Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Movie Project: Midnight Run


Synopsis in 3 sentences or less:
Jack Walsh is a bounty hunter hired to bring in Jonathan "the Duke" Mardukas, an accountant who ripped off a mobster and gave the money to charity. Walsh catches the Duke in New York, and they begin a cross-country journey where they are chased by the FBI, the mob, and a rival bounty hunter. Despite their perilous situation and different personalities, they develop a semblance of respect and friendship.

Memorable Quote:
Jack, you're a grown man. You have control over your own words.  ~The Duke
You're goddamn right I do, so here come two words for you: Shut the #$@% up.  ~Jack

Highlight:
The entire movie is one big highlight, but if I have to pick something, I'll go with the dialogue. I'm generally hard to please when it comes to comedies, but this movie is as funny as it gets. It's also one movie that you don't want to watch on cable. Why? Because there's 100,000 (approximately) f-bombs, the totality of which can't be properly enjoyed when they're bleeped out. If you're gonna watch this movie, you gotta watch the real #$@% thing.

Lowlight:
A minor point, but the scene in the diner where Walsh and the Duke take the manager's "counterfeit" money is too over the top. I know there are some dumb people out there, but no one would possibly be dumb enough to give their money away like that.

Most interesting piece of IMDB trivia:
Paramount Pictures originally owned the rights to the film, and they wanted a big name star to appear opposite Robert De Niro, in order to improve the film's chances at the box-office. It was suggested that the character of John "Duke" Mardukas be changed to a woman, and be played by Cher, who had had recent box-office success with The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Suspect (1987), and Moonstruck (1987). It was felt that casting Cher opposite De Niro would lend some "sexual overtones" to the relationship between the two characters. 

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Tons of familiar faces in this one including Alonzo Mosely (Live and Let Die), Marvin Dorfler (Beverly Hills Cop), Eddie (The Fugitive), and Jerry (just saw him in The Sting).
  • I love how they call Mardukas "The Duke" -- good call by the script writer to give him a nickname that translates to an object that evokes royalty and that others can possess (e.g. "Do you have the Duke?").
  • Awesome looking plane, and it even has a spiral staircase! Too bad the Duke is afraid to fly...
  • 24:50 mark -- the stewardess tries to stop herself from laughing (looks unscripted) when the pilot tells Jack that he can't bring a prisoner on board.
  • "You and the other dummy better start getting more personally involved with your work, or I'm gonna stab you through the heart with a #$@% pencil." ~Jimmy Serrano.
  • Speaking of Serrano, Dennis Farina doesn't get a ton of screen time, but he's #$@% incredible in this movie.
  • Interesting how no one on the train bats an eye when the Duke walks down the aisle in handcuffs.
  • I've never seen so much smoking in a movie before. There's smoking in planes, on trains, in airports, etc. -- it was a different time back in the 80s. And I've always been curious about the effects on non-smoking actors who need to smoke for a role, like if it's enough to make them addicted.
  • "Don't say a word to me, Sidney. Don't say a #$@% word to me. I'll get up and I'll bury this telephone in your head."  ~Serrano. So many great quotes in this movie -- I'm barely scratching the #$@% surface.
  • It makes for a great movie and so I'm not complaining, but it would have been hard for everyone (e.g. the mob, Marvin, the FBI) to get to Jack so quickly in these random places (e.g. they hear he's in Amarillo and suddenly they're there too).
  • Can't Jack just use an ATM instead of asking his wife or Eddie for money? Dorfler did cancel his credit card so maybe that had something to do with it?
  • "You guys are the dumbest bounty hunters I've ever seen! You couldn't even deliver a bottle of milk!" ~The Duke
  • Walsh and the Duke seem like the archetype for the McGarrett and Danno bromance on Hawaii Five-O. 
  • 1:28:46 - no way that the cop would tell Marvin where Mosely was going.
  • "Sidney, sit down, relax. Have a sandwich, drink a glass of milk, do some #$@% thing." ~Serrano
  • Great way to end the movie:
    • "You wouldn't have change of a thousand, would ya?" ~Jack
    • "What are ya, a comedian? Get out of here, you bum!" ~Cab driver
    • "Looks like I'm walking."  ~Jack

Final Analysis:
A tour de force, and one of the best comedies ever. De Niro and Grodin give incredible performances, as does everyone else in the film. The travel and chase elements are great, and it's fun how there are so many characters with their own agenda pitted against each other. All in all, it's an extremely rewatchable movie and an easy entry into my tier 2. And if you don't agree, then I got two words for you. 

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