movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: From the director of Beverly Hills Cop 1, Scent Of A Woman… And Gigli.

Starring Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin (whose career stopped in 1994, with the exception of one movie. Why? I don’t know. He’s a funny guy! Oh I see now! He’s olllld! He’s 75!). Their on-screen comedic chemistry is gold.

Also with Yaphet Kotto (still playing cops to this day), John Ashton, Dennis Farina (What Happens In Vegas, National Lampoon’s Bag Boy, Snatch, Saving Private Ryan, Get Shorty), and Joe Pantoliano (Cypher from The Matrix, Ceasar from Bound, The Fugitive, Percy Jackson & The Olympians:The Lightning Thief, Daredevil, Teddy from Memento).

PLOT SUMMARY: A bounty hunter (DeNiro) must deliver a white collar criminal (“The Duke”, Grodin) to a bail bondsman within 5 days. Meanwhile, The Mob is trying to kill The Duke, and the FBI is trying to capture him as well.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Failed policeman fails at being a bounty hunter too.

QUIRKS: 1980’s buddy-action bounty-hunter road-trip film. Comedy-Crime-Adventure-Action genre. Shot at many locations. Many different factions: DeNiro, Grodin, The Mob, The FBI, the Bail Bondsman. Lots of friction between everyone trying to get their piece of the pie. In a sense, this is your standard “chase the money” movie; the type of movie I often complain about for being too generic. But this throws in comedy, comedic dialog, comedic chemistry between the two leads, road trip adventure, action (there’s even a helicopter explosion), and every form of transportation you can imagine. A lot of elements come together to make this far less generic than it sounds on the surface, including personal growth experienced by DeNiro’s character.

VISUALS: Nice to finally see this on blu-ray! It’s 1988, so everything looks very 1980’s-ish (to state the obvious). Smoking in airports. Wood-paneled station wagons. Nothing too special here, except that it’s amazing to see these old “VHS movies” in bluray-quality.

SOUNDTRACK: Done by Danny Elfman, but it sounds nothing like your typical Elfman soundtrack. More of a 1980’s bluesy/rock feel, it’s a noticeable change of pace from most modern Elfman soundtracks.

MORALS: Think about the consequences of your career choice.

POLITICS: Police are corrupt. And the FBI are douches.

GOOD STUFF/CONCLUSION: Grodin’s deadpan annoyingness meets DeNiro’s profane, surly annoyedness, turning their on-screen chemistry into comedic gold. This film is far funnier than its summary sounds. I hadn’t seen this in about 20 years — and Carolyn had never seen it at all. Re-watching it actually caused me to upgrade my rating from 3 to 4 stars. It definitely stands up the test of time.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars (upgraded from 3/5). IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3.8/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.5/10 (exact average of our two ratings!), Netflix: 3.7/5 stars (a bit lower than the average of our two ratings). Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.2/5 stars, which was a bit too low.

RECOMMENDATION: It’s easy to pass this one by because it seems like one of those “chase the money” type movies. But it’s done as a comedy, which makes that type of pill far easier to swallow.

SIMILAR MOVIES: There are actually three made-for-TV sequels starring Christopher McDonald as Jack Walsh. They all came out in 1994: Another Midnight Run (4.7/10), Midnight Runaraound (5.4/10), and Midnight Run For Your Life (5.1/10). BUT WAIT! Look here! Untitled Midnight Run Sequel in development for 2012! Written by the guy who wrote the hilarious comedy Role Models. By the time this review is posted, maybe this sequel will actually exist!

MOVIE QUOTE:

Jonathan Mardukas: It means I can’t fly. I also suffer from acrophobia and claustrophobia.
Jack Walsh: I’ll tell you what: if you don’t cooperate, you’re gonna suffer from “fistophobia”.

Jonathan Mardukas: Jack, you’re a grown man. You’re in control of your own words.
Jack Walsh: You’re goddamn right I am. Now here come two words for you: Shut the fuck up.

Jonathan Mardukas: You’re OK, Jack. I think… under different circumstances you and I probably still would have hated each other!
[Both laugh loudly]

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Well, I know my mom really liked this movie!Mood: annoyed
Music: Triptykon – Abyss Within My Soul