#48. Richard Donner Ranked List
This time it's personal. While I never thought of Donner as one of the Greats - a distinct lack of style and a sense of humor that's only slightly better than Brian DePalma - he could put together a great story at times. He gave the world Superman and Superman II. His filmography has so much variety, with action, horror, fantasy and a western. But I said it was personal.
In 1989 he directed one of the great half-hours of television, an episode of Tales from the Crypt called "Dig That Cat... He's Real Gone", starring Joe Pantoliano and Robert Wuhl. It's shot and edited in a frenetic, almost experimental state. A really good story told with an aggressive style not associated with Donner. He filmed it in between Lethal Weapon and Lethal Weapon 2, which cut together to form a nearly 4-hour Godfather of the action genre.
Also between the two LWs he made Scrooged. Scrooged and The Goonies (1985) are two comedies with a strong cult following and I despise them both. Scrooged is way over-produced and seriously unfunny, while Goonies is kiddie trash.
The other personal film for me is 1992's Radio Flyer, one of the best, most difficult films ever made about child abuse. Donner made some big, risky decisions, giving the drama a heavy dose of fantasy that some thought undercut the abuse, but I thought it enhanced it while also making it easier to sit through. The way the film ends is one of the most clever bits of direction I've come across, but the film was a major flop and afterwards Donner stopped trying. His output after Radio Flyer is indifferent at best.
I haven't seen his three features before The Omen, but I love the concept of a buddy action comedy called Salt and Pepper.
After discovering the body of a murdered female agent in their trendy Soho, London nightclub, groovy owners Charles Salt (Sammy Davis Jr.) and Christopher Pepper (Peter Lawford) partake in a fumbling investigation and uncover an evil plot to overthrow the government.
I haven't seen Timeline. I have no reason to see Timeline. I won't see Timeline.
That leaves Inside Moves (1980), which looks interesting enough. I'll be watching that.