Monday, September 23, 2013

Making the Mould

Watched Paul Newman in Harper the other night with Tim Lane. It's a favorite for both of us, and we got to talking about the similarities and differences between Newman's Harper and Ross MacDonald's Archer (from The Moving Target - the source material) and Raymond Chandler's Marlowe - just the unavoidable comparisons that were going to be made and the way the film (and William Goldman's script) approached them. They were clearly looking to create a new version of an American archetype and even said as much in the first few minutes (notice the opening scene of Harper visiting his rich old lady client is almost an exact mirror image of (Humphrey Bogart as) Marlowe's meet 'n greet with the rich old man client from The Big Sleep. Then notice that Harper's client is played by Big Sleep co-star and Bogart's off screen wife Lauren Bacall and yeah... it doesn't get much more obvious. This was the passing the torch scene). Mostly, they were aces. I like Newman and I like the movie, but I was struck this time by some of the small failures of humor. The countless eye-rolls got a bit annoying and some of the one liners were a bit off (or too on the nose). Still, I think the character and Newman's portrayal accomplished the job of bringing the loner/outsider out of a classic era and into a new one (and then leaving him there).

Newman made a trilogy of PI flicks (in my mind, and, I believe, in the minds of the creators they are explicitly linked) in three different decades - aging the character naturally. Three different eras, three different stages of the character's (archetype's) life. He played Lew Harper again in another direct MacDonald adaptation in 1975, Stuart Rosenberg's The Drowning Pool, and then in 1998 played a veeeeerrrrrry similar character named Harry Ross (as in MacDonald -get it?) in Robert Benton's under-seen Twilight.

And it got me thinking... Where is the archetype now? Preserved in amber tropes? Drowning in familiarity or nostalgia? When someone says Private Eye Movie to you, what jumps to mind? Is it still something from a bygone era or is there a new version making its mark now?

I tried to come up with some examples of somebody taking up the challenge and came up with three that meet my criteria (private detective - not law enforcement professionals or amateur geniuses, movies & television only - not books, acknowledgement of the past and the tradition is fine - but can not be the focus).

Patrick Kenzie & Angela Gennaro in Gone Baby Gone - What's still there? The individual(s) outside the law, but beholden to strict personal moral codes (the nuances of which bring about the greatest dramatic tension between the partners). What's changed? The partnership. Spade & Archer they ain't - they're much more of a team. The gender. Adding a woman to the mix as an equal partner is a big step tho the movie is clearly Patrick's. Mike Hammer and Velda they ain't. The tone is a lot more grim. Even when Marlowe or Harper got existentially sad or were bastards to somebody, the tone was at least artificially light. Now, even when Pat & Angy crack wise, it's sad and bleak.

Hank Dolworth & Britt Pollock in Terriers - What's still there? The humor. God, I didn't think I missed it, but man, the chemistry between these two just crackles. The usual tropes - alcoholic, disgraced ex-cop, divorced - but hung up on ex-wife. What's changed? The attitude. Their gleeful commitment to outlawhood is just what the doctor ordered. The dress code. Nothing natty in the wardrobe, but then these guys are never going to appear in court (unless they're going to prison - which, come to think of it...) The vibe. The show only lasted one season, but it was a character drama as much as a case(ish) of the week mystery. The real pleasures were found in the details of the day to day lives of our beach-bum-knights.

Lisbeth Salander & Mikael Blomkvist in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - What's still there? Everything. What's changed? Everything. Best - she's the interesting one. Worst - it's still essentially a drawing room mystery, just on the internet. I wasn't really a fan of this one, but it did strike me as a thoroughly modern PI team (they're just operating in an old-fashioned story).

So, the modern examples all seem to be teams. That's interesting to me. Feel like I must be missing a great one, but damned if I can think of more. Help?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Coming Soon

True Detective - Nick Pizzolatto

Mob City - c: Frank Darabont

On the Job - d: Erik Matte, w: Erik Matte, Michiko Yamamoto

Zulu - d: Jerome Salle, w: Jerome Salle, Julien Rappeneau, Caryl Ferey

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Black is Back

From the unholy alliance of Matthew Louis (Out of the Gutter) and Lou Boxer (Noir Con) and with some big editorial help from Cullen Gallagher (Pulp Serenade) comes Noir Riot - a biennial print and e-journal for all your dark places. Go check em out, and consider sending them something worthy. They're looking for short fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

I'm sure all the cool kids'll be abuzz with anticipation of it this week at Bouchercon in Albany. Wish I could be there to see you guys, but y'know I think a little bit of me goes a looooooong way, and I want you to be glad to see me next time.

