Hopscotch - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hopscotch Reviews

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½ March 26, 2018
Hopscotch: Hopscotch is a pleasant adult comedy about a CIA field agent (Walter Matthew) forced behind a desk by new boss (Ned Beatty) and having his young protege (Sam Waterston) take his place. He leaves the CIA instead.

He hides out with an old flame (Glenda Jackson)recently widowed and rich while pursued to turn sides by his old adversary an amiable KGB officer (Herbert Lom)

The Good: Amiable is a good word for this entire film. Walter Matthew does nothing to surprise keeping in his pleasant but rascally grandpa mode he would use to such great effect a few years later in Grumpy Old Men. Despite the globe-trotting, the occasional gunfire and explosion there really is never a sense of threat to anyone. Atomic Blonde this is not.

As for the rest of the cast. Sam Waterston gives a surprisingly pleasant performance as the protege, Ned Beatty seems to channel Jackie Gleason in Smokey and the Bandit (with even less menace) and Herbert Lom is the kindest most relaxed KGB bureau chief you will ever see.

The Bad: Glenda Jackson (who is fine by the way) plays an ex-agent who got out when the CIA started getting too rough. It's that old it wasn't like this in the old days chestnut. The only problem with this theme is that anyone with a cursory knowledge of the CIA certainly would know it was much rougher and no holds barred in the sixties and early seventies than it was under Carter after the Church Committee hearings. To much paperwork or your not allowed to torture anymore would be a more accurate complaint but alas would not fit into the theme of the film.

In Conclusion: If you like Walter Matthew you will like this film. It really is grumpy old spies. It clearly dropped some "f" bombs in the script so it could get an "R" rating in the US and market itself to an older crowd. There is nothing here in reality that would offend grandma or the grandkids. One trivial aside, there is a scene in a Hilton in London where they use key cards to get into their hotel room. I had no idea hotels had that in the late seventies. A fun relaxing funny movie.
April 14, 2017
In Netflix's recent TV adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS an Uncle of three children explains that, like books, movies have an outer layer of entertainment, but an inner layer of philosophical brilliance. This best applies to Ronald Neame's HOPSCOTCH which, while truly delightful, is less consciously more about getting old and having one last bit of fun before the latter part of your life gets the better of you. All these moments are organized to the music of Mozart, and, ironically, the screenplay is like a symphony. Director Neame and writer Garfield crafted a film so suspenseful, so hilarious, and so intellectually wise that it is hard to believe critics dismissed it as just another okay comedy. They seemed to have missed what was hidden in a shallow layer of sand - the message of Shakespeare's "undiscovered country," or more commonly known as death. This is usually conveyed through images, but with this film, satire is the choice. You actually never see a word of Kendig's revelations about the CIA. Could it be so truthful that it's terrifying? Full of such lies that the agency could be ruined for nothing? We don't know.
February 15, 2016
A truly brilliant film in every way. Script, Acting, plot, filmography, casting. Walter Matthou and Glenda Jackson,.
½ September 18, 2014
"Hopscotch" was unexpectedly good. Walter Matthau's dry humor is the perfect fit for this off-beat comedy. I had trouble envisioning this international game of cat-and-mouse as a comedy but the constant situational irony and Matthau's wit creates humorous moments from start to finish. A good film requires a good villain, and Ned Beatty fits the bill. It is easy to dislike Beatty with his constant flow of profane dialogue and unnecessarily rude treatment of Matthau at the beginning of the film, all leading to gleeful enjoyment of every scene inside of the Georgia home. While the film has a lot of great moments, the plot is rather farfetched and some of the acting falls short of the high standard set by Matthau and Beatty. I definitely prefer heist films, but this espionage comedy is unlike any story that I've seen and I would definitely give it a second watch.
September 17, 2014
A breezy, silly little spy comedy. Mathau is good like usual.
December 11, 2013
I enjoyed it but do not need to see it again. It was funny to have old Matthau outwitting all of the CIA and KGB with silly pranks and tricks.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2013
Though it's aged a bit awkwardly in an era where espionage films are expected to deliver thrills, Hopscotch remains an amusing comedy bolstered considerably by the presence of Walter Matthau.
Super Reviewer
½ September 15, 2013
Its all very silly, but still entertaining. I can't help but enjoy something that makes our intelligence organizations look like a bunch of bumbling idiots. Matthau is great, as is the score which consists of random Mozart, Puccini, and Rossini selections.
April 21, 2013
Lovely way to spend an evening.
½ March 30, 2013
Entertaining. This movie was recommended to me by a guy that had worked in the field . Said it comes closest to the realities of the espionage business.
March 20, 2013
One of the all time best movies? Me gusta 2 think so.. =)
February 23, 2013
"Hopscotch" is a terrifically amusing film with a terrific performance by Walter Matthau.
Super Reviewer
December 9, 2012
Filmed in a straightforward yet whimsical style that bypasses action in favor of clever plotting, "Hopscotch" is one of the better films of its kind. There are chases, but they occur mainly off-screen. What we see are dialogues in offices instead of actual action (excluding a hilarious scene where a house is unwittingly shot up), which makes the film feel more professional. Walter Matthau is solid in his role and handles the comedic elements of his character quite well, and Sam Waterston, Ned Beatty and Glenda Jackson provide adequate support. "Hopscotch" is light on thrills, but it's delightful and easy to swallow.
½ November 8, 2012
Hopscotch (Ronald Neame, 1980)

