Happy Friday, everyone! You made it. I’m proud of you. We lost a Hollywood icon this week in Bill Paxton. One of the most prolific actors and a hell of a director (Frailty, The Greatest Game Ever Played), Paxton was loved by many and was known as one of the good guys in a business that can create some real turds. His future presence will be sorely missed, but he lives on through the dozens of films in which he appeared. (Read Daena’s obituary here.) Let’s pay tribute to Bill in our simple little way by showing a double feature this weekend. Of the two films I picked, one is a no-brainer and the other may seem like an odd choice.
Movie #1 – Near Dark
(1987 / R / 1h 34m)
S: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henricksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Joshua John Miller / W: Kathryn Bigelow, Eric Red / D: Kathryn Bigelow
Set in the midwest, written and directed by a woman, with a killer soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, containing one of the greatest lines in genre history – “It ain’t what’s goin’ on, son. It’s what’s comin’ off. Your face. Clean off.” – Near Dark is touted as one of the (if not THE) greatest vampire movies of the 80s. I recently saw this for this first time (!!!) and was thoroughly entertained. I remember the poster hanging in our local video store, and can’t believe I never watched this as a kid. It’s a great way to start your night featuring one of Paxton’s greatest performances.
Movie #2 – Nightcrawler
(2014 / R / 1h 57m)
S: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton / W: Dan Gilroy / D: Dan Gilroy
Like I said in my first edition of DDF, not every film chosen will be horror exactly, but expect them to be at least horror-adjacent. Such is the case with Nightcrawler featuring Gyllenhaal in my favorite performance of his. Paxton plays a secondary (if not tertiary) character, but he’s in it, so it counts. I figured this for a great “B” movie because of the extremely dark tone and feel. We see Gyllenhaal transform into this sinister character that comes off as so real that it’s jarring. It examines the monster that lives in all of us, and how easy it is for it to rear its ugly head. Nightcrawler is a perfect film with which to end your evening and send you off to wrestle your own monster as you drift off to sleep.
Total Time: 3h 31m + 10m break = 3h 41m
Don’t worry about waking up early the next day. As Severen says, “We keep odd hours.”