Tommy Lee Jones turns 70

The Fugitive (1993) – One of my favorite movie trailers ever.

tommyleeJonesOn these Facebook ads I see often, one of the questions is which actor was former Vice-President Al Gore’s roommate in college. Yes, it’s the guy from Texas, Tommy Lee Jones.

In fact, “in 1970 he landed his first film role, coincidentally playing a Harvard student in Love Story (Erich Segal, the author of Love Story, said that he based the lead character of Oliver on the two undergraduate roommates he knew while attending Harvard, Jones, and Gore).”

“At the 2000 Democratic National Convention, he presented the nominating speech for…Gore, as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States.”

He was a guest star in a bunch of dramatic shows such as Barnaby Jones and Baretta that I used to watch. But it was before I knew who Tommy Lee Jones was. I did see him in these movies, and almost always like HIM, even when the movie is not great.

Lincoln (2012) – Thaddeus Stevens. I was rather fond of his portrayal. Jones received his fourth Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actor
Hope Springs (2012) – as a part of a couple aging.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
Space Cowboys (2000) – a bunch of aging astronauts

Men in Black (1997) – the movie that sealed Tommy Lee Jones as a bankable actor
Batman Forever (1995) – as Two-Face / Harvey Dent
The Fugitive (1993) – One of my favorite movie trailers ever. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford): But I’m innocent! US Marshall Samuel Gerard (Jones): I don’t CARE!” No wonder he won Best Supporting Actor for his performance
JFK (1991) – as Clay Shaw. If I’m remembering right, he was sleazily great. He earned another Oscar nomination

Lonesome Dove (TV Mini-Series, 1989) – he earned another Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Texas Ranger lawman Woodrow F. Call in the acclaimed mini-series, based on the best-seller by Larry McMurtry
The Executioner’s Song (TV Movie, 1982) as Gary Mark Gilmore. Chilling. He received an Emmy for Best Actor for his performance as the murderer in an adaptation of Norman Mailer’s book
Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980) as Doolittle Lynn; for which he earned his first Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of country singer Loretta Lynn’s husband

MOVIE REVIEW: Hope Springs

The movie depends largely on the acting of Streep, Jones, and Carrell.

While The Daughter’s away with the grandparents, apparently making videos with her twin cousins, her parents get to go out to The Spectrum Theatre to see Hope Springs.

I totally agree with the reviewer at IMDB who decried “the trailer and marketing campaign…[as] a collection of sound bites making a film seem like something that it is not. This is NOT a geriatric sex comedy. In fact, I would not even call it a comedy.” Though it is about, among other things, sex (or lack of same) between Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones), and it is occasionally quite funny. Their lives after 31 years of marriage apparently are fine with him, but she is wanting more. Kay goads Arnold to travel 1500 miles to see a therapist, Dr. Feld (Steve Carrell), and it is often tough sledding.

Although there are other characters, such as Kay’s friend (Jean Smart), the innkeeper (Damian Young), and a sympathetic bartender (Elisabeth Shue), the movie depends largely on the acting of Streep and Jones, who are excellent, and of Carrell, who is surprisingly solid.

A number of critics compared the movie to an Ingmar Bergman film, usually Scenes from a Marriage, which I think is unfair. I don’t think it sought to be that ambitious, just be a tale of one particular stuck couple.

If there’s something I didn’t like about the film, it was the too familiar music. Why did they use Annie Lennox’s “Why” again? I know I have at least a couple of soundtracks at home with that song on there.

Conversely, great use of the end credits, making it virtually impossible for the audience to leave.

Still, I thought it was a solid three-out-of-four-stars film.

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