This week brings to theaters The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and the Jennifer Lawrence steamroller that is killing it in Hollywood right now. The movie is the 3rd of a series that looks to possibly be one of the most successful of all time. For these reviews, I pick one actor/actress from the cast and review a past movie that they have been in; whether it is a good one or a shitty one (The Wedding Planner).
Rather than go with the obvious cast member in Jennifer Lawrence and regurgitate a review of Silver Linings Playbook, I have decided to pick another well-known actor who has had a tremendous career on the silver screen and on TV. Woody Harrelson plays Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games series and is going to appear in the NEXT film set to come out in 2015. Needless to say, his career is at the top of its game right now coming off of the hit series, True Detective. But, before he was mentoring young Katniss on how to kill people and win The Hunger Games, he was in a little-known and unsuccessful movie called Rampart in 2011. Woody’s past roles have, for the most part, been in comedies and usually portrays a dopey, silly, character that come across misfortune and he needs to figure out how to get through it. He does mix in a few serious characters here and there, but his most memorable roles have been in comedies (Kingpin, Zombieland, White Men Can’t Jump, EdTV, Cheers). Rampart is definitely not a comedy…unless you think a man in a tailspin desperately trying to keep his life together is funny, then this movie is hilarious.
The movie takes place in the immense and diverse city of Los Angeles in 1999. Woody plays David Douglas Brown; a veteran cop with the infamous LAPD who’s policing ways are questionable and quasi-racist. The movie reveals that he could have been a lawyer, but apparently didn’t pass his board; so he becomes a cop who is too smart for his own good. He lives in the back-house of the home of his ex-wife and her sister (both of which he is having sexual relations with openly) and his 2 kids. First of all, the living situation is fucked, so you can only assume that he is also a fucked up person; which he most certainly is. The movie goes on to show how he is a regular at a bar where he gets drunk on the reg, smokes on the reg, and bangs chicks on the reg; all the things that a normal father of 2 does on a week-day night. He ends up in some controversial situations that put him in the public eye and is found out to be a shitty cop, shitty father, and an all around shitty person.
When I found this movie, I thought it was going to be the typical cop movie with an unlikely couple of people being forced to be partners and watching their relationship go from hating each other, to being amicable, to coming full circle at the end and being the bestest friends ever; EEEEEEEK! I had Lethal Weapon and Rush Hour in mind (hold the mullet and karate); specially with Harrelson’s background as a comedic actor. But it was anything but comedic. Completely unexpected. It was just like ordering a Jack and Coke and instead getting jump kicked in the chest by a guy named Jack wearing a coat. It was violent, had nudity, racism, and pretty much everything under the sun that warrants a rated R movie (and ironically makes a great movie). Of course, it probably didn’t help that I have been binge watching Cheers and expected Woody Boyd to be playing the cop with Frasier Krane as his new partner and George Wendt as the angry sergeant (dibs, don’t even think about stealing it, Paramount).
This was definitely a dark, dark role for Woody to play. I have seen him in some of his serious shit (Anger Management), but this was completely different. Something that I speculate, is that this is the role that got him his extremely awesome role in True Detective as Marty Hart; because in my mind, it’s the same character. It’s actually an awesomely written role and Woody kicks the shit out of it. If you liked him in True Detective, you will love him in this role.
One thing that I believe may have given this movie mixed reviews and possibly pissed people off, was the ending. I’m not going to spill the beans for you, but it is definitely a Sopranos-esque ending. For those of you who didn’t or haven’t seen the last Sopranos episode (shame on you), there’s a huge gun fight, meatballs, scantily clad women, an epic chase scene, and a fart joke (something for everyone so now there’s no excuse not to watch it). But the way Rampart ends will definitely make you go, “Really?!” or “Hmmm”. I was on the “Hmmm” half, but then again I love fart jokes.
Watch it and let me know what you think…of fart jokes.
Ramfart (again, dibs)