Several months ago, I raved about a movie called “The Matador,” which should have been a much bigger hit than it was. With its release on DVD this week, I hope it finds the audience it deserves, so I’m giving it a re-recommendation and adding it to the Movies You Might Not Know list.
“The Matador” stars Pierce Brosnan as a professional hit man, but the character is as unlike James Bond as you can imagine. He’s good at what he does, but he’s vulgar and crass — and going through a midlife crisis in which he discovers that he has no friends except hookers and dirtballs. That’s when he meets Greg Kinnear’s character, a down on his luck businessman, in a Mexico City hotel bar, and wedges his way into a friendship with him. Brosnan gives one of his best performances, Kinnear matches him step for step, and director Richard Shepard keeps the movie crackling.
Shepard visited my show when the movie opened the St. Louis Film Festival, and we talked about his love/hate relationship with hit man movies, how he got Pierce Brosnan to play the role (and do a scene where he walks through a hotel lobby in nothing but his underwear and boots), how he was in “movie jail” for a decade after his first movie was a complete bomb, how important opening weekends are, and lots more inside-Hollywood stuff.