'4-in-1 Drama Collection - John Travolta'
(John Travolta, Jamie Lee Curtis, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: John Travolta is a 2-time Oscar® nominee ('Saturday Night Fever' and 'Pulp Fiction'), 1 Golden Globe win ('Get Shorty') with 6 additional nominations and winner of multiple, international Lifetime Achievement Awards across his 45+ year career. This Blu-ray set is an incredible value 4 marquee feature films together in 1 set!
Blu-ray Verdict: First up is the could-have-been-so-much-better 'Basic' (2003) - starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Connie Nielsen and Tim Daly. A DEA agent investigates the disappearance of a legendary Army ranger drill sergeant and several of his cadets during a training exercise gone severely awry.
'Basic' starts out as a fun and engaging popcorn flick. Travolta, Nielsen, Jackson, and the rest put in decent performances, and the chaotic jungle scenes are fun to watch. After the first half hour, the film really goes downhill.
The writers seem to throw in twists for no apparent reason. Many of these twists are completely unnecessary and make no sense. It feels like the writers thought this was the only way to keep our attention. The pieces of the puzzle do not fit together, and the movie is more confusing than anything.
The comes 'Perfect' (1985) - starring John Travolta, Jamie Lee Curtis and Marilu Henner. A female aerobics instructor meets a male reporter doing a story on health clubs, but it isn't love at first sight.
Although this movie didn't do as well as expected at the box office in 1985, this by no means takes away from the energy and atmosphere of this movie. The main drawback back in '85, was that everyone had high expectations for this movie since it was directed by the same guy that gave us 'The China Syndrome'.
The main plot of a Rolling Stone reporter (Travolta) trying to get the inside scoop of the fitness boom of the '80s from (Curtis) is the most enjoyable. The sub plot of white collar crime is a little on the boring side, and doesn't really mesh with the fitness plot. It's interesting to see all of the aerobic exercises in total '80s style, but by today's standards are outdated.
Next up is 'Love Song for Bobby Long' (2004) - starring John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson, Gabriel Macht. A headstrong young woman returns to New Orleans after the death of her estranged mother.
This is one of the most gratifying films I have seen in a long time. It has distinct characters, a thoroughly engaging story, beautiful cinematography, and wonderful performances. John Travolta has not performed like this in years. It reminded me of what a great actor he is when he really puts his mind to it.
Scarlett Johannson is better than she has ever been because this is the juiciest role she has played to date and she does it flawlessly. Gabriel Macht (who I was unaware of) gives a wonderful performance as well. The music is also amazing and I hope one day to find it on vinyl!
Lastly we have 'Lonely Hearts' (2006) - starring John Travolta, Salma Hayek, James Gandolfini, Jared Leto and Laura Dern. Based on the true story, two homicide detectives track Martha Beck and Raymond Martinez Fernandez, a murderous pair known as the Lonely Hearts Killers who lured their victims through the personals.
Within two minutes of starting this movie it became clear that it was very well put together. Excellent cinematography and costume design.
I'm not sure exactly what it was that disappointed me so much. It could have been the lack of drama. I didn't feel like the plot escalated to a climax. I understand that this is based on a true story, but it certainly could have been done in a more dramatic way; especially during certain parts of the chase. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.