The pure fun of Tony Scott's films

Last updated 09:35 22/08/2012

Tony Scott will be missed. His films were fun, slick and often preposterous romps. You always knew you would be able to get through a huge tub of popcorn and a coke during a Tony Scott movie. They were unpretentious, beautifully shot and just plain fun.

Tony ScottI occasionally review films for The Press newspaper in Christchurch and for the past few years have been the Tony Scott guy. It has been my honour to review the last couple of Scott movies - Unstoppable and The Taking of Pelham 123. I hope I did them justice. In all honesty, they were not great films, but they were entertaining.

I described Unstoppable as "basic, fun stuff that hits its fairly modest target with brio and stylish panache".

If you're not a fan of fast food, you will not get this metaphor, but Tony Scott films are a bit like a Big Mac -  reliable, guilty pleasures that are well made and really hit the spot sometimes.

The words slick and fun come to mind when I think of his films. You knew you were in the hands of someone who knew what he was doing. An oddly rare experience at the cinema.

I have fond memories of going to see Deja Vu at the cinema with my friend, John. It was a blast. Preposterous, action-packed and uncomplicated.

Deja Vu, Enemy of the State, Spy Game and Top Gun were entertaining, thrilling and gorgeous looking. Isn't that what a trip to the movies should be all about?

But one of his films is a standout classic.

This one:

True Romance

It's True Romance.

In 1993, True Romance was a hot property. It was based on the first script by Quentin Tarantino - who had exploded on to the scene a year before with his debut, Reservoir Dogs, but had not yet cemented his reputation and won Cannes with Pulp Fiction, and it featured every star who was considered hip in 1993. You had Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer along with the two leads, Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette.

It has a lot going for it. A great Hans Zimmer score that pays homage to Terence Malick's Badlands, a snappy script, Walken in fine form as the bad guy, cool cameos from Oldman as a wigger and Pitt as a stoner, Kilmer as a barely glimpsed Elvis, an awesome Mexican showdown at the end and a fake film-within-a-film called Coming Home in a Body Bag.

But under all this hip bombast is a romantic little heart. This is a Tony Scott film where a fragile soul beats under the glossy shell.

Check out this scene:

Beneath the smoke and the neon and the music video stylings lies the earnest, dreamy sincerity of a lonely geek who has finally found someone to share his passions.

It's shocking to think there won't be any more Tony Scott films. It was easy to take his popcorn movies for granted.

To quote Joni Mitchell, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone.''

Picture of Tony Scott: Getty Images

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14 comments
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Callum   #1   09:41 am Aug 22 2012

I agree, 100%.

Anna   #2   09:45 am Aug 22 2012

Im sad that he chose to take his own life. Thats a tough decision. But Id never go to see his movies. Utter shite. Except The Hunger, if in fact he did direct it. That was good. I can think of better storytellers. But its sad that he killed himself.

G   #3   10:04 am Aug 22 2012

Unpretencious??? What about "Top Gun" and "Days Of Thunder".... if you put Tom Cruise in a movie... its pretencious. Fun and entertaining no doubt... but unpretencious... thats a stretch.

hastley   #4   10:52 am Aug 22 2012

"Just plain fun". Absolutely! There's still some of us out here who just want to go and watch a fun movie and forget about the worlds troubles and not have to analyse and google a films storyline just to understand the four hidden meanings. Thats why I guess Top Gun is still in my top 5 faves... and Enemy of the State is one of the few Will Smith movies I'll watch whenever it's on the movies. I'll miss Tony Scott's movies because they were "just plain fun" :) P.S there's lots of fab trivia about his movies in the "Tony Scott on Tony Scott" article in the Empire magazine website.

ray hicks   #5   02:22 pm Aug 22 2012

Bang on about True Romance: easily his best work! You can keep Cruise and his Jet fighter, stock cars and nuclear subs: A bit of Walken and Dennis Hopper going head to head(verbally that is...) topped all his big, loud, trashy moments. I'm Sorry about his death, but I'm not going to defend/eulogise over the body of his work. Most of his stuff was the work of a studio hack who certainly had visual flair, but produced films that were big, dumb and empty...except True Romance. Who knows, maybe if Scott chose a different route, he may have revealed hidden talent; True Romance certainly pointed to a guy with potential...

the_fridge   #6   02:40 pm Aug 22 2012

The Taking of Pelham 123 was awesome all because of one little thing that I've never seen happen in another film - the bad guy threatens t do something if his demands are not met, and when they weren't met he did what he said and killed a hostage - the film had me right then & there.

Mattrix   #7   04:07 pm Aug 22 2012

Don't say the word "romp". Ugh i hate that word.

samm   #8   04:30 pm Aug 22 2012

Say what you like about Top Gun (aside from the fact it should correctly be worded Topgun like the real thing), but it features the best aerial cinematography ever put in a mainstream movie (and in the current CGI era likely ever will be). A handful of pre-CGI era films come close to matching it in this respect, but Top Gun put the viewer in the aircraft like no other movie before or since.

Noumead   #9   04:44 pm Aug 22 2012

Man on Fire, not for everyone but hits all the right notes for mine.

Donna   #10   05:50 pm Aug 22 2012

Top Gun, on the of the best action movies period. The cocky guys, the one liners, the speed machines, iceman, the music, the aerial combat dogfights, awesome, right, I am going to crank me up some Kenny Loggins "Dangerzone" and play it real loud :)

RIP Tony Scott.


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