8 Million Ways to Die (1986) Poster

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Underrated Mid-80's detective film
JohnQpublic24 March 2004
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...
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Lost Movie of the 80's
Gortch28 April 2005
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.
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A lost piece of art from the 80's
Mr Cinema9 February 2002
Warning: 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.
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It's very good: don't believe the hype!
tseverin19 April 2000
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.
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the most original and well played police movie ever
didier_lds24 July 2007
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.
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glamor-wise, 2 reasons to watch this
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!
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Hal Ashby's Strangled Swan Song
tieman6416 July 2008
Warning: 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 post production.

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.
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8 Million Mistakes
shark-438 August 2010
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.
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8 Million Ways to ruin a good story
Booze15 July 2001
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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Decent thriller in which an ex-cop with drinking problem becomes involved dark issues and attempts to save a prostitute
ma-cortes3 December 2015
Violent and exciting movie about narcotics dealers , hotshot prostitutes and an ex-policeman . Scudder (Jeff Bridges) is a cop from the County Department who is forced to abandon his duty , after shooting a violent suspect during a drug raid . The ensuing psychological aftermath of this busting worsens his alcoholic troubles . During his recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous , he meets a suspicious stranger (Randy Brooks) who draws him back into a world of vice and prostitution . Later on , he attempts to rescue a pimp-bound hooker (Alexandra Paul) from a drug lord called Angel Maldonado (Andy Garcia) . Scudder learns his friend has dark business with Angel . Scudder must enter a crime-world of prostitution and drugs to solve a killing , and get knee-deep in a mess of million dollar drug deals . Meanwhile , the ex-cop falls in love for another gorgeous prostitute (Rosanna Arquette).

In the picture there is tension , romance , thriller , emotion , intrigue , murders , drug-trafficking and a little bit of violence . A love story between a drunk ex-cop and whore is loosely interwoven with drug dealers and many other things . The movie is fast-moving on the ending but usually results to be slow-moving and being enough amusing as well as compelling but happen many events . The pic obtained moderated success and didn't attain the box office that the producers wanted . The suspense movie is correctly narrated but there're some storyline gaps and the twisted plot makes it a few ridiculous . Famous screenwriter Oliver Stone had little to do with his original script, which subsequently was re-written by Robert Towne and then revised by Hal Ashby in improvisation , he said he only visited the set once, and wanted to have his name taken off the picture but it was too late as the credits were already made up for it . The film is rated ¨R¨ for violence , nudism and some sex . The outcome of this drug and corruption story may not end happily or neatly -just like in real life- , but the characters and ideas explored along the way are compelling . Director takes on a complex subject with a large , uniformly excellent cast . Filmmaker Hal Ashby "threw away the script" and had the actors improvise all their dialog and actions . As nice acting from Jeff Bridges as an ex-cop who hires himself out to rescue a prostitute while resisting the temptation to return to his alcohol abuse . Andy Garcia's fine interpretation as a drug dealer , he is good but plays as Latin stereotypes . And two bombshell women : Rosanna Arquette and Alexandra Paul . Furthermore , Tommy 'Tiny' Lister as Nose Guard and James Avery as Deputy , but both of whom hand roles very secondaries . Catching original musical score composed and performed by James Newton Howard but with excessive use of synthesizer . Colorful and atmospheric cinematography by Stephen Burum , being totally shot in Los Angeles , California .

The motion picture was professionally directed by Hal Ashby , though with no originality . It turned out to be his last theatrical film . However , being fired just after principal photography wrapped, and the studio , PSO Entertainment took over creative control . Ashby was firstly film editor , in fact his highlight of his film editing career was winning an Oscar for the landmark ¨In the heat of the night¨ (1967) . As its director, Jewison gave him a script he was too busy to work on called ¨The landlord¨(1970) . It became Ashby's first film as a director . From there he delivered a series of well-acted , intelligent human scaled flicks that included dramas as : ¨The last detail¨ (1973), ¨Bound of glory¨ (76) , ¨The slugger's wife¨ (85) , ¨Coming home (78) ; comedies : ¨Harold and Maud¨ (71) ¨Shampoo (1975) , ¨Lookin' to get out¨(82) and his biggest hit : ¨Being there¨ (79) with Peter Sellers . Great reviews and Oscar nominations became common on Ashby films.

