Hal Ashby

Hal Ashby – Lookin’ to Get Out (1982)

Two gamblers must leave New York City after one loses a lot of money. Doing what all gamblers in trouble would do, they hurry to the gambling capital Las Vegas to turn their luck around.

Unlike his previous film (ugly, awful Second-Hand Hearts), this is an interesting one from Hal Ashby, where he successfully does a Cassavetes-style direction. A number of scenes look more like bloopers that usually get cut out, but that’s where improvisation can take you every now and then, and Ashby was willing to take that road, especially considering the fact that extended version is the one that probably saved all those bloopers. A successful mess that owes most of its charm to Burt Young, who is just amazing and swims in this mess like a fish. Read More »

Hal Ashby – Second-Hand Hearts (1981)

Barbara Harris (Nashville) cons Robert Blake (Baretta) into a marriage of inconvenience in this offbeat romantic comedy from Oscar®-winning* director Hal Ashby (Coming Home). A honkytonk waitress in Texas, Dinette Dusty (Harris) desperately misses her children. Forced to board them with her late husband’s parents, she finds the means to get them back when Loyal Muke (Blake) stumbles into the bar. Plying the boozy drifter with drinks, Dinette suggests they get hitched and become the children’s new guardians. Sobering up to a wife and three kids, Loyal drives them west in search of an exit, while Dinette keeps her eyes on the road ahead to make sure they don’t get ditched. *Film Editing, In the Heat of the Night, 1967 Read More »

Hal Ashby – The Landlord (1970)

Quote:
Legendary filmmaker Hal Ashby (Coming Home, 8 Million Ways to Die) makes his directing debut with this acclaimed social satire starring Beau Bridges (The Hotel New Hampshire) as a wealthy young man who leaves his family’s estate in Long Island to pursue love and happiness in a Brooklyn ghetto. When Elgar Enders (Bridges) buys a Park Slope tenement, he fully intends to evict the occupants and transform the building into a chic bachelor pad. But after meeting the tenants, Elgar adopts a “love thy neighbor” policy instead: first he falls head-over-heels for a sexy young go-go dancer… then he begins an affair with the sultry, married “Miss Sepia 1957.” Read More »

Hal Ashby – Shampoo (1975)

Plot Synopsis from allmovie.com
A frankly adult comedy about the sex lives of the aimless and the rich, Shampoo is also a pointed commentary on the demise of 1960s idealism at the dawn of the Nixon era. It is Election Day, 1968, and randy Beverly Hills hairdresser George Roundy (Warren Beatty) is too worried about attending to all of his women’s tonsorial and sexual needs, while trying to swing a bank loan to fund his own salon, to notice the fateful Presidential race. As George juggles the demands of girlfriend Jill (Goldie Hawn) and mistress Felicia (Lee Grant), not to mention Felicia’s daughter (Carrie Fisher), he meets Felicia’s husband Lester (Jack Warden) to get money for the salon and discovers that his beloved ex-girlfriend Jackie (Julie Christie) is now Lester’s mistress. Read More »

Hal Ashby – Being There (1979)

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Roger Ebert / May 25, 1997

On the day that Kasparov was defeated by Deep Blue, I found myself thinking of the film “Being There” (1979). The chess champion said there was something about the computer he did not understand, and it frightened him. There were moments when the computer seemed to be . . . thinking. Of course, chess is not a game of thought but of mathematical strategy; Deep Blue has demonstrated it is possible to be very good at it without possessing consciousness. Read More »

Hal Ashby – Harold and Maude (1971)

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Synopsis
In his second feature as a director after his Oscar-winning success as an editor, Hal Ashby complements Colin Higgins’ script (adapted by Higgins from his own student short) with an affectionately non-judgmental view of quirky behavior and a distaste for institutions of authority.

In their deft hands, Harold Chasen may be weird – but his mother and army general uncle are plain nuts. Paramount appeared nonplussed as to how to market the film, and it opened to scathing reviews and died a rapid first-run death, as few viewers seemed to care for the idea of a youth lusting after a grandmother.

But, caught up in a generational revolt of their own, college audiences responded passionately to the message of doing your own thing regardless of what church, state, and Mom say. Harold and Maude became the cult hit of the 1970s, reportedly playing in one Minneapolis theater for three straight years, with fans who claimed to have seen it 100 or more times. Read More »

Hal Ashby – 8 Million Ways to Die (1986)

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Quote:
“The screenplay is a mess, with enough plot holes to drive the latest-model SUV through. Still, the film is colorful and chock-full of energy and several standout moments. It ain’t perfect, yet it’s far from boring.
The bottom line here is whether 8 Million Ways to Die is worth seeing. It is. A guilty pleasure of mine for over sixteen years, it can provide a whopping good time if you’re willing to overlook its many flaws, and just let the innate craziness of it all work on you. Nothing in it is the least bit logical; then again, there’s not a whole lot about it that’s stiff — there’s an aliveness, a pulsating sense of sleaze and profaneness permeating throughout it that can be quite liberating…
Forget the logical lapses and just revel in its quintessential profaneness.”
— Jack Sommersby, efilmcritic.com Read More »