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"There were some good looking chickens there, Jack."
October 8, 2013 7:54 PM   Subscribe

"Midnight Run" celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, so its prime time to take a look at what may be the pinnacle of the Action-Comedy genre.

Parks and Recreation's Adam Scott recently said as much over at The Dissolve, and of course there are legion of everyday fans who are no less enthusiastic.

And then there were the incredibly talented people involved. Director Martin Brest, who is mainly known for this film and Beverly Hills Cop, has been a bit of a recluse since the debacle that was Gigli ten years ago. Danny Elfman was able to get away from Tim Burton for five minutes and create one of the most iconic action film scores of the 1980's. Charles Grodin has never been better, as exhibited in the stone face he gives in the Litmus Configuration scene. And then there is DeNiro, who proved in this role that he could do comedy which, well, lets just say that's a mixed legacy.

The film did spawn three forgettable sequels that aired in syndication in 1994, and there are talks of a proper theatrical sequel now and then by DeNiro, but you simply can't go back to that well again. Best to just revel in the good times:

An Alonzo Mosely Badge
Come Fly With Me
Living in Denial
The Dumbest Bounty Hunters
You're a Pilot?
Catching a Freight Train
A New Watch
Is That Marvin?
It's Not a Payoff, It's a Gift.

As a final note in regards to my namesake, let us just say that sometimes legal actions by movie studios are a very good thing.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (34 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hold on to your cigarettes.
posted by blueberry at 7:57 PM on October 8, 2013


"If he's that good, maybe I should hire him to hit you."

-God Bless Dennis Farina
posted by vozworth at 8:02 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Great movie. And the score is by Danny Elfman.

We should celebrate its 25th anniversary with style.

Lemme go get some donuts, yeah?
posted by linux at 8:06 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yah Hey, everybody. Yah Hey.
posted by TheShadowKnows at 8:07 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just needed to add: I've been doing a lot of media spring cleaning and have about six boxes worth of books and DVDs to donate to the VA. The DVD collection is about 20% what it used to be and in that 20% is a DVD widescreen edition but otherwise ridiculously vanilla copy of Midnight Run.

So how about some donuts?
posted by linux at 8:11 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ohferrcrissakes. This was the answer to one of the questions we got wrong in tonight's pub quiz, even though we could totally name the actors and describe the movie poster. Was it not possible for you to have posted this *yesterday*? Or even this morning?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:14 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Charles Grodin has never been better

This is for damn sure.

What a great movie.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:18 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


also worth noting: Dennis Farina's best work

"You and that other dummy better get more personally involved in your work, or I'm gonna stab you in the heart with a fucking pencil."
posted by bl1nk at 8:18 PM on October 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


My God, this was one of my favorite movies ever. So glad to see it here.
posted by klangklangston at 8:27 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I loved this movie. Loved it. Thanks for this eponysterical post!
posted by zarq at 8:29 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here come two words for you....

Just picked that up on DVD a few months back. Had to replace my now useless Laserdisc copy.
I hope they put out an anniversary set that's chock full of extra goodies.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 8:52 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Is this Moron Number 1? Put Moron Number 2 on the phone."

God, I love this movie. I think it's right up there with The Big Lebowski for the most utterances of the word "fuck" in a movie.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:55 PM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Charles Grodin has never been better

As a Charles Grodin superfan I have to say that I think the chess match in The Lonely Guy is #1 Grodin Scene and Real Life is #1 Grodin Movie (Midnight Run is unbeatable for Grodin Facial Expressions though).
posted by troika at 8:59 PM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Garth Marenghi post is making me see everything from the eighties as parodies of eighties things.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:12 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


That said, I've never seen this movie and now want to do so.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:21 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ohferrcrissakes. This was the answer to one of the questions we got wrong in tonight's pub quiz, even though we could totally name the actors and describe the movie poster. Was it not possible for you to have posted this *yesterday*? Or even this morning?

If you couldn't name Midnight Run, you deserved to lose.

Midnight Run is unbeatable for Grodin Facial Expressions

Oh, absolutely.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:32 PM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't be the only one here who confused this movie with "Midnight Express". Twice.
posted by not_on_display at 9:36 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Is this going to upset me?"
"I think it's safe to say that, sir."
posted by zinc saucier at 10:02 PM on October 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Please, this is the apex of Grodinism
posted by zippy at 11:06 PM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why are you so unpopular with the Chicago Police Department?
posted by The Deej at 11:59 PM on October 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hey, scumbag.
...My name's Carmine, fucko.
Well, Carmine, today's your lucky day.
...Why is today my lucky day?
Shut up!
posted by Auden at 1:44 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dammit, all the best lines have already been taken.

