I remember recently seeing a billboard for the upcoming A&E mini-series Coma (which looks like to could be pretty interesting and awesome) that prominently features both the names Ridley and Tony Scott in huge letters. I thought to myself how lucky they were to get to work together and both be successful in an industry that can be so grueling. I know the joys of getting to work with a sibling and it is one of the greatest in the world. However, to sit here today and ponder those thoughts, I have a heavy heart that we have lost one part of this dynamic duo and a director who contributed to the lexicon of film history in a way that few directors are lucky enough succeed at doing.
It is reported that Tony Scott passed away yesterday afternoon in what was an apparent suicide after he jumped from a bridge in San Pedro, California. There are not many other details as of right now, and I'm sure many more will be revealed, but rather than focus on that, I would like to take a moment to remember the career of an incredible director and producer.
When taking the time to look at and process the career of Tony Scott, it was difficult to figure out where to start. Perhaps it is best to just look at the beginning, with the film which might still be the most recognizable film of his that would be Top Gun. In 1986, the movie was released and featured a little actor named Tom Cruise, who after his appearance in Top Gun, truly became a superstar. Although Cruise's charisma cannot be denied, I believe it was the brilliant direction by Scott that allowed him to shine through. He created a film that had romance, action and humor yet one of the most heart-wrenching and tragic endings, that still makes me weep when watching it to this day. I also wonder how many times the "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling" scene has been reenacted in that last 26 years, and to say the shot of Tom Cruise on his motorcycle with "Take My Breath Away" blasting in the background is epic would be an understatement. The soundtrack is to this day, one of the most popular soundtracks to date. In many ways it is a perfect film for what it was, and one that put the director on the map.
Although Top Gun might be one of the most well known, I believe that True Romance, is my favorite of his films, and I believe it can actually be attributed to my attendance of film school. I first watched the movie because I was with a friend and our little crush on Brad Pitt caused us to do a "marathon" of his films. We stumbled upon True Romance, not really knowing what it was, but once I saw it I was hooked. It was one of the first times I had watched what I think would be called a really "dark" film, yet awesome and stylistic film. I was used to pretty standard fare, not a movie about a bunch of drugs, guns and hookers. However, the way that Scott directed the movie, I fell in love with it. I wanted to see more and I instantly began quoting Pitt's character "Floyd" in my daily life. I then began to seek out other films like Pulp Fiction and Natural Born Killers, and my love for the cinematic arts was cemented from there.
I know that only expanding on two of his films is not enough, but there are so many great movies he made, that it would be difficult to talk about each one. However, if you have not yet, spend some time watching, Beverly Hills Cop II, Days of Thunder, The Last Boy Scout, Crimson Tide, Man on Fire, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, or Unstoppable or any of this other many movies.
While Scott might be best known for the movies he directed, his influence as a producer should not be ignored. Through the production company Scott Free that he co-chaired with is brother, Ridley Scott they have produced countless movies, television shows and have more than 30 currently in development. He was a true Hollywood power-house and one of the few names in the industry that could always help get a project made.
I think one of the most amazing things about film and movies are the way that they are able to affect each one of us individually and in a different way. Tony Scott is a director whose films affected me in a very profound way, and I would like to thank and recognize him for that. He was able to successfully blend violence, action, and romance in a way that drew you in to his films, and he created a visual style that can oftentimes be instantly recognized. Many directors hope for just one huge success, but Scott had so many it is hard to figure out which was best or had the most impact.
His family will be in our hearts and prayers and I know that I will honor his legacy by spending some time this week watching and contemplating his movies and the influence he will have on the cinematic world for years to come. Rest in peace, Mr. Scott.