But hey, I do have a new book on the way in the Fall and November is filling up with some very cool events I'll be defiling with my presence. First, up on November 2nd I'll be at N@B-Minneapolis with Anthony Neil Smith, Tim Lane and John Kenyon where host Paul von Stoetzel will unveil the Hogdoggin' promo-trailer and probably screen Viscosity too. It's gonna be pretty badass.
 Sean Doolittle, Paul von Stoetzel, John Rector,  Jess Lourey, Anthony Neil Smith, Peter Dragovich (The Nerd of Noir)

This photo from the first Twin Cities event was taken presumably before the fist fight. Read Dan Malmon's account of the evening at Crimespree online.

The very next weekend I'll be joining N@B alum Frank Bill, Hilary Davidson, Sean Doolittle, Dan O'Shea, Duane Swierczynski and Frank Wheeler Jr. (along with a few other folks you may have heard of before) at Murder & Mayhem in Muskego (about an hour outside of Milwaukee I've been told). If you'd like to avoid me I'll be on the Back in Black panel along with Megan Abbott, Reed Farrel Coleman and the Franks Bill & Wheeler. So, unfortunately, your otherwise-ace survival instincts will cost you some first-rate company. Maybe you and Kieran Shea can go stretch your legs during that panel. Looking forward to seeing Jon, Ruth, Jen, Jeremy, Tim as well as matching spouses, mistresses and gigolos that belong to the Crimespree crew. Dave Wahlman too, though, I hear that won't be happening... Be pretty amusing if he did show up with Dog the Bounty Hunter in hot pursuit.

And then, and then... at least two more N@B events that are looking for solid dates to land upon. One in St. Louis and the other in a brand new and very special spot of unbelievably concentrated literary fire power. Want a hint? I'll just say that both the St. Louis and mystery city location events are likely to feature me and my Broken River brothers William Boyle and J. David Osborne.

Another reminder that the Broken River Kickstarter campaign is not a threat, but an opportunity to score some cool shit myself, senors Osborne and Boyle as well as Stephen Graham Jones, Pearce Hansen and the mysterious and kinky Red Hammond. Check out the benefits right here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Genre Not Named After a John Mellencamp Song... But Probably Could Be

Just watched Victor Nunez's terrific small-town crime drama Coastlines (check out this cast: Timothy Olyphant, Josh Brolin, Scott Wilson, William Forsythe, Josh Lucas, Angela Bettis, Robert Wisdom, Sarah Wynter, Daniel von Bargen), and realized that it was exactly the kind of movie I've been trying to wrangle into a screenplay for ten years now. Yes, it's a crime story - it's got criminals and cops, betrayal and revenge - but it is about lower-case 'c' crime (relational transgressions and other not-necessarily-prosecutable offenses) at least as much about the capital 'C' variety, and doesn't boil down to the biggest badass, the most clever or the most ruthless character coming out on top. It's about human-fucking-beings who live together in a small community, and no matter what they get up to when the sun goes down, have to get up again in the morning and see each other. People leave the community through two chief channels: they join the military or go to prison. Any relational bridge they burn, they will be confronted with every day for the rest of their lives - there's no disappearing into a different social scene or starting over with a clean slate on the other side of town. And that factors into their actions much more than in typical thriller fare.

That also makes it more thrilling.

Because these are recognizable people. They could be you or me much more easily than any stoic tough-guy, mustache-twirling mastermind or sexed-up femme fatale. Their decisions are not predetermined by trope and come with real consequences. They will surprise you and please you.

And they will hurt you.

