So Brett Ratner is plotting a sequel to Midnight Run. The beloved 1988 buddy comedy starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin is one of those perfect movies with a screenplay (by George Gallo) that is structurally flawless; a deep and inspired cast that includes Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano, and Yaphet Kotto; and lighting-in-a-bottle chemistry between the two leads, who play a bounty hunter (De Niro) tasked with tracking down the Duke, an embezzling accountant (Grodin) wanted by the feds and the mob. De Niro had played funny before — in Scorsese’s The King of Comedy — but his Jack Walsh was a revelation at the time. I’d go as far as to say that Jack Walsh — the uncorruptable ex-cop from Chicago who scrounges out a living on the road because he refused to go on a mobster’s payroll, who is just smart enough to keep ahead of trouble even when everything goes against him, who still wears the broken watch his ex-wife once gave him — is as endearing and enduring a character as the Academy Award winner has ever played. Once you learn about the Duke’s circumstance, you begin to hope he doesn’t reach the authorities, but you never stop rooting for Walsh to feel the sun’s rays on his back just once. That the film concludes with both men surviving with their souls intact, without feeling like a Hollywood cop-out, is an impressive achievement for which Gallo and the actors share credit.
So here’s where I’m supposed to condemn Tower Heist director Brett Ratner’s chutzpah and say to him those two words that Jack Walsh liked so much: “Shut the f— up!” But I won’t. READ FULL STORY »