Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Crime Gone Wrong


One night, many moons ago, I'm out with a couple of the fellas doing some club-hopping. One of these guys is my roommate. We have a great time, but my roomie drinks way too much. He has the stumbles and incoherent babble going real strong. Sprinkled like commas among all the rambling is his favorite refrain, "Man, I'm drunk...I'M DRUNK!" It's the end of the night and a long walk back to the car. Thankfully, my other friend, the much-more-but-not-completely sober one was driving. He is of average height. I'm pretty far below that. Our inebriated buddy literally stands a foot taller than me, about 6'4". Imagine Gandalf stumbling around after inhaling too much magic potion with Frodo and Sam trying to physically guide him back to The Shire. Yeah, just like that.

Anyhoo, our first stop is at a fast food joint that is still open at 3 AM. Of course, we're the only people in there, and apparently, they have just finished mopping the floor. We get some burgers that have probably been sitting under a lamp since the dinner rush ended, like 9 hours ago before heading off to the car. However, the whole time we're in there my boy, even while babbling, fixates on the 'Wet Floor' sign. I take that back. When I say 'Wet Floor' sign, you're probably thinking of a knee-high yellow piece of plastic. This thing was yellow and made of plastic, but it was not that. This was a 3-foot tall cone. These people really want you to watch your step while in their establishment.


Yup, that's the one. My buddy decides he must have this cone. He tells us this, but we're like 'Whatever, drunk guy talking.' Much to our dismay, he picks it up and walks out the door. None of the burger joint employees care enough to come after us. We amuse them so much they just laugh and point as we leave. What isn't amusing, at least to the shorter members of our trio, my roommate refuses to put the thing down despite our pleading.

"Yo, E, c'mon man, put that cone down. What you gonna do with that?"

"This my cone. I'm a put it in the room, cuz...cuz...DRUNK...and..."

"Man, we don't need no cone in the room. Besides, it might not even fit in the car."

"I'm keepin' it. I always wanted...this a good burger, dawg...DRUNK! This gonna go nice by my bed. You see that chick with the white pants on? She had a phat...man, I'm drunk...I'M DRUNK!"

This goes on all the way back to the car. It's about a half-mile walk, but in our situation, it may as well be a light year. To shorten it up a bit, we cut across some grass we probably should not have been walking on. I'm paranoid some cop is going to see us because, you know, three black men in possession of stolen property that happens to be vaguely shaped like a rifle. Luckily, we make it back to the car unimpeded by the law, wedge the cone in the trunk and manage to get home in one piece. The next afternoon, when my roommate finally wakes from his slumber, we have a rather interesting conversation.

"What is this cone doing next to my bed?"

"I oughta beat you with that cone."

And that's how I became an accessory to a crime gone wrong. At least, I think it went wrong. The fuzz never knocked down our door and dragged us off to jail, so maybe not.

The point of all this is, this week's topic for Thursday Movie Picks, hosted by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, is "Crime Gone Wrong." My good blogging buddy John at Hitchcock's World suggested this theme. Shall we?


Dead Presidents
(1995)
This starts off like a coming-of-age story, morphs into a war film, and finally, morphs again into a crime drama. When it came out, I believe expectations played a role in it being received rather lukewarmly. It is the second film directed by the Hughes brothers. People seemed to be looking for something similar to their debut, Menace II Society and dismissed this when they didn't get it. It's a wonderful film deserving of being looked at, now two decades later so it doesn't have to worry about the shadow of its predecessor.


