Cameron Diaz has always radiated an America’s Sweetheart vibe, but the good girl goes very bad in “Bad Teacher,” now on DVD. We celebrate other out-of-left-field casting choices:
“YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART” (1964, Warner Archive, unrated, $20): Beverly Hills gadabout George Hamilton as tortured hillbilly crooner Hank Williams? Sounds like a disaster, but Hamilton is touchingly convincing. Sure, the harsher realities of the singer’s life are glossed over, but as a portrait of success turning sour – and as a celebration of Williams’ music (which Hamilton lip-syncs and a 15-year-old Hank Williams, Jr. overdubs.) – this biopic hits the bull’s-eye.
“PRIMARY COLORS” (1998, Universal, R, $10): New Jersey native John Travolta seems an odd choice for a Clinton-esque presidential candidate. His southern accent is wobbly at best. But director Mike Nichols nails the hurly-burly of the campaign trail while Travolta lampoons the southern governor’s appetite for power, women and Krispy Kreme apple fritters.
“PLAYING FOR TIME” (1980, Olive, unrated, $30): A one-time supporter of the PLO, Vanessa Redgrave was a controversial pick to play Fania Fenelon, a woman who survived Auschwitz by performing music for her captors. But it’s hard to imagine anyone else delivering such a raw, emotionally charged performance. This still-powerful TV movie was written by Arthur Miller.