Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pick Up the Pieces

I just got the news today - Elmore Leonard has died. By coincidence, I just saw one of his movie, 52 Pick Up (1986).

It stars Roy Scheider as a cool industrialist, who drives an old Jag to his factory in East LA, and Anne Margaret as his wife, who will be running for LA city council. Scheider comes home one day to discover three masked men with a video showing him and his stripper mistress, demanding blackmail money.

I don't want to give too much away, but it doesn't go too smooth for any of them.

As is typical of Elmore Leonard, the joy is in the characters, especially the crooks. The trio includes:

  • John Glover, as the smarmy b-school dropout pornographer who leads the crew. I was convinced that he was Gary Busey for most of the movie, and I mean that as a compliment.
  • Robert Trebor, as the chubby, whiny, sweaty gay peepshow operator. He was kind of a Jon Lovitz type.
  • Clarence Williams III, as the coke-snorting pistol-cleaning bad-ass stone killer. Very scary. I was expecting him to be the Final Boss.
I guess I don't have much else to report, except there are some scenes that are very hard to watch. Violence against women, let's just say. So rough that I can't really recommend this whole-heartedly. But if you can stomach that, this is a great movie.

Directed by John Frankenheimer, who I'm kind of starting to like.

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