Director: John Cassavetes
Year Released: 1980
Arguably the worst film Cassavetes ever made, this inexplicably dumb chase film plays against the director's strengths, which include the use of improvisation, sharp social criticism and unorthodox camerawork. After a young boy's parents are murdered, Gena Rowlands - a former hit woman for the Mob - is given the role of guardian and protector for the boy, who carries around the film's MacGuffin, a green book containing "Mob secrets." If the endless running from omnipresent Italian hoodlums isn't irritating enough, the boy Rowlands kills for certainly will - he is brash, abrasive, speaks choppy English and regularly insults her. It's implausible that this woman would go to such lengths for this ungrateful little monster, and it's even more baffling as to what Cassavetes was thinking in casting him for the role or bothering, in the first place, with such a mediocre concept. Maybe he was thinking about the paycheck, maybe he was just trying something out, but one thing is certain: even geniuses make mistakes.