Archive for February, 2017

The Marilyn Denis Show: Richard’s top movie picks & Oscar predictions

From Jimmy Kimmel hosts the 89th annual Academy Awards this Sunday, February 26th at 9pm on CTV. For your best shot at winning your office Oscar pool, Richard Crouse lays out who he thinks will be walking away with the coveted statues. And when in doubt, pick La La Land.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

RIP Legendary Film Critic, author and filmmaker Richard Schickle

RIP Richard Schickle. Richard interviewed him on stage about Clint Eastwood and later wrote this for an unfinished book about the best movie lines ever:

“I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?” – Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in Dirty Harry, 1971

Before Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood was a star. He worked his way up from playing uncredited characters in b-movie turkeys like 1955’s Revenge of the Creature to supporting roles in everything from a Francis the Talking Mule comedy to a string of westerns and war pictures. Television’s Rawhide made him a household name in America and his trio of spaghetti westerns with Sergio Leone—A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly—made him an international star, but it took an urban vigilante movie to make him a legend.

Loosely based on real life San Francisco police inspector Dave Toschi, one of the investigators of the Zodiac murders, Dirty Harry, is the story of SFPD Inspector Harry Callahan (Eastwood) charged with bringing a serial killer to justice. Callahan lives by his own code of ethics and is unafraid to bend the rules to get the bad guy. He’s generally cool, calm and collected, but he took cool to a whole new level early in the film.

Seeing a bank robbery in progress Callahan approaches the scene without waiting for back up. Pointing his .44 Smith & Wesson Model 29 Magnum revolver in a robber’s face he says the words (written by future Apocalypse Now screenwriter John Milius) that made Clint Eastwood a superstar.

“I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

“It’s a very commanding moment,” says former Time critic and Eastwood biographer Richard Schickel. “I mean he’s already a star, there’s no question about that, but in that moment the command of the screen, the command of himself, the strange humour of it, which is a real Clint kind of sense of humour working in that scene, it’s just great. That’s the moment. [After that] there’s no question that this guy is going to be, for a long time a major, major star. So I think in terms of his career, that’s the important line.”

Dirty Harry became Eastwood’s signature role, but it almost didn’t happen. Written for an older man the part was offered to Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, Burt Lancaster and Frank Sinatra (who had to pass because a wrist injury prevented him from convincingly holding the weighty .44 Magnum). Then it was put forward to Steve McQueen (who turned it down, saying, “I’m only good doing authority my way.”) and Paul Newman who thought it was too right wing for him but suggested Clint.

“Like most pictures that I’ve done I had no idea if anyone would want to see it,” Eastwood says in the documentary The Eastwood Factor (directed by Schickel). “I figured I’d like to see it. If I hadn’t played in it I’d like to see it with somebody else. I just went at it from that angle.”

It was a perfect marriage of character and actor. Jay Cocks of Time wrote that Eastwood gave “his best performance so far, tense, tough, full of implicit identification with his character.” But not all critics liked the movie.

Roger Ebert condemned the film for its “fascist moral position” even though he grudgingly admitted it was well made. Not so with Pauline Kael the doyenne of film criticism. She called Dirty Harry a “right-wing fantasy [that is] a remarkably single-minded attack on liberal values” and labeled it “fascist medievalism.”

“It is suspenseful, it has a moral that I think is very potent, not at all what Pauline Kael thought it was,” argues Schickle. “She’s so full of shit. That woman. I mean, she persisted with that on every movie [Eastwood] made. I think the last one she reviewed was Unforgiven and she didn’t like that. Well crikey, that’s absurd.

“[Dirty Harry] is a movie that gets left off the My Favorite Clint Movies list that people make, but I think it is such a great movie. It holds up beautifully. It is the movie that projected him out of the ranks of stars and into the much smaller rank of superstars.”

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Welcome to the House of Crouse. Today “Fist Fight” director Richie Keen talks about sneaking on to the sets of John Hughes films and how it made him feel like he finally found the place he belonged. Then Natalie Brown swings by to chat about making “XX,” a new horror anthology film written, produced, directed and starring women! Pull up a beab bag by the fireplace and hang out with us. You’re always welcome at the House of Crouse. No walls here.

NewsTalk 1010: Richard on Zane Caplansky’s “Let’s Eat” radio show.

Richard sits in on Zane Caplansky’s “Let’s Eat” radio show with Southern Accent restaurant owner Frances Wood to talk about the legendary restaurant’s new location at 839 College Street in Toronto and his days spent working at the original location as a waiter.

