Monday, February 16, 2009

The Friends of Eddie Coyle and 70s Crime Films As Such

{Statement of Dexter, Lips. Recorded After the Rains and Before the Lorry.}

as I may or mayn't've mentioned already, George V. Higgins' NOVEL "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" is one of my five fave crime novels, ever! Higgins' dialogue is bleeping awesome, and deserves mention alongside Hemingway/Carver when it comes to pulling off a weird, oafish, shrewd, "less is more" brand of emotionalism, if not melodrama, if not sentimentality.... all the while telling a fascinating, pretty macabre and hilarious story.

anyway, THE FILM is something else entirely. a slow, dry crime thriller made in the 1970s. in other words, this is among the filmic stuff i worship (or at least watch) THE MOST. sometimes these films are so obsessed with their pursuit of "documentary realism" that they end up in weirdly formalist, weirdly mannerist cul de sacs that'd make Hitchcock yawn, then blush. honestly, i won't rest until my nightly dreams resemble these oddly operatic, gun-deal-in-supermarket-parking-lot treatments. won't you come along on this expedition with me?

also, we should acknowledge the willingness of the "New Hollywood" establishment at Paramount, etc., to allow filmmakers to, like, practically rub dirt on to their film stock and generally use the camera to get in the way of the storytelling that we'd come to expect from these genre films...that's meaningful to me. the movies are all so slow, dry, technical and clumsy at certain times, we really have to teach ourselves anew how to live in 'em every damned time we see 'em. in a dramatic sense, however, the films DID provide a lot of space for character-based, partially improvised acting performances. but, maybe my passion is simpler than all this and i'm really just a hand-held camera fetishist? we'll never know until you watch these movies and talk to me about 'em, so organize some grievances and play the tapes!

in the slooooow dry 70s crime genre, you'll also do well to encounter Straight Time, The Seven-UPs. Chinatown (boom!), The French Connection and my personal favorite of the moment, The Long Goodbye.

on the artier wing, we got The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Mean Streets, etc..

on the "Hard PG Comedy" side, you NEED redford + george segal in THE HOT ROCK, which's directed by Peter Yates of Eddie Coyle (see trailer) and BULLIT. (Incidentally, Peter Yates' commentary track is featured on the fancy new Criterion Collection DVD version of EDDIE COYLE.

there're plenty of places to go, really. you just need to buy yourself a brown leather waistcoat and begin this journey.


evil r + b guy said...

"It's a grubby, violent, dangerous world."

evil r + b guy said...

What would you do if I sent you a brown leather waistcoat in the post?