Good Company: Redford and Nolte
Opening today in theatres is a comedy adventure starring two mismatched – yet always welcome – traveling companions. Taking A Walk in the Woods, Robert Redford plays travel writer Bill Bryson (Bryson’s 1998 book inspired the film), who eschews a leisurely retirement and instead decides to hike the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. He is joined by long-lost and former friend Stephen Katz, played by Nick Nolte, a down-at-the-heels, out-of-condition reprobate who nonetheless wants “one last adventure” as much as his buddy does. In Twilight Time’s Blu-ray of the Sydney Pollack-directed The Way We Were, Redford travels in upper-crust circles of privilege as a golden-boy collegian and writer who falls for a politically engaged activist (Barbra Streisand); following their unlikely marriage, Hollywood calls, and pressures of career advancement and personal ideals brought on the HUAC Communist Witchhunts pull them apart. As sad as that romance classic’s ending is, you might be better hobnobbing with Redford in Tinseltown than the places you’ll journey with Nolte in his two TT Blu-rays. However, you will see two searing signature Nolte performances, one intensely charismatic, the other immensely chilling. Director Ron Underwood’s suspenseful Under Fire (1983) is a shattering thriller of journalists in a war zone, in this case Nicaragua in the late 1970s, where Nolte’s brave and ultimately committed photographer continually faces death and tragedy head-on in pursuit of the truth. Director Oliver Stone’s dark comedy U Turn (1997) is another matter, plunking audiences down in the blighted burg of Superior, Arizona, where the townfolk are by turns dopey, despicable, scheming and horny – and Nolte as the local big kahuna Jake McKenna is the sleaziest slimeball of all – but crucially, always fascinating to watch. Oh, the places you can go with these terrific actors in tow, with additional Redford and Nolte possible on future TT Blu-rays.