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|Index||55 reviews in total|
A terrifically good little film with a slick and funny script, consummate
actors allowed to strut their stuff, a tight edit, and a wonderful sort of
black humour that had me laughing out loud. Yes, it's fairly predictable,
but I didn't mind knowing where it was heading because it was so much fun
That said, it's not a film for everyone. It's sort of a "Pretty Woman" meets "Fargo". If that combination doesn't appeal, then this film probably won't either. But I thought it was a real gem. Two big thumbs up.
If you don't like movies that are adequately summarized in a 20 second spot, if you do like to see actors work against stereotypical expectations and do it well, if you don't believe people or endings are all good or all bad and you're OK with that, this might be a movie you will want to add to your collection. DeNiro is doing the expected only in that he is practicing his patented shape shifting technique -- I found his characterization both believable and involving. Murray gives his first great serious performance -- who knew he could be menacing? Uma is hard to figure, in the way conflicted people often really are. David Caruso gives the most out-there performance I have seen from him, and in this movie it works. (I didn't know him in his first TV cop series, but this character is nothing like the one he plays in CSI Miami.) You might even find yourself rethinking what really happened, and liking that, too.
I keep on watching this movie and i like it more every time i view it. I am very surprised with Bill Murray's character, it was something diffrent from his usual parts. This movie is a black comedy and it's very very funny in parts, some great performances here too especially from Bill Murray who i never expected to see working with Robert DeNiro. This ones a keeper.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I love the 3 main actors in this movie. Not one of them plays their
type-casted styles here.
Bill Murray is a deep yet fierce mafia type. He runs a tight racket and has no fear of the law. This is exceedingly out of character for a man who has an entire career of comedy. Even his stand-up in the film is more of an homage to his dark character than an allusion to his comic ability. He does it so well I believe him. Bill Murray actually scares me in this film.
Robert De Niro plays a unique role as a cop who ISN'T the hardest thing on the street. My brain almost exploded from the first scene on. He is so lonely and so innocent. He's just a guy living in a sheltered life. That is until Murray takes a shine to him. This is probably the only character De Niro has ever played that I could identify with. I don't fear life the same way he does, but the way he notices all the smallest details, to the point of photographing them.
I think this says it all:
Frank (Murray): That's life huh? F***ing Wayne, give him a hand, he takes the whole arm huh? Come on Wayne, bring her down.
Wayne (De Niro): I love her.
Frank: You love her? I OWN HER!
Uma Thurman plays a very lost and paranoid woman. Her first few scenes in this film she won't stop shaking. I can hardly believe it's her except she's so damn hot. Her spirit alone makes her lovable. As if there will be a day when she can put on a nice dress and walk on the beach with you.
I love this movie. It is reserved to the point of realistic. The supporting actors are deep and become story drivers in their own right, especially David Caruso who plays De Niro's cop friend "No guts, no glory right?" and Mike Starr who plays the world's only non-stereotypical goon "I get paid either way."
I think my ultimate appeal is that it gets the anti-hero, anti-journey concept right where so many bad independent films go wrong. It portrays real people with problems who aren't heroes, but will fight as a last resort. It does in a few seconds with a long stare what whole movies do with drawn out musical sequences and angry albeit meaningless conflicts.
Mad Dog and Glory (1993)
**** (out of 4)
A lonely and wimpy cop (Robert DeNiro) saves the life of a mobster (Bill Murray) so as a thank you gift the mobster gives the cop a thank you present for a week in the form of Glory (Uma Thurman). The two eventually fall in love but since she's still the gangster girl there's going to be a problem with the cop trying to keep her. I still remember when this film was released as it got all sorts of very good reviews but it didn't really catch an audience, which is a real shame but the bigger shame is that it still hasn't become too well known even after fifteen years. To me this is one of the best comedies of the decade and a film that gets better with each new viewing. What makes this comedy so special is that we get two great actors changing their roles and playing the opposite of what we're use to seeing them do. I also think this is one of DeNiro's greatest performance just because of how fun he is here. We're use to seeing him play dark and tormented characters so it's great fun seeing him at the opposite end of the pole and playing a real wimp who really can't do anything right. Murray is downright wonderful in the role of the mobster who wants to be a comic. Murray's comic timing hits all the right notes and he even manages to come off threatening in the scenes where he has to try and rough up DeNiro. Thurman is easy on the eyes and comes off very well. Supporting players David Caruso, Mike Starr, Kathy Baker and Tom Towles also shine in their moments. Starr isn't very well known but he's always been one of my favorite character actors and his brand of comedy adds a lot of great scenes to the film. All of the comedy leads to a wonderful street fight at the end when DeNiro finally snaps and becomes the "Mad Dog", which is a hilarious sequence and in my opinion one of the best street fights in any movie. After seeing DeNiro's character being bullied the entire film, to finally see him snap was very exciting and funny.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is quite simply one of the most unique, uplifting, and relatable
films I have ever or will ever see.
