Hi! I haven’t done a RMR since the Oscars so here’s my quick three cents. The ratings were horrible (down 58% from 2020) and deservedly so. How you don’t close the show with Best Picture is beyond me. I was naive to think the show would be much closer to a regular Oscars but instead it came off as a Bar Mitzvah where only the immediate family and synagogue officials were invited. Absolutely nobody to make out with in the coat closet. Ugh! As much as I enjoyed Nomadland, I thought Andra Day should have won for Best Actress. She was awesome in The United States vs Billie Holiday, really brought the singer to life. If you haven’t seen it, go check it out.
OK, now let’s get into this latest Random Movie Review.
This latest RMR film is again from 2000 and just so happens to fall right in the middle of an incredible run of films for New Zealand’s Russel Crowe, who himself won an Oscar for Gladiator in 2000. Released for the holiday run in December of 2000 and directed by Taylor Hackford (An Officer And A Gentleman, Dolores Claiborne, Ray), Proof of Life gets very lost in the shuffle of a great run of Crowe films. Quick note on Hackford: he’s married to Helen Mirren and has been since New Year’s Eve ’97. Lucky Bastard.
OK, back to where in the amazing career of Russel Crowe Proof of Life falls into. If you’ve been following along so far you’ll recall I mentioned Crowe won the Oscar for Gladiator earlier in the same year Proof of Life came out, well that’s just the tip of this cinematic iceberg. Crowe’s next film after Proof of Life was A Beautiful Mind with Jennifer Connelly where he got an Oscar nomination but lost to Denzel(Training Day) even though A Beautiful Mind took home best picture. The film Crowe did before Gladiator was The Insider which also garnered him an Oscar nomination. Not a bad movie sandwich for Proof of Life to fall into, right?! Well there are some really good toppings on this Crowe movie meal and I’m not talking pickles and avocado. We got truffle oil, bacon jam and gold leaf mushrooms on this! So after notching one Oscar win and two other Oscar nominations over a three year turn of the millennium run, Crowe followed up with Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World (2003, a film I LOVE), Cinderella Man(2005), 3:10 to Yuma(2007) and American Gangster also in 2007. I don’t have a doctorate in film, my interests lie strictly in Norwegian podiatry, but I’d say that’s a pretty sick run of films. I haven’t seen it but I’m sure others would also throw in 2006’s A Good Year which critics enjoyed and co-stars Abby Cornish who played the lead Sweet Pea in Sucker Punch and Marion Cotillard (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises).
Now that I’ve covered how great a run of Russell Crowe films Proof of Life falls into let’s dig into this film a bit more.
Obviously I like Proof of Life since I’m writing about it. It popped up on tv the other day while I was doing some cleaning around the house so I rocked the last 45 minutes or so. I’ve seen this film in its entirety about 10 times over the years. The film didn’t necessarily get glowing reviews from critics, but its entirely possible that because Crowe was the lead they were expecting another Gladiator or LA Confidential or Insider. Proof of Life is the old story of an oil company employee who gets kidnapped by local militia in South America while grabbing lunch and then held for ransom in a makeshift prison camp deep in the jungle. I mean it’s happened to the best of us, right? Crowe plays Terry Thorne, a professional hostage negotiator, hired to rescue the kidnapped oil employee by said employee’s wife. Thorne brings in a crew to help with the extraction which culminates in a pretty cool attempted rescue scene at the end of the film.
As much hype as I’ve given Crowe, Proof of Life is not a one-man show. You’ll have to peep your local community theatre for that. Crowe is joined by a pretty solid cast in this one. Co-starring with Crowe is the always loveable Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally, Joe Versus The Volcano, The Doors) as Alice Bowman, the wife of the kidnapped. I love Meg Ryan, have since Top Gun, but she’s kind of disappeared from the spotlight lately. Since Proof of Life, Ryan has only done a handful of movies over the past 20 years with no real hits. I’m certainly down for a huge Meg Ryan comeback in 2022 and beyond. Top notch character actor David Morse (The Green Mile, Concussion, 12 Monkeys, The Hurt Locker) plays the kidnapped Peter Bowman and plays him very well. Quick note on David Morse: he was in Dancer In The Dark which was referenced in the Melancholia RMR.
Crowe’s main man for the rescue plan is the one and only David Caruso (NYPD Blue, First Blood, Session 9, Jade). Caruso is a guy who seems to have gotten a lot of flack or been the butt of Hollywood jokes over the years but I’ve always been a fan. Remember, in The 40-Year-Old Virgin Seth Rogen’s character advises Steve Carell’s character to go full “David Caruso in Jade” on a hot Elisabeth Banks in the book store…”Do you like to DO IT yourself???”
Rounding out the main cast are some real favorites of mine over the years. You’ve got Pamela Reed (The Right Stuff, The Best of Times, Kindergarten Cop), Margo Martindale (Blow The Man Down, BoJack Horseman, Secretariat) and Anthony Heald who famously played the arrogant Dr. Frederick Chilton in Silence of the Lambs. Heald reprised the role of Dr. Chilton in the 2002 sequel Red Dragon.
So that’s Proof of Life. A good action film, with a great cast that get’s lost in the shuffle of a great run of movies by Russel Crowe. Proof of Life can currently be seen on Cinemax. If you watch it late enough you can cruise right into late night SKINEMAX viewing. Enjoy!