Back in April, Salon published an article called “Val Kilmer’s Dramatic Decline,” which used the straight-to-DVD movie Blood Out as a springboard for belittling the actor. I haven’t seen Blood Out; I doubt I ever will. But I am something of a Kilmer afficianado. Not on the level that some people worship Nic Cage, but close.
The first time I saw Kilmer in a film was Real Genius — still among my favorite goofball ’80s comedies. The character he played made being a science geek look cool. I was never actually a science geek, but I did identify with intellectual outsiders who were fast with a quip. And there are plenty of those in Real Genius. Example: “Would you be prepared if gravity reversed itself? The only thing I can’t figure out is how to keep the change in my pockets. I’ve got it. Nudity.” OK, so it’s not particuarly funny as written dialogue. But that’s what makes Kilmer so awesome — he sells it with a kind of slick, left-field charm. (That quality is also evident in the mock-tastic Top Secret, another early role.)
Everyone of a certain vintage is familiar with Kilmer’s turn as Jim Morrisson in Oliver Stone‘s The Doors, so I won’t go into why he’s the best thing about that bloated bag of inaccuracy. And as the Ice Man in Top Gun? Brilliant.
Kilmer has had some rough years. Not a lot of good roles. Packed on some pounds. Almost ran for governor of New Mexico.
Kilmer is an easy punchline, for sure. On the other hand, everyone loves it when an aging weirdo actor gets a shot at redemption. All eyes are on Francis Ford Coppola‘s “horror” flick Twixt as the potential vehicle. (I put horror in quotes because we all saw what the formerly-great director did with Dracula.)
The trailer is the kind of ridiculous that great horrible movies are made of:
What do you think?