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This film is consistently rated at or below the median for it's genre and period. In my opinion, this is an unfair rating... the film is better than it has been portrayed.
Jeff Bridges plays Matt Scudder, a down on his luck detective who is suspended by the LAPD after a violent confrontation with a suspect.
Bridges life spirals down (in something of a preview of the character he would later play in perhaps his best film, 1991's The Fisher King) into chronic alcoholism. He receives an unexpected invitation to a party hosted by Angel Maldonado (Andy Garcia in an early role) and there the story proper begins.
Scudder is drawn into the dark side of LA's party scene by "Sunny", one of Maldonado's erstwhile hangers on. Through this connection, Scudder determines to bring down Maldonado's drug empire - and make off with Maldonado's favourite girl...
All standard hollywood stuff, but reasonably well done. The mid 80's seems to have been a fairly soft time for truly good films, but this one is worth watching. I give it 7/10 on the public scale...
Will be recognized as one of the lost classics of the 80's. Bridges gives a great performance and really seems to understand what an alcoholic acts like. has THE best hangover scene of any movie. Andy Garcia made his first impression as the bad guy. Some real off the wall action scenes. This movie got a lot of bad press when it was released. i never understood why as I felt that it was one of Ashby's better later movies. I think Ashby himself will come under a reappraisal in the years to come with his movies being recognized as some coif the best. Some of his stars gave their best performances under his direction, i.e. Jack Nicholson (The Last Detail), Warren Beatty (Shampoo); Jon Voight (Coming Home) and Ruth Gordon.
I saw this film a couple of nights ago. I only bothered as it was a Hal Ashby movie & I'm a big fan. He didn't let me down. Ok it's not a masterpiece or even amongst his best but it's still a powerfully intense thriller. Superficially similar to Scarface it is less showy, more personal & more convincing. Garcia's stylised gangster with his 'Gaudi' affectations almost unsettles the realism but is compulsive. Bridges turns in another superb performance as the hard-boiled, ex-cop battling with alcoholism & other demons. Ashby's Chandleresque take on 80's LA is familiar but beautifully vivid nevertheless. What raises it above the plethora of dark 80's thrillers is it's old-fashioned 70's values like complex character and troubled hero not in control of the narrative over fast-pace, shallow action & irony. To the post-Star Wars generation '8 Million Ways' may look meandering and indulgent but this says more about their limitations as film fans than it does about the film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I remember watching 8 Million Ways to Die (1986). There are a bunch of things I like about this film. Jeff Bridges's performance is a great, tactical, and understated. Andy Garcia is a great villain. Psychotic, warm and pathetic. He makes poison sweet like a Jalapeno pepper. This is entertaining film noir. All of the characters are flawed. They all have weaknesses or addictions that are their downfall. Bridges's Scudder is an alcoholic. Rosanna Arquette is addicted to money. Which always makes a good film noir. 2 things, that I usually see in the TV version of 8 Million Ways to Die (1986) that are cut out is (1) Alexandra Paul's Sunny has a bathroom scene with Scudder, which is usually cut out. It's as naked a scene as Isabella Rosellini's scene in Blue Velvet. (2) There is a long drawn out downspell of Bridges's character in the beginning that they. The studios usually cut out. I don't buy the ending with Bridges and Arquette's character going off together, but Arquette does say that her dad was an alcoholic and we usually go for our parent's hardest traits in our mates, so. Maybe. They do get together. Overall, This is underrated and overlooked. This is a Mr. cinema 100 pick.
OK. this is my first comment on this site so I'll try to make it good.
Eight million ways to die is simply an AMAZING movie. since the first time I saw it - i think it was in 91 - I bought the original VHS video and saw it many times again, especially during harsh times. This is The movie to see when you are down, and shows you how a man who has been at the bottom can gather himself, and bring on his best.
May be what i write seems to be intellectual stuff but actually the film is a great police movie with a perfect direction, and the message simply comes out of its own after watching it.
the cast is brilliant, this movie made me a Jeff Bridges fan, he is the best (4 times award nominee). Alexandra Paul, Andy Garcia, and Randy Brooks are excellent. Rosanna Arquette is a bit "weaker" than the others. she can't really compete with Paul and the male cast. She is a good actress but I am not sure she fits the hooker-junkie type.
