worst opening ever?


I like this movie, but the sequence at the beginning with the terrorist plays like parody.

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I love this movie too, but for me the entire first 10 minutes is kind of disjointed. To me the movie doesn't get going until the scene with all the cops at the bar.

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Disjointed is a good word for it.

Evil just messed with the wrong hombre.

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I just put the movie on, and was surprised that it opened with the motorcade - in my mind the opening sequence was always Dafoe's counterfeiting montage.

They needed that opening sequence to establish the relationship between Petersen and his partner, but otherwise it's completely forgettable.

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Totally disagree with these negative comments about the opening sequence.

The opening is a series of scenes shot to provide us with a quick introduction to the main issues and some of hte characters. Included is the opening shot of the sun rising over the LA basin, but this is no typical sunny tropical locale, as it moves on to show the industrial and gritty eastern side of downtown, moving on to introductions of the Chance and Masters characters in quite different settings and vibes.

Chance is quickly introduced as a risk taker, while Masters is introduced as a pensive, almost anhedonistic persona.

The specific element of counterfeiting is also introduced with street scenes of the trade.

The presidential motorcade serves the important purpose of not only showing that Chance and his original partner Jim Hart have, as Treasury agents, the occasion to work with the Secret Service to protect the president. It also shows that they are senior agents assigned to very important tasks, adding to their appearance of being credible, despite what then happens to each of them.

Then we move on to the process of making funny money, implicitly showing Masters's connection to his artistic abilities referenced by the earlier scene where he burns one of his paintings.

Disjointed is not the word so much as jarring the viewer into simultaneously wondering what world this is, what is going on, but also begin to piece together how these characters and what they do lead into the main part of the story.

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[deleted]

Roeg,

I am frankly losing patience with your tedious complaints that this film is not The French Connection. I happen to like The French Connection. It is a well crafted film. Arguably the cast is more talented. Gene Hackman is one of the great actors of the last fifty years.

But it is in truth nothing more than an adaptation of a true story about a drug deal and the cops who tried to stop it. It is pretty much a simple story with not much in the way of depth. It is plot driven, which is fine. But that is it.

To Live and Die in LA is a much more complex film. Despite my reference to the fine casting of TFC, there are in fact several fine actors in this film, and it is very well cast. I understand William Petersen is somewhat problematic as an actor, but that fits well here given the contradictions of Chance's character.

More generally this film explores what to me are much more meaningful issues and subjects, including the distance between the surface veneer's appearance of values and meaning in the world shown from any real authenticity and meaning, and how the characters struggle with their varying degrees of implicit understanding of the existance of that distance.

Your critique of the scene with the bomber is very poorly presented. You move from a description of what occurred to conclusory condemnations, such as horrendously bad reverb effect to recounting the dialogue between Hart and Chance.

These are not supposed to be great philosophers. We instead rightly and effectively see several things of importance, including that Hart and Chance are in different places in terms of their assessments of their work's importance, that Hart has little left in him in terms of that type of heroic effort, and that Chance's silence reflects both that he has nothing to counter Hart in terms of Hart's situation, at the same time he is reluctant to address whether and to what extent he should and can articulate a different perspective in clarifying his view of his own situation.

Returning to the bomber, you seemed about to suggest the film should have more graphically portrayed what happened to him, but of course that would have added nothing. In conclusion, I don't really understand what you are complaining about, other than that you think everyone should agree with you that The French Connection is a better film.

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[deleted]

OP wrote "I like this movie, but the sequence at the beginning with the terrorist plays like parody."

That's because it kind of is a parody. This movie uses counterfeiting as a metaphor for inauthentic relationships. Masters seemingly has a loving girlfriend and a loyal attorney, but really they're just in it for business. Chance has a relationship w/ Ruth, but it's really just so her parole doesn't get revoked. Vukovich says he wants to be Chance's partner, but really he wants to be Chance. Beyond the fake relationships among the characters, there is also the fake relationship between the audience and the movie, or between the audience and the characters. The opening scene serves to establish the fake relationship: we think we're watching a mainstream buddy cop movie. We think Chance is a hero. Then, the movie morphs into something quite different, & Chance is not the hero we first sized him up to be. Do we still cheer him on? Do we want him to get away w/ the robbery so that he can bag Masters? These questions are what make this movie special.

