Walter Chaw revisits Oliver Stone's 1981 horror film "The Hand" and explores the director's fascination with nightmares and the uncanny.
It was 20 years ago that Oliver Stone fired "Platoon" straight at the heart of American myths about the war in Vietnam, and scored a direct hit. The film won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1986, Stone won for directing, and a spectacular directorial career was launched. Previously, Stone had written the screenplays for the Alan Parker-directed "Midnight Express" (for which Stone won his first Oscar) and "Scarface," directed by Brian De Palma. He'd directed a horror film called "The Hand" in 1981, but with the one-two punch of "Salvador" and "Platoon" in 1986, Stone scored a big impression.
After seeing Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report," my mind was churning with amazement and curiosity. Talking to Spielberg and his star, Tom Cruise, I found myself not an interviewer but simply a moviegoer, talking the way you do when you walk out of a movie that blindsides you with its brilliance.
Q. Help me settle something. If Writer A and Writer B both wrote their opinions on a film--both with diligence and pride in their work--what difference in the two pieces would identify Writer A as a Film Critic and Writer B as someone just offering an opinion? Take the weekly feature you see in some papers, where kids review films. At what point do they cross the line, and can be called Critics as opposed to Reviewers? Is there some sort of certification program, like taking the Sally Struthers correspondence course in gun repair? (Andy Ihnatko, Westwood, Mass.)
Q. This year several actors seem to be potential Oscar nominees for more than one film, including Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis, Debra Winger, Tommy Lee Jones, Denzel Washington, Clint Eastwood and Emma Thompson. What happens if they split their votes between two movies? For example, could Hopkins get enough total votes for "Shadowlands" and "The Remains Of The Day" to be nominated, but get shut out because they are divided? (Ronnie Barzell, Chicago)
LOS ANGELES -- "Here is a woman," Oliver Stone said, "who goes through the entire roulette wheel of experience. She hits every ticket on the wheel. She's a rich man's mistress, she's a peasant, she's a traitor, she's a spy, she's a beggar on the street, she's a Vietnamese prostitute, she's an American housewife, she's a businesswoman, she has three different children with three different men."