I love this exchange:

"You lied to me first!"
"Yes, but you had no knowledge of that yet, so in your mind, you were lying to me first!"
"WHAT?!?!?!?"

Another favorite: Ge up, and I'll bury this telephone in your head.

There was a really interesting article in EW around the time this movie came out about how challenging it was for Grodin to get the part, having to audition with DeNiro (who was already signed) three or four times before everyone was convinced he could do it. And man, did he ever knock it out of the park.

Also, mad props to Joey Pants for one of the great "high-strung screaming lunatic" performances of all time.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:10 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Paging AlonzoMoselyFBI ... Oh, but of course!

I already let you know that this is one of my favorite movies of all time, so let this just be the official legal notice to everyone else, in case the question ever ends up in court.

I plotzed at the idea of a sequel with Adam Scott, btw. Absolutely plotzed. Anyway, Adam, why no mention of Kotto or Ashton or Pantoliano or Philip Baker Hall or Richard Foronjy or Jack Kehoe? This is a deep cast. One of the things I've always loved about it is that even the minor characters seem to come with backstories and full motivations, and so many of them bare their own self-interest at one point or another.

And somehow, despite the schematic and sketchy approach, that bit where Jack's daughter offers him her allowance (another naked motivation, to stand in for a lifetime of minimal contact), really kills me every time. This is a movie with heart, and that doesn't offer easy answers. Obviously it would make tactical sense for Jack to take the money (and we know he ends up good for the loan), and it would probably make his daughter feel better at least in the short run, but he's ultimately a good guy and it makes him too uncomfortable, so he refuses (and they end up broke, later). What a tricky moment and of course De Niro is more than capable of it as an actor, but few films would have handled it this deftly. It's stuff like this that make me say it's a studio film that feels like an indie. Most comedies would have been much more blunt and overt about the plot mechanical aspects, but this ends up being so revealing of Jack at a crucial point in the film, when we're kind of losing faith with him.

"These things GO DOWN!"

As a final note, let me just give proper credit to Brest for the continuity attention shown in the car-helicopter sequence. The car POV at 0:42 and the chopper POV at 0:44 match up perfectly, and again at 0:58 the car hood comes off and at 1:00 *lands* just as it should. Given the logistics of the action-comedy genre a lot of directors wouldn't have cared to get those two moments that right. And of course, the following ten seconds with the wide load, the bridge, the slope, and all are a sweet, perfect example of what I call "action logic". You probably could have made that whole sequence work from start to finish without taking that kind of care, but Brest did, and I think it really helps the reality of the audience experience.
posted by dhartung at 2:12 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


One of my favorites, because it is so great.
posted by OmieWise at 5:31 AM on October 9, 2013


Haven't seen this since I saw it in the theater when it came out, haven't really thought about it since. I may have to re-watch it now.
posted by octothorpe at 6:41 AM on October 9, 2013


If you couldn't name Midnight Run, you deserved to lose.

We were close. After much discussion, we put down "On the Run".

We won even without it, but it was definitely our most "ARGH, we know we know this so why don't we know this?" moment of the night.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:52 AM on October 9, 2013


jacquilynne: " We won even without it, but it was definitely our most "ARGH, we know we know this so why don't we know this?" moment of the night."

We should celebrate. I'm gonna go out and get some donuts, okay?
posted by zarq at 7:07 AM on October 9, 2013


We were close. After much discussion, we put down "On the Run".

We won even without it, but it was definitely our most "ARGH, we know we know this so why don't we know this?" moment of the night.


I got my eye on you, Jayquellin.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:26 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]




Here come two words for you: “Just about perfect.” Definitely at the top of the Action/Adventure/Comedy charts, and probably my favorite ‘buddy’ movie of all time. De Niro and Grodin are the definitive ‘Odd Couple.’
posted by LeLiLo at 10:56 AM on October 9, 2013


My father and I quote lines from this movie all the time at each other. "He's got the disks! He's got the disks!"

And as for best Grodinism ever, I give you the cafe scene when The Duke scams the counter man out of his money by posing as Alonzo Mosley, money inspector. "Thank you for your cooperation."
posted by zooropa at 12:29 PM on October 9, 2013


I like even better how Grodin tells the cafe owner to take two steps back, and has the other guy open the cash register.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:22 PM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


We were close.

"I've come too far. Too far. I'm too close."
posted by linux at 4:15 PM on October 9, 2013


"Eddie, Eddie, I swear to God, don't start with me or so help me, I will shoot him and dump him in a fuckin' swamp!" *shakes head at the Duke*
posted by dhartung at 4:14 AM on October 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


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