The Last Shot

Cover Art and Menu: 5/10
The cover is complete crap. However, the menus are pretty good and they are designed to go along with the opening of the film. Once you see it you will know what I mean. I think they spent more on the DVD menus and opening titles of the movie than they did on Ferris Bueller’s salary. 🙂

Extras & Features: 8/10

  • Inspired by actual events featurette – The man who inspired the character of Joe Divine was an actual FBI agent who did set up two aspiring filmmakers in a sting operation to bring down some of the biggest mob bosses of the day. In this feature you get to see the real dudes meet up again after all these years. The filmmakers are a tad bitter, but the FBI agent turned Hollywood producer makes no real apologies. It’s kind of awkward and I would like to see the uncut version to know just how they really reacted to the reunion with the man who tricked them into thinking they had made their big break, only to be ditched a week before production began.
  • Deleted scenes – Deleted scenes are usually not that funny or interesting, but this time we get to see some additional performance beauties from Buck Henry who has always been so so hysterical. The director loves him enough to give us some extra lines and reactions he had to cut from the final version of the movie.
  • Robert Evans presents – Thank goodness the director had the good sense not to use these narrative sections throughout the movie. I’m not saying they aren’t cool, I mean, Robert Evens is a big deal in Hollywood. I just think the movie would have taken on a certain cheapness if they had chosen to use the narrator to take us through the story.
  • Joan Cusacks montage – What can I say? Joan Cusack is a classic. She’s fun to watch and her confidence is so over the top. She is a modern day Carol Burnett if you ask me and I would like to see even more of her outtakes if anyone has them sitting around.
  • Audio Commentary with Director – This director is serious about filmmaking and Ferris, I mean Matthew, is serious about the craft of acting. They do a good job of discussing the experience of making the film without being boring or too dry. They aren’t as whacky as some commentaries out there, but it’s a good one to listen to if you appreciate the movie.

Laugh Factor:
I just have to add this one little tid bit. This may not be the best movie you’ll find on DVD this year, or any year, but it’s full of laughs. I mean, come on, Ally McBeal as a down and out actress threatening to break a little doggie’s neck…now that’s funny.

The Movie: 7/10:
Ok, so it was funny. That’s the biggest surprise, but there’s more. This is a sleeper flick that I had never heard of, had no idea what it was about or who was in it. And to be honest, when I found out there was a Baldwin in a starring role, even the one they call Alec, my curiosity dropped to around -17. Somehow I found the motivation to move ahead, pop the disk in the player, and even look at the screen. Don’t get me wrong, I looooove the Baldwins….. unless, of course, I have to look at them or listen to them for any reason whatsoever.

Thankfully Mr. Ex-Kim Basinger pulls something from behind the cheap annoying Baldwin facade and he ain’t that bad this time around. If you are a big Baldwin fan, either from past movies (Beetle Juice, Glengarry Glen Ross) or you actually think they have some kind of talent based on how much they keep their mugs in tabloid Hollywood news and extremely cheap productions, you are half way to loving this movie already, good job.

As for the rest of us, The Baldwin Factor should not keep you away from The Last Shot. It really is worth a watch for a few select reasons, an interesting story, genuinely funny dialogue, and lots of humorous quirky performances from a well rounded cast. There’s nothing visually stimulating or particularly stylish about the movie. It’s pretty low key, and rightfully so. This is not a big action story and it’s not open to an artsy interpretation. It’s based on a true story about an FBI agent who sets up a sting to catch some mob bosses by pretending to make a movie. How does that set up the mob? Somehow in the movie world there is a connection between the big trucks they hire through union labor to haul everything. These trucks can be procured via bribes, and therein lies a crime.

In order to pull off this sting operation Joe Divine becomes a fake Hollywood producer, hires a writer, director, and full cast for a movie that is never meant to be made. So, as he strings along these filmmaking wannabes he’s got his eye on the prize of catching some big bad guys, only something happens and he actually ends up wanting to make the movie.

The stories of each character are all well flushed out. You get a down and out actress, struggling writer/director, and many other Hollywood hopefuls who want their big break in the movie biz. Too bad it’s all fake.

Matthew Broderick hasn’t changed his acting style much in the past 20 years. From Ferris Bueller to Godzilla to The Last Shot, he is very “actorly”, theatrical, and always trying a bit too hard to be innocently charming. In this case his character fits that description just right as a writer/director wannabe. Calista Flockhart is a failing actress on the edge who’s arch enemy is the dog kennel next to their apartment. At two different points in the film she threatens to commit dogicide (that’s dog + homicide incase you didn’t get it:). Seeing her down and out and unwanted as an actress is worth the whole movie. Need I say I’m not a fan of Ally McBeal?

The movie isn’t great, but it’s pretty good in terms of a purely . There’s a lot to be said for a quality cast and some seriously funny scenes, lines and reactions. Baldwin has his share of boring moments, but it’s not a major distraction.

Through it all we meet several characters who are endearing, humorous, and very watchable. As you watch it and then think about it later, it all feels very fictional and far fetched. You just have to remember that while they do take some dramatic liberties with the true life story, it’s still actually based on real life. Truth is stranger than fiction, as THEY say.

Value: 4/10
This movie is fun, the DVD has some good extras, but it’s not worth the $21 price tag. I mean, let’s be honest, it’s not something you will want to watch over and over and over. It’s an excellent rental and even good for a purchase in a few months when you can get it for $5 on-line or in your local discount store’s cheap DVD tub.

Overall Score 7/10