Friday, December 26, 2014

A-Z Movies, Q: "Quiz Show"

Recommended by:
Al (friend)

Movie Stats:
Released 1994 (Canada)
American, in English
Director - Robert Redford
Stars - John Turturro, Rob Morrow, Ralph Fiennes

Plot Summary:
Set in late 1950s America and based on a true story. When former contestant Herbie Stempel (Turturro) accuses the producers of the quiz show Twenty-One of match fixing, federal investigator Dick Goodwin (Morrow) becomes involved. Fiennes co-stars as fellow Twenty-One contestant Charles Van Doren.

Blue language.

Bad Stuff:
Didn’t like the cold opening. It was so confusing and I didn’t understand what was going on, especially since I didn’t know any of the characters yet. I’m still not sure what it was about.

I found it painfully long, dry, and boring.

Good Stuff:
Great acting. Fiennes was, as always, a joy to watch, a true master of his craft. I also really enjoyed Christopher McDonald as show host Jack Barry. Even Morrow was pretty good. I liked his accent.

The costuming is very good.

I enjoyed the exploration of the camaraderie that built up between Goodwin and Van Doren. I thought it was really interesting and complex. I liked that, as much as Goodwin came to like and admire Van Doren, he remained skeptical of him and wasn’t taken in. It was nice to see a shrewd character (although he turned out to be naive in other ways).

The Verdict:
I’ve heard so many good things about this film. It’s one of those that people really seem to love. And here I am, scratching my head, wondering why. I thought it was a total snooze. Part of me wonders if the nostalgia factor is in play, like with Forrest Gump; the Baby Boomers loved it because it reminds them of their childhoods. As for me, I’ll take a great, big pass on ever watching it again. I could barely sit through it once. I honestly just did not find it that interesting at all. I think it would have been better if it had been a little shorter. It was definitely way too drawn out. 

I give it 2.75 stars.


Patricia said...

I haven't seen it since it came out (though I watched it at least twice) but I loved it then. It was so smart! I hadn't watched a lot of smart movies at that point, with complex character development, etc. etc. etc. But I don't know how it would hold up for me today.

balyien said...

I've got to wonder if I would have liked this movie better if I'd been in a different mindset. Sometimes it really just depends on one's mood on a given day. I did especially enjoy the development of Fiennes' character. I felt really bad for him throughout. He wasn't a bad guy, just a person who did something foolish and got swept up in a bad situation.