Here are just a few other small-town crime flicks I'd use to define the genre I'm trying to describe

Affliction - d: Paul Schrader, w: Paul Schrader, Russell Banks

At Close Range - d: James Foley, w: Elliott Lewitt, Nicholas Kazan

Lone Star - d/w: John Sayles

Shotgun Stories - d/w: Jeff Nichols

Ulee's Gold - d/w: Victor Nunez

Winter's Bone - d: Deb Granik, w: Deb Granik, Anne Rosellini, Daniel Woodrell

So... it's imperfect. Some of these I'd probably leave off the list tomorrow, but, hey, if you too dig these movies, check Coastlines the hell out. Can't believe I've never had it recommended to me before.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2013 in Flicks: August

Antiviral - Brandon Cronenberg - Syd has a nasty virus. He's been taking his work home with him and it's catching up with his poor, abused immune system. Syd's a salesman who deals in viruses and his extracurricular activities aren't just highly lucrative and highly illegal, they're potentially deadly. This is the most perverse thing I've seen in a good long while. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fucking excellent. A sterile flick about germs. A study of celebrity/saint worship from a child of fame. So damn many beautiful touches of perfect awfulness. Mutilation and adoration of flesh, a techno-religious experience. I really don't want to say anything more about the content of the picture because it is all so deliciously wrong, that one of the chief pleasures is letting it unfold without any expectations to live up to. Can't wait to see what young master Cronenberg does next. Best moment: so many to choose from, but I'm going to say... anytime the camera pans around the deli.

Baytown Outlaws - Barry Battles - Boondock Saints, Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane, Hell Ride... this is the picture that those all wanted (and failed) to be, so, at least, there's that. But that doesn't turn out to be quite as awesome as you might hope. It's like Battles and co-writer Griffin Hood wanted to make a vehicle for the Tremor brothers from Smokin Aces - which, okay, I'd go see - and the Oodie brothers here, played by Clayne Crawford, Travis Fimmel, and Daniel Cudmore, could be a lot of fun in small doses, but in the end they can't quite generate a feature's running time of audience good will and a structure that has them knocking down a series of ultimate badasses every fifteen minutes seriously undercuts the idea of an 'ultimate badass'. But let's not be entirely negative, huh? The cast are demonstrably charismatic (check out Fimmel in Vikings, and I already said Crawford's character was my favorite part of Rectify), the script by Battles & Hood has plenty of flavor and the direction is fluid and charged with energy. I'm confident that everybody involved is capable of making one of my favorite flicks of the next five or ten years, but it's not this one. Just glad it's out of their system now and they can move on. Best moment: the opening raid.

Bullet to the Head - Walter Hill - Checked this one out for Hill. Not sure what is says about your movie when Sylvester Stallone is consistently the best actor on screen, but you could go ahead and say it about this one. Is Stallone great? Not quite, but this is arguably his best role since Cop Land - but then this one is a big ol' softball pitched to his sweet spot. Or could you say that Sung Kang is terrible as the sidekick here? Absolutely, the worst. But is that because he has no presence or because his character has no purpose outside of using a smart phone every once in a while (where we get perhaps the most awful and flat-out funny delivery of expositional dialogue in the history of film - or the decade anyway). Is this worthy of Hill's legacy? At least as worthy as The Wolf of Wall Street will be to Martin Scorsese's. There's a terrific energy to the fight sequences and the picture barely pauses to listen to your objections. The subtitle could've been It Came From the Eighties... and I'd be fine with that. Best moment: the bath house brawl - it's no Eastern Promises, but then what is?

Elysium - Neill Blomkamp - Max is an ex-con, factory worker living in a slum called Earth, trying to stay straight and keep in line  so as to avoid beat-downs from robo-cops and probation violations from his animatronic PO. When he suffers a terrible accident on the job, exposing him to a lethal dose of radiation, and learns that he has only a few days to live, he embraces his inner outlaw in a crazy bid to be healed. His plan is to go to heaven and hijack some magic healthcare which everybody up there enjoys. See on Elysium (a space station where the fabulously wealthy can live a So-Cal lifestyle without being bothered by the great unwashed), every mansion has a voodoo tanning bed that sweeps cancer out of your body and whitens your teeth while you wait. Only problem is, those rich folks don't care to share and their security chief contracts some batshit mercenaries to keep the lawns pristine in the extra-terrestrial suburbs. Perhaps you've heard that it's not subtle. It's not. It makes the allegory of Killing Them Softly seem damn near subliminal, but this has some amazing blood-letting and first-rate world-building that make any nits you care to pick entirely inconsequential. Sharlto Copley, as the heavy, is absolutely terrifying killing people with psychotic glee and incomprehensible dialogue (I think Jodie Foster stole his enunciation faculties - she sounds like she's chewing on them every time she speaks), and the action sequences are tight, visceral executions showcasing practical futuristic-weapons tech and their horrifying results. The details of this vision of the future are beautifully realized and completely absorbing. It's the quicker, thicker picker upper of all the sci-fi I watched this month. Best moment: the surgery.

