Thursday, November 17, 2011

3 Short Paragraphs: Sea of Love

1989, Harold Becker (Mercury Rising, Malice, City Hall) -- Netflix

I am not sure why we watched this again but I think it had something to do with the mistaken memory that it took place partially in New Orleans. We were still on our Treme kick so an old movie with John Goodman and Ellen Barkin would be appropriate.  But the New Orleans movie with them is actually The Big Easy.  But Goodman was a cop in both so I can see where the memories merged.  Strangely enough I also remember Barkin being extremely sexy in this movie with her natural snarl.  But now, I don't really know what my young self was thinking.  I didn't like big hair then and I still don't like it.

This is one of those sexy thrillers that cropped up all over the late 80s and early 90s where the roguish cop gets mixed up with the sexy suspect and/or potential victim.  Al Pacino plays the drunken divorced unconventional (any other standard tropes I should add?) cop who gets assigned to a case regarding the classified ads.  I am surprised Craig's List hasn't already had a movie made about it leading to a serial murder.  Maybe already done on a TV crime show?  The movie alternates between him picking up clues in the old fashioned cop way, by gut feeling and a little leg work but ignoring all the CSI shit.  Oh it's there but it's barely supporting the cops.  I am glad for a little change from the tropes of today that are all about The Magic of Science or The Magic of the Insightful Cop.  He doesn't look at a scene and pull out all the needed variables like a nouveau Sherlock, he just reads the scene and tries different solutions till he hits the right one.  From what I hear, that is Real Police, as The Wire would say.

It's fun looking back at John Goodman and realizing how much you like him throughout the years.  Even when he only has a small sidekick role he carries a lot of (don't say it) weight to it.  It's also a lot of fun to watch a movie from two decades ago and notice all the things they have to do differently which the kids of today would marvel at the inconvenience.  But when it comes right down to it, the most noticeable and prevalent are (the lack of) cell phones and the internet.  But then again, people are still seen doing research via microfiche. In the end, while being distracted by all the nostalgia and uncomfortable not-so-sexy sexiness, we still guessed who the killer was in less than 20 minutes but I don't think it was the same bad guy from The Big Easy.