IN THE ACTOR’S SPOTLIGHT WITH JACK NICHOLSON REVIEW: “Prizzi’s Honor” stars Jack Nicholson (The Departed, Anger Management ), Kathleen Turner (Dumb and Dumber To, Romancing the Stone), Robert Loggia (Scarface, Big), John Randolph (You’ve Got Mail, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), William Hickey (Sea of Love, The Nightmare Before Christmas), Lee Richardson (Network, The Fly II), Michael Lombard (Pet Sematary , The Thomas Crown Affair), and Angelica Huston (The Witches, The Addams Family ). It is directed by John Huston (The Man Who Would be King, Annie ), with the screenplay being written by Richard Condon (The Manchurian Candidate, Winter Kills) and Janet Roach (Mr. North, The Three Stooges [TV movie]). A professional hitman, Charlie Partanna (Nicholson), falls in love with a hitwoman, Irene Walker (Turner), causing trouble for the couple in the grand scheme of the mob.
What can good ‘ol Jack do to surprise us in this feature? Oh, I don’t know, how about romance? Possibly some dark humor? Maybe even an Italian accent? Well boy howdy hey, is it all here in “Prizzi’s Honor,” one of John Huston’s last films and subsequent Oscar contender (winning one award for Angelica Huston’s performance). Much like the previous Nicholson flicks in this marathon, I didn’t look up any trailer for this movie, nor did I research it’s premise. There’s always a benefit to the filmmaker when an audience member goes in blind. No need for interpretation by other parties, whether it be the advertising agents or Wikipedia nerds who were clearly not in the head of Huston himself. What surprised me was just how fun “Prizzi’s Honor” is. For a premise so yielding to your run-of-the-mill melodrama, Huston’s piece takes stride in its humor and situational dilemmas, putting some great performers (Nicholson, Turner, Huston) into a tricky predicament that slowly burns over the course of two hours. I laughed, more so than I would, and rightfully so. “Prizzi’s Honor” is an enjoyable piece, one I think deserves more credit than what is was given on various review sites. Sure, it’s not the greatest movie ever, but it made for a fun night, something that’s hard to do even for new releases in theaters nowadays. Nicholson turns in an odd performance, while the rest of his team goes for the gold, all of them playing well in their respective roles. That’s not to say Nicholson was bad. It’s more so to say that he had an Italian accent, and it was hard to get used to for half of the movie. He’s not the greatest when it comes to altering his dialect; I’ve seen him try southern and it was a struggle. But Italian wasn’t so bad, in fact it was rather good. It was just weird seeing Nicholson take the shape of this character, and once I grew used to it, the more I appreciated it. The role is certainly one of Nicholson’s most different. He’s not playing Jack here, and if he is it’s in a slight. Charlie is a rather humorous meathead caught in the middle of some tough drama, all of which is highlighted by blissful, funny, and light execution. Huston does a great job directing, albeit a rather repetitive way of cutting. I couldn’t tell you how many shots we faded to of a plane in the sky without cutting into the exterior itself. Nicholson and Turner flew back and forth several times in this, hardly ever with it needing to show the plane. But hey, that’s a nitpick. There’s plenty to enjoy in this film, from Nicholson and Turner’s terrific chemistry to the flow this story presents. While it may seem drawn out towards the third act and present a pretty controversial ending (one that is somewhat predictable and difficult to understand whether I like it or not), I found the whole experience to be fun. Regarding Angelica Huston and her Oscar award, I assume that there wasn’t much competition. While she was fantastic, her role was minuscule, and not really standing out amongst the rest of what the film provides. This is more so a side note than anything, one I wanted to mention since that was really one of the few things I knew about this movie before going in (I read about its accolades through a Jack Nicholson biography). “Prizzi’s Honor” doesn’t really scream award winner, considering how light it is of a story, but it certainly is worth a watch if you’re looking for something entertaining and different. It takes a lot of the conventions of the typical mobster flick and makes for a fun adventure. Nicholson does a great job, possibly his best in the marathon so far, and it was nice to see Huston’s direction in this, having seen the actor/director in another Nicholson picture, “Chinatown.” I’d say give this one a shot. FINAL SCORE: 86%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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