Bernie
(2011)
Bernie (Jack Black) is a local mortician and, strangely, beloved by everyone in the community. Even more strange, he befriends and marries Marjorie (Shirley MacLaine), an ornery octogenarian no one likes. Sure enough, she turns up dead, and the law is getting awfully suspicious of Bernie. Even though it's based on a true story, this is a very dark comedy. It's told as if it were a documentary. The unique part of that is many of the interviews are of the real people who lived in the town where it took place at the time this all went down. For my money, this is Jack Black's best performance by a pretty wide margin. School of what? (Click here for my full review)


Killer Joe
(2011)
Chris (Emile Hirsch) is a small-time coke dealer whose drugs have been stolen. This means he's desperately in need of money. He has some pretty sound reasons to believe his mother is the culprit. The wheels get to turning he decides, and convinces his sister, his dad, and his dad's wife, it's a good idea to have mom killed because little sister is the beneficiary of her life insurance policy. For the job, they hire Joe (Matthew McConaughey), a local detective who moonlights as a hitman. Nice. Needless to say, none of this goes according to plan. The Exorcist director William Friedkin is at the helm here and creates a twisted, gnarled, nasty, subversive, darkly funny masterpiece that's just not for everyone. If you're brave enough to watch it, you'll never look at a fried chicken drumstick the same way ever again. (Click here for my full review)



26 comments:

  1. Dead Presidents I thought was alright. It's flawed but definitely engaging to watch. Bernie and Killer Joe of course are just great films. The latter of which features Matthew McConaughey at his scariest. If William Friedkin has another film in the works, I will definitely see what he is up to.

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  2. It's unbelievable how you always pick movies I've never heard of. Anyway, those three all sound so interesting. I guess I'll have to check them out, the one with McConaughey too.

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    1. That's why I'm here. Can't wait to hear what you think about any of them.

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  3. I love Jack Black in Bernie! I think given the right material, he can give a good performance although I slightly prefer him in School of Rock. Killer Joe was quite dark; McConaughey takes over the film without being flashy or distracting from the events of the movie.

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    1. The problem is Black consistently chooses terrible material. And yes to McConaughey.

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  4. Jack Black is SO good in Bernie. I agree it's his best film. Killer Joe is amazing as well, even though I'll never look at chicken again the same. I've never seen Dead Presidents.

    What is it with people and stealing wet floor signs? One of my friends did something similiar when she was drunk. It was one of those flat ones, and she grabbed it, folded it quickly and stuffed it up her winter jacket.

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    1. Black is excellent in Bernie. Hope you give Dead Presidents a shot.

      Lol, I had no idea wet floor signs were coveted by drunk people.

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  5. That's quite the story Dell. A friend of mine and her roommate had one of those orange road cones that they had snatched from a construction site as they drove by and "Just had to have!" I never understood why but they got a big kick out of it.

    I've only seen Dead Presidents out of these three. It was alright but I didn't love it. I've considered Killer Joe but McConaughey is one of those actors where a little of him goes a long way for me but the premise sounds interesting so I may break down. Same with Black and Bernie but one of these days.

    Another week where the theme is one I really like so the pickings were easy:

    One False Move (1992)-After a series of drug deals go bad and result in several murders a trio of gangsters take it on the lam ending up in the small Arkansas town of Star City. On their trail are two LAPD detectives who team with the small town sheriff (Bill Paxton) to capture the three. Bracing, violent thriller excellently directed by Carl Franklin. Co-written by Billy Bob Thornton who plays one of the criminals.

    He Ran All the Way (1951)-Petty thief Nick Robey (John Garfield) teams up with his buddy Al to pull what they plan to be their big score, a payroll robbery. But they are foiled by a cop who shoots Al, panicked Nick shoots the cop. On the run he ducks into a public pool house and strikes up a conversation with a young girl named Peggy (Shelley Winters). Smitten Peggy walks home with him and he takes her family hostage until the tense finale. Low budget, taut noir was the blacklisted Garfield’s last film before his too early death at 39.

    Criss Cross (1949)-Armored car driver Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) is still carrying a torch for his ex-wife Anna (Yvonne de Carlo) who is now married to a L. A. gangster, Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea). Anna impulsive and restless is drawn to him as well and when Slim catches them together he forces Steve to participate in a robbery on the cars he drives. It does not go well and a series of double crosses lead to tragedy for all. If you only know Yvonne de Carlo from The Munsters this is the best place to see she was not only an incredibly beautiful woman but an excellent actress as well.

