Friday, January 28, 2005

DVD: Tightrope (1984)

Watching this movie when I was a teenager made me feel so ... mature. Clint Eastwood plays a kinky variation on his Dirty Harry persona as a New Orleans detective on the trail of a serial killer. It turns out Eastwood’s character frequents the same seedy French Quarter establishments as his quarry.

Every thriller now features some version of the “we’re not so different, you and I” scene between hero and villain. But in 1984 it was still fresh, and TIGHTROPE earned its share of respectful reviews like this rave from Roger Ebert.

I revisited the movie, and within three minutes I knew my positive memories were suspect. It opens with a chase scene consisting of close-ups of feet. As suspense clich├ęs go, that’s right up there with having a character surprised by a cat.

The forensics material runs too long, the scenes of Eastwood coping with single father status are flat, and the exploration of his darker aspects seems superficial. But to a high school kid watching the movie on late-night cable, it felt like the height of sophistication.

The film does get better as it goes along, thanks in large part to Genevieve Bujold. She’s part of a tradition of strong women appearing in Eastwood films.

Current Obsession: Monkey to Man

I can’t get enough of the video for Elvis Costello’s Grammy-nominated song, which you can view at his website. Jugglers, gorillas, and a bevy of beach party babes cutting vintage moves. It’s the wildest green room party ever.

Noticed: Bad Example

Former New York Giants linebacker Harry Carson has asked to withdraw his name from consideration for induction into the Football Hall of Fame. He’s understandably tired of being passed over. In his argument, he cites the fact that Rod Stewart has never won a Grammy.

Trust me, Mr. Carson. That’s not your best case. Hitchcock never won an Oscar. Use that.

TV: Laugh-In

Here’s a phrase I’m determined to bring into popular usage: “Let’s go. The kids are in the joke wall.

Miscellaneous: Link

Apparently, the studios are no longer in the Oscar business. Thanks to