Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman, R.I.P.

The life itself is the tribute. All I can do is point to favorite movies.

Considering what’s talked about around here, I have to lead off with Harper. The two Fast Eddie films. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. The Sting. Slap Shot. The Verdict. Still throwing heat in 1994’s Nobody’s Fool.

But I want to single out a pair of films from late in Paul Newman’s career that might be overlooked today, but that mean a lot to me. The Hudsucker Proxy may be regarded as minor Coen Brothers but it’s a New Year’s tradition around here, thanks in part to Newman’s performance. And his turn as Louisiana governor Earl K. Long, besotted with a stripper in Blaze, is a thing of beauty. Ron Shelton makes movies about the two most adult subjects: sex and compromise. Newman fearlessly puts both front and center.

As a wise man once said: “Get that lumber in his teeth! Let ‘em know you’re there!”