This movie made artistic strides by challenging the relationship of the audience, but perhaps that's why it wasn't the most financially successful or critically acclaimed release of 1985. Studio bosses probably looked at it and said, "the audience doesn't want to be challenged, so let's just let them uninhibitedly admire the buddy cops." A year and a half later the first Lethal Weapon came out. I think Danny Glover used Hart's "I'm getting too old for this sh!t" line in all 4 of the LW movies.

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Just wanted to say I really like the opening sequence.










So there.

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Wait a minute... who am I here?

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Mark,

Great post. I agree.

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Great overall post Mark, however...

Vukovich says he wants to be Chance's partner, but really he wants to be Chance.


Did I miss some subtle gestures of contexts because I never saw V ever wanting to be like Chase. On the contrary it seems as though he is reluctant throughout(and rightly so). Unless of course you bring the last scene into question but that wasn't borne out of his desire all along. It just happened that Chase died and V seized the moment(and the girl).



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I think Vukovich wanted to be a renegade like Chance & then when he saw what that entails he became anxious about it. The changes in V's expression during the car chase scene show this a little bit, so yes, maybe I'm relying on the final scene too much. But I thought it was strange that V went to Chance's condo to talk to him about it, & then had the partnership rammed down Chance's throat by the higher ups despite Chance's complaints.

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It --opening six minutes-- didn't fit. We weren't concerned with the "protection" aspects of the SS. That's something else.

If they had started with the opening sunrise it would have been more apropos.

" See dat scenery floatin by, you're now approaching NewportRI." Cole Porter

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[deleted]

Sorry, I normally don't do this. I didn't read most of the posts on this thread. They were long and it's late and I'm tired, so feel free to ignore me if you want. I'll just say, I saw this movie a long time ago, not too long after it came out. And, in my mind, the film started with Peterson jumping off the bridge. I didn't even remember anything before that. I thought that's how it started.

Having just watched it again the other day, I have to agree with the OP. No reason for that opening sequence. I don't care what it "establishes." It has almost nothing to do with the rest of the film. And, quite frankly, it's very poorly done. Everything--poor concept, poor dialogue, poor acting, poor special effects. Wish the editor had cut it.

Other than that, though, the film is quite good IMO.




So, here we both are battling similar demons, not coincidentally.

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Going to agree here. The opening scene was pretty out of place, and its blatant hokiness strongly contrasted the gritty intensity of the rest of the film, perhaps somewhat purposefully, but regardless it felt very rushed and poorly directed/edited.

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"Vukovich says he wants to be Chance's partner, but really he wants to be Chance."

Good observation.

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I thought the opening credits were outstanding.

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I thought the opening credits were outstanding.
I agree.

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Wait a minute... who am I here?

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I thought it was one of the most clever opening credit sequences I have ever seen.

 The Poster Formerly Known As Doctor Penix 

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Yes, great opening credits. I revisited this film, one of my favorites, certainly of the cop/thriller genre, recently. I was reminded how nearly flawless this film is once you realize the way it plays with the concept of fakery and how things are not what they seem on the surface. The opening sequence both stands distinct from the rest of the film, but this serves the subversive intent of the film.

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Great intro to something like The Naked Gun.

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That was very odd.


Schrodinger's cat walks into a bar, and / or doesn't.

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I agree .

Hokey and TV cop show like IMO.


The whole film reminded me of a grittier & bigger budgeted Miami Vice.


"You work your side of the street, and I'll work mine"

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I wouldn't say "worst", but I remember seeing this back in '85 and wondering what it really had to do with the rest of the movie. 30 years later and it stands as one of my favorite films of the decade. There's stuff to overlook, such as Jimmy knowing just where to to Spiderman that building and grab the terrorists leg. There was some nice foreshadowing with Hart saying that Alverez tried to slip them a bogus $50.

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Islamic suicide bomber - pretty prophetic if nothing else

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I completely agree and always did.

There’s plenty to criticize (even the ridiculous over-emphasized flag-flapping sound), but the actor playing the terrorist and his dialogue are pure straight-to-video Grade Z dreck.

Frankly, I thought this movie was going to be a piece of sh!t from the opening.
The only high point was Petersen’s line, “I got a shake!” — the kind of real-world detail Friedkin, former documentary filmmaker, excelled at.

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