Hey there, I’m Jared. I have 726 movies and shows in my Instant Queue and that’s just way too many. I’m not adding anymore movies or shows to it until it’s empty. So, I’m going to start at Number One and work my way down the list and give you guys a choice of the next five in my queue, in order, all the way to the end. But, I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that too. Let’s get to it!
What’s the movie? The Long Good Friday (1980)
What’s it rated? Rated R for all of Bob Hoskins’ scenery chewing, Helen Mirren’s ass chewing and 20 year old Pierce Brosnan in some very small underwear.
Did people make it? Written by Barrie Keeffe. Directed by John Mackenzie. Acted by Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Derek Thompson, P.H. Moriarty, Dave King, Bryan Marshall and Paul Freeman.
What’s it like in one sentence? Some O.G. Shit.
Why did you watch it? Prunetracy and Engineer both reminded me that, as a human, I should probably watch this movie.
What’s it about in one paragraph? Bob Hoskins is Harry Shand, the self proclaimed King of the London underworld. His girlfriend, Victoria (Mirren), has his back unquestionably and his “company” is filled with men who fear him and would kill for him in a heartbeat. We come into Harry’s story as he’s getting ready to legitimize his operations by redeveloping the London docks as a possible venue for the Olympics with the help of a powerful American mafia investor. But on Good Friday, the day of his very important meeting with the mob representatives, his men start getting picked off one at a time and bombs start going off in some of his favorite haunts. As Harry tries to find out who is out to get him, while simultaneously not scaring away his investors, he’ll find out he’s in for the longest Easter weekend of his life.
Play or remove from my queue? It’s a classic British gangster movie that is required viewing if you’re into the genre. I somehow made it this far in my life without ever seeing it, but I’m glad it’s been rectified. It doesn’t re-invent the wheel or anything like that, but it does have an excellent central performance by Bob Hoskins and it also chooses to pick up the story in a very interesting place.
When we join Harry’s story, he’s already on top and his rise to power is an almost forgotten history to him. His eyes are set on a new merger with the American Mob, so he can become a legit real estate developer. So, when the bombs start going off and his friends start dying, he has little to no idea who could possibly be behind this because everyone who had the power to take him on once is now long dead. All he can think to do is start looking at his friends as possible antagonists, which makes him angrier and less rational as the film progresses. Harry is smart, but old-school smart. Once upon a time, he knew (and proved) his fearlessness and might would place him on top of the pile, but now that he’s forced to look a things from all angles and with a softer touch, he finds he’s at a loss. Thematically, we’ve seen the story of the king quickly realizing he’s outdated and doesn’t have the tools he needs to keep him at the top, but Hoskins’ live-wire performance breathes life into a story that could have ended up feeling pat.
I won’t give away the reasons behind his current troubles, as watching them unspool is a large part of the joy of this film, but the true reason why this film is remembered so fondly is Hoskins. There’s a history at play in his eyes where we see that all he really knows how to do is swing his fists at things, hoping fear will get him what he wants, but as the movie falls into its final act, we see that he’s in so far over his head as to not even realize he’s already drowned. Every moment in this film has a relentless feeling of the inevitable lights going out for Harry and any other outcome would be not only a surprise, but not in keeping with the spirit of the thing. It’s a brutal film, made all the more excruciating by our imaginations.
How’s the music? You know, the score by Francis Monkman would have fit really well in an older Carpenter film or maybe some later Argento, but here it felt overbearing and extremely forced. The Long Good Friday could have used something with more strings and less synthesizers that helped build the tension instead of robbing it every time it blared its way into existence.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Strictly Sinatra (been meaning to watch this for years), Let Him Have It (one of my favorite British gangster films of all time), Mona Lisa (Engineer insisted this was a must-see, so I shall get to it soon), Gangster Number 1 (another classic British Gangster film) and The General (I love this film even though Jon Voight’s presence as a human bothers me).
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? The sound levels were so badly mixed during the final scene, director John Mackenzie had the score amped up to 11 to cover all of the issues. Maybe that’s why I had so many issues with the score, overall.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 3.7
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 4.0
Can you link to the movie? As you wish.
Any last thoughts? The film weighs heavier the more it sits around your brain. A day after seeing it and I feel lethargic and listless. Could be all the Top Ramen I’m eating, though.
Did you watch anything else this week? I’ve been rewatching all of Friends from the beginning and it’s amazing to me how sociopathic Phoebe is.
Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, You Kill Me? I’m just sad about it. It really had all of the pieces to be a great little film except for a good script, which I guess is important.
Next Week? Here’s the choices:
2) Paranoid Park
3) The Secret of Kells
4) The Eclipse
Also, if I get 5 or more votes to delete a movie from the list and queue, I’ll toss it. I trust you guys.