Okay, let’s shake these cob webs off this keyboard for something I have been procrastinating on: the next article for Dork Court. And what better movie to add to my list than Running Scared. But no, not the Paul Walker 2006 version. Although, I did like that flick, but the Crystal & Hines action/buddy/comedy flick. Yeah, it is super-solid.
Where do I start? Right; the cast. The movie stars Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines as two street-smart Chicago cops from the Northside. Ray and Danny kind of don’t take anything seriously but are both great at their jobs. During one case, they get involved in trying to arrest Julio Gonzales, played by the amazing Jimmy Smits. But this guy continues to get away from them regardless of what they try to do. Some insane chase scenes through the city, in stairwells, and just damn solid action. Not to share too much of the plot, but one of the detectives gets shot and they decide to retire to Key West, Florida to open a bar and after a quick little trip they seem to capture Gonzales. Great little montage comedy scene plays and when they come back to the cold snowy Chicago, they are informed that Julio has gotten out. Looks like one last case they cannot leave unsolved. And the final confrontation is action-packed and funny as all hell. Love this flick.
On to the cast. I named Billy Crystal in the beginning, but this is 1986 Billy Crystal. He was about to essentially be the featured comedian on SNL, having that the show just lost Eddie Murphy. So he makes this flick in the middle of all that. Next is Gregory Hines, the insanely talented dancer/actor. This flick is post Cotton Club and White Nights, so he is beginning to become a huge star. But these two together are just golden. The chemistry was perfect. Really. Like Glover and Gibson solid. Next are the bad guys. I mentioned Jimmy Smits playing Julio Gonzales. He is amazing in this flick and I believe this is on the cusp of his stardom with LA Law. He gets nominated from 87-89, and wins the Emmy in 90. But you can see in the scenes he is in, he is a star. The police chief is played by the Dan Hedaya, who is about as recognizable as any actor in movies today. I won’t even begin to list his flicks, but this is technically the next film he makes after 1985 Commando, which I find cool. The drug snitch is played by Joe Pantoliano, but this is before he is anyone. So way before The Sopranos Emmy and Cypher in The Matrix. But he does have some awesome hair. A few more from the cast. The other up-and-coming cop team that is essentially the Crystal/Hines pain in the ass is portrayed by Steven Bauer (Scarface) and John Gries (Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite). Both really great in the bit parts, but the banter between the four cops is always golden. Billy Crystal’s ex wife is played by Darlanne Fluegel, who in this window of time was a leading lady, and in a ton of films. I almost feel bad having her not mentioned earlier.
The next thing to talk about is the soundtrack. I love it so much, it has been a CD I owned, a music from Itunes I purchased, and to this day a saved spotify playlist for me. The gem of the soundtrack is Michael McDonald’s “Sweet Freedom.” It gets played at all the perfect times of the plot and quickly becomes something you are humming as the movie progresses. How that song never hit #1 is beyond me, the best it hit was #7, but you can play it today, and it jams. The rest of the soundtrack is great as well, but wanted to highlight the masterpiece.
Last is the crew that put this movie together. This is directed by Peter Hyams, who prior to this was taking a bit of a film hiatus post-2010. He has such a solid run with Capricorn One, Outland and then The Star Chamber, before 2010. The guy is magnificent. I believe after this The Monster Squad the following year is the last film he ever produced. The film was written by Gary DeVore who wrote a few gems in his time, but that is not why I know about him. His mysterious death was why his name rings in my head. Take a peak about his death and how it is still unsolved. Kind of crazy. But he was a very talented guy writing, The Dogs of War, Raw Deal and Showdown in Little Tokyo. All really great action flicks. Together these two cast the perfect actors to make this script and plot work. As I was telling Larry and Mark earlier this morning, how we did not get five of these flicks is beyond me. The chemistry between Crystal and Hines as Chicago cops was just it. Shame that never happened, but I know in some timeline, the fourth movie was goddamn epic.