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Tragically, this dud was a great director's final film
meebly27 April 1999
Sadly, this was Hal Ashby's final bow as a director.

The man who gave us "The Last Detail", "Coming Home" and "Being There" seemingly threw together this agonizing-to-sit-through hodgepodge of alcoholics, drug addicts and hookers that seems to work only as mind-numbing montage of film noir cliches. What makes it even more painful is that it's both very loud and very dull, and nothing makes any sense until the film reaches a conclusion so inevitable, you wish they would've gotten to it about 75 minutes sooner.
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This has to be Jeff Bridges' worst film ever.
deacon_blues-313 September 2013
Warning: 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.

The end.


I saved you having to watch the worst film ever to star Jeff Bridges.

You're welcome!
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Barge In, Stumble Out
wes-connors27 April 2013
Los Angeles police detective Jeff Bridges (as Matthew "Matt" Scudder) drinks on the job and use excessive force. In the opening scenes, he shoots a drug dealer, passes out, then loses his job. After speaking at an "Alcoholics Anonymous" meeting, Mr. Bridges receives a mysterious note requesting he help hooker Alexandra Paul (as Sunny) pull out of the sex trade...

Bridges is reluctant, but she pleads, "I don't wanna be a whore anymore!" Uncooperative pimp Randy Brooks (as Willie "Chance" Walker) doesn't let his ladies off easily. Bridges becomes even more acquainted with prostitute Rosanna Arquette (as Sarah) and her head customer Andy Garcia (as Angel Moldonado)...

"8 Million Ways to Die" is interesting as the last feature film directed by Hal Ashby, a great "actor's director" who lets this story get away. The improvisational quality adds realism - but you have to know when to stop, what to re-write, and how to edit. Witness, for example, the scene when Bridges meets Mr. Garcia in a parking for snow-cones. Something is wrong.

