Think of this as a guide through each of Christopher Walken's films, starting with his first and moving forward. Each review will provide analysis, factoids and opinion on the ninety-plus films in his career.
Genre: Crime / Dark Comedy
Walken in Short: He plays Captain Koons, and though he’s only performing a single monologue in one scene, Walken absolutely nails it. This is iconic Walken and the rest of the film is surely no less than an exercise in perfection.
Movie in a Sentence: This is the story of a boxer (Bruce Willis) who wouldn’t take a dive, the two hit-men (John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson) who are after him, the crime-boss (Ving Rhames) and his wife (Uma Thurman), two low-level robbers (Amanda Plummer and Tim Roth), and the dozens of other characters that affect the eventual outcome, including Capt. Koons (Christopher Walken) and the story of The Gold Watch.
Director & Writer: Quentin Tarantino (In addition to his other films that I’m sure you’re all familiar with, QT of course wrote the screenplay to TRUE ROMANCE which also has a Walken appearance)
FUN STUFF: Here’s some sweet fan-art I found online. There’s so much of it, I could have posted three times as much:
MPAA Rating: ‘R’ – In no particular order, this film: marinates itself in swears (including casual and repeated use of the n-word), has a naked Bruce Willis, plenty of blood-soaked violence, a dead body in a trunk, rape, several scenes of glorified coke and heroin use, a graphic drug over-dose, cigarette smoking, and a beautiful French woman makes spoons.
Available to Own: VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray. This, like most of Tarantino’s films, is always super-cheap and ubiquitous. There are a number of different editions as well, including the huge Blu-ray collection “Tarantino XX” which also includes TRUE ROMANCE (also with Walken). Also, despite many many fan-made pictures of the cover, there is no Criterion Edition as of yet.
Actors Other Than Walken: Bruce Willis (in ‘Last Man Standing’ with Walken), John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, and Ving Rhames. Those are the major players, however there are perhaps two dozen other actors that could be mentioned as well: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Eric Stoltz, Steve Buscemi, Amanda Plummer (in ‘The Prophecy’ with Walken), Maria De Medeiros, and Angela Jones just to name a few of them. Also Quentin, of course, has a cameo as ‘Jimmy’ as well.*
*FUN FACT: Quentin wasn’t sure whether he wanted to be Lance (the drug dealer) or Jimmy (Jules’ friend that helps them out of a messy situation), but in the end he went with Jimmy because he wanted to be behind the camera for Uma’s “resurrection” scene!
Similar Films: Obviously, any other Tarantino film will be comparable: Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, True Romance.
How about these though:
Or these two excellent Walken films:
Awards: I don’t usually care a fig about the major film-contests, I find them more about politics than content, but I’ll make an exception here because in 1995 PULP FICTION was nominated for several Oscars (and won ‘Best Original Screenplay’), and cleaned up at the Golden Globes, won several BAFTAs, got the ‘Palme d’Or’ prize at the Cannes, a César, several MTV Movie Awards, and more than a dozen others.
Walken Content: a mere 5%. A single flashback monologue-scene that lasts 5 minutes, and he’s never seen again, but he is perfection in it, and it is a hugely iconic scene. In fact, for many young film-goers, THIS was their introduction to Mr. Walken.
Walken Quote: I’m only including the first-half of his story. If for some reason you haven’t seen this yet and don’t already know about the watch, I won’t spoil it. So to set it up, a little boy is watching cartoons when his mom brings in Walken wearing a military uniform. He says:
“Hello little man. Boy, I sure heard a bunch about you. See, I was a good friend of your dad’s. We were in that Hanoi pit of hell together. Over 5 years.
Hopefully you’ll never have to experience this yourself but when two men are in a situation like me and your dad were for as long as we were, you take on certain responsibilities of the other.
If it’d been me who had… not made it. Major Coolidge would be talking right now to my son Jim. But the way it turned out I’m talking to you.
Butch. I got something for you…”
~ Captain Koons (Walken)
FUN FACTS: There are literally DOZENS of interesting factoids about this film online, so I’m just going to pick a few of my favorites:
Should You Watch This: This film is in my permanent rotation for ‘Top Ten All-Time Film Lists”. It is rewatchable, quotable, funny, poignant, exciting, memorable, has a fantastic soundtrack, and a great cast. And it was huuugely influential in the world of cinema and story-telling.
In the immortal words of Jules Winnfield: “Mmm-HMM, that IS a tasty burger.”
Mirror Gallery: While creating pictures for this post, I stumbled across a mirror video effect that allowed me to make these images. I had so much fun making these, that I am pretty sure I’ll do this for other films.
So this is a kind of condensed and warped version of the film. Enjoy!
BONUS! Now, just because I can, I’m going to include this interesting little tidbit from ‘Cracked’ that I just found in my research. It has an interesting (and entertaining) theory about the characters in PULP FICTION and its similarity to “King Arthur”.
Check this out:
Coup De Grace: Okay, so to punctuate this in the right way, to paraphrase the immortal words of that wandering, bad-ass, foot massaging, no-pork-digging, jheri-curl-rocking, muffin-eating, man of peace, Jules Winnfield:
(This film is) a mushroom-cloud-layin’ motherf*cker, motherf*cker! … (it’s) Superfly T.N.T. … (and it’s) the Guns of the Navarone!