You really can’t have too many movies that take place in towers. Hollywood has always enjoyed shooting in tall places; nothing like being trapped somewhere really high to ramp up the tension. So we get The Two Towers, The Dark Tower (in production) and the most famous of all disaster movies, The Towering Inferno. This last movie was even paid homage to in the original Fame, as one fearless student reenacted the OJ Simpson elevator scene as an audition piece to get into the High School of Performing Arts. (“I’m waiting for the elevator. I’m still waiting for the elevator.”) That was meta before meta was even invented!
The most recent addition to this list is Tower Heist, a “ripped from today’s headlines” heist film that could also be subtitled Oceans Eleven meets Horrible Bosses. Ben Stiller plays George Clooney lite as the loyal employee of a Bernie Madoff type (ALan Alda) who has taken all the pensions of the people who work in a Trump tower-ish type of condo building. When the workers realize they are all broke, they band together and hire a wacky black thief to help them steal their money back. It’s good to see Eddie Murphy back on the screen, but it would have been nicer if Jamie Foxx hadn’t already played exactly the same role a few months ago in Horrible Bosses. The movie has some laughs and is mildly entertaining, but I wonder if anyone in Hollywood realizes that they just keep making the same movie over and over. Perhaps I should send them a note to alert them.
As long as they were recycling, there is also a scene ripped directly from Die Hard where they try to move from one floor of the building to another ala Bruce and his dirty tank top. The film is sailing along, solid, not a shaky-cam in site, when all of a sudden the camera perspective changes to the interior of a car swinging upside down on the outside of a skyscraper. That scene alone will merit this film Three Barf Bags, because it came out of nowhere and caught me completely off guard. Consider yourself warned.
But hey! It’s Thanksgiving! You shouldn’t be out at a movie theatre – you should be home with your loved ones wondering if you’ll ever be able to button your pants again. So be thankful for wherever you are, and hope your life doesn’t turn into a John Hughes film as you try to get home.