**** 8 Million Ways to Die (4/25/86) Hal Ashby ~ Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Andy Garcia, Alexandra Paul
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Eight million reasons to see cool eightie's flick
PeterMitchell-506-56436421 November 2012
You've had Scarface, now we have it's offspring. If your a Jeff Bridges face, run, not walk, down to the video store and hire this gem. You'll be entertained to the max. The movie throws us right into the action with Bridges and his group of cops from the sheriff's department about to apprehend an hispanic drug dealer. Bridges and his pal too, aren't shy about taking a tot of whatever from a cannister, prior. Forced to shoot this dealer down, as one of Bridge's mate is taking a whacking from one, of those nasty Louisville sluggers, he's questioned along with his friend. That night, him and his friend get sozzled, Bridges, the more drunk of the two, who tends to fall off bar stools. He falls into a guilt drunken phase, the following scene an emotional one between him and his family, over some awlfully sad music. Bridges is so believable in his role here, we really acknowledge what a great actor this guy is. To think he never won an Oscar until 2010's Crazy Heart is criminal. We move a few months down the track to an AA meeting that Bridges is attending. Here, one of the other members, gives him a fat fee, to help this young prostitute, Sunny, (an awesome performance by Alexandra Paul, prior to her Baywatch days) get free of her pimp, Angel (Andy Garcia in probably his best role still). For all we know, this woman stranger could be her mother. His attempt to protect her fails, when Sunny is snatched from Bridges in one blood splashing action scene, worthy of it's R rating. Again Bridges falls into a pit, blacking out. When he comes to, he's the one who must unravel this mystery, with the help of Sunny's hooker friend, Sarah, played by Rossanna Arquette, very good in her role, but not great like the others. You've gotta love Angel's pad. A big castle like building that has been used in a cheap "City lights film" I won't mention. This spread operates as a casino and bordello, where in one scene, we see just how dangerous Angel really is. A small electic tram transports it's customers to it's entrance up top. This film has style, it's valet guys sporting it too. I love the scene where Bridges and Sarah meet Angel and his goons in the big car park outside this big museum, where a lot of angry expletives are exchanged in some good meaty and funny dialogue. Let's face it, this movie doesn't have the best script in the world, but there are some classicly original lines that stick, one involving Sunny, describing her anatomy. Bridges and Garcia share this colorful conversation over sno cones, Angel proudly provides. How cool and original is that. Sarah is snatched back from Bridges who was trying to get answers from her, thus he must get her back as she's in dangerous waters now. This flick uses great L.A. locations and is beautifully shot, Hal Ashby's last film too. The Lawrence Block novel is vastly different, where it's set in New York, and the pimp's name is Chance unlike the Chance character in the film, Angel's silent partner I guess. You'll get this joke if you watch this film. Another scene involving a string of expletives takes place later in a warehouse as we build towards our climax. They were really in need of a script doctor that day. The climax is rewarding, as is it's happy after scene. What we've got here is a good drama, a little disjointed in bits, as in it's dialogue, but it's exciting, involving, and more so, it's different. And those sort of movies, I like. Though slow paced, this really didn't bother me. It works for this movie as we get really get to scratch the surface of Bridges and Arquette's characters. For me, what I loved most about this timeless flick, was it's locations. This is one of those eighties bucket list classics you must see. This was another '86 movie I would of loved to seen at the cinema, but we can't turn back time, can we.
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8 Million Ways to Die
Scarecrow-8827 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Alcoholic former LA sheriff, Matt Scudder(Jeff Bridges)gets embroiled in the middle of a dope smuggling operation after a hooker, Sunny(Alexandra Paul, actually going full frontal in one scene!) is killed while under his watch. A Hispanic drug-lord, Angel Moldonado(Andy Garcia), is the one who had Sunny murdered(she knew too much because she's a major reason Angel was able to move his product)and Scudder wants to bring his empire down. Angel was using a pimp named Chance(Randy Brooks)to traffic by using his "box boys", hiding the coke in logs. Chance, trying to go straight(well, not dope dealing as he once did in the past), running legitimate supermarkets(and allowing girls to pimp at his mansion), is plenty upset to find out, through Scudder's detective work, that Angel was using his places of business to move coke. This sets off a war between Scudder and Angel, with Chance wanting a piece of the action after it is truly acknowledged that Sunny was killed by Moldonado. A bargaining chip in all this is a high priced hooker named Sarah(Rosanna Arquette)who Angel is obsessive over and Scudder falls in love with. Scudder "confiscates", with Chance's help, the logs of cocaine and is willing to trade the product for Sarah..sufficed to say, this exchange doesn't go according to plan, as Scudder involves the police and Chance wishes to get revenge for Angel's actions.

Well, 8 MILLION WAYS TO DIE is a redemption story in that it follows a struggling boozing detective who has lost his marriage and recked his career by drinking on the job, including shooting a Hispanic drug dealer(who pulled a Louisville Slugger baseball bat to attack cops under Scudder's command)in front of his family when an arrest goes awry. What's interesting is how Scudder is rather inadvertently pulled into his dilemma through the pleas of a hooker wanting to get out of the life and away from a dangerous criminal using her to help him traffic his cocaine. Arquette is the hooker who is around the LA crowd due to her working at Chance's palace, and this is where she was introduced to Angel. It's only when Scudder discovers lots of green and other valuables left by Sunny in his trunk, that he goes to Sarah for answers regarding a fellow call girl, and who might want her dead.

Garcia's oily, temperamental gangster(he, at first, seems to want a piece of a club which Chance runs)has several heated exchanges with the seemingly fearless Scudder, where both men size each other up, this lit fuse eventually exploding at the end as Scudder and Angel finally square off with Sarah their desired prize.

