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Monday, August 20, 2012

Tony Scott, 1944-2012

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 9:44 AM

As Steve mentioned in GMN, some unfortunate, unexpected film news: Director Tony Scott killed himself yesterday afternoon, jumping from Los Angeles' Vincent Thomas Bridge. A souce close to Scott has informed ABC that the 68-year-old director had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer.

A brother to—and frequent collaborator of—Ridley Scott, Tony had an uneven directorial career: While his final film to be released in theaters was the forgettable Unstoppable, he also directed films like Top Gun, Crimson Tide, The Last Boy Scout, and Man on Fire, and produced films like Prometheus, The Grey, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Cyrus. I'd say the best film he directed is the criminally underrated True Romance, which was written by a then-unknown kid named Quentin Tarantino.

But my favorite Tony Scott movie is always gonna be Top Gun—watching that film's opening and being amazed is one of my earliest memories of watching and loving film. The below four minutes are the reason why, from age 6 to 9, I rode my bike around suburban Salt Lake's wide streets as fast I could, pretending my crappy Huffy was a jet fighter and singing the chorus to Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" to myself. (A few months after I turned 9, that bike turned into the Batmobile, with Danny Elfman's Batman theme bumping Loggins from rotation.) Come to think of it, my childhood reverence for this sequence might explain a lot about how my tastes in cinema turned out:

Years later, as a teenager, I went to Suncoast and probably dropped like $30 on a VHS of Crimson Tide, which I then watched way more times than any kid should unless their dad was in the Navy or something. Late last night/early this morning I spent some time on Empire's Twitter feed, which was tracking reaction from some of Scott's fellow filmmakers and fans—who, in these cases, were the same people:

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