Latest Entertainment News Headlines

The Good, The Bad and The Badass: Michael Douglas

04.19.2015
Last week, we took a look at the career of TV legend Don Johnson, who's in the midst of a major comeback. This week's subject is another icon, and has maintained an incredible level of stardom for close to forty-years, with no signs of slowing down...
Michael Douglas
michael douglas

I've always been a huge Michael Douglas fan. Having been born in '81, I've been alive less time than Douglas has been a star. Over a career that launched with the TV show The Streets of San Francisco, Douglas – whose father Kirk is another Hollywood legend – has put out so many good movies that choosing only ten for my list below was really tough. And that's only counting the movies he's acted in, as Douglas is also an incredibly prolific producer, having gotten films like ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, STARMAN, FACE/OFF and many others made.

michael douglas sharon stone basic instinct

As a leading man, Douglas has done it all. He's proven himself as an action hero (BLACK RAIN), a romantic lead (ROMANCING THE STONE/THE JEWEL OF THE NILE), a hardcore dramatic actor (WALL STREET, TRAFFIC), the go-to guy for thrillers as a tortured hero (BASIC INSTINCT, THE GAME), victim (FATAL ATTRACTION) and bad guy (A PERFECT MURDER), and even the occasional comic lead (THE WAR OF THE ROSES, WONDER BOYS, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT). Truly he's done it all and then some.

His Best Film
michael douglas kathleen turner romancing the stone

Obviously, most would say WALL STREET is Michael Douglas' best film, and I'm inclined to agree. But, I can't help but put ROMANCING THE STONE down as his best movie for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it's one heck of an action/comedy/romance, with Douglas pitch-perfect as a scoundrel soldier-of-fortune who romances Kathleen Turner's naive romance novelist. Turner and Douglas had white-hot chemistry (although ladies-man Douglas always made sparks with his leading ladies) but the beauty of Douglas' performance is that you're never sure that his Jack Colton is a good guy until the very end, as he spends much of the film trying to fool Turner into guiding him to a precious emerald that will make him rich. As a child, I watched this and the sequel THE JEWEL OF THE NILE over-and-over again, and outside of the INDIANA JONES trilogy and some golden age Hollywood classics, for me this ranks as one of the greatest adventure films of all-time, making director Robert Zemeckis an A-lister overnight. Sadly, the writer – Diane Thomas – whose screenplay deserves a lot of credit, was killed in an accident shortly after the film was completed. As such, she didn't work on JEWEL and while it's still a fun movie, it lacks the sense of humor the first one had,. However, I'll maintain that it has one of the greatest sequel premises ever, asking the question “what happens to our heroes after the happily-ever-after fade-out?” I still wish they'd do a third installment, although it seems that ship has sailed. Him and Turner did team-up again (with co-star Danny DeVito once again in tow and directing to boot) in THE WAR OF THE ROSES. Oh boy, I can't tell you how much that movie confused me as a seven-year-old.

His Most Underrated Films
michael douglas the star chamber

Honestly, I could do a weekly column called “The Underrated Films of Michael Douglas” and it would still take me months to list off all the solid movies he's done that people don't give enough credit to. Here I'm just going to write about a few. The first is an oldie but a goodie called THE STAR CHAMBER. This came out the year before ROMANCING THE STONE turned Douglas into a bona-fide star, and it's kind of sunk into obscurity. My father was always a big fan of this one so I saw it at an early age. Douglas plays a young judge who – after being forced to acquit two particularly nasty baddies– joins a vigilante group of judges, who hold top-secret mock trials and routinely murder the criminals they've been forced to set free on a technicality. I'm not usually one to advocate remakes, but THE STAR CHAMBER has such a killer premise that I'm amazed no one's tried to re-do it (although it almost got turned into a TV series a few years ago).

michael douglas andy garcia black rain

Next up is a favorite of many of ours here at JoBlo.com – Ridley Scott's BLACK RAIN. Douglas was never tougher than he was as semi-crooked cop Nick Conklin, who finds himself hunting a killer in Japan. Teamed-up with Andy Garcia and Japanese legend Ken Takakura, Douglas is in full-on action hero mode, whether shooting it out in Scott's futuristic looking version of Japan, chasing bad guys on motorcycles, or duking it out mano-a-mano with the crazy baddie. This is such a tight movie, with a great score by Hans Zimmer, and some wicked set-pieces including a crazy scene where Andy Garcia winds up (literally) losing his head. It's unforgettable.

michael douglas val kilmer the ghost and the darkness

Last but not least is THE GHOST & THE DARKNESS. This wound-up getting panned by both critics and screenwriter William Goldman, but I'll say this – seeing this in the theater was one of the most memorable movie-going experiences I've ever had. I'll never forget how scary the sound mix for this was as Douglas (as a mysterious hunter) and Val Kilmer (slightly miscast as an Irishman) hunt two man-eating lions in the late nineteen century African bush. If you've never had the chance to see this, it's readily available on Netflix. Just make sure to turn off all the lights and crank the volume on your sound system.

