Thursday, 3 June 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #526: Would Midnight Run 2 Stumble?

Welcome to the show folks...

There's a lot of talk on-line about their being a sequel to the late 80s action/buddy-comedy Midnight Run and that they want a full reunion, including the legendarily reluctant Charles Grodin.

Now when I first heard this I thought that it was a great idea. Charles Grodin is one of the most unfairly underrated comic actors of the last 50 years. He could play from smarmy villain to fumbling nice guy and every stop in between, and was always watchable. He pretty much retired from acting after the second
Beethoven movie to spend time with his family and his work as a political commentator and advocate for fairer criminal sentencing laws, only appearing on screen a couple of times in small supporting parts that didn't take him far from his Connecticut home. His part as the mob-accountant turned embezzler in Midnight Run was a perfect combination of the right actor with the right character and the right co-star in Robert DeNiro.

Then I got to thinking...

While it would be great to see Grodin back, there are a lot cons about this project that make me unsure. Let's look at the list:

1. The original
Midnight Run did well, for 1988 standards, but it didn't do great. It made $38 million domestic, and $43 million international. It really hit it stride on home video and TV reruns, even spawning some made-for-TV sequels that really didn't have all that much to do with the original film. The combined international take for the film probably wouldn't cover the sequels budget.

2. The original was released 22 years ago. A generation has literally come of age since its release, and there's a good chance that many of them haven't seen anything with Grodin, and appreciate his work. A lot of kids these days, who are the prime ticket-buyers, don't know Robert DeNiro as anything other than the grumpy father in law in the Ben Stiller movies. And let's not forget that both actors are 22 years older than when they made the original. It holds the very serious risk of looking like a touring company production of the
Over The Hill Gang.

3. There's talk of director Martin Brest being involved, possibly as a producer. While I don't like to speak ill of a filmmaker, his career's been on a distinctive downward slide since Midnight Run. His follow up Scent of a Woman, was an unwatchable mess that got praised simply because Academy Voters thought it was time to give Pacino an Oscar. He then followed that up with the pseudo-philosophical exercise in tedium known as Meet Joe Black, and the cinematic abomination called Gigli. Unless he's going to pull of a miraculous comeback, he really should step back from being involved in film-making.

Now I'm all for some more Grodin, I'd even like to see him work with DeNiro again, because they had good chemistry. I just don't think Midnight Run to the Social Security Office is a good idea. Maybe some sort of sly comedy with the two playing rivals who have to work together for revenge when their much younger boss forces them into retirement to cover up his own malfeasance. Get Helen Mirren to play the woman in the middle, Vince Vaughn as the sleazy boss, and you've got yourself a hit.

Of course if you use that idea, I gotta to get paid.

I like cash up front please. ;)

1 comment:

  1. After viewing Scorsese's,My Voyage to Italy documentary,I thought a good project for Scorsese and DiNiro would be a dramedy that looks at the director's chilhood in N.Y.. It was an Italian neighborhood with a lot of characters and character. Now that kind of humor could be successful. The younger crowd today goes for the projectile vomiting,penis joke-a-thon,fan boy stuff,with lotsa slapstick. When I saw that Grodin/DiNiro film years ago it was better than okay but a remake?