Holy Rollers - Kevin Asch - Based on a true story about an orthodox kid in New York who gets half-willingly tricked into becoming an international drug smuggler, this is a crime story that's not a thriller nor a searing character exploration, but not a bad little drama either. The best thing about the flick are the glimpses inside the urban Jewish Orthodox community in the late 20th century. It's a slice of New York city life that is pretty intriguing (especially) the more it's allowed to rub up against the modern world and I could have enjoyed spending more time hanging out with Sam and Leon and Yosef as they grow up and make their own lives out of the skills they've been taught and the materials they have on hand. Not an enthusiastic recommendation, but worth your time if the subject matter interests you. Best moment: Josef introduces the boys to the boss.

J.S.A.: Joint Security Area - Chan-wook Park - The soldiers on both sides that guard the no-man's-land between North and South Korea live in a state of perpetual tension and alertness eyeing each other with suspicion and not a little bit of curiosity. An investigator looking into an incident that claimed the lives of several soldiers has to rule whether there has been abduction and rescue or cold-blooded murder. She interviews the surviving soldiers and they all lie to her while the truth is revealed in flashbacks. There's a lot of humanity in this early effort from Chan-wook and none of the technical and stylish flash he's recognized for now - I was thrown off balance by my own expectations and missed out on appreciating some great little moments. It took sitting through the first half of the relatively quiet (and kinda cheap-looking) film to settle down and appreciate it for what it was. Kang-ho Song is, as always, the best thing on screen in this one. Best moment: a soldier from the South (Byung-hun Lee) gets lost in a minefield and discovered by Kang-ho.
Long Riders - Walter Hill - Beyond the gimmick of so many historical siblings being portrayed by actual brothers (David, Keith & Robert Carradine play the Youngers, Stacey & James Keach play the James boys, Randy & Dennis Quaid are the Millers and Christopher & Nicholas Guest the Fords) I'll remember this flick for demonstrating to me how damn good David Carradine could be. I'm a late-blooming Carradine appreciator (and that goes for Keith too - Deadwood - another Walter Hill project - got the ball rolling there, Kill Bill Vol. 2 for big bro). Maybe because they were such goofy-looking motherfuckers or that by the time I knew the name it was for schlocky TV and movies in the nineties. Whatever the reason, I'm climbing out of the rut of first impressions and I've never been more electrified by David as in this here picture. And not for the tough-guy bits - facing off against Frank & Jesse James or absorbing multiple bullets in Minnesota - in which he's great, either, but rather for the layers to his relationship with Pamela Reed's Belle. "Because you're a whore" never sounded so sweet, and conflicted. I'd have enjoyed an entire film around their bitter-tinged not-quite romance. In fact, I couldn't choose between their scenes for a single best and had to instead make the- Best moment: the Northfield shootout is fantastic.

Oblivion - Joseph Kosinski - My kids have seen The Day the Earth Stood Still, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Last Man on Earth, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, The Wrath of Kahn and a few more age-appropriate big-impression science fiction films and are able to catch and appreciate a few nods to their influence in stuff like this one, Len Wiseman's Total Recall, Pacific Rim or say Star Trek: Into Darkness, but what, I wonder, will their first exposure to something tough and adult like 2001 or Blade Runner be like? Will they feel that they've already seen the whole movie in chunks lifted straight out of the source material? Will it have any impact still, or will it just be a watered-down re-assemblage of sci-fi's greatest hits? Guess what? I don't care. If it works, it works and I trust that people get out of art what they bring to the experience (often unaware). There's a reason stories get told, re-told and then told all over again endlessly: they resonate. And this one, as familiar (or recycled) as it is, will be some kids' biggest influence. Great. It's certainly a striking-looking flick, and the themes that roll out give just enough mental bubble-gum to build stronger chewing muscles for more challenging fare later. Myself, it didn't hit me hard, but I didn't find it boring either. I watched it with my kids (and probably wouldn't have included it on this roundup except that, in retrospect, August wasn't a big crime flick month for some reason) and I loved seeing the nine year old especially be thrilled by the sensation of 'getting it' at the end. I think it might be a gateway drug to challenging themes and hey, just challenging story structures. Best moment: crashing in the red zone.