With unsavory characters and foul language(not to mention, we spend an entire film with these people), 8 MILLION WAYS TO DIE won't exactly ingratiate itself to everyone. I must admit that I enjoyed the "sno-cone" confrontation where Scudder initiates a meeting between he and Angel, forward about knowing that Moldonado killed Sunny, and instigating a potential "partnership"(in actuality, Scudder wants to find a way to shake him down, to no avail)where money and coke would be of major emphasis. It's one of those instances where two actors of the caliber of Bridges and Garcia have opposing characters who meet nose to nose and measure each other's dicks with Arquette's nervous Sarah looking on. They just go at each other, while sucking on their sno-cones, profane remarks passed back and forth, Sunny's death a frequent topic which stirs the pot. Bridges uses his outward ability to express the effects of alcoholism while we also see that he's still a pretty damn good cop who snuffs out Angel and joins forces with an incensed Chance which doesn't exactly bode well with the police(whose reputation is tainted because of Scudder's associations with Chance, a known criminal and his ongoing battle with booze). I must admit that the dialogue had me wincing at times, it was rather hard to listen to. The cast does what it can with the material. I had read that the film was taken from the director and cut by the studio which might explain some of the film's problems in it's overall plot and characters. Particularly glaring is the moment in the movie where Sunny is killed, Scudder looks over the bridge in despair due to his inability to save her, and the movie seems to leave us in the dark over a period of two days, Matt awakening to find himself in a hospital. It's said that he got drunk and blacked out, but he appeared to have been beaten(even hobbling on the leg with bruises throughout). This foggy portion of the film is an example of probable tampering which effects the quality of the movie(not to mention an excessively long conclusion, after Bridges' overlapping dialogue, regarding his promising future, with Scudder and Sarah walking in embrace on a beach, going on and on). And, I'm simply amazed that Scudder can seemingly walk around in broad daylight without a care in the world and remain safe, especially with a hothead like Angel in the city, having the resources to eliminate such an obvious threat.
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Release this movie on DVD already!
Newsense30 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
4.0 out of 5 stars Release this movie on DVD already!, May 23, 2009 It never ceases to amaze me about how many good movies are only on VHS while some the most crappiest films in recent years get Blu-ray treatment. 8 Million Ways To Die got poor reviews but it was actually pretty good.

Jeff Bridges plays Matthew Scudder, a burned out cop whose life goes to shambles after a raid goes wrong. Things in his life don't get any better when he meets a prostitute called Sunny(Alexandra Paul). Sunny ends up getting murdered and Matthew tries to solve the murder.

Sure the character development is scant and some of the lines in this movie are howlers(like Sunny exclaiming which part of her anatomy glows in the dark) but the movie is not bad. Jeff Bridges shines as Matthew Scudder and Andy Garcia plays the scummy character of Angel Moldonado well. Rosanna Arquette is pretty good also as the smarmy and snobbish Sarah. These are the performances that keep the movie afloat.

Its kind of sad that this underrated drama never got a DVD release. Its like depriving people of seeing a movie that deserves a look of seeing it while shoving crappy films(like anything from Seltzer and Freidberg) down their throats. If you're in the mood for a good drama with a good story and solid acting you cant go wrong with 8 Million Ways To Die.
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Only one quick
davegrenfell8 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Hal Ashby being sacked explains a lot; so does the disappearance of Oliver Stone. You can imagine how much tougher and seedier it would have been in Stone's hands. But Ashby, it would seem, tightened up and found his movie in the editing room, as this movie is not quite there. There is a curious lack of incidental music, except when it isn't needed, and what is there tends to foreshadow action. Scudder's initial descent into alcoholism is almost skipped over; you suspect that Stone or Ashby, given half the chance, would have added some detail to the descent. Instead of which Scudder's wife suddenly disappears, he's on his own. Perhaps you can explain this by saying 'blackout' but I think it's an error. The movie is realistically slow, treating the characters as real people, which is perhaps a mistake for the genre. There isn't much action until the very end, and the couple of bits during the film are followed by Scudder blacking out, so we don't get him dealing with the aftermath of these violent events. This is one of the few Block/Scudder novels i haven't read, so I can't comment on how similar to the book it is. My guess would be very, since Block tends to go in for very violent climaxes preceded by Scudder wondering if he'll hit the bottle again. Falls nicely into the Jeff Bridges B-movie crime genre which the Coens picked up on with The Big Lebowski.
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REALLY BAD - believe the hype
janbi3612 August 2000
Let's forget for a moment that the producers took a perfectly good book and changed almost everything about the main characters, setting, and other miscellaneous details. Why DO they have to do that...?

The acting is terrible, the extended filming sequences where nothing is going on or being revealed, ugh! Don't waste your time.
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The "could'a been" scenario. (spoilers)
Pepper Anne31 December 2004
8 Million Ways to Die was not as good as it could've been because they spend the first half of the movie with the alleged good guy and villain pretending to be too civil with one another. It never seems to get anywhere and you have a hard time believing that the slick drug dealer is up to no good, or that the lush private eye wants to do anything to stop him.

