Thursday 6 May 2021

Rob's Movie Night Roundup - H: The Highwaymen, The Hunted

At the beginning of the year, my wife and I decided that we'd like to watch more movies. There are 52 weeks in a year, 2 of us, and 26 letters in the alphabet. What better way to choose some movies than to go alphabetically? The only rule: Where possible, it should be a movie that one or more of us had never seen before. Oh, and ideally it should be part of one of the copious online streaming services we're already subscribed to, because why bother paying for a rental when we're not short of options?

Incidentally, if anyone from the big online streaming service providers is reading this (your Notfluxes or your Prims, for example), please make it easier to search for/sort movies alphabetically. Thanks.

Also, fair warning: There may well be movies that appear on this list that you'll find hard to believe I haven't seen before. It happens.

Previous letters are here: A B C D E F G

Director: John Lee Hancock
Stars: Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, Kathy Bates

Synopsis via IMDB: The untold true story of the legendary detectives who brought down Bonnie and Clyde.

We went into this one a little bit unsure as to what we were going to get. My wife isn't the biggest Woody Harrelson fan, despite his being fantastic in my eyes.

As it turns out, we needn't have worried. The Highwaymen is a really entertaining movie. Dealing with a pair of detectives brought back from the fringes to deal with Bonnie and Clyde, Costner and Harrelson do a great job as Hamer and Gault. They strike the perfect balance between "past their best" and "but their best was *good*...", chasing Bonnie and Clyde across multiple states and figuring out the best way to catch them out.

Bonnie and Clyde, it seems, had somewhat of a cult following during their crime spree. This film does a nice job of bringing that across, with the pair encountering many comments and interactions with people who felt that the pair were virtuous in their deeds. Regardless of where someone might fall on that line of reasoning, it was nice to see the film represent both points of view.

It's a good movie, I'd recommend it. The performances are strong, and there are some fun moments of levity despite the theoretically grim subject matter. I don't really have a lot more to say on the subject.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Connie Nielsen

Synopsis via IMDB: An FBI deep-woods tracker attempts to capture a trained assassin who has made a sport of hunting humans.

Ok, so I made an error here.

We were browsing the catalogue one evening, about a week before it was my turn at movie night, and I thought "Ooh, I remember seeing the trailer for this and thinking it looked pretty cool."

It turns out I'd gone deeper than that. I'd not only seen the trailer, and thought it looked pretty cool, I'd actually gone ahead and seen the film, and thought it was fine.

I had forgotten having watched it until about twenty minutes from the end. Perhaps it was a university DVD rental that I watched half-asleep. Perhaps I just watched it one day on Netflix among a bunch of other films. Who is to say? The point is that I had seen it, and forgotten all about it.

With all this said, I didn't hate this film by any means. I actually quite enjoyed it. It was short, punchy and action-packed. It was just...a fine movie. Nothing to write home about. Del Toro and Tommy Lee Jones play off each other well, and it's all perfectly well done. It's just nothing incredibly mind-blowing. It looks great though, very well shot and some really nice camera work.

In short, H was certainly a letter whose movies we watched. Of the two, The Highwaymen would be my stronger recommendation, but if you're pushed for time The Hunted is perfectly serviceable. Neither one would occupy my top spot so far of all the movies we watched, but they certainly wouldn't be the weakest.

Did you enjoy the roundup? Let me know! If you have thoughts on the movies chosen and their respective writeups above, you know where to find me. Maybe you don't, but there are buttons everywhere to make that happen. Comments, Twitter, you name it. Moreover, if you want to make use of this movie night format, bearing in mind you're a few weeks in and might have to double up to get up to speed, feel free to do the same - I'd love to know what you chose too!

Rob Wade

Rob Wade blogs about stuff he likes. Whether it's video games or geek media for Emotionally14 or writing about speculative theories for future films on Talk Star Wars, the focus has always been on the stuff that brings the most pleasure to his life within media.

Rob is the editor of Emotionally14, and showrunner of the E14 podcasts "The Crazy Train", "The E14 Gamecast" and "Talk Star Wars", as well as the host and guest of a number of pieces on E14's Youtube channel over the years.

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