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Cook Library Cinema Club: Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright

House of Cards
Are you among the millions of fans who just had to binge-watch Season 3 of House of Cards?  The latest season of the not-to-be-missed political drama starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright premiered on the streaming service Netflix at the end of February.  Don’t worry — no spoilers here!  Set in Washington, D.C., the critically-acclaimed series revolves around fictional House Majority Whip Frank Underwood (Spacey), a South Carolina Democrat, who embarks on a ruthless plan to elevate himself to a position of greater political power.  He has lots of help along the way from his equally ambitious wife, Claire (Wright).  Let’s just say this is one power couple that shouldn’t be crossed!

Don’t worry if you’re not a Netflix subscriber — the library can help get you up to speed on this popular show.  Seasons 1 and  2 are already available in DVD format, and Season 3 is on order.   The new season will hit library shelves at the end of June, so go ahead and place a copy on hold.

Both Spacey and Wright so thoroughly inhabit the characters of Frank and Claire Underwood that it’s a bit hard these days to imagine them playing any other parts.  In truth, both have enjoyed decades-long acting careers.  Spacey has proven himself equally at home on stage and in film, as evidenced by the Tony Award and the two Oscars decorating his mantel.  Wright was still in her teens when she began her television career, and one of her biggest film successes (The Princess Bride) came when she was just 21.

Once you catch up on House of Cards, take the time to check out the following movies, which are great examples of the early film projects that set these two talented actors on their current  path to power in Washington — and Hollywood!

Spacey Films
Kevin Spacey Films

The Usual Suspects  (1996):  Spacey won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role as a small-time hood who is one of only two survivors of a massacre and fire on board a ship docked in LA.   An interrogator slowly unravels the story of the convoluted series of events that led the pair to the boat, and the mysterious mob boss who commissioned their work.

The Negotiator  (1998):  Samuel L. Jackson plays a seasoned Chicago cop and hostage negotiator, falsely accused of murder and embezzlement, who takes a group hostage at police headquarters in a desperate attempt to clear his name.  Spacey plays a fellow negotiator brought in to defuse the situation.   The two veteran actors are in top form as they square off in this intelligent, effective thriller.  Did you know: this film is one of Librarian Mark’s all-time favorites?

American Beauty  (1999):  Spacey plays a suburban husband and father in the midst of a mid-life crisis who becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter’s best friend.   Annette Bening also stars.  The film scored five Oscars, including wins for best picture, best actor Spacey, and director Sam Mendes.

Wright Films
Robin Wright Films

The  Princess Bride  (1987):  A true classic! A kindly grandfather sits down with his ill grandson and reads him a story, which comes alive as he reads.  Wright plays the beautiful Buttercup, engaged to the odious Prince Humperdinck, who is kidnapped and held against her will in order to start a war.  It is up to her childhood beau to save her.  Check out the popular new book by Cary Elwes about the making of the film as well.

Forrest Gump  (1995):  Tom Hanks stars in this thoroughly charming Oscar-winning Best Picture about a young man with a low IQ who somehow finds himself at the center of major historical events.  The only thing that eludes him is his lifelong love interest, Jenny — played by Wright.

Message in a Bottle  (1999):  Wright plays a journalist determined to track down the author of a tragic love letter she found in a bottle that washed ashore on a beach. Kevin Costner and Paul Newman also star in this romantic drama based on the bestseller by Nicholas Sparks.  This is a movie that’s actually better than the book!



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