| Based On a True Story
Fall Movies - Dodging the Blockbusters
Studios seem to have only a few brief periods during the year to
release “small” films. Otherwise these films of quality and
merit might well become box office roadkill at the hands of much
hyped, high visibility, pre-sold franchise features.
As the summer blockbusters fade away, but before the onslaught
of Halloween horror and holiday flicks, is such a time. Into
this quiet zone Universal has sent out two fine offerings.
I told the screening audience that “Flash Of Genius” was the
most exciting film ever made... about a windshield wiper. And
that probably will remain so. Greg Kinnear stars as Bob Kearns,
inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper. When Ford steals
his design he tries to fight back the “properly,” all the way to
a breakdown. Finally he decides, take on the auto giant on his
own. The ten year battle costs him much, but he won't take ever
larger, with no admission of guilt, settlement offers.
Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls) portrays Kearns' long suffering
wife. The excellent cast also includes a small platoon of young
performers who play the Kearns children at various ages. I think
the audience left the theater with a sense of satisfaction after
seeing this well made feature.
Director Gary Fleder's “The Express” is a much more action
packed movie, but that's the nature of football vs windshield
wipers and patent courtrooms. Ernie Davis (Rob Brown) is another
David against a much less gentile Goliath. The story of the
first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy focuses both on
Davis and the wider Civil Rights struggle of the time. I expect
to see a lot more from Brown and Darrin Dewitt Henson who plays
Among older cast members Dennis Quaid, playing the coach, gets
the higher billing, but Charles S. Dutton, as Davis'
grandfather, also turns in yet another fine performance. The
football action is excellent, but so is the portrayal of what
America looked like about fifty years ago. The screening
audience gave the film a well deserved round of applause. As do
Two factual stories worth telling. Two stories well told.
Review by Erwin K. Roberts