His Most Overrated Film
michael douglas fatal attraction

FATAL ATTRACTION was a smash-hit upon its release, and many consider it to be a classic. I've never felt that it deserved to be held up to such acclaim. While Glenn Close is brilliant in it as Douglas' unhinged fling, it's bizarrely sexist film thanks mostly to studio re-tooling that changed Adrian Lyne's dark erotic drama into a thriller, with an action movie ending that lets Douglas' icky yuppie hero off far too easily. That said, it did serve as a precursor to Douglas' truly great erotic thriller, the amazing BASIC INSTINCT, which remains one of the hottest movies ever to emerge from mainstream Hollywood.

His Most Memorable Scene

While ROMANCING THE STONE is my favorite of his movies, it can't be denied that Douglas will always be remembered for playing Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone's WALL STREET. While I think they made a huge mistake doing a sequel (which tried to humanize Gekko), the original is an all out masterpiece, and Douglas' as Gekko remains the de-facto icon of eighties greed. His “greed is good” speech is one of the most widely quoted film sequences ever and it's not hard to see why Douglas won his only acting Oscar (although he won for producing CUCKOO) for it.

His Ten Best Films


10. THE CHINA SYNDROME
9. THE WAR OF THE ROSES
8. THE GAME
7. BLACK RAIN
6. FALLING DOWN
5. TRAFFIC
4. WONDER BOYS
3. BASIC INSTINCT
2. WALL STREET
1. ROMANCING THE STONE

Up Next
michael douglas ant man

Like I wrote above, Michael Douglas is showing no signs of slowing down. His latest film, BEYOND THE REACH, is available now on VOD, while this summer he follows in Robert Redford's footsteps by dipping his toe into the superhero arena with Marvel's ANT-MAN.

 

Source: JoBlo.com

RECOMMENDED MOVIE NEWS

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

+0
2:41PM on 04/21/2015
Total agreement about Romancing the Stone, it's a classic.

Most Overrated Film should easily be Falling Down. I still do not get the love that half-baked movie gets. "This random Asian store owner just said the word 'defense'. That must mean the guy who's causing all the problems is the one who owns the car with D-FENS on the license plate!" Uh, wut?
Total agreement about Romancing the Stone, it's a classic.

Most Overrated Film should easily be Falling Down. I still do not get the love that half-baked movie gets. "This random Asian store owner just said the word 'defense'. That must mean the guy who's causing all the problems is the one who owns the car with D-FENS on the license plate!" Uh, wut?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:49PM on 04/20/2015

Dead accurate

I rarely agree this much with these articles. I'm just so happy you took the time to bring up Black Rain. That movie is so kick-ass and so few people have seen it. This needs to change.
I rarely agree this much with these articles. I'm just so happy you took the time to bring up Black Rain. That movie is so kick-ass and so few people have seen it. This needs to change.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:42AM on 04/20/2015
I freelance over th℮ internet and earn about 80-85$ an hour. I was without a job for 7 months but last month my paycheck with big fat bonus was $15000 just working on my computer from my home for 5-6 hours. Here's what i have been doing... www.globe-report.com
I freelance over th℮ internet and earn about 80-85$ an hour. I was without a job for 7 months but last month my paycheck with big fat bonus was $15000 just working on my computer from my home for 5-6 hours. Here's what i have been doing... www.globe-report.com
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:31AM on 04/20/2015

One of the all-time greats

I have to mention BEYOND THE CANDELABRA as one of his most underrated films. Michael Douglas plays a note perfect version of Liberace in a film that deserved a wider release.
I have to mention BEYOND THE CANDELABRA as one of his most underrated films. Michael Douglas plays a note perfect version of Liberace in a film that deserved a wider release.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:52AM on 04/20/2015
This man is a pimp to the 9th degree.

