The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (15)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (3)
| Rotten (12)
| DVD (1)
... the movie's never as good as it might have been.
An amiable but decidedly lukewarm confection geared entirely around the two star turns.
It's certainly not a subtle movie, but with memorable performances, ludicrously over-the-top one-liners and amiable zaniness, it qualifies as a lot of fun.
How do travesties like this get made?
One of Mr. Benjamin's main contributions to the film is a good-humored buoyancy, even when things are at their most muddled.
Under the direction of last-minute replacement Richard Benjamin, the results are insufferable -- grotesque, chaotic, demoralized.
Bottom line: Good roles for the stars, nice production values, and an impressive supporting cast, but no thrills and only minor laughs.
What could have been an interesting and funny period piece under the directorship of original screenwriter Edwards is turned into a tedious, infantile mess by director Benjamin.
One wishes the only pairing of Clint and Burt were better, but City Heat is still fun.
In the end, it is all pretty woeful.
It's a buddy movie with a nostalgic twist thrown in much like The Sting only ... Burt Reynolds. He's in one movie (like maybe The Naked Gun, as Lt. Frank Dreblin), and everyone else is in another. By the end of the effort one begins to have grown a tolerance for his look-at-me antics, but it takes a long time to get there. In the other movie, the one w/o him, everyone does just fine, particularly Jane Alexander.
Two major Hollywood tough guy legends team together for this 30's period set comedy/crime thriller which doesn't quite get there.
Its basically an buddy action flick but for some reason they have forgotten to include some action haha there is allot of dialog and its all pretty dull, everything looks damn fine to be truthful though. All the sets, costumes and cars look really nice and compete easily with say...'The Untouchables' but as usual Eastwood plays his usual cliched tough guy with no rules whilst Reynolds fairs better with some reasonable laughs as the smooth talking danger magnet who is also handy with his dukes.
Bit of a flop when released and I can see why as this really does stand out as a missed chance for a good film, the blend does work almost but its just lacking some originality and punch.
Reynolds is gumshoe Mike Murphy while Eastwood is rival Lieutenant Speer of the KC Police Department. Earlier, Reynolds had been on the Department, had been Eastwood's partner, in fact; but once he went out on his own the animosity grew between the two until they set off sparks every time they met. This time, the two are thrown together in a case where Reynolds' partner, Dehl Swift (Richard Roundtree) is murdered by gangland thugs. They decide to pair up and work together, despite their differences.
Now, if you believe that Roger Ebert is always right, stop reading right here. Ebert called City Heat one of the worst films of 1984. I'm here to tell you he was wrong. City Heat is a great spoof of the gangster dramas starring Jimmy Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, and Humphrey Bogart. I've seen them all, and love them every time I see them. City Heat has the same charisma that the old 30s gangster films have, but has substantial comic relief as well. Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds are at the top of their game here, with split second comic timing. If you don't think Clint Eastwood would do well at comedy, well you haven't seen City Heat.
The film started out as a Blake Edwards production, but once Reynolds came on board he nixed the idea of Julie Andrews (Edwards' wife) playing the part of the gun moll that later was taken up by the late, great Madeline Kahn. Eastwood stuck by Reynolds and Edwards was so terrified of Clint that he bailed and the project was given to Dick Benjamin, who did a fine job putting together the production. Edwards still got credit for the screenplay, using the pseudonym Sam O. Browne - S.O.B. The film did moderately well at the box office, but the major critics gave it thumbs down, unfairly in my opinion. I've owned this film ever since it was released on VHS and then on DVD and everybody I've screened it with has given it a big two thumbs up, and I never tire of seeing the antics of Eastwood and Reynolds and the sterling supporting cast, including Jane Alexander, Rip Torn, Tony Lo Bianco, Robert Davi, and of course Richard Roundtree and Madeline Kahn. Plenty of fisticuffs, gunbattles, and car wrecks will keep the action fans delighted as well as the witty banter.
The story concerns a set of stolen books that will provide evidence against one of the two mob families in Kansas City. Dehl Swift (Richard Roundtree) has bribed the bookkeeper to give up his boss, but tries to start a bidding war between the two mob families. Not being smart enough to play the two sides off against each other he is bumped off and this is where Reynolds and Eastwood come in. Reynolds tracks down the books but the gangsters kidnap Reynolds' girlfriend, Madeline Kahn who has some hilarious scenes cleaning the gang members out in a poker game back at the cathouse where they are holding her. With thugs on one side and Eastwood on the other, pressing Reynolds to give up the evidence, he has to use all his wits to 1) stay alive, and 2) stay out of jail long enough to rescue Kahn. The way all the subplots play out is really what you need to see if you want to be tickled pink with laughter.
Now, I will be the first to admit that slapstick comedy is not Shakespeare, but it is entertaining. To sum up here, if your in the mood for a fun action comedy then this is worth a look.
The worst Clint Eastwood film I've ever seen (and there aren't many left that I haven't watched yet). I thought w/him and Burt Reynolds, two good actors, that this would be awesome, but it seemed rather uninspired and save a few decent fight/gun scenes and one or two entertaining slapstick moments, it's rather forgettable.
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