Reservoir Dogs; the heist movie with everything except the heist. This film put Quentin Tarantino on the map along with Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen. It also caused a brief resurgence of Stealers Wheel. I don’t know what it is about Quentin, man. He just seems to be able to get the absolute best out of the actors he works with, and this film is no exception, on a shoestring budget no less. Although he can’t act his way out of a paper bag, he was supposed to play Mr. Pink and was dead set on it until Buscemi came in and crushed the audition so hard, he somehow overrode Quentin Tarantino’s ego, which may be the most impressive acting feat of all time.
Lethal Weapon, the 1987 action movie is what we are talking about this week. Starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover (NOT Rene Russo and Joe Pesci, they came later), this movie touches on some really tough topics and does so in a (somewhat) realistic way. Mel plays a Vietnam veteran Martin Riggs who, in addition to dealing with the horrors of war, is on the edge of sanity after losing his wife tragically in a car accident. Roger Murtaugh is the grumpy older detective who is a family man on the edge of pension when he draws the reckless (and quite frankly dangerous) Riggs as a partner on a case that runs that gamut of sex, drugs, and murder.
Your options are kinda limited when the star is 62 years old.
That being said, the smaller scale of this movie is sort of the whole point. It’s an “assassinate the President” movie without the president. The writing and the acting are so good that the president is almost an afterthought*. Clint Eastwood plays Frank Horrigan, a Secret Service agent who has stood by the side of presidents his entire career.
In retrospect, that’s a kinda hilarious name, seeing as they immediately replaced every single role for the sequel except Alfred (natch…) and Robin (Mike’s favorite 90’s heartthrob, Chris O’Donnell), and was almost instantly forgotten within the cultural zeitgeist. If it weren’t for it’s fantastic soundtrack, it may be on the same level as Batman and Robin, instead of accepted as slightly better.