Thursday, July 14, 2011

Introducing the Ray Liotta Meter

I love my meters.

Perhaps too much.

The following is in response to a buddy who said I needed a Ray Liotta meter on my blog.

I heartily agreed with him and came up with a sliding scale called the Ray Liotta Quality Meter.

It's basically a letter grade or five-point system for reviews.

You can debate which Ray Liotta movie is the best or worst, but I had to come up with something using the Netflix Watch Instantly catalog, which unfortunately features neither Hannibal nor Operation Dumbo Drop, which were the original choices for the "bad" end of the meter. Heck, I would've settled for Turbulence!

These are ranked in order of my favorite Ray performances, not necessarily the relative quality of the movies involved. I'm saying this in hopes that the Scorsese fans can forgive having Field of Dreams as the "best"'s my all-time favorite Ray performance.

Anyhow, here's what I came up with, thanks to some quick screencaps:

No Escape: You're an 80s-style action movie made in the mid-90s. Two featured characters include two "guys who are in everything" -- Ernie Hudson and Lance Henriksen. There's some fun to be had here, but Ray sums it up best: "Tonight we'll bury the father. Tomorrow we'll start rebuilding the compound. Tomorrow we start all over again."

Muppets from Space: Harmless. Forgettable. A bit formulaic. It's all right, just not great, and there's no razzle-dazzle quality about it. but it does have the one scene where Ray Liotta randomly shows up as a security guard, and that saves it from the scrap heap. Barely. "So long! Bye-bye! What a handsome family."

Cop Land: Reach this level, and you've got some good, even some great, qualities. But there's something holding it back. Even though Ray comes in at the end, guns blazing, it can't quite make it all the way up to the top. But I still love it, even for its flaws. "Bein' right is not a bulletproof vest, Freddy!"

Goodfellas: From smooth criminal to coked-out whackadoo to key state witness, Ray plays all the angles in this gritty crime drama. This is a 4 out of 5, a B+, an admirable achievement. Funny how that works, huh? "It's just, you know. You're just funny, it's...funny, the way you tell the story and everything."

Field of Dreams: Seldom will a review hit the rarified air of this unassuming Iowa cornfield. This is Ray at his restrained finest, a young, earnest ballplayer given another chance at the Show. And there's even a bit of that Liotta Craziness: "Ty Cobb wanted to play, but none of us could stand the sonuvabitch when we were alive so we told him to stick it! (maniacal laugh)."