Tony Scott: 1944-2012

Tony Scott did not simply make good action films. He made films that transcended genre and reduction. That the characters are relatable and realistic makes the movies work when they are coupled with the hyper-reality of his camera. Even the least of his films are entertaining.

I recently introduced my wife to The Last Boy Scout. She already had an abiding love of Crimson Tide, a love that I share and over which we bonded shortly after meeting. What got to both of, us along with the thousands or millions of other fans out there, was that these characters were real people. The situations, while heightened, felt grounded in the realm of possibility.

For me, Man on Fire has been his masterpiece ever since I saw it in original run back in 2004. I saw it five times between its primary theatrical and second runs.

When I think that I don't get to see a new Tony Scott movie from Tony Scott himself, it makes me profoundly sad as someone who loves the cinema. I'm buoyed by the hope that young filmmakers will be inspired by his work and will subsequently make similarly engrossing movies.

 

The director of many excellent movies took his own life. A little after noon yesterday, he jumped from a bridge in Los Angeles. He was 68, and leaves behind a wife and two young sons. He was a trememndous filmmaker, and by reputation, Scott was an equally excellent, decent, and loving human being.

Inevitably, his existence as a filmmaker will be colored by some relative to his choice to take his own life. You can never truly know what a person other than yourself is like on the inside. That sort of "what if" is unhealthy and disrespectful to the deceased.

I should be finishing packing right now and sleeping, but I needed to get this out before I continue preparing for a trip out west.

 

I had been planning and researching a career retrospective series on Tony Scott. It was to be very much along the lines of what I'm doing with Yasujiro Ozu, Michael Powell, and others. The selfish thing I thought tonight was "This changes that thing I've been spending hours and hours of time on. Now what? Now it'll look like I'm capitalizing on the death of a beloved director."

In the process of writing this piece, I've decided that worrying about how it's perceived is the most ridiculous thing with which to be concerned. I don't want to do these sorts of massive-scale writing projects simply because someone has died, but at the same time, I don't want that event to prevent me from doing one. Death is a natural part of the progression of life, and that shouldn't impede the proper celebration of that life. Exaltation of great art should happen, period.

My series on the work of Tony Scott will begin when it is in a shape that I'm happy with, which may be relatively soon. I thought that it would be an interesting shift, going from a director most associated with visual stillness to one of the most ultra-kinetic.

 

Here's a full rundown of where you can find his entire filmography as a director, on disc and in various digital delivery forms.

 

Loving Memory (1971)
Disc: ~$25 All-region BFI Blu-ray includes this and his 1969 short One of the Missing

A wonderful piece of work that most fans of his work haven't seen. The BFI disc includes his earlier short film as well as one directed by brother Ridley in which Tony Scott appeared as an actor.

 

The Hunger (1983)
Stream: Free to stream for Amazon Prime members.
Amazon Instant: Rent ($3) or buy ($10) on Amazon Instant. HD only on XBOX 360, Roku, etc.
iTunes: $4 HD rental, $3 SD rental, $10 SD purchase
Disc: $15 DVD that includes a selected-scene commentary with Scott and Sarandon

A legitimately sexy vampire movie with David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, and Catherine Deneuve. Shame there's no Blu-ray.

 

Top Gun (1986)
Stream: Free to stream for Amazon Prime members.
Amazon Instant: Rent ($3 SD), Buy ($10 SD). HD only available on XBOX 360, Roku, etc.
iTunes: Rent ($4 HD, $3 SD), Buy ($17 HD, $10 SD)
Disc: $13.50 Blu-ray, $9.50 DVD

The Blu-ray looks outstanding. If you want to own the movie, don't waste your time with SD.

 

Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
Amazon Instant: Rent ($3 SD), Buy ($10 SD). No HD option.
iTunes: Rent ($4 HD, $3 SD), Buy ($17 HD, $10 SD)
Disc: $7 DVD for just BHC2 or $15 DVD set with all three movies

The only reasonable or cheap way to watch is via iTunes and an AppleTV.

 

Revenge (1990)
Stream: Free to stream for Amazon Prime members.
Amazon Instant: Rent ($3 SD), Buy ($10 SD). HD only available on XBOX 360, Roku, etc.
iTunes: Rent ($4 HD, $3 SD), Buy ($17 HD, $10 SD)
Disc: $21 Blu-ray, $6 DVD

Kevin Costner falls in love with Madeleine Stowe in a movie that was ripped to shreds by critics for excessive violence, which means it's probably really good. Anthony Quinn plays the jealous husband of Stowe, and old pal of Costner's character. I've never seen it, but have it sitting on my shelf.

