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« Curio: Cinema Notes | Main | because the night belongs to linkers ♩ »
Tuesday
Aug212012

Posterized: Tony Scott (1944-2012)

As you've undoubtedly heard, director Tony Scott, youngest brother of Ridley, died Sunday after throwing himself off a bridge at the age of 68 just two years after his latest huge hit (Unstoppable). The internet was awash with morbid rumors about why (an inoperable brain cancer diagnosis chief among them) but when it comes to private struggles of the soul, you never can expect to know so we stick to the facts. Facts: A lot of people saw and liked his movies; His feature career as a director spanned from 1971's Loving Memory (not the type of movie you'd associate with his filmmaking persona) through 2010's Unstoppable (exactly the type of you'd associate with his filmmaking persona).

Tony Scott with his preferred leading man Denzel Washington. They made five films together.

Somewhere along the line I decided I wasn't interested in him as a filmmaker but not every filmmaker is for ever moviegoer (nor should they be). My disinterest was partially spurred on by a me-imposed sibling rivalry with his older brother Ridley Scott -- rather silly since Ridley and Tony worked together often and no love was ever lost. But Ridley already had two indisputable classics under his belt (Alien and Blade Runner) by the time Tony Scott was making his Hollywood debut so the die was cast. If Tony had continued making movies like The Hunger chances are I would never have tuned him out but his bread and butter... in fact his entire diet... was the kinetic multiplex-ready A list male-driven shoot em up. Not enough actresses! But looking back through his filmography brought back more memories than I expected.

How many Tony Scott pictures have you seen?

Loving Memory (1971) | The Hunger (1983) | Top Gun (1986)

The Hunger is the Scott films I've seen the most often, a favorite of my best friend's and thus in regular rotation on VHS for the first decade of its life. Bonus Points: Deneuve & Sarandon making sexploitative vampire love long before True Blood repopularized vampires as sex gods....er, devils. It was also impossible to live through the 1980s without absorbing Top Gun into your very pores (my oldest brother loved it).

more posters and memories after the jump


Beverly Hills Cops II (1987) | Revenge (1990) | Days of Thunder (1990)

I had totally forgotten that Madeleine Stowe starred in Revenge (1990) before she starred in "Revenge" (the first season of her resurrected awesomeness just hit DVD). Days of Thunder that same year tricked me into thinking that I hated Nicole Kidman. It took me 11 years to fully know the facts: Kidman is the real deal.


The Last Boy Scott (1991) | True Romance (1993) | Crimson Tide (1995)

I always forget that he made True Romance but that was a very memorable movie, possibly his best. Of particular note were Patricia Arquette's best performance as the hooker "Alabama" and Brad Pitt's hilarious stoner cameo. I still get shivers recalling that brutal bloody bathroom scene - very hard to shake.

After Crimson Tide, I am surprised to realize that I saw not a single one of his last eight features - many of them big hits --  so chances are you have me beat.


The Fan (1997) | Enemy of the State (1999) | Spy Game (2001)Man on Fire (2004) | Beat the Devil (2002) | Domino (2005)

I loved "The Hire" series and Posterized works best in sets of threes so I included this short film. Remember that brief weird blip in Keira Knightley's career where she thought she was going to be an action star (see also: King Arthur)


Deja Vu (2006) | The Taking of Pehlam 1 2 3 (2009) | Unstoppable (2010)

Tony Scott closed out his career with a Denzel Washington triple. I wish I'd seen Unstoppable at the time which I heard so many good things about. Tony & Denzel made five features together all told, so Denzel was the unquestionable face of the director's filmography with Gene Hackman and Tom Cruise as supporting players.

True Stats: Tony Scott never earned an Oscar nomination of any kind. His films amassed 10 nominations and 1 win (Top Gun's best original song "Take My Breath Away"), proving most popular in the sound categories. His films were popular at the box office though, with Top Gun being his biggest hit with over $700 million globally if you adjust for inflation.

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Reader Comments (10)

I remember seeing the "Uncut Exctended Directors Cut" of True Romance on VHS and falling in love with everything about that film. Brilliant, bloody bliss!

The final shootout scene with all the feathers in the air from the pillows amidst the hail of gunfire and blood was beyond intense.

RIP Mr. Scott.

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Seen them all except for Loving Memory, Beat the Devil, and Taking of Pelham. It's funny but I just watched Deja Vu last week, having heard that it was a solid popcorn film, and it was. Some of the sci-fi mumbo jumbo was hard to swallow but once you got past that, it was such a well-made and heartfelt thriller, with a big romance at the center. Sort of a sci-fi version of Laura, or even Vertigo in a way.

Unstoppable was pretty terrific, as well. Good characters, thrilling story. A saturday night movie without snark or pretension.

He'll be missed.

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Swanson

I've only seen seven with Crimson Tide being the last one, which means I've been avoiding his work for almost two decades. Not a good sign.

I did love The Hunger, but honestly Sarandon+Deneuve+Canonero, who wouldn't?

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I've only seen four of the movies in his filmography: "The Last Boy Scout," "Crimson Tide" (my favorite), "Enemy of the State," and "Man on Fire." If nothing else, he did know how to entertain.

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Ive been following the younger Scott s career since my teenage years. He made me dreamt like no other directors could and got me inspiration and thrill to work into movies. I owe so much to Tony Scott, he helped me shape the man I am today. I feel really sad and I wish I met him before but I feel like I do know him since he seemed so kind and fun in every interviews or from what people say about him. God bless your soul and give courage to your loved ones. RIP Anthony David Scott

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPete

I love TRUE ROMANCE a lot...and when I was a kid I was crazy for TOP GUN...I like also THE HUNGER (stoned by Deneuve, Bowie, Sarandon, Bauhaus and that tiny-tiny misterious Sophie Ward's appereance in the final scene)...and even if I didn't like REVENGE I couldn't stop thinking how gorgeous Madeleine Stowe was...and still is actually...

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

For a filmmaker I didn't care much for, I oddly have seen nearly every Tony Scott film. I always appreciated a lot about his technique, but too often found it got in the way of other elements of his storytelling abilities. The guy could get an ensemble to click perfectly though, an underrated talent.

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Z

I think Tony Scott did a great job of making B movies on an A budget. I haven't seen a lot, but all of the ones I've seen are pretty serviceable. They make sense and have their own inner logic. That's a lot better than most filmmakers.

My most memorable Tony Scott experience is seeing Top Gun in the small Italian village of Brindisi while waiting to catch the ferry to Greece. There were no English subtitles and I don't speak a word of Italian but I had no trouble following the story. Maybe that's what made Tony Scott so successful, his pictures moved. So much action the words hardly mattered.

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

I absolutely, unabashedly adore True Romance- what a great movie (my boyfriend was saying last night that no one he's ever had a conversation with where True Romance came up has ever not said automatically "that's a great movie."

I haven't seen a whole lot of his movies. Somehow I lived through the 80s without having seen Top Gun. I thought Crimson Tide and Enemy of the State were solid movies. I refuse to see the remake of Pelham which is one of the great 70s movies with maybe my favorite closing shot ever. The last movie of his I saw was Domino, which was so batshit crazy that I couldn't help but love it.

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAR

He was a good pop corn movie director.

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon
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