It is the story of Wayne, the Mad Dog (Robert DeNiro), who is an unfulfilled and lonely police officer. He is a timid but talented man who spends his free time yearning for love, but simultaneously unsure of who and where he can find it. Abrupt changes occur in his life upon inadvertently saving the life of a ruthless gangster, Milo (Bill Murray). The reward from Milo is Glory (Uma Thurman), to stay with Wayne for one week. Wayne and Glory fall in love and when the time comes to return Glory to the gangster, a classic struggle ensues.
There are so many layers to the movie, and it is showcased by both strong dialogue, including Wayne's partner, (David Caruso), very high quality acting from all characters involved, and a moving story with the theme of love - believable, poignant, and relatable. Relatable in the sense that the main character Wayne shares traits that normal everyday people can actually relate to, which is a testament to the acting by Robert DeNiro, who often plays a dominant and at times unbelievably intelligent "tough guy". Here, Wayne is so mild-mannered that his friends and colleagues at the station refer to him as Mad Dog, which is an ironic name until he really does become his true self... MAD DOG, empowered by Glory.
And then the same can be said of Bill Murray, who is very believable as a ruthless gangster where he is typically known as a goofball and comedian. He proved his dramatic range as a powerful, demoralizing, and overbearing protagonist to DeNiro, which is completely opposite of what one would expect, but it just works so well here that it's indescribable.
Add Uma Thurman (Glory) into the mix, and it's easy to understand that a man can only be pushed so far... There is one thing in this world truly worth fighting for, and as a last resort whenever possible.
I'd recommend this movie to anyone who's ever been lonely or unsure of the future and what they do with their lives. 8.5 out of 10.
Time and time again I try to see movie comedy try to transcend its material to create some sort of comic lunacy. They take all their characters and exagerate them to the point of being caricatures instead. MAD DOG & GLORY could very well have done that to Milo, Glory and Wayne. But instead of making a mockery out of their world for simple laughs and guffaws, director McNaughton plays the comedy at human level, in turn making this little gem something different. Every project John McNaughton takes on seems to be effectively low-keyed. He made HENRY one of the most frightening and violent films of the 90's by playing down the glorification of violence. He did it this time with the comedic material in MAD DOG & GLORY, making us laugh with its characters, and not at them. As for the acting? Impeccable.
Most things in Mad Dog and Glory work. The film uses humour, a love
story, cross casting and a scrape of suspense well and at various
different intervals. What doesn't work are the overall frustrations
that bog the film down. The premise is so simple, watching it might
make you think you've seen it a hundred times before but that doesn't
detract too much. De Niro plays a role that I hadn't seen him play
before and must admit, I didn't think he had it in him following other
such performances like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Ronin where he
played various different roles with various different aims. Here he
pulls off the nervous, shy photographer whom just goes about his
business and although it takes some getting used to, it's a pleasant
He can be contrasted with Bill Murray's character of Frank Milo who is a criminal/mob boss that is saved by De Niro's character following a gun point robbery. What's clever about this fact is that Murray is playing the character De Niro normally plays and vice-versa. Throughout the film, the script is consistent. Mad Dog (De Niro) gets to confess some jokes to Milo since he also works as a stand up comic; something we're more familiar to Bill Murray doing, and the awkward exchanges between Mad Dog and Glory (Thurman) also evoke some emotions.
Uma Thurman is just about 'put-upable' in this film. Her character is right on that fine-line you get that separates 'likeable' and 'annoying' in a very distinct way. Once more, the overall treatment of the female characters also stands out in a rather obvious way. At the bars, it's all women who run around serving the men who sit there and enjoy themselves; the character of Glory, as I've said, has a dopey, annoying voice and is someone whom is to phone Milo on instructions. Glory isn't very smart either and when, nearer the end in a heated exchange between Mad Dog and Milo, Milo yells 'You love her? I OWN her!' it's really made to seem like the screenwriter has something against the female side of our species.
Although the film is pretty much consistent throughout in its subject matter with Mad Dog and Glory spending enough time with one another to begin to like each other, Frank Milo remaining a constant, background friend and foe alike; it falters towards the end when certain characters try to raise money and the ending is such a horrible, happy, un-realistic ending it actually leaves a bad taste in the mouth when the feeling should be very different. Sure, I was happy for the characters involved but it was too generic. Reading up on it, I found that there were two endings meaning that even the makers were undecided.
Regarding Uma Thurman, this is a film of hers I feel I never would have seen had it not been for some dedicated searching and I was certainly very surprised when the sex scenes with De Niro came along since I'd always assumed she'd done Dangerous Liasons in 1988 and then nothing until 1994's Pulp Fiction which then, kick-started what was a series of successful, well known films. The reason for my surprise is that I never hear anyone mention this film as one of either Thurman's or De Niro's best. It's true that it's far from great but the sheer surprise at realising both had done this film in their careers is enough to realise and to respect the acting talent involved. From now on, when people speak of Uma Thurman or Robert De Niro, this is a film of their's I will bring up and probably recommend.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"My wife thinks Cooking and F**king are places in China." Bill Murray
"Mad Dog and Glory" finds actor Robert De Niro plays a lonely police photographer. Introverted and alienated, he spends his days photographing corpses, the poor guy having long abandoned the hope of romantic connection.
