Archive for the ‘Across 110th Street’ Category

Randoms and drive-ins

April 10, 2006

Caught Across 110th Street, Rush Hour, and The Rescuers over the weekend. (I know, I am so exciting.)

Across is pretty gritty and gives a realistic (I suppose) look at crime in the big city circa 1972. It has to do with a white cop (Anthony Quinn) teamed up with a black cop (Yaphet Kotto) to find the guys who knocked over a bank run by the Mob. But it’s not a buddy pic – Quinn’s losing his job and prestige to the younger Kotto. It’s a pretty violent film. Guys get shot, tortured, etc. So it was right up my alley. Across 110th Street is now long forgotten, but many of today’s cop movies and TV shows owe something to its realism.

Rush Hour, of course, most people have heard of; this is the 1998 movie with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan as mismatched buddy cops. Seems the daughter of the consulate has been kidnapped, and Jackie’s on the case. Only the FBI doesn’t want him on the case, so they assign Tucker to watch his ass. Doesn’t quite work. Guys get shot AND punched. Madcap fun ensues. Tucker, who can be annoying, is really hilarious here – it was really a breakout role for him.

The Rescuers was the last full-length Disney animated film by the original seven old Disney animators. It’s been largely overlooked in the ensuing decades, and that’s a real shame – it’s GORGEOUSLY animated; you can see each detailed raindrop as Bianca and Bernard walk through the zoo, for example. Sure, it’s a little derivative – Madame Medusa looks like Cruella de Vil, not coincidentally – but it’s a heartwrenching, funny story. When people think of Disney’s heydays, they think of the 1940s and the resurgence in the 1990s, not the 1970s, but this little gem could stand some rediscovery.

Which brings me to the bit about the drive in theaters. There are hardly any, anywhere in the US now, because theater owners found that indoor ones were more profitable – you could house 16 screens under one roof, but you can’t do that with a drive in. Where would everyone park? And the screens couldn’t be too close to one another, because they’d drown each other out. Still, I miss ’em a little. They were almost all the same. Refreshment stand at the back. Rows and rows of poles with speakers attached (you’d put the speaker on your car window). And finally, a playground right up by the screen. Parents would drag their kids there and let them play on the swingsets in their jammies until they got tired, then they’d all huddle in the car and watch the requiste cartoon before the feature. By then, the kidlets would be asleep, and the parents could watch the meatier feature presentation in peace. At least in theory. I think I saw The Rescuers when it came out, in a drive in, but I can’t remember for sure. I did see The Love Bug during a rerelease (which is another thing they often did with movies back then, since there was no DVD or home video). In a now-famous bit of family lore, I apparently shouted at Herbie to “watch out.” Thirty years later, and they still remember that. Anyone here ever go to a drive in? What was your experience? How long ago was it? I last visited a drive in theater in 1996, when I visited Hawaii. Got to see a double feature of Sabrina and Cutthroat Island.