What more can I say - my favorite movie ever.
Ho! yes: an unforgettable soundtrack by James Newton-Howard. one of his earlier works (may be its best !!). The soundtrack together with the opening scene showing the police car from the air is a master-piece.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hal Ashby, cinema's great wounded heart, directs "8 Million Ways To
Die". It's a conventional film, but one must remember that at this
stage in his career, Ashby had little or no creative control. He was a
recovering alcoholic and drug user, and the studio's lack of faith in
him resulted in "8 Million Ways to Die" being taken taken away during
Of course when the producers took this film away the moment it reached the cutting room, they effectively shot themselves in the foot. Ashby, who cut his teeth as a film editor, is renowned for his perfectionism in the editing room. He's a master editor. And so no surprise that "8 Million" received a limited release and faded from theatres days later.
Still, though conventional, "8 Million" is nevertheless a fine film. A cosy neo-noir, it also features a somewhat autobiographical subplot regarding alcohol abuse. Here Jeff Bridges plays your typical noir detective, but like Ashby, his character is a recovering alcoholic. As a result, there's an honesty to a couple of Bridges' dialogue scenes. One conversation, for example, has Jeff talking to a hooker. He talks about his love for his daughter (whom he hasn't seen in years) and his hatred of being a drunk. The hooker replies that she never knew her father because he was a drunkard who never came home. Ashby shoots the scene to imply that Jeff is looking into his future, our hero a wounded old man looking at both his own daughter and the very outcome of his present alcoholism.
There are two or three good scenes like this, but for the most part the film's script has been edited down to your standard cops and bad guys movie. One senses that had Ashby been at the editing desk, a more free-form movie would have resulted.
Still, the film begins and ends with two very unique scenes. It's introduction, for example, features a long helicopter shot which tracks across an American super-highway, Ashby's camera framing distant automobiles like elevator carts, watching as they rise bizarrely off into the sky. The film ends, meanwhile, with an unusual three-way Mexican stand off. Ashby draws this scene out to painful lengths, everyone yelling and screaming until their demands reach pathetic proportions. We've seen this scene before in countless other action movies, but none of these flicks have done anything quite like this.
7.9/10 - Moments of Ashby's personality and sensibilities shine through, but for the most part, this film has been hacked down by the studios into something slight. For Ashby completists only.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Imagine the Big Lebowski without any laughs, plus a really bad
electronic disco music soundtrack, plus really bad film editing, cheap
cinematography, plus the most annoying, never-ending credit intro in
movie history, plus a really bad script and a lot of improv dialog made
up mostly of the F-word.
That's 8 Million Ways to Die.
The film starts with terrible electronic music under a credit intro where the camera just keeps filming San Diego traffic patterns that have nothing to do with anything else. And this goes on forever. So if you're smart (not like me) you'll get annoyed enough right at this point and turn the piece of trash film off (GOOD CHOICE!).
Then we have Det. Matt Scudder (Bridges) and his posse from the sheriff's dept. wearing really cheap uniforms running around a drug house. Scudder shoots the suspect when he takes a baseball bat to the rest of his team.
Then he gets suspended from the force, then he becomes an alcoholic, loses his family and job, joins AA, meets Sunny the hooker (the most annoying dingbat since Edith Bunker), who wants to quit taking pipe, but she's afraid of what her pimp might do to her. Scudder tries to pay off Sunny's pimp, but he doesn't want the money and says Sunny is free to quit. But then she gets abducted, murdered, and dumped off a bridge. Scudder is so upset that he falls off the wagon (I would have been glad to get rid of her!), blacks out, and wakes up in the detox ward a week or so later looking like total crap.
Then he starts to investigate Sunny's murder. Scudder, Sunny's hooker pal Sarah (Rosanna Arquette), and scummy drug lord Angel (Andy Garcia) argue using the F-word and threaten to kill each other a lot. Angel takes Sarah hostage.
