even alleged interference from the real Kennedys), which is just as interesting as this nutty flick.

Pierce Brosnan, Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges in The Mirror Has Two FacesTHE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES. (Sony. 1996. Dir. Barbra Streisand. Music by Marvin Hamlisch.) Babs trotted out her successful The Way We Were formula (dowdy Jewish girl falls for handsome WASP guy) and reworked it into this tale of two Columbia professors who marry for intellectual companionship, not love and passion. Then Babs gives herself a makeover, and has to fight off both Jeff and her brother-in-law (Pierce Brosnan). Critics at the time called it a vanity project; uh, folks, this is a Barbra Streisand movie. Heck, I don’t blame her; if I could, I’d write a script which would have those two guys fighting over me too. THE VANISHING. (Fox. 1993. Dir. George Sluizer. Music by Jerry Goldsmith.) Remake of Dutch film, with original director, of vacationing couple (Keifer Sutherland and pre-Speed Sandra Bullock) in trouble when the woman disappears at a rest stop. Jeff’s in one of his rare bad-guy roles as a kidnapper/psycho, and the movie rests on his performance and the viewer’s take on it. The original was better, though. Regina