Scudder is a detective with the Sheriff's Department who is forced to shoot a violent suspect during a narcotics raid. The ensuing psychological aftermath of this shooting worsens his drinking problem and this alcoholism causes him to lose his job, as well as his marriage. During his recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous, he meets a mysterious stranger who draws him back into a world of vice. In trying to help this beautiful woman, he must enter a crime-world of prostitution and drugs to solve a murder, while resisting the temptation to return to his alcohol abuse.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
As Oliver Stone was busy in Mexico shooting Salvador (1986) and thus unable to rework his screenplay before production began, Hal Ashby started to write his own script for 8 Million Ways to Die (1986). Ashby worked from both Stone's script and the original novel by Lawrence Block as well as his own research. The fifty pages that Ashby wrote had neither the fiercely evocative color of Stone's screenplay nor particularly exciting dialogue, yet they were the starting point for a much more complex and psychologically interesting film and were consciously designed as a blueprint that the actors and possibly other writers could move forward with later. Ashby gave the fifty pages he wrote to producer Stephen J. Roth (who said he liked them) but abruptly stopped work on his screenplay when he discovered that, without his knowledge, PSO had hired R. Lance Hill to rewrite Stone's script. Ashby, who had confidence in his own screenplay, felt hurt and told Roth, "I don't think I have ever had that one happen to me before." He was further upset on learning that Hill was to report to Mark Damon, cutting Ashby out of the rewriting process completely. See more »
Boom mic reflected in car window (at around 1h 12 mins). See more »
The murder rate used to be a thousand a year. Three a day, and that was high. Now it's five. Higher in the summer. Fourteen two Fridays ago. We get the death penalty six, seven times a day, only it's not for murderers, it's for ordinary citizens.
Matthew 'Matt' Scudder:
Yeah, there are 8 million stories in the naked city. Remember that old TV show? What we have in this town is eight million ways to die.
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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...
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