Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Everybody knows, when the cold wind blows..."

It's taken me a long-ass time, but here it is. Instead of a big, involved write-up, here (just in time for the film's 20th anniversary, is a list of things I love about Hudson Hawk:

- The fact that William Conrad (in spite of what sounds like the result of an unfortunate stroke) did the narration. It's as if the filmmakers knew their movie was a live-action cartoon, so why not hire the narrator from "The Bullwinkle Show"?

- I'm not the biggest fan of composer Michael Kamen (it's not that I don't like his music; it's just that I feel that there are better composers), but his score is a delight, and the opening cue ("Leonardo" on the woefully brief Varese Sarabande soundtrack) starts things off nicely, interweaving the title song, an ascending melody for the soon-to-be-purloined treasures and another melody that I'll get to soon.

- The cut between the flying machine in action and the hawk flying outside the prison. I just love filmmaking tricks like that.

- The camaraderie between Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello. One can really believe they're long-time friends.

- You guessed it...Frank Stallone. ("Directions even your brother can understand.")

- "If the Mario Brothers weren't New Jersey's third-largest crime family, I'd say 'Kiss my ass', but, considering your status, I will say 'Slurp my butt'."

- A cappucino gets shot at and Antony Mario gets a bottle of vino over the head...and no one is fazed by this at all. Interesting neighborhood.

- "That's a hell of a lot of Wong numbers." and the accompanying music.

- "You know, they invented something while you were inside. It's called a watch." Seriously, that's a neat gag: timing the robberies to classic songs.

- The jump. From falling off a building to landing in a recliner in Gates' apartment. Did Hawk fall through a hole in the space-time continuum? If so, why would it lead to Gates' place? As I've said before, this is where most viewers would check out, but I found it amusing.

- The spinning POV of Alfred's knife. Again, I love tricks like this. Also, how much do you think weapons like that would cost?

- "So much for his cut." An obvious pun, but very funny.

- "I bet you went up to Mrs. Lincoln at Ford's Theater and asked, 'How was the show? Did I miss anything?'." Good line.

- That theme I failed to mention earlier? The flying theme, which doubles as the love theme. Don't know why, but it works.

- Awesome product placement for candy bars. I like how the suits of the Candy Bars match their respective candies.

- For all the contempt that Richard E. Grant has for this movie (and perhaps, justifiably; I haven't yet read "With Nails"), he and Sandra Bernhard are a riot, chewing up every last bit of scenery.

- Hawk getting smacked by the flying if Tri-Star knew subconsciously that this film would be a black eye for them.

- "Ewww. menthol." One of several great cartoony gags.

- Hawk, on the gurney, tosses exact change into the toll booth and gets through. Another terrific gag.

- The delayed response to the needles in Antony's face, like they forgot that the needles were in there.

- James Coburn as George Kaplan. His menace and gravitas makes a fine contrast to the (entertaining, don't get me wrong) hamming of Grant and Bernhard.

- "My employer wants a meeting." "Your employer? The President?" "No. Somebody powerful." Obvious, but very funny.

- The car with a fax machine and a paper shredder. Very convenient.

- The entire blackmail scene. So quotable and ridiculous ("Damn Fotomat assholes.").

- I love a good threat in a movie (Nine to Five, Greedy) and Hudson Hawk does not disappoint: "It's one thing to play hide-and-seek with the Mayflowers' pathetic staff, but we're sore losers. We blow up space shuttles for breakfast. You and your friend Tommy would be nothing more than a late-afternoon Triscuit."

- The Codex heist, mainly for the way Hawk pulls it off. Not exactly sure what the stamps were for, though.

- "Catholic girls are scary." Just a great, ridiculous line.

- The whole scene of Hawk being chastised by Darwin and Minerva, capped off by a terrific line ("I always did want to sing like Frankie Valli.").

- "Alchemy is the business term of the nineties, my man. Minerva read about it in an airline magazine about four years ago." So, in 1987, it was predicted that alchemy would be the business term of the nineties. Ooookay.

- "I'll torture you so slowly, you'll think it's a career."

- "I really wish I could come up with this glib repartee the way you can..." So do we all.

- Snickers framing Hawk and Tommy like a picture after the curare takes effect. Just a weird, fun touch.

- The bomb launchers. Don't we wish we all had one?

- A trio of great lines, delivered beautifully by Bernhard: "Darwin, this is supposed to be torture, not therapy.", "The dolphin is dead. The dolphin is...come on, you bitch!" and "If you see the Big Guy, tell Him He's a loser."

- The five tones when Tommy punches Darwin. Another neat touch.

- "Dead!". There was actually someone at IMDb who wondered if this meant 'My best friend is dead because of you' or 'You're a dead man, Darwin!'. Obviously, it's the latter.

- The combined monologue the Mayflowers have. It goes from pointed ("Every schmoe has the fantasy that the planet revolves around them.") to absurd ("If Da Vinci were alive today, he'd be eating microwave sushi, naked in the back of a Cadillac with the both of us.").

- "Won't be attending that hat convention in July!" is up there with "I've come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubblegum." as one of my all-time favorite movie lines.

- Hawk and Anna escape from Da Vinci's castle...and suddenly, it's daytime. That's weird.

- "Yeah! That's probably what happened!" A good way to wrap the movie up, I think.

- And two end credit tidbits: the camera assistant was Florian Ballhaus (The Devil Wears Prada), son of Michael Ballhaus (Air Force One), who was originally going to shoot this movie. Also, the visual effects camera operator was Pete Kozachik, who would shoot Coraline for Henry Selick.

Don't know what more to say than please give this movie a chance. It holds up very well.

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