This is the story of an alcoholic cop (Jeff Bridges) who got kicked off the force after a sting operation went wrong and he shot an unarmed assailant. (Although, one might not think it too bad, though, that he did shoot the guy since he was nearly stabbing his partner to death and it was the only way the cop could stop him in time). Now, a sort of freelance private investigator, his help is sought by a friendly prostitute who seeks his protection because she wants to quit the business. And, she is willing to pay him a hefty sum. It hardly seems like good enough reason for her to later wind up dead, which is what happens, since her "pimp" really doesn't seem to mind that she's made this decision. In fact, he feels a little hurt that she didn't tell him herself.

Well, having just lost a friend, although we might seem to think the private investigator only new her very briefly, he is sure that someone was pursuing her, and he wants to figure out who and why. This guy hardly seems stable enough to keep going on with the police work, since every time something traumatic happens, he falls into a drunken, depressed stupor. Eventually, he hooks up with the hooker's friend (Rossanna Arquette), a sort of doppleganger, in that she is both naughty and nice (but shakes off the naughty after she gets to know the guy), who doesn't seem at all bothered to help him out, even though she thinks he is responsible for the woman's death at first. He also employs the help of the woman's "pimp," a pretty decent guy for a fellow who runs a prostitution business, and he's willing to help out because he knows the drug dealer (Andy Garcia) that the investigator suspects is responsible for the girl's death, is really a vicious fellow, even though he never really shows it.

There is not really enough solid character development, everyone appears a little too "off" to be those kind of characters, and the movie tends to drag on at points, especially in feeling obligated to develop some sort of relationship between the cop and the hooker's friend, but, if you're willing to forgive that much, then you might at least have a little lazy day entertainment with a semi-decent action movie. Open a can of 80s cheese and enjoy.
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for any other director it'd be a very good if dated 80s effort...
MisterWhiplash27 May 2008
...for Hal Ashby, it's something of a tragedy in the course of his career. At this point, to give some background, he wasn't getting the same kind of prime work he did in the 70s (Harold and Maude, Last Detail, Coming Home, Shampoo, Being There), this despite the fact that he won an Oscar as editor and nominated for director. After some low-budget comedies- and a less than great Rolling Stones movie- he took on this neo-noir co-scripted by Oliver Stone, and had a good cast in place with Jeff Bridges playing the on-off lush ex-detective, Rosanna Arquette as the call girl entrapped by cold, grinning/vicious pimp/pusher played by newcomer Andy Garcia. It seemed like a solid genre picture, one that could hopefully make a few bucks among the crowds looking for another fix of action and crime and romance and what-have-you.

As far as I know, I'm not sure why Ashby was then fired midway through by the producers. Maybe it was paranoia on the producers part (Ashby had an addiction to cocaine, ironically considering the subject matter of the film, and perhaps he was still on it during filming), or he did genuinely screw up somehow, but seeing that he wasn't part of the production all the way through, it casts the film in something of another light. Taking it as it is, there's some entertainment to be had with the tense dialog from Stone between Bridges and Garcia, and also some good chemistry between Bridges and Arquette. Hell, there's even a compelling undercurrent of redemption that's to be had with Bridges's Matthew coming back from bad alcoholic blackouts to track down the killer of the call girl Sonny.

But, and this is the crucial part, the film often has the feel as though it was seriously meddled with by the producers. This isn't to say Ashby's touches with his actors isn't there, as that's compelling enough, but the soundtrack in place makes this so painfully scream out 1980 THRILLER! that it boggles the mind like a hangover with Miami Vice. And there's even a section of the plot that, as perhaps with Matthew as well, blacks out right after Sonny's death. Certain other scenes don't feel like they had that touch of what came at least mostly naturally to Ashby, which was interesting editing. It would've been one thing if this was just another in a series of damned efforts from the director (apparently another film he made also had this happen to him), but given that it's also his final directed feature, albeit after the fact, adds to the shamefulness.

