Tag Archives: Robert Downey Jr.

Back To School

Directed by Alan Metter
Produced by Chuck Russell
Written by Steven Kampmann, William Porter, Peter Torokvei & Harold Ramis
Starring Rodney Dangerfield
Sally Kellerman
Burt Young
Keith Gordon
Ned Beatty
William Zabka
Sam Kinison
Robert Downey, Jr.
Paxton Whitehead
Adrienne Barbeau
Terry Farrell
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Thomas E. Ackerman
Editing by David Rawlins
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release date June 13, 1986
Running time 96 min.
Country United States
Language English

Back To School is a typically 80s movie, featuring the schtick of Rodney Dangerfield and lots of generic 80s rock. This is not a bad thing. Rodney Dangerfield essentially plays Rodney Dangerfield, so if you know his comic persona you know what to expect, although he doesn’t do as much of the ‘no respect’ stuff here. One thing that I find amazing is that it took him so long to get any success. Although he was a stand-up comic in the 1940s and appeared on TV in the 60s, but it wasn’t really until the 80s and in particular Caddyshack and Back To School that he found widespread fame.

Back To School also features an early appearance by Robert Downey Jr. This would have been at around the same time that he was appearing in Saturday Night Live, but in Back To School he really doesn’t do much except act weird.

Overall there are a few laughs to be had and for better or for worse they don’t make ’em like this any more.

Back To School is available on Amazon for $11.49.

Rodney Dangerfield’s autobiography, It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs is also available on Amazon for $11.19.

Iron Man

Directed by Jon Favreau
Produced by Avi Arad & Kevin Feige

Written by Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway & John August

Starring Robert Downey Jr.
Terrence Howard
Jeff Bridges
Gwyneth Paltrow

Music by Ramin Djawadi
Cinematography Matthew Libatique
Editing by Dan Lebental
Studio Marvel Studios
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date May 2, 2008
Running time 125 minutes
Country United States
Language English

I didn’t get around to seeing Iron Man when it came out in 2008. This wasn’t my fault though, as I remember that I really wanted to see. The only reason I didn’t go was because Priscilla didn’t want to go and see ‘another stupid superhero movie’. I could have gone to see it on my own, but where is the fun in that?!

Iron Man is more of an anti-hero than a true hero. In the comic books he is a heavy drinker whose indirect actions caused the death of Captain America. I don’t really think that he has a very memorable rogue’s gallery like Spider-man or the Fantastic Four but he has been the head of the heroic Avengers team during his career.

One thing that surprised me about the Iron Man film was just how little screen time Iron Man was given. Instead the film focussed on his alter-ego Tony Stark, who was only in his suit of armour for about ten to fifteen minutes. Still that is not to say that this is a bad move, as the origin story is perhaps more fascinating than just seeing two costumed characters beat the snot out of each other.

Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark but he really doesn’t stretch his acting ability here. He basically is playing himself but that works in this case (whereas it didn’t in the awful Sherlock Holmes!). Gwyneth Paltrow plays Stark’s harried assistant Pepper Potts while Jeff Bridges plays the villain Stane.

Overall the film is pretty good. It is not as entertaining as the current DC Comics Batman franchise but it is the best of the Marvel Comics films to have been released so far, with the exception of the first Spider-man film.

Sherlock Holmes

Directed by Guy Ritchie
Produced by Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey & Dan Lin
Screenplay: Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham & Simon Kinberg
Story: Lionel Wigram
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr.
Jude Law
Rachel McAdams
Mark Strong
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot
Editing by James Herbert Studio Silver Pictures
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Village Roadshow Pictures
Release date(s) December 24, 2009 (United States)
02009-12-26 December 26, 2009 (United Kingdom) (Australia)
Running time 134 minutes

It was with much trepidation that I ventured to the cinema to watch Sherlock Holmes. I adit that I am a fan of the old Holmes films that feature Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce from the 1940s and heard that this new film is very different in style to those. I also heard that the new Holmes deviated a long way from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original books. It didn’t help matters that Downey had come out a little while ago making comments about Holmes being the Spider-man of the 19th century. Arrrggghhhhh!

So why did I go to see this film? Well I had little choice in the matter. I received some free cinema tickets before Christmas and decided that today was the day that my partner Priscilla and I went to the movies. I wanted to see Fantastic Mr. Fox but she wanted to see Sherlock Holmes. As any couple will tell you, a successful relationship is built upon lots of compromise and deferring to the female partner at all times. This saves on arguments later even if you have to put up with two hours of boredom.

So, did I enjoy the movie? No! This is exactly the type of dumb movie that I detest. It’s one that uses lots of action and special effects but has no logic, heart or soul. Whilst the film was exciting enough to begin with, by the middle it had became so very excruciatingly boring that I began to wish the thing would just finish so I could go home. Holmes, as portrayed by Downey, is a half-wit who occasionally has genius moments. He is madly in love with Dr. Watson and is fretting that Watson wants to have a heterosexual relationship with another girl. Holmes also knows martial arts and is an amateur boxer.

The film is extremely dumb and has lots of fighting, explosions and allusions to the occult. While I am sure that many of today’s brainless action-movie fans would like it, this is a Sherlock Holmes film in name only. There is no mystery or even any of Homes famous deductions, but there is lots of stupidity, goofy jokes and did I mention the explosions and fighting, which are here in abundance. However while it is no crime for a film to be dumb, as there are many stupid action films that I have quite enjoyed, this film was, as I said earlier, very dull and boring, which is the worst crime that any film can commit. There were also quite a few steampunk-esque inventions in the film, and a Bond like supervillain that made everything even sillier.

Hans Zimmers’ musical score should also be singled out for a special mention as it is extremely tedious and highly annoying. Zimmer deserves a punch in the face for his work on this film but I suppose the annoyingness of the score is entirely appropriate for a very annoying film.

The end of the film hints that there may be a sequel and it is for that very reason that I implore people not to watch this shit. The last thing the world needs is more of this rubbish.

I think that of the audience I watched the film with the nicest comment that anyone made was that this Holmes was ‘different’. Note that different does not mean good.

* Just need to highlight the name of Holmes’ producer Dan Lin, who made a few very dim-witted comments about the proposed live action / CGI Tom & Jerry film recently. Just shows how stupid the people are who produce these blockbusters.