What happens when the CIA decides to put a longtime, successful, high-powered spy out to pasture because he's getting old? That's a question that's been dealt with many times (usually in Robert Ludlum-esque cold war thrillers), but never so amusingly as in Ronald Neame's 1980 film Hopscotch which, in the age of Valerie Plame and the media dimwits who outed her, is‚"as is more and more often the case with political flicks we found absurd-yet-compelling in the seventies (viz. The Conversation)‚"even more relevant today than it was thirty-two years ago.

Miles Kendig (The Bad News Bears' Walter Matthau) has flipped from the ‚asset‚? side of the balance sheet to the ‚liability‚? side, as far as his boss, Myerson (Deliverance's Ned Beatty) is concerned. And for Miles, the feeling's mutual‚"he's fed up with the incompetence of Myerson and his new flunkie, Cutter (Law and Order's Sam Waterston). In order to show them just how incompetent they are, he issues them a challenge: prevent him from writing a tell-all memoir that will expose reams of highly classified information, not to mention how horribly it's handled by the CIA, the KGB, etc. And thus begins Miles' last great spy game.

Perhaps the movie's most surprising note is that the romance subplot (and I use the term ‚romance‚? loosely here; Matthau and Glenda Jackson behave more like an old married couple) doesn't feel in any way forced in a movie that really has no place for a romance subplot. Neame and Brian Garfield (Death Wish), adapting his own novel, take enough of a slice-of-life approach in between the car chases and stuff blowing up that it works. (Imagine a romance subplot in, say, Ronin and you'll see just how ludicrous the idea is.) And that's a great example of what a surprise this movie is decades later; with the cold war long over and most of the countries mentioned in the film as enemies now considered our allies, this should feel as dated as a Bell Telephone commercial, and yet it still pops. Ronald Neame, who died in 2010 at the ripe old age of 99, was nominated for three Oscars in his career, all in the forties‚"twice for writing (both times for David Lean films) and once for special effects. Hopscotch is a very good case that some of Neame's directorial work should perhaps have been more closely scrutinized by the Academy. *** ¬ 1/2
October 15, 2012
It had a lot of character.
October 8, 2012
It maybe a little slow for kids - but you can't beat this spy/chase movie.
July 4, 2012
Hilarious and refined!
June 12, 2012
I love this movie!!!
June 11, 2012
good spy drama that harkens back 2 70's movies with crazy names like ipcriss files etc.
½ May 29, 2012
Great fun....Matthau is superb, Glenda Jackson is wonderful and Herbert Lom (of Pink Panther/Sellers series fame) is good as the Ruske spy. Light and entertaining.
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