Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Here's Your Freebie (Just Don't Get Beaned)

People will tell you Lethal Weapon perfected the cop-buddy movie. That movie wouldn't have existed without this one, Freebie And The Bean from 1974, starring Alan Arkin and James Caan. The two are consistently over the top in a free-for-all of action scenes loosely tied to some plot about cops trying to bust a mob boss.

A look at the films
that have left a mark on my life.
Watching this film, it's amazing to see how it got made at all, given the number of crazy chases and go-for-broke stunts. Both Arkin and Caan threatened to quit the production because they thought too many stunts were getting in the way of their character development. In the following clip, we see a dangerous jump over a train, a marching band mowed down in the street, a chain reaction crash, and a run off a bridge into an apartment building.

No sane film insurer would sign off on a picture like this today unless CGI was added to take the risk out of the equation. Back in 1974, the only way to pull off stunts like this was to actually do them, and I scratch my head at why this film has gotten lost in the annals of action movies when it does so much of it so well. Perhaps it's because of a highly politically-incorrect plot element involving a cross-dresser, but again, that's a guess.

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