Scudder finds out that Angel murdered Sunny, steals a bunch of his cocaine, and holds it hostage to get Sarah back. Then they meet in a warehouse and yell the F-word a lot more at each other and Scudder blows up Angel's coke anyway. But Angel gets away.
Scudder takes Sarah home (where of course, she will be perfectly safe, since Angel would never think to try to find her in her own house!). Angel is there waiting and they shoot at each other until Angel gets shot, then runs out of bullets and tries to reload right in front of Scudder. Scudder wisely shoots Angel in the head before he can reload his gun.
Scudder and Sarah live happily ever after as members of AA.
I saved you having to watch the worst film ever to star Jeff Bridges.
I am a huge Hal Ashby fan - he was a brilliant editor (Oscar winner for In The Heat Of The Night) and an even better director (Being There, Coming Home, Shampoo, to name a few) but this film is a mess. I just read a book on Ashby's life and here was a lot of trouble on this film - the studio wanted a sleek Miami Vice type film and of course Ashby wanted a gritty movie closer to the author Laurence Block's books. You can tell there's huge chunks missing - the film is disjointed - Bridges does a nice job playing the damaged cop but in one of the worst pieces of miscasting - Alexandra Paul plays the sultry hooker who is supposed to lure Bridges and she is awful - about all she can play is flirty sorority girl and their scenes are dull and boring. Rosanna Arquette has nothing to play - a one dimensional another hooker with a heart of gold. Garcia does his best with what he has to play and there are some good scenes btwn him and Bridges. But overall, a schlocky mess with a terrible 80's synth score.
Not convincingly performed, with a hell of a dramatic climax in that
warehouse, which is the bit that this movie is mainly remembered for.
Yes, I saw it decades ago, and tonight, on DVD. And what was good back
then, now just seem ludicrous. But I'm RavenGlamDVDCollector@gmail.com
and not here to discuss the action parts.
Alexandra Paul must have been desperate for an acting job. Gee, she plays somebody whom lieutenant Stephanie Holden of BAYWATCH fame would have loved to set straight. Hey, full-frontal nudity as 'the streetlights makes her pubic hair glow'... She does seem utterly, utterly miscast... This might be because of this hindsight.
But the main reason to watch glamor-wise is (cue the Toto song here: Ali I wanna do when I wake up in the morning is see your eyes, Rosanna, Rosanna): Lady Rosanna Arquette. And although the script literally has yucky moments, once she is thrown into the shower and the unnecessary makeup is washed off, wow, dudes! What a stunner!
I've cheered for this actress during the Eighties. She wasn't in successful big hit movies, real success eluded her, and I saw all that potential going to waste. Here's a good one though, to remember her by. That scene where she's clearly naked under the bedsheets, oh wow dudes! MY HEART PUMPS CUSTARD FOR HER, to coin a phrase.
To the prudes reading this: I'm just an old boy. If you saw this movie when it was on the cinema circuit, and you're waffling on about it almost 30 years later, of course you have to be an Old Boy. And Old Boys appreciate pretty girls. And get kinda silly drooling. Sigh.
If you're not into seeing these two actresses, and just want action action action this might not really be the movie for you. Lots of the action scenes are seriously flawed. Hell, he's out of work, ruins his car, yet it just stays roadworthy in the next scenes. And why don't the baddies just shoot him down in that stand-off scene?
Five stars go to Rosanna Arquette, the other star is for that glorious Clint Eastwood-y moment when Scudder fires his gun after coming to Sarah's rescue. Cinematic perfection!
I hate it when people slag off a perfectly good film just because it dared to stray slightly away from the book it was based on. However, Lawrence Block, the author of the novel "Eight Million Ways To Die", has said that they seemed to make up the script for this as they went along and it certainly seems that way. Anyone who has read the Matt Scudder books will be disappointed that Hollywood chose to take the detective out of Manhattan and transplant him in their own back yard, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be a bad film. After all, we've still got the great Jeff Bridges and Andy Garcia. Unfortunately, even they can't redeem this dog's dinner. Bridges is reportedly going to star as another one of Block's characters (Keller from Hit Man) if all goes to plan. Perhaps he still feels guilty. Don't let this film put you off of the books.
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