by Patrick Bromley
Back in 2020, I programmed a 24 hour marathon of Bill Pullman movies because he's one of my very favorite actors and I don't feel like he gets enough credit for being as great as he is. I said at the time that I would someday revisit his filmography to do a second marathon. That day has come.
10 am - Mr. Wrong (1996, dir. Nick Castle)
12 pm - The Accidental Tourist (1988, dir. Lawrence Kasdan)
I'm a big fan of this Lawrence Kasdan dramedy about a travel book writer (RIP William Hurt, who also sucked) who loses his son and gets divorced and meets a Manic Pixie Dream Geena Davis who forces him out of his shell. Pullman plays the nerdy editor who falls in love with Hurt's sister in one of the movie's best subplots. There's not enough of him here, to be honest; I could use a little more Pullman and a little less Hurt, but that's me. Actually, in another world, the William Hurt role is the exact kind of part that Pullman would fucking crush.
2 pm - Wyatt Earp (1994, dir. Lawrence Kasdan)Tombstone came out just six months prior. Long and episodic, Kasdan's movie is less consistently entertaining than the highlight reel that is Tombstone, but it's also a deeper examination of the complicated and difficult title character (this was during the period when Kevin Costner never backed away from difficult -- and often unlikable -- characters). Bill Pullman plays the doomed Ed Masterson, one of Earp's deputies during his early days in Dodge City. He doesn't make a huge impression, but then the cast is so star-studded that no one save for Costner (and maybe Dennis Quaid's Doc Holliday) gets a ton of screen time.
5:15 pm - Lucky Numbers (2000, dir. Nora Ephron)
7 pm - Sleepless in Seattle (1993, dir. Nora Ephron)
9 pm - The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017, dir. Jared Moshe)
Bill Pullman has never wanted for work, but in a more just world his performance in The Ballad of Lefty Brown would have led to a Tarantinoesque career rebirth. He plays Peter Fonda's lifelong sidekick who has to become the main character of the story after tragedy strikes. This is a gorgeous, excellent western that deserves way more attention than it ever got (it grossed less than $10,000), with Pullman giving a Top 3 performance (the other two being Zero Effect and his work on USA's The Sinner). I'm programming it in the primetime slot because it deserves to be here, and who's going to help these great Bill Pullman movies get seen if not me?
11 pm - The Favor (1994, dir. Donald Petrie)
As things get late, let's settle into some comfortable and easy romantic comedy -- the kind where we can fall asleep for a few minutes and not fall too far behind the plot. The perpetually undervalued Harley Jane Kozak plays a somewhat frustrated housewife who asks her best friend (Elizabeth McGovern) to look up an old flame (Ken Wahl), leading to the usual farce of jealousy and misunderstandings. Pullman plays Kozak's husband, a genuinely good guy forced to bear witness to the strange behavior of romcom characters. Brad Pitt also has an early role as McGovern's artist boyfriend. This was shot in 1990 but got caught up in Orion's bankruptcy and wouldn't be released for another four years; by then, Pullman and Pitt's stars had risen and the others had fallen somewhat, meaning the movie got more or less lost. It deserves better.
1 am - Surveillance (2008, dir. Jennifer Lynch)
3 am - Nervous Ticks (1993, dir. Rocky Lang)
5 am - Newsies (1992, dir. Kenny Ortega)
7 am - Sibling Rivalry (1990, dir. Carl Reiner)
9 am - Spaceballs (1987, dir. Mel Brooks)