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Best Seller [Import]

James Woods , Brian Dennehy , John Flynn    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon.ca

This formula mystery-thriller is enlivened by the give-and-take chemistry between the tough, phlegmatic Brian Dennehy and the acid-tongued, fast-talking James Woods. Dennehy is an ex-cop turned crime novelist with a string of bestsellers to his credit. He is approached by Woods, who wants him to collaborate on a book about Woods's career as hit man for a prominent businessman, who has always maintained a scrubbed façade of uprightness. Though the plot becomes predictable, this Laurel-and-Hardy pairing yields unexpected treats, as a criminal teaches a former cop a thing or two about police work, not to mention literature. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
If you're not a James Woods fan, you wouldn't understand, but bear with me:
This movie is really a story about the redemption of the assassin Cleve, played by Woods. The characters in the movie are given little depth by the writers, but the stars give heart to this film. I was most intrigued by the performance of Woods. Most actors play assassins as raving psychotics, (and typically Woods is no exception) but Woods takes the character of Cleve a step further. Seen in the beginning of the film as a savior to the best selling author and cop named Dennis played by Denneghy, Cleve at first shows a cool exterior and one wonders if this will be yet another Woods' film where he simply gets to shoot a lot of people. But when the character of Cleve comes to life, Woods shows his depth as an actor. Cleve's cool exterior and successful career as an assassin masks a tangible vulnerability as Cleve tries to come to terms with his life, wanting himself to be seen by the public as "sympathetic" in Dennis' "best seller." (You see this at the very end of the film where Cleve has to make a decision: get final revenge on his boss Matlock or save Dennis's teenage daughter). The ending is worth every minute of the background 80's synth music.
Cleve doesn't feel guilt in the murders he's committed for the cupidity of the company; as Cleve says matter-of-factly, "It's the profession I was in, Dennis." This streak of sociopathic deeds combined with an obession for verbal politeness was an interesting mix that I found intriguing. (One tongue-in-check example is after Cleve saves Dennis' life, he places a card on Dennis' windshield with the simple message: "Say thank you!
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5.0 out of 5 stars not just a thriller Jan. 25 2002
Format:VHS Tape
If you like James Woods, this will definitely float your boat. Woods plays an ex-hitman, Cleave, for a large business situated in Los Angeles, which means you get to see him show his capacities to be smooth, calculating, and also emotionally explosive. While this movie is put in the action category, as it should be, its plot unfolds itself by slowly revealing the machinations of a corrupt and powerful business, that Woods' character is trying to take down for having gyped him at some point in his service. Throughout this development, the movie plays the characters of Woods -the cunning and dangerous hitman- and Dennehy -a just but temperamental cop- off one another. As you can guess, Dennis, the cop, continually suspects Cleave of having some dark secret or another cold trick up his sleeve. This movie's ability to display how Dennis communicates and cooperates with a criminal, who he despises, is what takes this movie beyond bare action and into a fascinating portrayal of personalities caught in the larger struggle of enforcing justice on mega-corporations.
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3.0 out of 5 stars CULT MOVIES 6 Feb. 21 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
6. BEST-SELLER (action, 1987) In 1972, 4-armed-masked men rob the police evidence depository in downtown LA. The thieves kill two cops and fatally would a third one. Surviving, policeman Dennis Meechum (Brian Dennehy) writes a book on the now 'infamous' robbery. The book becomes a best seller making Meechum a part-time writer but full-time cop. He is eventually promoted to Detective. 15 years later, on an undercover job, he meets Cliff (James Woods), a mysterious character whom saves his life. Cliff knows many personal things about Meechum's life, including the fact that ever since his wife's death he has given up writing. He tells him that he can provide him with an assured best seller based on David Matlock (one of the richest men in town). Cliff used to work for Meechum as an assassin, but after years of loyal work, he was dismissed. In order for Meechum to believe him, Cliff takes him on a tour of his previous work and private life (Cliff's wants to be included in the book as its inspiration). An uneasy alliance is formed, as Meechum uncovers Cliff's darkest secrets.
Critique: There are many reasons to like Best-Seller. It has a good, entertaining premise (a rogue assassin on the loose), the moody cinematography (another Adam Greenberg job), and displays a strong performance from the always reliable Brain Dennehy. But best of all, it has what I consider to be James Woods' best role. This capriciously underrated actor has given excellent performances in many films including: the sleazy TV-producer in David Cronenberg's interesting, albeit obscured masterpiece Videodrome (1983), his red-neck southerner in The Onion Field (1979), and in Oliver Stone's sadly neglected Salvador (1986- for which he received an Academy Nominee).
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3.0 out of 5 stars CULT MOVIES 6 Feb. 2 1999
Format:VHS Tape
6. BEST-SELLER (action, 1987) In 1972, 4-armed-masked men rob the police evidence depository in downtown LA. The thieves kill two cops and fatally would a third one. Surviving, policeman Dennis Meechum (Brian Dennehy) writes a book on the now 'infamous' robbery. The book becomes a best seller making Meechum a part-time writer but full-time cop. He is eventually promoted to Detective. 15 years later, on an undercover job, he meets Cliff (James Woods), a mysterious character whom saves his life. Cliff knows many personal things about Meechum's life, including the fact that ever since his wife's death he has given up writing. He tells him that he can provide him with an assured best seller based on David Matlock (one of the richest men in town). Cliff used to work for Meechum as an assassin, but after years of loyal work, he was dismissed. In order for Meechum to believe him, Cliff takes him on a tour of his previous work and private life (Cliff's wants to be included in the book as its inspiration). An uneasy alliance is formed, as Meechum uncovers Cliff's darkest secrets.
Critique: There are many reasons to like Best-Seller. It has a good, entertaining premise (a rogue assassin on the loose), the moody cinematography (another Adam Greenberg job), and displays a strong performance from the always reliable Brain Dennehy. But best of all, it has what I consider to be James Woods' best role. This capriciously underrated actor has given excellent performances in many films including: the sleazy TV-producer in David Cronenberg's interesting, albeit obscured masterpiece Videodrome (1983), his red-neck southerner in The Onion Field (1979), and in Oliver Stone's sadly neglected Salvador (1986- for which he received an Academy Nominee).
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