You ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie? I think it’s safe to say that’s an early nominee for best line next year. The problem is what does it mean. Theories… my initial thought was Popeye was referring to a prison in Poughkeepsie and was asking if they had a criminal record and had already served time, therefore could strong arm them more. Adding to that I figured the picking feet part had something to do with getting bent over for some prison rape. After a google it seems I wasn’t the only person who made that assumption. Apparently, however, it was based on an actual good cop bad cop routine the real detectives the movie was based on used. One cop would ask direct questions then the other would chime aggressively with a nonsense question to confuse the perp into actually answering the real question while trying to figure out what the hell was just asked. I choose to believe that it’s a little of both.
Anyway, on to actually reviewing the movie… I think I learned a lesson and it’s that not all classics hold up the same way. I don’t say that to imply The French Connection wasn’t a good movie but for an action movie it was incredibly slow by todays non-stop blow shit up standards. I think I wanted/expected something in between the pace of the movie and todays action movies that don’t have enough time between explosions for character and plot development. There were long slow stretches that were just too much, 95% of the time in Marseilles in the beginning was just showing how pretty Marseilles is.
Couple things I did love were seeing so many of the cop movie/show things we see today be used to great effect. The detectives begging the captain for a longer leash to go after the bad guy, kissing captains ass to for him to get a court order, FBI and local cops hating each other, etc. I don’t have knowledge of cop movie/show to know when that started but it felt very much like Law and Order copied 90% of their plots on things that happened in French Connection.
You can’t talk about this movie without mentioning Popeye’s car chase in pursuit of the train. I’ve known about this scene for years as what’s considered among the top car chases in movie history and it didn’t disappoint. I loved the fact that his car got beat the fuck up and he wasn’t somehow Michael Shumacher and drove 100 mph through tight traffic with no problem.
Hackman and Scheider were fantastic with Hackman clearly the Jordan to Scheider’s Pippen. No real female parts in the movie so no nominees.
New York in the 70s was a shithole
Overall the pacing and the stretches where nothing happened (damn stakeouts) hurt the movie for me. Of the older “classics” we’ve watched together this felt like a distant 3rd to Taxi Driver and The Good the Bad and the Ugly. To confirm my grades lined up that way I went back and saw I gave a B- to GBD so I read my review, I had B+ in there but wanted to bitch about a few things, hindsight says B+ was right. So I’ll go B for French Connection.