Once upon a blog (I’m talkin’, back in the MySpace days), after suffering through yet another dismal performance and feeling physical pain at the thought of another nail being driven into his coffin, I wrote an open letter to Harrison Ford asking him to please to do us all a favor and retire so as not to further sully his legendary career.
Need a moment to read that letter? Go ahead, I’ll wait. All caught up? Excellent.
Now, obviously, Mr. Ford did not listen to my plea, and he has gone on making movies for the past four years. And, well, I probably don’t need to remind you that the results have not been so good. As far as I’m concerned, FIREWALL was the rock bottom of his career -- the absolute worst piece of crap he has ever made, and indeed, my #1 worst movie of 2006 (not to mention one of the worst of the decade on my list). Then came INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL -- but once you got past the initial thrill of seeing Indy on screen again, the movie was a misfire beyond what anyone could have feared and clearly a mistake for all involved. After that came CROSSING OVER, a little-known, dull, and not-very-good drama about immigration issues that came and went very quickly. Next up was EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES, a gigantic flop in which Ford tried… well, I’m not exactly sure what… seems like maybe he tried to recapture the quirkiness he displayed in such films as THE MOSQUITO COAST, but in such a horrendous film, it just didn’t work. And so, things continued to look bleak for the former Han Solo, and I cringed as more nails were pounded into that coffin.
But then a funny thing happened. Tonight I saw an advance screening of MORNING GLORY, an upcoming comedy about a hotshot workaholic TV producer who tries to resurrect an dying morning news show. The movie is decent enough, with a few good chuckles here and there, and solid work from Rachel McAdams (at her most adorable, I might add), Jeff Goldblum and Patrick Wilson (not so much Diane Keaton, but that’s a whole other can of worms), but that’s not important right now. The important thing is that it also stars Harrison Ford as Michael Pomeroy, an award-winning, Rather-esque newsman in the twilight of his career who is forced to join the morning show against his will. Ford’s Pomeroy is a crotchety old bastard. He’s mean, pompous, self-centered, well aware that the morning show is far beneath a journalist of his stature… and, frankly, he’s pretty awesome. The former Jack Ryan sneers, snarls and grumbles his way through the movie and it is some of the best, most engaging and entertaining work I’ve seen from him in a long, long time.
I mean, sure, it’s no BLADE RUNNER or WITNESS or even AIR FORCE ONE –- but at this stage of Harrison Ford’s career, playing the crotchety old bastard may be his best bet. Hell, I think he probably IS kind of a crotchety old bastard in real life, so why not go with it? From now on, when a movie calls for a crotchety old bastard, the former Dr. Richard Kimble should be Hollywood’s go-to guy. I’d almost forgotten that the world is a much better, brighter place when you can watch Harrison Ford on screen and not be overcome by sadness. I’m not saying we should remove the nails from his coffin just yet… but for the first time in years, we didn’t have to add any new ones, and that, my friends, is a step in the right direction.