FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Francis Ford Coppola |||
Francis Ford Coppola

Coppola is an amazing talent whose inspiration and influence spans many generations. Virtually the link between the studio system of yesteryear and the independent minded filmmaker of the modern age, Coppola became the first major film director to emerge from a university degree program in filmmaking, thus legitimizing a now common route for many future filmmakers.

This Academy Award winner continues to enjoy an enormous critical and popular success due in large part to Coppola’s ability to break down an epic saga of crime and the struggle for power into the basic story of a father and his sons, punctuating the prevalent theme throughout Coppola’s oeuvre: the importance of family in today’s world. His personal portrait mixed tender moments with harsh brutality and redefined the genre of gangster films.

This intense, yet unassuming thriller has an impact that touches the viewer on a personal level and raises the question of privacy and security in a world of technology – thirty years ago! Coppola’s then virtually unknown cast is a roster of inevitable superstars, including Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, and Robert Duvall. This Academy Award nominee for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Sound lost out to Coppola’s other great effort of the year, The Godfather: Part II.

Coppola's masterful Vietnam War-updating of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" was the first major motion picture about the infamous “conflict”. This colossal epic was shot on location in the Philippines over the course of more than a year and contains some of the most extraordinary combat footage ever filmed. Unforgettable battle sequences and sterling performances from every cast member (including Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, Harrison Ford, Scott Glenn, and Martin Sheen) mark this Academy Award-winning drama as a must-see for any true film fanatic.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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Brothers Solomon, The

By BrianOrndorf

September 7th, 2007

"The Brothers Solomon" doesn't include a single laugh, yet it's not all that dreadful a picture. I suppose if it didn't star Will Arnett and Will Forte, wasn't directed by Bob Odenkirk, wasn't due for release this weekend, and didn't find me with a job that requires precious time to sit through it, it wouldn't be such a bad film after all.

Brothers Solomon, The

John (Will Arnett) and Dean (Will Forte) are two happy-go-lucky brothers who want nothing more than to please their ailing father (Lee Majors). Deciding a grandson will do the trick, the clueless boys set out to find a woman who can give them a baby. Finding Janine (Kristen Wiig) on Craigslist, the brothers find the woman of their dreams, artificially inseminating her and spending the next nine months on a roller coaster of life, facing romantic and parental challenges along the way that are no match for their sunny attitude.

Throughout “Solomon,” I kept wondering if John and Dean were just simple, upbeat boys as the screenplay suggests, or were they truly stupid human beings. Written by Forte, there’s really no answer to this question, since “Solomon” is nothing more than a blindfolded endeavor of supreme irreverence; the actor using his time on “SNL” as a trial run on how to make absolutely nothing last longer than it has any right to.

Morons or not, the slapstick efforts of the title characters are the entire movie, boiling the experience of “Solomon” down to a simple question of comedic chemistry. Personally, I would rather have my toenails pulled out one at a time than be forced to watch Will Arnett make the funny. I’ve beaten on the “comedian” plenty over the last year, but he deserves relentless disdain. Not even Weird Al emphasizes his jokes as forcefully as Arnett does. Forte should thank his lucky stars Odenkirk found an actor even more obnoxious than him.

Outside of the occasional crude act, “Solomon” is a harmless comedy, more content exploring the chipper side of the bothers and how it contrasts with everybody’s gloom than reaching for gross-out gags. It isn’t funny, but at least it’s happy, which is more than I can say for Odenkirk’s last directorial effort, the abysmal “Let’s Go to Prison.”

That said, Forte’s scripting doesn’t offer much aside from bizarre gags and references that get their jollies from their very oddness. With dead birds and popcorn (as a symbol of life’s ups and downs), a motif of John Parr’s “St. Elmo’s Fire” theme, and a heavy coating of slimy sexual advances (which the boys find nothing wrong with), “Solomon” is episodic and desperate, leaving nothing to get excited about, with the possible exception of the end credits. I was pretty happy to see those sweet babies arrive.

If Forte and Arnett happen to be your poison, perhaps “Solomon” is a fine choice for a comedic evening. And if you do elect to see it, please let me know: are the Solomon boys a couple of twits or just high on life? I’m still at a loss.

My rating: D+