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    1. Orange road cones, huh. Love it. Haven't seen any of your picks, but Criss Cross has been on my to watch list for a while. You just bumped it up a few notches because I do only know Yvonne de Carlo from The Munsters.

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  6. Haha. I love your story, my brother has a road sign in his room which he stole whilst drunk. Can't quite remember what type of road sign it is though.

    I've only seen Killer Joe on this list, and it hasn't put me off chicken drumsticks. I still eat them, haha.

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    1. I swear I had no idea stealing signs while drunk was a widespread "thing."

      I still eat them, too, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't think twice about them for a few weeks.

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  7. Great story! I've been wanting to see Bernie and Killer Joe because of the great cast, but I haven't had the chance yet.

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  8. KILLER JOE. YES. I saw the play first, years ago. It was REALLY uncomfortable to watch, and Friedkin did a terrific job putting it on screen. Bernie is so strange but I liked it.

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    1. I can't fathom seeing the play. The movie was unsettling enough, but seeing some of that stuff play out on stage right in front of you? Yeesh.

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  9. Oh Dell.....you make me fondly remember my drunken stupors although I never stole one of those cones. I do know what it is like to try to keep a tall person steady while fearful they may just land on you and then throw up. Usually I woke up with bruises I had no idea how they got there:) ok so....I have not even heard of these films but they sound great! I a, not a Jack Black fan but this film sounds interesting especially since the townsfolk work on the film. The last film sounds creepy, sad and crazy! I heard of Dead Presidents actually but forgot all about it....it doesn't appeal to me all that much but I could be wrong...

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    1. Woke up with a few bumps and bruises, myself. And yes, short people trying to keep tall people upright is about the most ridiculous thing ever. Bernie is unlike any Jack Black film I've ever seen. That's a good thing. Killer Joe is all those things, plus distasteful, but in a good way, if that makes sense.

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  10. Hahahahaah love that cone story. I've known a few people who used to take cones from the side of the road and wear it like a hat. Next day, they're wondering why there's a cone in the kitchen. A memorable 'crime' was at uni when my roomate stole a trolly and we all took turns to ride in it but then the fun stopped when he tried to skateboard in it. Fell flat on his face and got so angry that we were all laughing.

    Not see these film (but read about) and I wanted to see Killer Joe but missed it. Bernie was another, I mostly wanted to see this because it was a true story. And I haven't heard of Dead Presidents but sounds good!

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    1. Thanks! A trolly? Wow. I suggest still giving these a shot. They are three very different films from one another, too.

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  11. Great picks! Haven't seen Bernie, but a Linklater retrospective is coming down the line in the next year hopefully, so then... Dead Presidents is a really solid film. The Hughes Brothers really have something, especially a great visual style. Menace II Society is in many ways a more memorable film than Boyz n the Hood for me. I just wish their output was a bit higher...and better...overall. Anyway, solid pick there. I also really loved Killer Joe. What an impressive, ballsy piece of noir that is! McConaughey truly at his best...and bravest. That final sequence is just....I don't even know how to describe it.

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    1. Thanks! I highly recommend Bernie and that's coming from someone who isn't really a Linklater fan. Glad to see the love for Dead Presidents and Killer Joe. Ballsy describes the latter really well. Actually, I think it fits both.

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  12. Benie is such a great movie but Killer Joe is one of my favorites. The cast is just on fire there. McConaughey in both of those, is just amazing

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    1. MM is fantastic and Killer Joe is also one of my faves.

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  13. Bernie and Killer Joe! Perfect!

    I liked your tale of a crime gone wrong. Accomplice to a "wet floor" cone theft ... you are a hard-core dude. :-) But yeah, that could have ended badly if the wrong cop had come along. :-(

    It reminds me of a night when I was in college when we'd had too much fun at the bar and swiped a public trash can. Three dumbass girls and a big-ass trash can. It sounds even stupider now than it did back then. :-)

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    1. They are perfect.

      Thanks. I'm a rebel, Dottie. :)

      I imagine it looked about like me and my buddies.

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