So many great movies on that list. Falling Down is awesome. Tell me we don't all feel that way from time to time. Also, people should have known he would be a cinema force to be rekkoned (sp) with in The China Syndrome with an intense performance which completely overshadowed Jane Fonda who was pretty much the Julie Roberts of that timeframe (imo). He's just about done it all, including Catherine Zeta-Jones...an all-time hottie at that.
This man is a pimp to the 9th degree.

So many great movies on that list. Falling Down is awesome. Tell me we don't all feel that way from time to time. Also, people should have known he would be a cinema force to be rekkoned (sp) with in The China Syndrome with an intense performance which completely overshadowed Jane Fonda who was pretty much the Julie Roberts of that timeframe (imo). He's just about done it all, including Catherine Zeta-Jones...an all-time hottie at that.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
7:59AM on 04/20/2015

More than Kirk Douglas' son

Michael Douglas has done a fantastic job of making a career for himself and never riding the coattails of his father's fame. His career is diverse and memorable; he's played the hero and the then some utterly despicable characters. I love the top ten, I pretty much agree with the movies just not the ranking. For me my favorite of his is Falling Down.
Michael Douglas has done a fantastic job of making a career for himself and never riding the coattails of his father's fame. His career is diverse and memorable; he's played the hero and the then some utterly despicable characters. I love the top ten, I pretty much agree with the movies just not the ranking. For me my favorite of his is Falling Down.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
7:12AM on 04/20/2015

Even though...

I love some of his movies (as actor as much as producer), I will never EVER forgive him for ruining The Ghost And The Darkness.
It was (director) Stephen Hopkins' dream project, but Douglas ego, as producer (and despite Hopkins contractually having final cut), RUINED THE FILM. HIS part was supposed to be played by Sean Connery, but he wanted it so he basically took it. Then, what was supposed to be a supporting role became a co-starring one when he took control of the editing: from the 2h45'
I love some of his movies (as actor as much as producer), I will never EVER forgive him for ruining The Ghost And The Darkness.
It was (director) Stephen Hopkins' dream project, but Douglas ego, as producer (and despite Hopkins contractually having final cut), RUINED THE FILM. HIS part was supposed to be played by Sean Connery, but he wanted it so he basically took it. Then, what was supposed to be a supporting role became a co-starring one when he took control of the editing: from the 2h45' epic et took away everything he wasn't in that could be cut without loosing the understanding of the film... ONE fucking hour !
His ego killed this movie and Hopkins career, and for that, whatever good stuff he did or will do, I will NEVER forgive him.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
6:55AM on 04/20/2015

Nepotism done right!

I have regrettably never seen Romancing the Stone, though it's always been one of those movies I meant to. Same with Black Rain. Falling Down and Wonder Boys are two of my favorite standbys when it comes to just looking for a good time. War of the Roses cracks me up more every time I watch it. Douglas is just the definition of a leading man. Just like his father.
I have regrettably never seen Romancing the Stone, though it's always been one of those movies I meant to. Same with Black Rain. Falling Down and Wonder Boys are two of my favorite standbys when it comes to just looking for a good time. War of the Roses cracks me up more every time I watch it. Douglas is just the definition of a leading man. Just like his father.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
6:33AM on 04/20/2015

Falling Down

Was about to get upset because you hadn't mentioned it but then saw it placed No. 6 in the top ten. Easily one of my favourite Michael Douglas movies.
Was about to get upset because you hadn't mentioned it but then saw it placed No. 6 in the top ten. Easily one of my favourite Michael Douglas movies.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:49AM on 04/20/2015

The greatest of them all


enough said

enough said
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:21AM on 04/20/2015
The Ghost & the Darkness was one of the worst movies I've seen! I'm sorry but I didn't buy Michael Douglas as a badass hunter because, I dunno how I can explain this but think Richard Crenna' s character in First Blood who sounded more like a used car- salesman than a hardcore vet who has seen it all whenever he talked about how cool John Rambo was. And Jerry Goldsmith's score was fucking horrendous like, he was half done, gave up and said "Meh! As long as it sounds 'African' we're
The Ghost & the Darkness was one of the worst movies I've seen! I'm sorry but I didn't buy Michael Douglas as a badass hunter because, I dunno how I can explain this but think Richard Crenna' s character in First Blood who sounded more like a used car- salesman than a hardcore vet who has seen it all whenever he talked about how cool John Rambo was. And Jerry Goldsmith's score was fucking horrendous like, he was half done, gave up and said "Meh! As long as it sounds 'African' we're good"

Black Rain (*sigh*) Michael Douglas was totally miscast as badass cop. Don't get wrong he good but it just felt he trying too hard in order to be taken seriously. If you picture the movie with young Mel Gibson (fresh off Lethal Weapon) or Alec Baldwin (The 80s slim 'dreamy eyes' version, of course) its awesome.

