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Archive for September, 2009

There’s a new crew in town…

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Given that, by my count, he’s made 10 average-to-awful films in a row
(from 2004’s National Treasure to 2009’s Knowing) with only a 12-second Grindhouse trailer cameo to leaven the dross, I thought it a pretty safe bet
that Nicolas Cage was never going to make another decent film in his life.
That was before I saw the trailer for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans:

From what I can gather, it’s a “franchise” re-imagining of the Abel Ferrara / Harvey Keitel original – perhaps they’re aiming to kick off a corrupt cop version of softcore DTV serial The Red Shoe Diaries? I saw the original Bad Lt. once in college and remember quite a lot of heavy religious iconography and El Harvo stumbling around muttering, firing guns and whining, frequently all at once
and occasionally without his pants on. That was a treat and no mistake.

This time round, Werner Herzog seems happy to bin all that stuff and just go for Saint Nic reprising Sailor Ripley from Wild At Heart, off on another psycho bender except this time with a cop’s badge instead of a snakeskin jacket. What won’t be to like? The only minus marks here come from a sequence which seems to hint that his drug use stems from an injury incurred in the line of duty, which in my book feels a little too Hollywood-character-compassionate for what’s obviously an indie film. And since when do Werner Herzog protagonists, of all people, need to have mitigating moral circumstances? You can only imagine how Klaus Kinski would have reacted to a bunch of studio suits looking to play to the multiplexes. Anyhoo, any film in which Val Kilmer’s playing the straight man must be worth a look. And with any luck, its success will lead to any number of future Bad Lieutenant spinoffs. James Van Der Beek in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call Capeside, Massachusetts? Matthew Perry in Bad Lieutenant: Upper West Side Social Circle? John Cusack in Bad Lieutenant: Chicago Museum of Science and Industry? Bring them on. Bring them all on. But bring this one first.

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So R.I.P. then Patrick Swayze. Work’s precluded me from doing much blogging of late but some passings can’t go without comment. Most will be remembering him today as the romantic lead of Dirty Dancing and Ghost, others still as surfin’ dude/stickup man Bodhi in Point Break, but for me and most men of my age,
it’s time to raise a glass at the Double Deuce and pay our respects to JT Dalton, the best damn cooler in the business.

Twenty years on, Road House still holds its own as a Saturday night sixpack’n’pizza guilty pleasure par excellence, as this scene amply illustrates:

Annnnnd repeat to fade. Directed by the tellingly-named Rowdy Herrington,
it’s a heady concoction of bar-room brawls, cheesy wisecracks, hairsprayed tarts, more bar-room brawls, Jeff Healey essentially playing himself, salty language, even more bar-room brawls, stuffed polar bears, the entire central casting roster of good ol’ boy bad guys, and for good measure, a bar-room brawl or two. Essentially, it plays out as a grown-up episode of the A-Team, with Swayze rolling into town as a one-man combo of the smart one, the tough one, the hunky one and the crazy one, in order to help out a troubled venture by taking down a supercilious local crimelord (Ben Gazzara – who else?) and his denim-clad goons.

With some fairly crunchy violence, a sweet’n’steamy love interest in Kelly Lynch, gratuitous swearing aplenty and no end of classic quips like, “I was on a break!” – “Stay on it…” or, “Consider it severance pay – take the train…”,
Road House will forever be the one you reach for when the vicarious urge
takes you to imagine yourself as the toughest, smoothest sonovabitch in
all of Missouri. And if the imminent tombstone doesn’t read “PATRICK SWAYZE, 1952-2009: IT WAS HIS WAY OR THE HIGHWAY”, then I’m gettin’ too old for this shit.

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