21 May 2019 | Quinoa1984
"C'mon, Slim!" Trashy but delightful guilty pleasure
And the moral of the story is... If you're an aging fairly well to do business-owner with a wife running for city council, might be a good idea to keep it in your pants. I mean, hey, thats what the porno theaters are for and all, right?
52 Pick Up is sleazy, practically X rated (I imagine it got edited down to an R) and would be an excessive neo noir, practically an exploitation flick with the grit it's spitting out, if not for Elmore Leonard being a cracker-jack master at s***bag sometimes-smart-but-also-stupid characters (you know, f-ups), and the delicious twists and turns this takes, which are ultimately all about how Mitchell (Scheider) manages to get the upper hand just enough to keep things moving his way.... Until it doesn't. And good God do John Glover and especially Clarence Williams III own their roles so complerely and make them equally terrifying and campy (Williams's squeaky voice, one for the ages, man).
There are some odd/off technical beats early on - maybe it was because I was seeing it on 35mm on a big screen, but certain tracking shots seemed ragged, and I dont know if that was by design or because Frankenheimer had a lax crew - and I can't shake that Ann-Margaret's character is too smart, or seems to be, to make some of the dumb choices she does at times. Like say, I dunno, leave the house for a while and don't stay where you know these dummy porn jackals will come by since they know where your husband lives - hell, he shouldve moved them out after the first video, but whatever, not a killer to the whole story. So moments like those where logic leaves for plot convenience aren't solid.
For all the illogic and flagrant disregard for good taste that this as (many real world porn stars appear, including Ron Jeremy), this is a helluva good movie because Frankenheimer understands what Leonard is going for: nobody here is exactly likeable, but it's more about watching how one guy will scheme with the other, and Scheider nearly becomes a Sanjuro among these three dangerous boobs. Not to mention on top of everything there is that 80s synth score that I believe is playing the Melodies of the Pile of Cocaine from Scarface. My only regret was not having a glass of scotch to go along with it.
(PS: .... Too bad we didnt get the denouemont where Ann-Margaret divorces his jazz-convertible self and takes him for everything he's got (I mean, you cheat on Ann friggin Margaret, youre lucky she doesnt beat you in the head with roller skates like Roller Girl in Boogie Nights, but I digress).