Monday, November 26, 2007

City Heat

The always interesting Cinema Retro pointed me to a Nathan Rabin piece on City Heat, the excrutiatingly terrible movie that co-starred Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds. Rabin mentions that some bad movies are remembered and some totally forgotten. He thinks City Heat is one of the forgotten ones and I have to agree. I haven't thought about it in years.

I remember watching it in disbelief. It was a piece of crap in just about every way a movie can BE a piece of crap. There's nothng worse than bad comedy and this--except for the opening, as Rabin points out--was about as bad as any comedy I've ever seen.

Here are some quotes:

"At the time City Heat was filmed, Reynolds and Eastwood were two of the biggest box-office attractions in the world. So their pairing must have filled the minds of studio executives with ecstatic images of cash registers c-c-chinging happily. As Hit And Run, a book I recently read about Peter Guber and Jon Peters’ disastrous reign running Columbia-TriStar, makes abundantly clear, perception is as important, if not more important, than reality in Hollywood. So the studio execs must have been able to wow peers at cocktail parties for months by crowing, “So, we’ve got Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood in a period action-comedy from Blake Edwards.” Of course, if their partygoers were to ask “Yeah, but how’s the script?,” they’d just blankly stare at them and repeat, “Yeah, so we’ve got Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood in a period action-comedy from Blake Edwards. How cool is that? It’s gonna be huge.” (Ed note--Eastwood replaced Edwards inexplicably with Richard Benjamin presumably because Benjamin would take orders.)


"Eastwood became an archetype while even at the height of his powers; Reynolds always felt ersatz. I have a lot of respect for Reynolds’ minimalist work in movies like Deliverance, Semi-Tough, and The Longest Yard, but Reynolds nevertheless went from being a very poor man’s Marlon Brando, all coiled intensity and internal brooding, to a K-Mart version of Clark Gable.

"Both men worked extensively with co-stars lower down the evolutionary ladder than them. Eastwood famously worked with Clyde The Orangutan on Any Which Way But Loose and Every Which Way You Can. Reynolds worked extensively with Dom DeLuise until the corpulent cut-up’s feces-throwing, agitated screeching and baboon-humping made further collaborations impossible. Both men found their romantic travails splashed across tabloids. But where Eastwood’s acrimonious break-up with Sondra Locke only added to his aura as a tormented artiste, Reynolds’ high-profile fling with human Barbie Doll Loni Anderson made them the proto-Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson."

This is an entertaining pice both about a bad movie and two careers that veered off in very different directions. For the rest go here:


mybillcrider said...

I hardly remember this one, other than a couple or scenes. Which is probably for the best. Didn't Reynolds hurt himself while making the movie. Seems I recall some mysterious injury that caused him problems for years.

Ed Gorman said...

The piece talks about the rumors that Reynolds had AIDs. I believe that he lost weight because of an injury and/or illness. His marriage went bust, his theater in Florida went bust, his career went bust. A sad fall from a very high perch.

Anonymous said...

City Heat marks, I think, the opposite directions Clint and Burt went at that point.

It's certainly no HEAT, the '95 film that paired Pacino and Deniro on screen for about 7 minutes.


Anonymous said...

Boy, hate to be in the minority here... I actually liked City Heat. Not as a comedy, but as a neat tough-guy movie. I watched it recently. It's OK. Of course, maybe I also like it because my dad played the opening scene for me when he rented the VHS (back when I was a wee lad) and he laughed so hard I figured it had to be good.

Juri said...

I seem to remember that here in Finland some critics actually found some nice things to say about the movie. I don't remember what they were and I haven't seen the movie myself - I just remember it looking pretty cool on the videostore stands. It may've been one of those movies that made more money on overseas VHS publications than on screen in its homeland.

Juri said...

A friend corrected me: it got equally bad reviews in Finland as well.

Anonymous said...

My recollection: Burt's career/box-office was declining at that point in '84. The pairing with Eastwood was seen by insiders as a means of reestablishing his star power.

Vince said...

My favorite thing about City Heat is the pseudonym Blake Edwards chose for his writing credit: Sam O. Brown. The initials say it all.