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View Full Version : Rob Reiner--what happened?



Marshall Crist
10-15-2010, 03:37 AM
I have pretty much unconditional love for him up until about 1986. Loved him as a performer, both as Meathead, but also in other stuff like his HILARIOUS turn in WHERE'S POPPA? It would be an understatement to say that he started strong out of the gate as a director--SPINAL TAP and THE SURE THING are about as good as movies get.

Then we get to his commercial period. While not to my taste whatsoever, there is no denying that he had ENORMOUS, crowd-pleasing hits. Quite an amazing string of them, really. STAND BY ME, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, MISERY, A FEW GOOD MEN. This would have been a good time to retire, or take your F.U. money and just make little, personal films if you love directing so god damned much.

Instead, NORTH. A colossal misfire that is barely remembered today. Followed by approximately seven consecutive films of little or no merit. Now I'm sure that THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, for instance, has its supporters, some of them probably right here on this very board. But I would still feel very confident arguing that Reiner's career has taken at least three 90-degree turns: from actor to director, from promising indie director to huge A-list director, and from amazingly successful director to WTF.

Bummer about that last one.

Randy Thomas G
10-15-2010, 03:58 AM
Never seen THE SURE THING, didn't know it was supposed to be even decent, let alone in the classic league of SPINAL TAP. I had no idea he had descended to the generic crap level of THE STORY OF US, ALEX & EMMA and THE BUCKET LIST. I assumed they were directed by no-name hacks. They look Ivan Reitman terrible.

Marshall Crist
10-15-2010, 04:14 AM
THE SURE THING is a totally different animal than SPINAL TAP and I would not expect most Maniacs to hold it in anywhere near as high regard. But I really like it and I suspect a few peeps here would back me up. I would urge you to rent it if you are at all curious, and try to go in with no expectations.

Terry Carpenter
10-15-2010, 07:01 AM
The Sure Thing is is a classic, Randy needs to clean his drawers.

What happened to Rob Reiner? Easy....the 90's.

Steven Millan
10-15-2010, 07:25 AM
The only thing that NORTH is remembered for is Roger Ebert's notorious bad review of that very film:"I Hated,Hated,Hated It !!!!",which sounded more like he was watching ISHTAR,CHAOS,I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE,HOSTEL,THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE,or SALO:120 DAYS OF SODOM.

Randy Thomas G
10-15-2010, 07:48 AM
The Sure Thing is is a classic, Randy needs to clean his drawers.


Is that a good or bad thing? Does that mean I should see it or not? :confused:

Now if it sucks I will hold you and Marshall responsible.

:D

mark t
10-15-2010, 09:17 AM
I liked a lot of his stuff back in the day, and STAND BY ME is a classic.

My mom really likes AMERICAN PRESIDENT and THE BUCKET LIST. I've heard that his newest, FLIPPED, is supposed to be decent, but he never really stood out as a kickass director for me. Most of the directors that I like have a very definite style.....he doesn't seem to.

Nick Schwartz
10-15-2010, 09:25 AM
With Reiner, I think it's a solid case of too much success. When you fire off a lot of successes, you're bound to have a failure or three. It's just the nature of the beast: no artistic endeavors can really exist without a setback, a misfire, or a plain mistake. What Reiner proved is that the longer you go before having one of those, the more destructive it can be. Not because it ruins your lucky streak, but because the setback it provides means the next one requires your A-Game. You don't go from NORTH to THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT. You go in with something that is sure to be good. You take time off, you have a vacation, you collect your thoughts. Reiner jumped back into another movie right after the slamming and it shows.

Troy Howarth
10-15-2010, 09:39 AM
He's about the only TV actor I can think of who developed into a good director. The others all seem to make "big screen TV movies," but his subject matter is ecclectic and though far from innovative he's a solid craftsman. Alas, his recent film The Bucket List was corny and formulaic, despite fine work from Nicholson and Freeman.

Nick Schwartz
10-15-2010, 09:49 AM
He's about the only TV actor I can think of who developed into a good director. The others all seem to make "big screen TV movies," but his subject matter is ecclectic and though far from innovative he's a solid craftsman. Alas, his recent film The Bucket List was corny and formulaic, despite fine work from Nicholson and Freeman.

