Stockwell In A Box

With today’s release (and concurrent critical savaging) of Cat Run, it’s time to once again lament the saga of John Stockwell — an extremely bright, hip and likable guy who started out as an actor in the ’80s (Top Gun) but really found his footing as a director — first with the entirely decent, well-shaped, movingly performed Crazy/Beautiful (’01) and then Blue Crush, one of the best modestly-proportioned surfer movies I’ve ever seen.

But since then Stockwell has fallen into a trap in which the only films he’s been allowed (or been able) to make are callow thrillers and youth-market programmers — Into The Blue, Turistas, Middle of Nowhere, etc. And now Cat Run, which Time Out‘s Nick Schager calls “a third-generation Tarantino rip-off distinguished only by its equal-opportunity nudity.” Knowing Stockwell as I do (which is to say slightly or somewhat), I believe he’s much better than the material he’s managed to work with over the last eight years. Which is really too bad because life is effin’ short, man.

  • JLC

    Christine power!

  • Actually, Stockwell’s first film as a director was 1987’s “Under Cover” — a solidly made B-movie with good performances by David Neidorf (who seems to have fallen off the map, alas) and Jenifer Jason Leigh. Oddly enough, I caught it in the market at Cannes, back in the day when Cannon Films took over an entire theater for the run of the festival to screen its product. It later opened in Houston and a few other markets. By that time, unfortunately, Cannon wasn’t really in any shape financially to market it very well.

  • LexG

    “What’s the matter, Dennis? Don’t you like this BEER? You don’t like BEER? DEATH… to the Shitters of the World…. 1979!”

    Stockwell RULES ALL in front and behind the camera, and one of the main reasons I like Lucas Black so much is it’s like he picked up the acting torch right from where Stockwell left off.

    Into the Blue and Turistas are both entertaining and awesome and FULL of hot chicks. It always seemed like Stockwell was just attracted to whatever blue-tinted youth movie he could make where he’d get to shoot beautiful women near bodies of water… and WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT? Guy seems like an AWESOME dude, real regular guy who makes solid programmers with sort of modest ambition but delivers every time– kind of like his acting career. I like to imagine he and Peter Berg are best buds and hash these things out over a 12-pack of Miller Light.

    Plus– Stockwell shows feet in his movies WAY MORE than Quentin Tarantino, only in JS’s case it’s usually a REALLY hot chick with great feet like Dunst, Ashley Scott, Alba or Olivia Wilde, instead of Tarantino’s off-putting big dumb closeups of Uma or Kruger that just make everybody uncomfortable.

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Oh, Lex, you’re gonna fucking LOVE Cat Run.

    This movie is ridiculous. It feels like a slightly more upscale 90’s direct-to-DVD movie. Janet McTeer plays Helen Mirren in RED, shooting everyone in the head. Paz Vega struts her stuff in various states of undress (so much nudity in this). And then there are old vets like Chris McDonald, Karel Roden, Tony Curran. It’s a pretty silly madcap sorta thing, with the sort of action that, you can tell, if from an old pro like Stockwell.

    Also, DL Hughley plays a dude with one arm and no legs who gets PUNTED across the room. And there is a shootout set to Fergie’s London Bridge, followed by another set to a metal cover of “Shake Your Bon-Bon.” I could NOT hate this movie.

  • Kakihara

    Lexg: “instead of Tarantino’s off-putting big dumb closeups of Uma or Kruger that just make everybody uncomfortable.”

    Yeah, maybe people would’ve liked Death Proof more if he did that with pre-Scott Pilgrim Winstead.

    Gabe: But how does it compare to the Le Femme Nikita tv spin-off?

  • Jeff and/or Danny Is Always Wrong

    Top Gun?? I’m with JLC on this one– Christine. Hell, even My Science Project, which is one of the forgotten 80s movies that EVERYONE saw on VHS or HBO reruns.

    If Cougar hadn’t washed out, he would have been stuck playing volleyball with the boys– thus, Stockwell might have gotten stuck with Rick Rossovich’s career instead. No Stockwell career means no man today would ever remember the one moment when Kirsten Dunst and her once-magical ass was hot; instead, she’d be remembered for her horrifying snaggletooth.

    Stockwell films girls *real* pretty… that’s got to be a useful talent in Hollywood, no?

  • lawnorder

    CAT RUN has the worst, most amateurish trailer I’ve ever seen in my life.

    Stockwell is known to be less than pleasant on the set. Maybe it finally caught up with him…

  • HarryMoseby

    I was up for a writing job which eventually went to Stockwell (Deep Six, if you must know). When the productiion executive told me he would be doing it, I responed “The actor?!!” She took offense at that, but I was just trying to clarify. I knew then there were unplumbed depths to his abitlties…ah, who am I kidding?

  • HarryMoseby

    Okay, I mean Deepstar Six. I still could have used the job.

  • HarryMoseby

    You have no idea the cimematic landmark Deepstar Six would have been had they given me a shot at it.

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