September 5, 2007

Deliciously LoFi on a Wednesday Night

You can tell Gene Hackman's character is a real New Yawker because he eats a lot of pizza standing up or walking on the street.

Cinecultist was feeling the full brunt of our film history guilt because we'd never seen The French Connection. We know, we know, travesty. So CC bought a ticket online yesterday afternoon for a showing at the Film Forum tonight at 7:40 pm, so we'd have to go before the one week run of the new 35 mm print ends tomorrow. $11.75 already charged to the credit card is a great motivator. After work, we took the trusty 9 train downtown and grabbed a turkey burger at Grey Dog while we read this week's Entertainment Weekly. Mmmm Grey Dog and their delicious coffee. It was a gorgeous late summer evening and as we sauntered down Bedford with a to go chocolate chip cookie in our purse we were feeling good. The crowd at Film Forum was buzzing but not crazed and we got a seat near the front.

If you've never seen The French Connection, an understandable oversight that will be more easily remedied when it comes out soon on a new DVD, it's really simple and solid crime story. Gene Hackman and Roy Schneider play narcotics cops on the hunt for a big bust and discover a heroin deal going down between a local dude and a French supplier. The most striking thing about this movie was how deliciously lofi the whole thing is. The police use bully tactics and big boat patrol cars with black walkie talkie phones. We see the Pan Am building and watch Popeye Doyle grab a quick Orange Julius at the stand on the shuttle platform at Grand Central (Somebody bring that bad boy back, CC wants an orange juice during our cross town commute). There's a final shoot out and though the closing intertitles allude to the real life cases' unresolved conclusion, Cinecultist believes that Popeye gets his man. It's clear while you're watching The French Connection that more recent New York movies from Spider Man to The Bourne Ultimatum are deeply indebted to its suspenseful car chases. Some bits of the movie are dated like Popeye's blatant racism but Ol' Willie Friedkin has obviously made an Ur text in terms of cinema history.

On the walk home from Film Forum, CC had these thoughts and the beauty of Houston Street on a September night buzzing in our brain. On the iPod soundtrack was Vampire Weekend.* All was right and good in our world.

* If anyone has a hook up for tickets to their sold out show at the Williamsburg Music Hall on Saturday please email the Cinecultist. A rip off of '80s Paul Simon by Columbia grad students is exactly the kind of music we want to be listening to these days.

Posted by karen at September 5, 2007 10:01 PM
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