Part 1 HERE!

Part 2 HERE!


Check out the Richard Crouse Show on NewsTalk 1010 for February 18, 2017! This week Richard welcomes author Kevin HardcastleBreath in Between star Kyle Gatehouse and comedian Simon Rakoff to discuss whether or not the stage of the Grammys or the Academy Awards is an appropriate place to make political statements and more!

Here’s some info on The Richard Crouse Show!: Each week on The Richard Crouse Show, Canada’s most recognized movie critic brings together some of the most interesting and opinionated people from the movies, television and music to put a fresh spin on news from the world of lifestyle and pop-culture. Tune into this show to find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favorite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Richard also lets you know what movies you’ll want to run to see and which movies you’ll want to wait for DVD release. Click HERE to catch up on shows you might have missed! Read Richard NewsTalk 1010 reviews HERE!

The show airs:

NewsTalk 1010 –  airs in Toronto Saturday at 6 to 7 pm. 

For Niagara, Newstalk 610 Radio – airs Saturdays at 6 to 7 pm 

For Montreal, CJAD 800 – Saturdays at 6 to 7 pm 

For Vancouver – CFAX 1070 – Saturdays 6 to 7 pm. 


Richard and CP24 anchor George Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the Ice Cube high school comedy “Fist Fight,” the Matt Damon white saviour flick “The Great Wall,” Dane DeHaan in the incomprehensible “The Cure for Wellness” and “My Scientology Movie.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Erin Paul to have a look at the big weekend movies, the Ice Cube high school comedy “Fist Fight,” the Matt Damon white saviour flick “The Great Wall,” Dane DeHaan in the incomprehensible “The Cure for Wellness” and “My Scientology Movie.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro In Focus: Taking those lazy teenage movies to school

By Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Fist Fight features so much bad language it completely outpaces f-word aficionados Tarantino and Scorsese combined. Accompanying the cussing are bad behaviour, violence and loads of oh-no-he-didn’t jokes all set against the backdrop of the end of semester at the rough-’n’-tumble Roosevelt High School.

Trying to hang on until the final bell rings are well-meaning English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) and Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), the world’s toughest history teacher. When Campbell accidentally gets Strickland fired a bad day goes from crappy to cruddy. “I’m going to fight you,” the amped-up Strickland says, looking for some street justice. “After school, meet me in the parking lot.”

As the #teacherfight spreads across social media, a crowd gathers in the parking lot to witness the carnage. After some hand-to-hand combat Campbell and Strickland come to terms with one another, learning important lessons with each punch.

My grade nine homeroom teacher Mrs. Armstrong wouldn’t recognize Roosevelt High as the kind of school she taught in, but it’s familiar territory for Hollywood, which has long used school hallways as a study of teen life. Relationships between students and teachers have fuelled movies like Blackboard Jungle and To Sir with Love, but just as interesting is the culture of the student body.

John Hughes mined the teenage dynamic for all it was worth in a series of classic teen operas like Sixteen Candles, but it’s The Breakfast Club that remains his most insightful look at high school life. The story is simple: five high school archetypes — the jock, the mean girl, the brainiac, the rebel and the outsider — thrown together during a nine-hour Saturday detention become unlikely friends, revealing their innermost secrets. “We’re all pretty bizarre,” says Andrew (Emilio Estevez). “Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.”

It’s the emotional intensity of The Breakfast Club that makes it one of the most insightful high school films ever. Thirty-two years after its release it still feels fresh, but for my money one of the best looks at life in the halls comes from Emma Stone’s film Easy A.

The movie begins with the voiceover, “The rumours of my promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated.” It’s Olive (Stone), a clean-cut high school senior who tells a little white lie about losing her virginity. When the gossip mill gets a hold of the info, her life takes a parallel course to the heroine of the book she is studying in English class — The Scarlet Letter. At first she embraces her newfound notoriety; after all she had been all but invisible at the beginning of the school year. It isn’t until the lies and gossip start to spin out of control that she has to assert her virginity.

All the best high school movies — Election, Heathers, Dazed and Confused and Mean Girls — share that sentiment. The names, schools and places may change but it is the labours of students and teachers, like Fist Fight’s Andy Campbell and Ron Strickland, to find themselves and figure out what it all means that makes them interesting and relatable. As we learned studying Aristotle in philosophy class, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom,” and, in Hollywood’s case, entertainment too.