 

Days of Thunder (1990)
Amazon Instant: Rent ($3 SD), Buy ($10 SD). HD only available on XBOX 360, Roku, etc.
iTunes: Rent ($4 HD, $3 SD), Buy ($17 HD, $10 SD)
Disc: $11 Blu-ray, $8 DVD

 

The Last Boy Scout (1991)
Amazon Instant: Rent ($3 SD), Buy ($10 SD).
iTunes: Rent ($3 SD), Buy ($10 SD)
Disc: Blu-ray only available as a $10 two-movie, single-disc pair with Last Man Standing, the $10 DVD is a waste of money in comparison

The only way to watch this movie (one of his best) in HD is on Blu-ray. The Blu disc has no extras, nor did its preceding DVD.

 

True Romance (1993)
Amazon Instant: Rent ($3 SD), Buy ($10 SD)
iTunes: Rent ($4 HD, $3 SD), Buy ($17 HD, $10 SD)
Disc: $15 Blu-ray contains all extras on the badass 2002 slipcase 2-disc Special Edition, including separatecommentaries by Scott and Quentin Tarantino, both of which are excellent. Avoid any DVD versions, just get this.

Get the Blu-ray, period. If you're an avid cinephile and don't own a Blu-ray player yet, I don't know what to tell you.

 

Crimson Tide (1995)
Amazon Instant: Rent ($2 SD), Buy ($10 SD)
iTunes: Rent ($4 HD, $3 SD), Buy ($17 HD, $10 SD)
Disc: $8 Theatrical Cut Blu-ray, $20 Unrated Extended Cut DVD

The Blu-ray includes all of the extras that the 2006 "Unrated Extended Cut" DVD had, minus the 124-minute cut of the movie. If you desperately have to have that cut of the movie, the DVD is the only way to get it.

 

The Fan (1996)
Amazon Instant: Buy ($9.50 SD)
iTunes: Buy ($12 HD, $10 SD)
Disc: $9, 15-year-old DVD

The movie may not be very good, but these are pitiful options for viewing.

 

Enemy of the State (1998)
Amazon Instant: not available
iTunes: not available
Disc: $8 Blu-ray, out of print on DVD

I'm excluding categories where you can't find an item in most cases in this list, but put them above for emphasis. You can only find this movie on Blu-ray. Like Hollywood Pictures brother Crimson Tide above, there was a 2006 Unrated Extended Cut of this one, but I don't know that it's canonical or director-approved.

 

The Hunger (TV Series, 1997-1999)
"The Swords" (1997)
"Sanctuary" (1999)
Stream: Netflix Watch Instant

This was a late-90s TV series adaptation of his earlier feature.

 

Spy Game (2001)
Amazon Instant: Rent ($3 SD), Buy ($10 SD). HD only available on XBOX 360, Roku, etc.
iTunes: Rent ($4 HD, $3 SD), Buy ($15 HD, $10 SD)
Disc: $10 Blu-ray, $6.50 DVD

 

Beat the Devil (short, 2002)

There is no way to pay a rights owner for this, as it was part of a limited-run series of shorts made for BMW. Here it is:

 

Man on Fire (2004)
iTunes: not available
Disc: $9 Blu-ray, $20 Collector's Edition 2-disc DVD

To get the best picture available plus all of the best extras, you currently have to buy both the Blu-ray and the 2-disc DVD linked above. It is worth it. I wish that Fox would put out a proper, definitive new Blu-ray. If you ask me, they're losing thousands and thousands of dollars every hour it is not available to rent or buy on iTunes.

 

Domino (2005)
Amazon Instant: Rent ($3 SD), Buy ($10 SD). HD only available on XBOX 360, Roku, etc.
iTunes: Rent ($4 HD, $3 SD), Buy ($15 HD, $10 SD)
Disc: $7 Blu-ray, $5 DVD

 

Deja Vu (2006)
Amazon Instant: Rent ($2 SD), Buy ($10 SD). HD only available on XBOX 360, Roku, etc.
iTunes: Rent ($4 HD, $3 SD), Buy ($18 HD, $10 SD)
Disc: $17 Blu-ray, $5 DVD

 

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009)
Amazon Instant: Buy ($11 SD)
iTunes: Buy ($10 SD)
Disc: $15 Blu-ray, $14 DVD

 

Unstoppable (2010)
Amazon Instant: Rent ($3 SD), Buy ($10 SD). HD only available on XBOX 360, Roku, etc.
iTunes: Rent ($3 SD), Buy ($10 SD)
Disc: $17 Blu-ray, $15 DVD