Trance - Danny Boyle - This big-screen remake of a 2001 made for television movie (written and directed by Joe Ahearne), is something of a curiosity for somebody like Boyle to take on. What drew him to the material, what did he think he'd bring out of it better than they did the first time around? Regardless the reason, here's what we get: a stylish, twisty heist thriller that's visually fantastic populated by characters that are completely hollow. And that's not a terrible thing. It's fun. It feels like somebody turned Boyle's camera loose on one of those oversized, super-padded indoor playgrounds and he's enjoying the freedom to send it hurling at top speed over, under, around and through any object without any true sense of danger ever being reached. You can't really talk about the plot of this one without spoiling a few dozen big movies you may or may not have seen, but, trusting that, reading this blog, you have seen a genre film or two, I feel free to say: in a con movie - you're always getting conned, in a double-cross flick - guess what, numbers climb higher than two, and in a movie dealing with memory loss, hypnotism or untrustworthy narrators - you should never be surprised. Ever. Hell, I'll go further, any movie-watcher since 1999 shouldn't be surprised by any twist in this film (man, 1999 gave us a bunch of influential perception-fuckery flicks... The Matrix, Existenz, The Sixth Sense, Fight Club...), so don't judge the film on its success or failure to surprise you, but rather on its effectiveness in carrying you through to the finale. And there is a really terrific finale in this one - the fact that you won't be invested in any of the characters completely aside. Best moment: the uh finale - with fire.

Weeds Season 8 - Jenji Kohan - Finished. Over. Done. If I weren't a completest I probably wouldn't have finished this show, but frankly it was really bothering me, knowing I'd come so close to the end, but hadn't seen it through. In the history of television, is there a program that has risen and fallen so dramatically and erratically and serially in quality as Weeds? On the one hand, I admire Kohan and company for the big risks they took - especially after season 3 when they moved the show out of the suburbs and into the world, the ability to cut characters out if they got in the way, and the wildly escalating body-count and commitment to keeping Nancy in the running for the title 'worst parent in the history of the medium,' but man, was it exhausting (rather than exhilarating) to go through. The final chapter gives Nancy a half-assed attempt at redemption, but she and the show give up quickly and that's, I think, the trademark failure of the series (and perhaps Kohan's - I'm going thru Orange is the New Black right now and getting the sense it's going to happen again) - it moves on so quickly that consequences never really set it. I'm glad that wild, dark shit can and does happen in this universe, but we move on sooooo quickly or it's played off for a laugh and never matters later so often that it feels as false as a safe-safe boring-ass sitcom (example - in season eight one of the long-term straight male characters is forced to suck a dick, something that should be pretty upsetting for the character we've spent the last eight years observing, but is only played off for a quick laugh and has no bearing - outside of the immediate situation - on the character's life). So, hey, Nancy and co.? It was a wild ride, we had some times, but I'm glad it's over. Best moment: Doug gets stabbed.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kickstart My Art

Last week I took the final pass at Peckerwood before it's out in the world (November) and a couple of days later Broken River publisher J. David Osborne announced the press's first batch and launched a Kickstarter initiative which you can read more about right over here.

Here's the thing though - Broken River is going forward regardless, and this Kickstarter thing is just a chance for folks who are into this kind of thing to get in on the ground level, prepay for a couple of items they know they're going to want anyway, and get some good deals for their foresight.

What kind of stuff?

Let's have a looksee, shall we? Aside from Peckerwood, Broken River is releasing four badass crime titles in November and they are:

The Least of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones - Only the what, third(?) book this year from Jones, but this sounds like a great vehicle for his horror/crime hybrid sensibilities. Check out an excerpt from this one at Plots With Guns.

Street Raised by Pearce Hansen - Remeber Point Blank Press? Man, those guys turned out some great shit including first novels from Duane Swierczynski, Ray Banks, Allan Guthrie and Anthony Neil Smith, plus Craig McDonald's first interview collection Art in the Blood (not to mention titles from Dave Zeltserman, James Sallis, James Reasoner, Gary Phillips, friggin Charles Willeford etc.) Well, this one was also among their amazing catalog and now, (sadly - but not for long) out of print. Trust that lineage, kids. This one's gonna fuck you up.

