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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Cop and a Half

Okay, everyone!  It's time for another movie review, courtesy of this 10-pack of movies that I bought some time ago.  Many of the movies have been pleasant to watch.  Some have been sloppy.  In the case of last week's feature presentation (Ed), it was easily considered to be one of the worst movies that I've ever written about.

So, in order to redeem myself, I chose a film that I personally liked - and apparently, I happen to be one of the only ones who did.  It's a film that debuted at the box office on April 2, 1993, which made me just a month shy of turning twelve.  I guess that's maybe why I didn't mind this film because I guess I was a part of the intended target demographic at the time. 

And, it's not as though this film had a lot of Z-list talent either.  One of the stars of the film happens to be Burt Reynolds - a man known for such films as "The Longest Yard", "Smokey and the Bandit", and "The Cannonball Run", among others.

Other actors and actresses that were a part of this film included Ruby Dee, Holland Taylor, Ray Sharkey, and the debut performance of then eight year old Norman D. Golden II.

This film even had massive star power behind the cameras as well.  Remember how some forty years ago, Henry Winkler got his first big break in the entertainment industry by playing the role of Fonzie on "Happy Days"?  In this film, he served as the director.

Now, despite all of the star power behind this film, and despite the fact that the film did debut at #1 during its opening didn't stay on top for long.  This film famously divided film critics, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, with Siskel thumbing it down and Ebert praising it.  On the positive, the film did earn Golden a nomination for a Young Artist Award, but on the negative, Golden also earned a nomination for a Golden Raspberry Award.  Burt Reynolds actually earned the Razzie for Worst Actor for this movie...certainly not the "comeback" that he had envisioned for himself.

And, to seemingly prove that this film was a failure, here's an interesting piece of trivia.  Usually, when movies are released, it takes about three and a half years for the film to begin making regular appearances on network television.  In this case, this film made its network television debut on January 26, 1997 - the same exact night as the Super Bowl!  Yeah, that was great planning.

Despite all this though, I didn't think that the movie was that bad.  It's not the best film that I've ever seen, mind you, but I still liked it.

I suppose that's why I sort of have a soft spot for "Cop and a Half", today's feature presentation.

Now, luckily, this movie is such that I can give out a plot summary that is vague enough that I don't have to reveal the ending of the movie (which is good, since I don't like revealing movie endings).  And for what it's worth, the plot of the movie is such that while it might seem incredibly farfetched to the average man or woman, it somehow still works.

Which I suppose could describe nearly every single children's movie released in the 1990s, but I digress.

Meet Nick McKenna (Reynolds).  He's one of the most feared police officers to ever patrol the state of Florida.  His toughness intimidates even the most hardened criminals, and his "no fear" attitude has helped him get through some of the most difficult stakeouts.  Sadly, his attitude and prickly disposition has somewhat alienated him from society in general, and his extremely guarded nature has prevented him from getting close to anyone.  When his partner is killed during a drug bust, McKenna takes full responsibility for his partner's death, and he sinks even deeper in despair, throwing himself into his work, leaving little wiggle room for anyone else to get in.

At the same time, a little boy named Devon Butler (Golden) has dreams of his own.  His main ambition in life is to grow up and serve the police force.  He is obsessed with cop movies, he has dreams of going all over the world to stop crimes from taking place, and he is absolutely determined to achieve his goal at all costs.  Never mind the fact that he isn't even ten years old at the time and has absolutely no idea how dangerous being a cop is...for Devon, that's all he wants.

So I imagine that you can predict what happens next.  Devon finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and becomes a witness to a murder while he is playing around an abandoned warehouse.  The murder is committed by an Italian crime boss Vinny Fountain (Sharkey), a very dangerous person to cross paths with, and because he witnessed the crime, Devon is asked to testify so that they can apprehend the criminal.

However, Devon has his conditions.  He'll agree to help the police take down Fountain and his goons, but they have to make him a police officer for one week.  Realizing that they are over a barrel, the police force agree to honour his request.

And, wouldn't you know it?  The "partner" that Devon is assigned just happens to be Nick McKenna!  While Devon sees this as being a real dream come true, McKenna happens to see it as a nightmare.  Not only does he not like being around people...but he especially dislikes being around children.

Nevertheless, Devon and McKenna are forced to work together before Fountain and his goons have a chance to cause more criminal activity.

And, well...I'm just guessing that you can figure out what happens next.

Okay, that's all you need to know about the plot.  Now, how about some trivia about this movie?  There's some interesting facts about the movie that even I didn't know!

1 - This was Ray Sharkey's final film.  He died of complications from AIDS on June 11, 1993 - just two months after the film was released.  He was just 40.

2 - This was the final feature film that Henry Winkler directed.

3 - Originally, this movie was supposed to have been a sequel to the 1990 film "Kindergarten Cop".

4 - This was Burt Reynolds' first feature film in a four year period, with Reynolds taking time out to film television shows "Out of This World" and "Evening Shade".

5 - This movie was attacked by parenting groups over the scene in which Devon has his head dunked inside of a toilet bowl.

6 - Burt Reynolds' nephew, Andrew Reynolds, makes a cameo in the film as a skateboarder.

7 - Lee Ross was originally considered for the role of Devon.

8 - This picture was designed to be a spoof of Hollywood buddy cop movies, such as "Lethal Weapon".

Coming up next week, we take a look at a movie that really explored the world of fantasy gaming - long before fantasy gaming even became popular.

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