The first time I saw Peter Berg, he was playing cocky bad boy Dr. Billy Kronk on the medical drama Chicago Hope. The show that featured the amazing Mandy Patinkin as well. Little did I know that just a few years later, he would become one of the most innovative and entertaining writers and directors in Hollywood.
In fact, his greatness is best exhibited by what he does behind the camera and with a pen (I am sure he uses a computer, but I am going for a visual here).
First, I must admit that Peter Berg is a weird guy. He looks weird, he sounds weird. He always puts himself in bit parts in the movies he is involved in. He is as eccentric as they come. But, aren’t most brilliant people a little weird. But, like I always say, “All things amazing start with a little crazy!” (I am not sure if I actually said that or if I heard it. If I stoled it, I am sorry, I can’t remember where I heard it from).
In 1998, he wrote and director a movie called Very Bad Things staring Jon Favreau, Christian Slater and Cameron Diaz. I can only describe this movie as what Hangover, Hangover II and Bridesmads could only hope to be. The movie follows a group of friends at a bachlor party in Vegas and as the title says, Very Bad Things happen to them. There is even a dead hooker in the movie. Check it out if you haven’t seen it.
He directed the critically acclaimed Friday Night Lights and spear headed the hit TV show as well. Friday Night Lights is a movie that is bitter sweet for me as well as being close to my heart. I was raised in Texas and my brother played high school football. His team lost to the team portrayed in the movie during my brother’s senior year. I hate Odessa Permien and that damn MOJO stuff. Peter Berg one hundred percent accurately depicted the insanity of Texas high school football. Great job for a guy from New York.
He also directed Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner in The Kingdom. The Kingdom is about a FBI teams investigation of a bombing in Saudi Arabia. It is one of those movies that get’s better every time I see it. And, it is such a intelligent movie. Again, if you haven’t, go see.
He also wrote the movie The Losers which has one of the greatest assembly cast of little to no name actors; Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans (Captain America), Idris Elba and Columbus Short. Not all well known, but very talented group. That movie has some great lines such as, “Oh my God. I’m the black MacGyver.”
He returned to his acting roots in two great Tom Cruise movies: Collateral and Lions for Lambs. But, his biggest project was recently released.
His latest offering is a little low budget flick known as Battleship. I saw Battleship this weekend and was not disappointed. The drool worthy, but bad acting of Taylor Kitsch couldn’t distract me from what is visually an amazing movie. The alien ships were very unique and utterly terrifying. I really showcased the power of the US Navy in the present and the past. I loved the idea of the old World War II guys coming back to commission the original battleship – US Missouri to save the world. The movie had great pace and was big budget action with a heart and you liked the characters.
From drunken escapades, to intellectual suspense; low budget films with heart to futuristic big budget blockbusters. Peter Berg can do it all.
Can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
What is your favorite Peter Berg movie? What do you think about board games being made into movies?**I have a great post coming up about the movie Clue next month.