Friday, December 11, 2015

Worth Mentioning - No Limite do Silêncio

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

Cody visits Priscilla and the past.


I have been visiting my Remake Comparison Project co-writer Priscilla in Brazil for the last week, and during my stay she has introduced me to a movie that I really should have seen years ago, but for some reason had never heard of until she brought it up to me - The Unsaid, a thriller directed by Tom McLoughlin, the man who got me into horror with his 1986 film Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI.

Although The Unsaid went straight to DVD in the U.S. in mid-2003, almost two years after it premiered in some other territories, it got theatrical play in Brazil, and Priscilla saw it on the big screen at the time. It instantly became one of her favorites.

The film stars Andy Garcia as Michael Hunter, a man whose home life and profession as a psychiatrist crumbles after the suicide of his teenage son. Three years after that terrible event, psychologist Barbara Wagner (Teri Polo) approaches Hunter to ask him to put his expertise to use evaluating Tommy Caffey (Vincent Kartheiser), a 17-year-old who will soon be released from the "home for wayward boys" that he has been living in since witnessing the brutal murder of his mother at the hands of his father several years earlier.

Hunter and Tommy quickly hit it off, but it soon becomes clear that Tommy is very deeply disturbed under his pleasant facade, and may be too troubled to be released into the world... he may even be homicidal... To raise the stakes for Hunter, Tommy has also struck up a bit of a romance with his rebellious teenage daughter Shelly (Linda Cardellini).

Written by Miguel Tejada-Flores (who would soon after work on Beyond Re-Animator) and Scott Williams from a story by Christopher Murphey, The Unsaid is a very intriguing film, one that keeps you guessing and wondering throughout - although Priscilla says she guessed the final twist long before it was revealed. I had my suspicions, but didn't quite have all the puzzle pieces in place.

The mystery and Tommy's potential for violence drive the film forward, and it's also carried along by the fantastic performances delivered by the lead actors, performances that draw the viewer in and make the film very satisfying to watch. Garcia and Kartheiser in particular are fascinating.

It's unfortunate that The Unsaid seems to be so obscure, because it's a great thriller that deserved a lot more attention than it received. I highly recommend checking it out if you get a chance to.

COACH (1989 - 1997)

One of my comfort standbys when I kick back and relax at night are old school sitcoms, ideally ones that I would watch when I was a kid. In recent years, this relaxation method had led me, with the help of Netflix, to watch entire runs of shows from my childhood. Cheers. Frasier. Wings. Family Ties. The latest sitcom to get a complete viewing from me is Coach, a show I loved watching as a youngster. It ran from the time I was 5 until I was 13, and during that time I watched and enjoyed many an episode.

The series centers on Craig T. Nelson as Hayden Fox, coach of Minnesota State University's football team the Screaming Eagles. I have no interest in sports, and luckily you don't have to care about football to like the show. Hayden is obsessed with the sport, but it doesn't overwhelm the episodes. The heart of the series truly is his interactions with his friends and loved ones - Shelley Fabares as his significant other, TV news anchor Christine Armstrong; Clare Carey as his daughter Kelly, who couldn't be more different from her dad; and Jerry Van Dyke and Bill Fagerbakke in wonderful comedic roles as his dimwitted assistant coaches Luther and Dauber. Kenneth Kimmins and Georgia Engel are also a lot of fun as recurring oddball characters Howard and Shirley Burleigh.

Hayden undergoes a noticable evolution over the course of the series - staring off as a gruff man's man and gradually growing softer and more accepting thanks to Christine and Kelly.

Revisiting the series twenty years later, I was very pleasantly surprised by just how strong the writing was. I was particularly impressed by the writing of Hayden and Christine's rocky relationship in the early seasons. Some of their scenes struck me as being so real, it was incredible.

Coach remained entertaining for the entirety of its nine season run, although issues did start to surface in the later seasons, as Hayden and Christine decide to have a baby - the addition of a baby to sitcoms rarely sits well with me - and then Hayden gets a job coaching a pro team in Orlando for the last two seasons. It was a very odd decision for the show to scrap all of its familiar sets and put the characters into a completely different environment. The show still doesn't become all that bad, but it's different, and that change brought about the end of its run, although things are fixed in the finale.

Recently, it was announced that a Coach revival was in the works, with Nelson attached to reprise the role of Hayden Fox, now serving as assistant coach to his adult son, who is putting together a football team at a college in Pennsylvania. Sounded like a fun idea to me, but unfortunately the network it was set up at, NBC, decided they were no longer interested, so it doesn't seem like it's going to happen. That's a shame, because I would love to have more Coach to watch.

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