The Stunt Man (1980) tells the story of a war vet who stumbles into a movie set and causes (or seemingly causes) the death of a stunt man. The director, brilliantly played by Peter O’Toole, decides to hide the vet from the law by giving him the now-available stunt man’s job. (I’ve seen quite a few of Peter O’Toole’s movies, and this is clearly one of his best—he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, but lost out to Robert Deniro in Raging Bull.)
Richard Rush directed The Stunt Man, and he did a masterful job with a huge cast of stars and extras. Most of the time, the movie feels like it’s veering out of control, but it never quit goes there, and just keeps careening along, carrying the viewer along for the ride. It’s hard to describe, but quite fun to watch.
It’s really hard to classify this movie; at times, it’s a comedy, at times, it’s a serious drama, and much of the time, it’s a farcical look at the movie making business. Whatever it is, though, it’s quite entertaining and definitely off the beaten path of plot lines followed by most Hollywood movies. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth a watch. (As with last week’s pick, this one too is targeted at adults only.)
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