It's because there's no genres to play against. Reiner's best films was when he was challenging himself. SPINAL TAP is an excellent and sly comedy, MISERY a fantastic horror film full of characterization and menace, and PRINCESS BRIDE perfect for its narrative structure and serious-but-not way it handles the fairy tale genre. But BUCKET LIST? It's played too straight. Reiner works when he's not held down to a genre. Now he's just making films that are just like the rest. It's pretty sad.

Troy Howarth
10-15-2010, 09:51 AM
I hadn't thought of that, but you're absolutely right. Hopefully he'll pick another good project sometime soon, but it doesn't seem likely.

David F
10-15-2010, 02:00 PM
Never thought he was all that good anyway. Spinal Tap struck me as "turn on the camera and let the guys run with it," rather than being a real directorial job.

Steve R
10-15-2010, 02:49 PM
One - The Sure Thing is a great little film. ITs a teen romance with heart and some nice humor. John Cusack

Two - The better the source, the better the outcome. Usually, generally and for the most past.

Spinal Tap - though it looks off the cuff, much on that was worked on for a good while and Mr. Reiner used a movieola very well on this, trimming the wheat from the chaff.
Stand By Me - One of Steve King's best growing up tales. Most people were amazed to see it was based on something he wrote
Misery - Bill Goldman Script, Another juicy King story
Princess Bride - Another Bill Goldman script from one of his best novels.

Lots of Goldman here and some choice King cuts. It's clear that for a good while Reiner was reading some very good stuff and had great taste. That's a helluva good run there!

I'm not really a fan of his directorial style. As others have stated, I just don't really see or feel it. However the man sure could pick 'em for a while.

Guillaume P
10-15-2010, 05:13 PM
I have pretty much unconditional love for him up until about 1986.
It would be an understatement to say that he started strong out of the gate as a director--SPINAL TAP and THE SURE THING are about as good as movies get.

Then we get to his commercial period.
STAND BY ME, THE PRINCESS BRIDE,MISERY

I like all these titles,i agree that Rob Reiner's early films were really good but i agree that he's a bit lost now...i saw again "Misery" a few months ago,and it's a really solid thriller,with very fine performances from Kathy Bates and James Caan.

John K
10-16-2010, 12:52 AM
I hadn't thought of that, but you're absolutely right. Hopefully he'll pick another good project sometime soon, but it doesn't seem likely.

I've always loved the concluding bon mots of Ebert's infamous review of NORTH on this subject: "NORTH represents a serious lapse in judgment from which Reiner will no doubt soon recover - possibly sooner than I will." :D

Marc Edward Heuck
10-17-2010, 08:16 AM
Well, I've actually heard really good things about his latest movie, FLIPPED, which basically goes back to STAND BY ME period territory. The trailers made it look blah, but I read very good reviews. Sadly, WB dumped it in August and it likely got lost, so I'll have to check it on DVD.

Sidebar: Reiner had a very funny appearance playing "himself" as a U.S. Senator on "30 ROCK," living up to Jack Donaghey's stereotype of Congressmen as "athletes, actors, and...women."

Wostry Ferenc
10-17-2010, 08:24 AM
yeah, "the acclaimed director of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY will not stand for that!"

John K
10-17-2010, 07:01 PM
Well, I've actually heard really good things about his latest movie, FLIPPED, which basically goes back to STAND BY ME period territory. The trailers made it look blah, but I read very good reviews. Sadly, WB dumped it in August and it likely got lost, so I'll have to check it on DVD.


This was one of the last trailers I saw when I was still working at a movie theater, and I couldn't believe what I was seeing - it looked like such nauseatingly maudlin tripe that I wanted to tear my eyes out. Something about a 50s nostalgia piece seemed incredibly dated, too - I guess the 80s are too in vogue right now, or something. Whatever the case, I don't think I'll be getting within a mile of this one - I think Ebert gave it three stars or something, but the Onion's AV Club gave it an impressive F. Somehow I think they'll serve as a better barometer of my taste, as much as I love Rog.

If anyone around here sees it, though, I'll be curious to hear a Maniac's reaction...