6.5/10
4,325
34 user 37 critic

Best Seller (1987)

A hitman approachs a writer to help him create the next best seller on his career, but the violent world he was a part of has other plans.

Director:

John Flynn

Writer:

Larry Cohen
Reviews
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Woods ... Cleve
Brian Dennehy ... Dennis Meechum
Victoria Tennant ... Roberta Gillian
Allison Balson ... Holly Meechum
Paul Shenar ... David Madlock
George Coe ... Graham
Anne Pitoniak Anne Pitoniak ... Mrs. Foster
Mary Carver ... Cleve's Mother
Sully Boyar ... Monks
Kathleen Lloyd ... Annie
Charles Tyner ... Cleve's Father (as Harold Tyner)
E. Brian Dean E. Brian Dean ... Taxi Driver
Jeffrey Josephson Jeffrey Josephson ... Pearlman
Edward Blackoff Edward Blackoff ... Thorn
Branscombe Richmond ... Longshoreman #1
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Storyline

Hit man Cleve approaches writer/cop Dennis about a story for his next book: How Cleve made a living, working for one of the most powerful politicians in the country. To get the story right, they travel around the country to gather statements and evidence, while strong forces use any means they can to keep the story untold. Written by Lars Skogan <si2_ls92362@debet.nhh.no>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If words could kill... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hard Cover See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$905,399, 27 September 1987

Gross USA:

$4,278,150

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,278,150
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hemdale See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cleve`s mother, actress Mary Carver also played A J and Rick Simon`s mother on the detective series Simon and Simon. See more »

Goofs

When Cleve holds the gun to Dennis' neck and talks about only a few ounces of pressure needed, the revolver wasn't cocked and significant force would be needed to actually discharge the weapon. See more »

Quotes

Cleve: That was the second time you've embarassed me, now try to control yourself, please.
See more »


Soundtracks

REVERIE
Written by Claude Debussy
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User Reviews

Solid if unspectacular thriller
15 March 2007 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Since the loss of his wife to cancer, cop-turned-author Dennis Meechum has been struggling to even get passed a chapter of any new project. So when the shadowy Cleve approaches him with an offer, he at least listens. Cleve suggests that he has been a hit-man for years on behalf of a large corporation and wants to use the book to hit back at his former employers. Dennis is convinced after an attempt on Cleve's life and begins to spend time with Cleve to interview him and get material for the book, however the relationship is never an easy one.

Kudos to the film for trying to have a talky character driven script at its core but sadly it never really works. The central character dynamic is interesting but never really convincing because I didn't feel that the characters had sufficient drawn between them to counter the repulsion (and using Dennis' debts was a lazy device in my opinion). This leaves the following relationship on a level that is never much better than "solid" although as such I did still find it engaging. Not as interesting as I would have liked though, which did somewhat take away from the tension at the end of the film because I didn't get the feeling that there was a head of steam built up. The action sections also undermine it; they are not that well done but nor do they fit into the narrative that well and they just seem to be another force holding the film from being smarter than it was.

The central performances don't really help much either, although they are both good enough to hold the interest. Woods occasionally suggests he will go deeper into his character but mostly he is happy with hit-man cool with a touch of twisted humanity in him. As per normal Dennehy gives a solid rock of a performance but never does anything that remarkable or interesting with it. Small supporting roles for Tennant and Shenar don't really do much and the film is carried in the safe hands of the lead pair.

Overall then a solid enough film that is distracting. Occasionally it seems to have the chance to do more but then it never really does, settling instead just for an average approach that is OK but nothing that memorable.


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