Michael Douglas works best in dramatic roles like Wall Street or Traffic. His underrated jem or rather my guilty pleasure has to be Don't Say A Word. The "I will never tell" never gets old.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:46AM on 04/20/2015
Great actor. I have always loved Romancing the Stone, it is a perfect adventure. Jewel of the Nile not so much. Falling Down, Wall Street, Black Rain, Traffic, Basic Instinct can all be considered classics. Fatal Attraction overrated though? No way, it is a classic. I would say Disclosure is his most overrated it was riding the whole Michael Chrichton wave of popularity turning his books into films. I think The Game is underrated, it had one of the better twist endings, but it is never
Great actor. I have always loved Romancing the Stone, it is a perfect adventure. Jewel of the Nile not so much. Falling Down, Wall Street, Black Rain, Traffic, Basic Instinct can all be considered classics. Fatal Attraction overrated though? No way, it is a classic. I would say Disclosure is his most overrated it was riding the whole Michael Chrichton wave of popularity turning his books into films. I think The Game is underrated, it had one of the better twist endings, but it is never mentioned among others like Seven or Sixth Sense. Whole heartily agree with The Ghost and the Darkness, it is vastly underrated, love that movie, one of the best dream sequences ever, I have to stop by the exhibit at the field museum in Chicago every time just to see those lions. Don't forget The American President as well, it is a nice little film.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:35AM on 04/20/2015
I do love The American President. Great movie. His great speech in the third act was exhilarating!
I do love The American President. Great movie. His great speech in the third act was exhilarating!
+1
3:39AM on 04/20/2015
My favorite actor of his generation. I really enjoyed this article, and I agree with Romancing the Stone being his best! I disagree that Fatal attraction is sexist. We've certainly seen films with the male lead as the obsessed stalker a lot more often than the female. I love that movie and saw it in the theater, but I love erotic type thrillers. Certainly not one of his very best though I agree.
My favorite actor of his generation. I really enjoyed this article, and I agree with Romancing the Stone being his best! I disagree that Fatal attraction is sexist. We've certainly seen films with the male lead as the obsessed stalker a lot more often than the female. I love that movie and saw it in the theater, but I love erotic type thrillers. Certainly not one of his very best though I agree.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:28AM on 04/20/2015
Badass indeed. I think his best movies are Black Rain and The Ghost and The Darkness. Most overrated movie would be The Game. It's good but a tad overrated. He's actually quite good in comedy too. Case in point: The In Laws with him and Albert Brooks and David Suchet. Great comedy movie.
Badass indeed. I think his best movies are Black Rain and The Ghost and The Darkness. Most overrated movie would be The Game. It's good but a tad overrated. He's actually quite good in comedy too. Case in point: The In Laws with him and Albert Brooks and David Suchet. Great comedy movie.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:51AM on 04/20/2015
I have to disagree with you on The Game, A lot of people I talk to have never seen it, so after I recommend it they usually love it, like I do. Great direction by Fincher as well.
I have to disagree with you on The Game, A lot of people I talk to have never seen it, so after I recommend it they usually love it, like I do. Great direction by Fincher as well.
5:33AM on 04/20/2015
Yes, it really was under a great direction from David Fincher. In my humble opinion, my reason for it being overrated was because it came right after Se7en and there was great expectation for me in this movie. I remember feeling frustrated first time watching it, unlike how I felt when I first watched Se7en. But upon repeated viewing, I do enjoy The Game. Maybe the first time I felt frustrated because that was how Michael Douglas character felt during the movie? Just my thought. Still, The Game
Yes, it really was under a great direction from David Fincher. In my humble opinion, my reason for it being overrated was because it came right after Se7en and there was great expectation for me in this movie. I remember feeling frustrated first time watching it, unlike how I felt when I first watched Se7en. But upon repeated viewing, I do enjoy The Game. Maybe the first time I felt frustrated because that was how Michael Douglas character felt during the movie? Just my thought. Still, The Game is a great thriller.
+2
1:30AM on 04/20/2015

Solitray Man

I think he was great in this movie and is worth a mention.
I think he was great in this movie and is worth a mention.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Top
Loading...

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Movie Hottie Of The Week

More