The 2023 Cannes Film Festival (5.16-5.27) has announced an intention to honor Michael Douglas, 78, with an honorary Palme d’Or. He’s certainly earned the tribute, having been in the game and sought serious accomplishment for the last 45-plus years. How many films has Douglas starred or costarred in that are really and truly grade-A? I don’t mean decent or pretty good or respectable, but seriously important in a lasting cinematic or cultural sense?

If you really boil the snow out and eliminate the fluff, the slick and the chaff, the Douglas list comes to no more than nine filmsThe China Syndrome, Fatal Attraction. Wall Street, Basic Instinct, The American President, Falling Down, Wonder Boys, Traffic and Behind The Candelabra. Okay, ten if you include One Flew Over The Cuckoos’ Nest, which Douglas produced.

I was thinking about including The War of the Roses, but there’s a reason why I’ve only seen it once. If you don’t want to re-watch an ostensibly strong or important film, there’s something wrong with it.

I’m sorry but Black Rain isn’t good enough to be included.

David Thomson: “Douglas was capable of playing characters who were weak, culpable, morally indolent, compromised and greedy for illicit sensation without losing that basic probity or potential for ethical character that we require of a hero.”

Critic and author Rob Edelman: Douglas has “personified the contemporary, Caucasian middle-to-upper-class American male who finds himself the brunt of female anger because of real or imagined sexual slights…an everyman who must contend with, and be victimized by, these women and their raging, psychotic sexuality.” These themes of male victimization are found in Fatal Attraction, War of the Roses, Basic Instinct, Falling Down and Disclosure.