Michael Douglas Last Vegas

Two times Oscar winning screenwriter William Goldman once said of Michael Douglas that he was the perfect blend of actor and producer. The man is a revered hyphenate in Hollywood (someone with more than one talent) who has been showing the world he can comfortably wear more than one hat since the late 1970s when he did both for The China Syndrome. With a hard hitting career that often explored protagonists sinking in quicksand pools of human morality, finding five great performances by him was only hard in that so many of his great films were going to have to go unrecognized here.

William Goldman also went on to ultimately say that he does not think Michael Douglas was the man for the part of Charles Remington in The Ghost and the Darkness, a 1996 thriller about man eating lions that seemed possessed by evil. The film flopped despite having a lot of things going for it and Goldman has hinted that this partially might have happened from having an actor with too much power aboard.

It seems that more so in recent years Douglas’ edge has waned. He has traded in what made him so powerful before, which was his willingness to play empathetic men with serious problems. The roles he takes are still along the same lines as before, but now they are cleaner, not as messy. Basically he is still playing edgy characters that have no edge.

On November 1st, as the clock struck twelve ending Halloween, Douglas’ new film Last Vegas premiered to semi-favorable reviews, gaining more appreciation from fans than critics, who called it a version of “The Hangover” made for an older crowd. The adjective “older” being the keyword here as Michael Douglas is on his way to turning seventy this year. His late sixties have been a little crazy as he was diagnosed with throat cancer (don’t ask how he got it) and talks of separation from the gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones. With all said and done it’s nice to see this movie giant still standing.

As we do every Friday, we’ll kick off with the five performances that are his very best…


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This article was first posted on November 8, 2013