Monday, January 7, 2013

Don't you want this crime revenged?

I've been pulled over four times. Got tickets in every instance. I'm probably down five hundred bucks in just those damn speeding tickets. Closer to seven hundred, if you count the parking citations I've received for being the ultimate dick, and parking in front of my house.  So, sure, there's been a time or two where I've thought f--king cops, always screwing me over. But, outside of not giving me a break and letting me go on my law-abiding way, I've never had a real issue with the police. Apparently, I've never run into a bad one.

Just over twenty years ago, Bad Lieutenant was let loose upon the world. I don't know what audiences thought of it then, but now? Well, it's nothing short of absolutely f--king crazy. Some play by their own rules, taking matters into their own hands. Others play both sides, having their hands in countless illegal affairs. But Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant? That ain't even the half of it. This a-hole plays with himself.

If that poster to the left bothers you in the least, consider that a gigantic heads up to stay the f--k away from Bad Lieutenant. This flick doesn't shy away from anything. Incessant profanity, extremely graphic drug use and some of the most surprisingly gut-wrenching sexual acts, all run amok in director Abel Ferrara's despicable version of NYC. This place is so unrelentingly filthy, it's hard not to look away. And I did. Oh, trust me. I did.

Set during an imagined playoff series against the Mets and  Dodgers, Bad Lieutenant centers around the miserable life of one of New York's finest. The nameless Lieutenant, is an absolute mess of a person, stumbling through his days in and out of control. Mostly out. He drinks, smokes, steals, gambles and does just about every drug imaginable, on and off the job. As his sports gambling debts mount, he gets deeper and deeper into a personal pool of shit, putting his life and family at risk. Professionally, it's no better. He's involved in a case where a nun was raped, but can barely contribute to the investigation because he's so hepped up on goofballs.

Every frame of this is an ugly mess, but it's cinematic worth is anchored by a jaw-droppingly raw performance by Harvey Keitel. He literally goes balls-out.

First Bad Teacher [review], now Bad Lieutenant. The Yays and Boos have been begging to see something not bad. Being that they've already seen Goodfellas and Good Will Hunting, I was thinking Good Burger.

At least he's not texting. That shit's dangerous.
  • We open with the Lieutenant giving his young sons some fatherly advice in the car after they missed the bus again. You tell Aunt Linda to get the f--k outta the bathroom! Oh, so that's what kind of party this is.
  • You know we're in for it when his drug dealer warns him, That shit's gonna kill you.
  • He catches two kids stealing $500 from a convenience store. He gets it back. Phew. He is a good guy after all. Aw, shit. He just pocketed it.
  • He steals a kilo of coke from a crime scene and drops it out of his coat in front of another officer. Oh, my bad. Isn't that where you keep evidence, Fellow Officer?
  • I think falling asleep at a crime scene is an admirable trait. 
  • When my team grounds into a double play, I usually just curse. I never thought to shoot my radio. While driving.
  • I loved the scene when he goes to his dealer's house and sits on the couch with his mother. He gets thirty grand, a handful of pills and a surprisingly tender kiss from an old, Spanish woman. Sounds like a typical visit to my Nana's.
  • I don't think there's a single moment where he's not f--king up. Seriously. That's impressive.
  • Though, there is a moment when he pledges to do real justice. That was admirable for a moment, but then you realize that means he's going to go extra batshit crazy.
  • And finally, this performance is so -I'm not sure if good or great works- um, mesmerizing. If I met Harvey Keitel and he wasn't a huge bag of shit, I would be utterly shocked. I swear, this takes on a weird documentary feel. It doesn't feel like acting.
Little known deleted scene from Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit
  • So, it's bad enough that he's snorting coke straight out of an evidence bag, right? Well, what about when we cut to...
  • Weird ass lesbian rough stuff. Which then, um, climaxes in a weird three person slow jam. Like the most intense middle school dance ever.
  • Now, everybody knows the formulas, right? One exposed dong equals at least six boobs, two asses and implied female frontal nudity, right? Right. But when said dong is attached to a crying Harvey Keitel? Turns out there aren't enough tits in the world. I know. I can't believe I typed that either.
  • Surprisingly, the NC-17 rating has nothing to do with nudity - it's actually for the graphic drug use. Even more shocking, I fully agree. My goodness. That's a beautiful vein. Gross.
  • As Keitel continues to f--k up over and over, I was really hoping he'd call The Wolf. 
  • Oh man, the scene with the two sisters from Jersey. Note(s) to self: 1. Always check my taillights. Always. 2. Call my dad. Call his ass right now. I'd rather him in my face then a strung out cop's junk. Usually, anyway.
  • Doing blow off a folded up family photo? Subtle.
  • There's an inordinate amount moaning in this film. Not the good kind.
  • Hey! Jesus is here. Cool. Let's go kiss his feet. Wait a second. You're not Jesus. Your a random black lady wondering what the f--k is this guy doing to my toes?
  • I've watched some sporting events in less than ideal circumstances, it's true. Once, I had to watch the hockey playoffs online. Sucks, right? But at least I wasn't handcuffed to a strung out Latino kid in a crackhouse. 
  • And finally, the ending. I understand the nun's reasons, I guess. But as for the The Lieutenant trying to be a good guy for once? No deal. I was furious with his ultimate resolution. You know what forgiveness gets you, Lieutenant? Wait a minute. You'll find out.
The next time I get pulled over, I'm going to ask the police officer what his favorite cop movie is. What's the worst that could happen? Oh, wait. I know this one.

Give me the gum.


  1. Way, way too much style here for me to ever connect to, but Keitel is brilliant. Definitely one of the most disturbing, but powerful performances ever, it's just a shame it didn't get a better movie. Good review M.

    1. Dan, I'm not even sure that a better movie could handle this performance.

      The level of shrieking was almost record setting.

      Still, as you said, Keitel is the truth.

  2. Wow. Much as I admire Keitel as an actor, I've just gotta say it. This movie sounds all kinds of shitty. And as a cop's wife (it's perhaps the only profession rougher and more unappreciated than public school teaching ;-)) I've gotta say, they don't need this kind of publicity. Though I'll concede, some of them are bat-crap crazy.

    Damn, when I read the paragraph ending with "Turns out there aren't enough tits in the world. I know. I can't believe I typed that either" I laughed so hard I almost choked.

    Hilarious gem of a post. You keep outdoing yourself.

    1. Completely agree about police officers being undervalued. I was trying to work that into my into but eventually canned it.

      As for you being to married to a cop, you should definitely watch this one. Though, maybe around Halloween time.

      Thanks for that. But if you'd actually watch this, you'd know I'm not joking. Seriously, it's the kind of thing you wish you could unsee.

    2. Hmm ... I'm definitely going to pass on this one, even on Halloween. Unless I happen to get incredibly drunk. :-) I think that's the only way I could sit through it.

  3. Great review here. What an unforgiving and relentless little flick this is. I mean... damn. It just never lets up. I love that Scorsese called this one of his Top 10 films of the '90s. And Keitel, dude just went for it.

    1. People will read this and think that never is an exaggeration, but it isn't.

      Keitel completely lost his mind in this. Completely.