Where is the Busted Flush? Where is Miss Agnes? Where is Florida?!?
Caught this movie on Starz's Mystery channel, and was really excited about it. I figured I'd never get an opportunity to watch either of the two McGee movies, since they were made for TV and were never on video. But I got to see this one, and was disappointed.
It's not that they got the story wrong, the plot came directly from the book. It's been years since I read "The Empty Copper Sea" but the plot sequences came right back to me, they were perfectly recreated. It's also not that I disliked Sam Elliot as Trav, I'm a big fan of his, and did a great job in the role. I could even excuse the mustache that Trav doesn't have (if you've seen "the Contender", you know that Sam Elliot looks downright foolish without the mustache).
It's the things I mentioned in the first line that really bugged me. Another one is Meyer, this guy was not him. Not at all. The reason I sat down to watch this movie was not to see the plot on screen. I read the book, I knew the plot, and it was kinda slow for a screen story anyway. The reason I wanted to watch this movie was to see the Busted Flush itself out on the water. I wanted to see the Florida coastline, I wanted to see slip F-18, I wanted to see that mangled blue Rolls Royce pick up truck Miss Agnes.
I don't know why they inexplicably decided to move the story to California. I guess California was in style, and Florida was out. This was the year before Miami Vice came out, so Miami wasn't cool yet. Who knows. Maybe also it was a budget thing, shooting near LA was cheaper for them. That could also explain the lack of the Busted Flush and Miss Agnes, too expensive to recreate those things as the book describes them.
All in all though, a fine adaptation of the plot of the book, just not a good adaptation of the world of the book/books. Light on the details that are so memorable, and a little light on the social commentary that made McGee so special.
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