Does 8 Million Ways to Die deserve a director's cut? Maybe so, maybe not, as it stands it's a competent, mostly satisfying thriller. But we'll never know either way.
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When will it be released in DVD?
gary-behun16 March 2008
I loved this movie and still keep a copy of it in VHS. Why it was never released in DVD I'll never know. A lot of my favorite movies sit in limbo because like this one, probably because of some legal squabble, they are just waiting for a DVD version to hit the stores. I became a fan of Jeff Bridges before the movie was released and consider his acting as a alcoholic very realistic to an addicted alcoholic hangover. This is also the first movie, I believe, to see the future star Andy Garcia act. The mannerism of his shaking one hand is something he did later in"The Untouchables" with Kevin Costner. I noticed it immediately in thatmovie. He never did it again except to hint at it in the bar scene in alater movie with Michael Douglas, "Black Rain", another one of my favorites. Well, maybe "8 Million..." will finally be released in a DVDversion. I'll keep watching for it.
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duke190716 November 2002
This movie may have more f-words than any other during the eighties. It's a decent flick with both Jeff Bridges and Rosanna Arquette giving very good performances. There is a sense of danger throughout the entire movie that never lets up. Andy Garcia is also good in one of his earliest roles as the bad guy Angel. The script was written by Oliver Stone before he became famous and isn't bad. The worst part of the movie is probably the direction by Hal Ashby, while a great director it just seems like he wasn't sure about what sort of movie he was making. LA looks sleazy just like it should in this sort of movie. The sun is bright and the sky is gray and cloudy with smog. This is a good movie to rent, but don't try and watch on regular TV because most of the dialogue will have to be cut. It would turn into a silent movie. Still I recommend this to any fans of film noir and detective movies.
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One of the more bizarre movies I've seen in a while
Mr-Fusion19 August 2016
"8 Million Ways to Die" is a perfect example of why Jeff Bridges is one of my favorite actors. The overall movie might be muddled (even bad) but he always brings a laser focus to the job; more often than not, he keeps things alive and kicking. Here, he's playing an alcoholic cop who only really develops an interest in the case after he fails to keep his employer alive. And he really sells the self-loathing that comes with addiction.

This is one of those mid-'80s noirs, comparable to "Against All Odds" and "To Live and Die in L.A." (although not as good as either of those). The plotting is scattered throughout, but it starts out very nicely (a beautiful aerial opening) and sees a few startling lows (a snowcone negotiation and a frenzied warehouse shouting match). Trivia has it that the production was troubled by rewrites and studio interference, and that certainly shows in the final product. Ultimately, it just reminds me of better movies.

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Ashby More Familiar With Substance Abuse Than Crime
curtis martin15 September 2010
That was what I took away from this film. The depiction of alcoholism is stunningly accurate-- thanks in part to Jeff Bridges, of course, but I think the main source of this reality was director Hal Ashby's own experience with drug abuse. This element of the film plays out very well. Unfortunately the actual story is a crime mystery, not a strict character study of an addict. And the crime mystery is very, very weak. After a classic film noir set up in the first third, we are immediately shown who the villain is and what he's up to. Which doesn't really leave us with much of interest for the last two thirds of the film. For example, by the time Bridges reveals the "Big Secret of What's Really Going On" to the other characters we are not surprised at all, even though the scene is played out as a pivotal point in the plot.

I think that if the film had been more skillfully edited, we would have had a story that was both artistic as a character study and involving as a crime story. Maybe if Ashby hadn't been so familiar with substance abuse, he wouldn't have been fired from the film after principal shooting and we could have seen the film as he intended.
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One of the Few Good 80's American Films
tillzen18 January 2009
Though far from perfect, this film has enough little gems, to save it. The acting overcomes everything else, and a scene outside of the LA Coliseum between Jeff Bridges and a young Andy Garcia still makes me smile. Compare and contrast this film to "To Live and Die in LA" and you will see why we think Hal Ashby is our generations Howard Hawks. Of course Hawks was greater, but these days, so little stacks up with anything classic, that we can be forgiven for elevating our few originals like Ashby. Jeff Bridges is a movie star, and here he uses his gifts to pull this film from the 80's swamp. If I'm wrong about this film I apologize, but this is in my collection of 23 DVD's for a reason. From the architect "Gaudi" to truly GREAT henchmen, "8 Million ways To Die" is a VERY lovable flawed gem. In my other reviews, I would guarantee my taste. Here I am too much in love with this film to be a good jury member. I like this film, shame on me!
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