March: Killer Cars on the Loose

I’ve been excited about this theme for months. So here’s March:

March 1: Maximum Overdrive (1986) — Cars come alive and seek revenge. Based on a Steven King story.
March 8: The Car (1977) — A mysterious car terrorizes small town, and only James Brolin can fight back.
March 15: Killdozer! (1974) — Made for TV movie based on a Theodore Sturgeon short story. The one and only movie about a killer bulldozer.
March 22: Christine (1983) — Another Steven King-inspired masterpiece about a boy and his creepy relationship with his car.
March 29: Blood Car (2007) — Probably way too good for a potluck movie, but everyone should see it. Awesome satire-horror film about a vegan kindergarten teacher who invents a car that runs on human blood.

Running Scared

The thing I hate the most about buddy cop movies isn’t the cheesy jokes or the plot holes or the predictable endings — it’s the way in which they make cops seem sympathetic and likable even as they abuse people and deny them their basic civil rights. In Running Scared, plainclothes detectives Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines start out the movie by entering and searching without a warrant and then inciting violence against a suspect; they later falsely declare on that suspect’s papers that he held $5,000, not $50,000, at the time of his arrest, and refuse to give him the rest of the money until he cooperates with their investigation. They knock on the door of a Latina woman they think has information about a suspect and when she declares she knows nothing, they question her immigration status and threaten her with deportation. They call in phony tips to get a guy arrested because he’s dating a woman that Hines wants to get with. (There’s probably a lot more that I can’t remember right now, but you get the idea.)

Standard beach attire in Key West.

Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines must have to beat off the ladies with a stick.

Also notable is the incredibly tight relationship these two partners have. Unlike most other interracial buddy cop movies, in which the two partners start out the movie hating each other and slowly learn to appreciate the other’s quirks, Crystal and Hines have apparently been BFFs since childhood, or something. They have keys to each others’ apartments. It is, it seems, totally okay and normal for Crystal to walk in on Hines when he’s naked and in bed with a lovely lady, and to just start chatting to him instead of politely excusing himself. They take their vacations together. They make plans to retire and open up a bar together in Key West. And neither one of them seems to have any other real social life or family. Yeah, it’s a little odd.

The best scene in the movie, by far, is the one in which the neighborhood kids, tired of these cops hanging around their neighborhood and harassing their families, spraypaint “UNMARKED POLICE CAR” on the side of their, uh, unmarked police car. Amazing. I would so love to see that happen in real life…

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I just couldn’t bring myself to post a review of Cop and 1/2. I just couldn’t. Sorry.

I’ve got some longer posts in the works, but for now, I’d just like to share this with you all. It’s a little something called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It’s a book. It’s being published in April. And it’s exactly what it sounds like.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a zombie must be in want of BRAAAAINS....

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a zombie must be in want of BRAAAAINS....

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Complete with 20 illustrations in the style of C. E. Brock (the original illustrator of Pride and Prejudice), this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen’s classic novel to new legions of fans.

Wow. I’m not really sure what to think about this. Is this brilliant, or simply another case of “zombies are hot right now, let’s see what else we can stick ’em in?” Don’t get me wrong — I’ll definitely be devouring this book (hah!) come April, but there’s something about this that just feels…well, cheap. Too easy. Its entire existence is owed to the hip status of both zombies and mashups. I hope it’s a great book, I really do, but something in my gut tells me that it’s going to turn out to be not much more than a gimmick.

I guess this means I’d better get started on War and Peace and Werewolves before this trend dies out.

February: Interracial Buddy Cop Movies

February features three of the many, the shameful, the cringeworthy: interracial buddy cop movies.

Feb 1: Cop and a Half — Burt Reynolds and Norman D. Golden II. “One kid’s fantasy. One cop’s nightmare.”
Feb 8: NO POTLUCK: Go to the Oscar Grant benefit show at Gilman!
Feb 15: Running Scared — Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal. “Two of Chicago’s finest?”
Feb 22: Collision Course — Pat Morita and Jay Leno. “The only thing stopping these two cops from solving the crime of the century. . . is each other.”