• Best Seller

    Released By: Olive Films
    Released On: February 17th, 2015.
    Director: John Flynn
    Cast: James Woods, Brian Dennehy, Paul Shenar
    Year: 1987

    The Film:

    A van-full of Nixon mask-wearing criminals breaks into an LAPD evidence room and gets away clean, leaving three officers dead and one clinging to life. Years later, officer Dennis Meechum (Brian Dennehy) is still a cop, but also a best-selling author, having turned the story of the heist into his first book. But the years have not been kind to Dennis. His wife has passed away tragically from a brutal disease, leaving him a single father. His agents are breathing down his neck about his next submission deadline. And even though he's still doing the police work that he loves, he can't get used to the fact that those responsible for the evidence room heist were never caught.

    Enter Cleve (James Woods) a sharp-dressed mystery man in Ray-Bans that shows up during one of Dennis' undercover stings and saves his life. He's got the offer of a lifetime; a book for Dennis to write, based on his exploits as a hit man for a corporate crimelord named David Madlock (Paul Shenar). While Dennis is more concerned with bringing Cleve in for murder, Cleve sweetens the pot when he tells Dennis that Madlock got his venture capitol from the Nixon mask job.

    Needing to be fully convinced, Dennis heads to New York City and then Oregon, where Cleve walks him through his previous assassination jobs, filling out the plotline of the book and attempting to provide Dennis with the evidence that will prove him to be trustworthy. But as he's providing the corroboration, Madlock is also doing what he can to convince Dennis that he's not really the bad guy that Cleve makes him out to be...and then there's the chance that Cleve may have been in on the heist that left Dennis for dead.

    Witten by Larry Cohen and Directed by John Flynn (who would later go on to direct the masterpiece that is Out For Justice), Best Seller has more than a few issues that prevent it from perfection. The stretches to cover the plot holes are multiple, and seriously reaching. The film assumes that a long-time veteran of the police force would follow a known murderer all of the country in an effort to finish a book, and nail somebody who benefited from the proceeds of a crime that happened long ago. Why is Meechum entertaining this relationship? Why would the villain in the story tip his hand, instead of stepping back and calling Cleve a liar? The only other flaw in the film, it pains me to say, is James Woods. Though he does have his awesome moments in the film, he's far too often found being fake menacing to the point that he's downright hokey. Add in that 80's fashion...the leather sport jacket, the giant Ray-Bans...and you have some genuine chuckles where CHUCKLES SHOULD NOT OCCUR.

    However, Best Seller definitely has more pros than cons. A lot of good, gritty moments that Flynn would take to new heights when partnered with Steven Seagal are on display here, some really unique sequences including one involving a photo booth, and a rocking 80's score are just a few things worth noting. Add in Sosa from Scarface as the gentlemanly bad guy, and TWO Galaga machines side-by-side in an arcade, and you'll almost forget how unrealistic it is for Dennehy to be sprinting around in the field fighting crime. By the time the story plays out, Best Seller is definitely worth the watch, warts and all.


    Best Seller comes to Olive Films with a 1.85:1 transfer. Detail is sharp and the picture is clear, with only minor instances of print damage other obstacles. There is no obvious compression or other artifacting to be found. For a picture pushing 30 years, Best Seller looks great.

    A DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 channel is provided, and does an adequate job. Dialogue is clear and concise, balancing well with the soundtrack. No hisses, pops, or other noises are evident.

    A trailer is included as well.

    The Final Word:

    Best Seller is a nifty piece of 80's filmmaking, and it's presented nicely. Another great job from Olive.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!