A Bad Place Full Of Bad Jerks

Your (Weekly) Summer Movie Guide to Movies You Should Watch Again: Midnight Run

Cast: Robert DeNiro (Jack Walsh), Charles Grodin (Jonathan Mardukas), Yaphet Kotto (Alonzo Mosely), Dennis Farina (Jimmy Serrano)

Director: Martin Brest (Scent of a Woman, Beverly Hills Cop, Meet Joe Black)

Plot: Without giving anything away, the film is about a bounty hunter (DeNiro) who is hired to find a bail bond-jumping accountant for the mob (Grodin). Jack Walsh has to get Johnathan Mardukas from New York City to Los Angeles as quickly as possible (it's termed a "Midnight Run") in order to cash in. DeNiro's Jack Walsh has a history with Dennis Farina's Jimmy Serrano, and it's not a good one.

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Why you should watch it: Where do I begin? Along with Caddyshack, Animal House, and Fletch, this is one of the most quotable comedies of all time. DeNiro is spot-on as the bounty hunter and Grodin is his perfect foil. This was the first time I saw the late Dennis Farina in a movie, and I never forgot that first impression. He was humorously menacing as the mob boss from Walsh's past. Yaphet Kotto, best known for his roles as (ugh) "Mr. Big" in Live and Let Die, and (fuck yeah!) "Parker" in Alien, is the epitome of button-downed anger in the role of a flustered FBI agent chasing Grodin's character too. The 1980s was rife with "buddy" movies, and while this one (technically) resembles that genre, it is miles ahead of any other movie of its ilk. There are scenes of pure improvisation which make the film crackle with humor. The casting choices of the main characters are perfect. DeNiro, Grodin (in his incredibly dry and self depricating fashion), Farina, and Kotto are exactly the right actors in exactly the right roles. This film, released in 1988, has a huge cult following. Find it, dust it off, pop it in, and enjoy.

Availability: DVD, Blu Ray, Streaming, free on Youtube

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