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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Five Best: Michael Douglas

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="177" caption="Actor Michael Douglas courtesy of"][/caption]

This Friday welcomes the release of the long overdue Oliver Stone sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. This time around,  Gordon Gekko (Douglas) is joined by some young stars (Shia LeBouf and Carey Mulligan) and some other quality actors (Josh Brolin, Charlie Sheen and Susan Sarandon) to tell a story about greed and corruption in corporate America. So, let's took a look back and the long, successful career of Mr. Catherine Zeta-Jones and highlight his five best films, in chronological order.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="277" caption="Michael Douglas and Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction" courtesy of"][/caption]

Fatal Attraction (1987)

The film that made every man in America stand up and take note. Douglas plays a lawyer who has an affair with his colleague, Alex, played by Glenn Close. Needless to say, Alex decides that her relationship with him was more than just a fling. Close really drives the film, but every man who watched the movie was a "stand-in" for Douglas at moments. A terrifying look at infidelity and the danger of leaving your pet rabbits out in the open, Adrian Lyne directed Douglas in this gripping film that just won't be ignored.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="256" caption="Michael Douglas in "Wall Street" courtesy of"][/caption]

Wall Street (1987)

Before he reprised his role this year, Douglas played the ruthless businessman Gordon Gekko in 1987 under the direction of Oliver Stone. Taking a young stockbroker named Bud (played by Charlie Sheen) under his wing, Gekko pulls him into the world of insider trading and numerous other illegal activities. Soon, Bud looks back on his own upbringing and begins to question his new "yuppie" lifestyle of fast cars, women, and all the money the eye can see. It may sound greedy for Douglas to reprise this role in what will easily be a blockbuster film, but remember: greed is good.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="277" caption="Michael Douglas in "Falling Down" courtesy of"][/caption]

Falling Down (1993)

Ever just have one of those days? Director Joel Schumacher tells a story of an unemployed defense worker (Douglas) who becomes fed up with the world as he knows it. A film about frustration and anger with the status quo, Douglas goes off the reservation in his portrayal of William Foster and lights up every inch of the screen. A terrifying look at one man's extreme breaking point, if you don't like the the movie, then you every right to exercise your rights as a consumer and turn it off.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="288" caption="Michael Douglas in "Wonder Boys" courtesy of"][/caption]

Wonder Boys (2000)

Here, Douglas plays a Carnegie Mellon (Pittsburgh baby!) English professor who is under pressure to finish a novel. His wife leaves him, he finds out his mistress is pregnant, and one of his students has a mild crush on him. Meanwhile, he and another student search for a rare jacket once owned by Marilyn Monroe. It sounds confusing, but this Curtis Hanson directed hidden gem is worth the watch. And yes, he does have tenure.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="327" caption="Michael Douglas in "Traffic" courtesy of"][/caption]

Traffic (2000)

With enough characters and intertwining stories to keep you entertained for days, Stephen Soderburgh's take on the modern world of drug trafficking is a harrowing reminder of the current times in which we live. Douglas plays an Ohio judge who becomes the country's drug czar, only to discover drug-related secrets within his own family. The film is heavily layered and excellently performed by all members of the cast, including Douglas, Benicio del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Albert Finney, and Erika Christiansen, just to mention a few . Douglas is at the top of his game is the last truly good film he took part in.

So, three cheers (or five) for Mr. Douglas and his many triumphs. This doesn't even include One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which Douglas produced. I have yet to see his latest film, Solitary Man, which is garnering early Oscar buzz. Who knows? Maybe we'll be adding another to the list soon.

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