Thursday, March 27, 2014

FREEBIE AND THE BEAN (1974) - Richard Rush


I've been doing my Caan'ing on weekends mostly this month, and I hadn't planned on rewatching this '70s buddy cop classic. But when I was trolling around on IMDB yesterday, I saw that it was both Caan AND Alan Arkin's birthdays (Caan 74, Arkin 79). So I figured I had to squeeze in a late night second look-see.

This movie is even more irresponsible than I remembered. A loud, violent, devil-may-care cop movie filled with random (sometimes gleeful) police brutality, bigoted characters, cars crashing through everything in sight (innocent pedestrians, whole apartment buildings). There's a villain who happens to be a transvestite, a plot that makes very little sense. Basically, the stuff of every action movie in the '80s and '90s but, oddly, done a decade earlier. You enjoy it for one reason...the Caan-Arkin chemistry, their priceless (and seemingly improvised) banter in every scene. If you're like me, you feel a little queasy/guilty about it afterwards. While fun, this movie template can only lead to bad things (i.e,, Bad Boys II).

Caan is a ball of walking-talking-preening energy as a generally misogynistic/racist San Francisco flatfoot. According to Wikipedia, he gives himself a "4" out 10 on the Caan Self-Appraisal Scale. I agree. He's good but seems like he's ad-libbing as much as acting most of the film. The always reliable Arkin is more fun as his (get this) Mexican partner whose wife is two-timing him. The scene where he tries and fails to interrogate his whip-smart bride, TV's Rhoda Valerie Harper is one for the Arkin career highlights reel.

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