Gravesend by William Boyle - Osborne compares this one to George Pelecanos at his best. Between that and knowing Boyle's short fiction as well as his non-fiction and critical work (you dig 70s crime movies, you'd best get the hell over to Goodbye With a Bullet), I can't wait to see what his first novel contains. Here's what I'd wager: pathos and blood. I'll let you know in November.
XXX Shamus by Red Hammond - alright, Hammond is an alias, but I knew who it was as soon as I heard the description. I'll say this - this "guy" is one of my favorite authors working today, always pushing the envelope and never lets you off the hook. I heard about this book (though I think "he" called it Porno P.I. when he told me about it) a long time ago and frankly never thought I'd get a chance to read it. Glad it's a life of its own now. Now guess who "he" is. Just go ahead and guess.

So, hey, if this kind of thing is your bag, you might do yourself a favor and snag a good deal on some of these titles by contributing a few bucks to the ol' Kickstarter. And if you're not down with that, don't worry, this isn't a threat - like some Kickstarter initiatives I've seen, where they dangle some great project out there and insist you pay now in order to ever see it happen - no, all this inglorious badassery will be available to you soon anyhow.

I'm excited for every one of these titles and the future of Broken River, including the new book related to Low Down Death, Right Easy - Black Gum Godless Heathen.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Skin Flicks

Just saw that Jonathan Glazer's next project heralds a return to relevance for me. He followed up the amazing, trippy, scary heist-flick Sexy Beast with the you-couldn't-tempt-me-with-an-apple re-incarnation drama Birth, buuuuut the teaser trailer for his new one, Under the Skin - adapted from the novel by Michel Faber, looks gud. In fact, it looks like one of those rare movies that are better than the books upon which they are based. The book treated its fantastic premise with too-heavy a hand for my taste, but damn, streamline the experience in a two-hour stylish nightmare, and it might just become a favorite.

And here's a quick look at some of the company it may keep in my small list of skin-centric body-horror favorites.

Antiviral - Brandon Cronenberg - Big Dave's little boy is a sick chip off the infected block. Damn. This. This is perverse. In the best way. Celebrity worship, suffering of the saints, religious experience for sale, William Gibson-esque fucked up corporate espionage - loved every frame.

Darkman - Sam Raimi - Feels dashed off, like most of Raimi's early work does, but infused with so much enthusiasm and imagination you don't mind the half-assed-ness. In fact, you're pretty sure you're consistently getting the best half of the ass. This is the Sam Raimi I wish I hadn't lost to a decade of Spiderman movies.

The Skin I Live In - Pedro Almodovar - Absolutely the worst. Best. Weird, creepy, beautiful and the most awful thing ever. So, so wrong.

Splice - Vincenzo Natali - Go for broke mad scientist movie with a terrific cast completely aware the spirit of the movie they're inside (thankfully, their characters are not). Willfully cheesy until suddenly it's not and you're left wondering how it got out from under your jaded, shock-movie fan thumb and became this thing that's going to fuck up your sleep for a week.

Videodrome - David Cronenberg - Really, any David Cronenberg flick would fit quite nicely here, but this one's my favorite. Long live the new flesh.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Up Next

American Hustle - d: David O. Russell, w: David O. Russell, Eric Singer

Dallas Buyer's Club - d: Jean-Marc Vallee, w: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack

Blue Caprice - d: Alexandre Moors, w: Ronnie Porto

Jug Face - w/d: Chad Crawford Kinkle

Passion - d: Brian De Palma, w: Natalie Carter, Alain Corneau, Brian De Palma

Tomorrow You're Gone - d: David Jacobson, w: Matthew F. Jones

Monday, September 2, 2013

1980s: Golden Age of the Comedic Crime Flick?

Not considering comedies about crime like A Fish Called Wanda, Fletch, Raising Arizona, Ruthless People etc., but concentrating on crime flicks that have both a serious attempt at a thriller of some sort and a substantial humor quotient, and it seems like the 1980s win for that sort of fare. I dunno, am I crazy, or was I just young and impressionable enough to find that shit great and above average compared to other decades' output? I mean, is there really some kid born in 1990 who's going to grow up thinking Rush Hour was as good as I think any of these are?
Running Scared - Peter Hyams

48 Hours - Walter Hill

Midnight Run - Martin Brest 

Stakeout - John Badham

Beverly Hills Cop - Martin Brest