One night De Niro saves the life of a mafia boss, played by the wonderfully cast Bill Murray. To show his gratitude, Murray loans De Niro a young woman for one week. A couple dates, a little sex, some female companionship...surely a week with the girl will square off all debts. But no, De Niro falls in love with the girl and insists that Murray allow her to live with him permanently.
Of course, Murray won't allow this. He's a tough gangster! A macho man! He owns this woman! She's a symbol of his masculinity, of his power! How dare De Niro presume himself to be worthy of possessing such a precious object?!
The film then becomes a pretty slick feminist tract, director John McNaughton deliberate in his portrayal of both Murray and De Niro as snivelling wimps. Murray a comedic actor who is possibly the last person one thinks of when casting an Italian gangster goes to therapy, is sensitive, talks to his psychologist about his problems and spends more time doing stand up comedy for his mafia buddies, than taking care of mob business. He's an emasculated man, symbolic of a kind of decaying patriarchy that clings desperately to out dated codes of masculinity.
Meanwhile, De Niro a tough guy actor renowned for his gangster roles - plays a shy photographer who relies on his buddies to fight for him, avoids confrontation, is awkward around women and is happiest when taking photographs. In other words, the gangster is a big softie who uses macho codes in order to hide his sensitivity and feign power, whilst the police photographer is a big softie who relies on the power and macho codes of the gangster to overcome his sensitivity and acquire the token woman.
The film ends with De Niro and Murray (both effeminate losers) literally having an old-fashioned fistfight, the winner of which will take possession of the girl. But when the fight is over, both men learn to back off and let her make her own decisions. Murray gives the girl away, no longer wishing to control her, and De Niro likewise sets her free. Of course she nevertheless chooses to live with De Niro, swayed by the sight of him battling bravely for her love. The film's message: patriarchal codes have consequences, and women like guys who fight for their rights, rather than those who fight to oppress them. They want both the sensitive artist (photographer/stand up comic) and the tough brute, which I guess means that women are downright greedy.
Beyond these musings, director John McNaughton has fun highlighting the conflicts and contradictions of macho posturing, but the whole idea of a lonely guy rescuing and falling in love with a hooker with a "heart of gold" is such a male fantasy that it subverts the whole thing (think Tarantino's "True Romance", or the countless childish stories in which heroes rescue big-breasted damsels in distress). It's like promoting female empowerment so that women can stay home and give you good sex.
7.9/10 Regardless of how muddled its meterosexual message is, Bill Murray's deadpan performance makes this film special. Dinero would try his hand at comedy throughout his career, but aside from De Palma's "Hi, Mom!" he's always looked uncomfortable. By the late 90's he'd simply equate comedy with pulling silly faces.
Worth one viewing.
First time I watched this film I was so perplexed by it that I had to watch
it again, and on the second viewing I loved it. What had initially confused
me about the film was the packaging that suggested a typical Hollywood
romantic comedy. That's not what it is at all. What it IS, is a
fascinating character driven drama with some very funny moments. It also
features some of the best work of the three leads respective
This is one of De Niro's best performances ever and definitely his most underrated. He has too often slipped into the thug for hire role (The Untouchables, Cape Fear, The Fan) but here he creates an extraordinarily well-rounded character that you can completely understand. He says more about Wayne with his facial expressions, the way he holds himself, and his pattern of speech then any of the dialogue in the movie.
Thurman matches him all the way. She perfectly captures Glory. There's really not much more you can say about her performance than that, it is faultless. She never reveals Glory's true intentions AT ALL during the film, make your own mind up. Does she really want to be with Wayne or is she just using him to get away from Frank Milo. Even right at the end, there's a hint that she is still just 'doing Wayne a favour'.
Bill Murray is the big surprise. He effectively balances the menace and humour of Milo. You feel his frustration in the life he leads , by the way he looks at his henchmen, the way he tries to befriend Wayne. It is a strong yet subtle performance and Murray proves he is far more than just a funny man.
David Caruso and Mike Starr are also excellent in their respective supporting roles.
Scenes to watch out for are a touching "bad sex" scene. How often do we see this, usually sex in the movies is either terrific for those involved or played for laughs but Mad Dog and Glory dares to be realistic. Also watch for Wayne singing along to the dukebox and the scene when Wayne refuses to give back Glory to Milo.
The film is always intellingent and never sinks to gimmicky resolutions. It's slow and low-key which may turn some people off. But if you like character driven movies then you'll love this. This film seems to get better every time I watch it. It's truly one of the hidden gems of 1993.
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