Damn, it's almost April and I haven't posted pint-sized ramblings about some of the amazing stuff I took in. While I've been revisiting a lot of old favorites in HD (I was never really sold on old movies in squeaky clean digital formats until I revisited BLADE RUNNER on blu-ray), here's a minor sampling of random flicks:
Screenwriter Michael Tolkin's messages are writ pretty large in this movie. One being the "Asian menace" theme, the other is that being a member of a fringe group that does not conform to mainstream acceptance is not only bad, but will make you unpopular, unlayable and your parents will hate you. Ok, so that last part might be true. At one point in the movie Brian realizes that he needs to essentially dress preppy with a sweater, khakis and loafers in order to gain acceptance, from what appears to be the entire planet, and get the drop on the bad guys.
|Hijole de la chingada! Check out the price of gas in LA!|
A group of frustrated undercover cops (DeLouise, Jerry Reed, Suzanne Pleshette and "The Electric Company's" own Luis Avalos) get tired of trying to bust the perps the hard way. You know, with warrants, miranda rights and random ball shots. Also plaguing their careers is the wrath of their hot-tempered chief (Ossie Davis) who wants them to go by the book, goddammit! Seems that whole angle isn't working, so they get the idea to set up a pawn shop where they can pretend to be fences allowing them to videotape the scofflaws in the act of selling their stolen goods. Once the team has spent all of the department's money on buying up stolen goods, they'll just round everyone up and arrest them. What could go wrong?
Ok, I'm not going to try and sell you some line about this being a piece of subversive cinema in mainstream clothing, but it does have a nice grimy backdrop.
Westlake (with the help of ham-handed script-doctor Michael Kane) dial in a nice combination of freewheeling action and what basically amounts to stand-up comedy cameos. Additionally, in spite of Burt Reynolds' conspicuous absence (apparently too busy with the 1979 romantic comedy STARTING OVER), we still get Trans Am action sequences, though it does amazingly transform into a beat-up Camero right before it is blown up by the mob. When I was a kid I was fascinated by Stockton, California's seedy bars, pool halls and pawnshops (which puts me in good company as FAT CITY was famously shot there in '72). Maybe that's why this movie made such an impression. Watching this through a kid's eyes in a Stockton theater made it seem like this could be happening right down the street. Though I really couldn't fathom what was so damn funny about those skinny cigarettes.
|He say you... eh, you know.|
|Who is the Law?|
This version of TOTAL RECALL really doesn’t hold much to the source material, borrowing liberally from other films, but it’s definitely closer than the Paul Verhoeven film. That's got to count for something.