Tuesday, May 10, 2016

American Gigolo

Year 8, Day 131 - 5/10/16 - Movie #2,331

BEFORE: Things have been very British around here for the last few days, (India counts as it was once a British colony...) so let's get back to something "American".  All those British actors yesterday, and none of them are in other films on my list - even the Judi Dench link was sort of a dead end.  So I'm following the Richard Gere thread - he carries over from "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel".  This is one of those films that "everyone" has seen, only I'm not sure that I have.  I can't tell you a thing about the plot, that's usually a sign that I'm dealing with a classic that I never got around to watching. 

This is where I have to be careful - a week or two ago, I accidentally added "Blow Out" to the watchlist, to go with another Travolta film, and I forgot that I watched it back in, like, 2010.  I can't let that happen again - fortunately I've got the IMDB app on my phone, and as I was scrolling through the list of movies I've watched, I saw "Blow Out" marked with a green checkmark, which meant that it was also on my watchlist.  Oopsie.  Aside from that, and almost reviewing the De Niro film "The Score" a second time, I haven't had too many problems keeping track, but I don't want to slack off now.

THE PLOT:  A Los Angeles male escort, who mostly caters to an older female clientèle, is accused of a murder which he did not commit.

AFTER: From one of Richard Gere's most recent films, I'm looping all the way back to what was essentially his first starring role, and this seems like it's also one of those films that everyone claims to have seen, but maybe only for the sexy scenes.  You never hear anyone talk about the murder charge - did most people lose interest after the sexy bits and the Armani fashion show?  

If you stick with the film, Gere's character is a person of interest in a murder case, a woman he slept with while her husband watched - which means this might have been the first mainstream film to show some kinky fetish stuff.  And his trouble is compounded because the client that he was with on the night in question won't give him an alibi - naturally, because that woman won't admit that she uses his services.  

And even though it might have been groundbreaking in its portrayal of male prostitution, there are parts that just haven't aged well - I realize that 1980 was a different era, but a character saying he "won't do fag stuff" is now pretty cringe-worthy.  And when he's out with an older lady in public, and she's seen by a family friend, Gere's character launches into an over-the-top impression of a gay interior decorator, just to give her the impression nothing untoward is going on.  Wait, so you won't do "fag stuff", but you'll pretend to be flamingly gay just for a client's convenience?  Seems like a strange double standard.

And why is the husband not automatically the prime suspect when a wife is killed?  Didn't these cops ever watch one episode of "Law & Order"?  And why isn't Gere's character comfortable admitting that he had sex with the woman, and that the husband's a sick freak?  If he could just bring himself to say, "The guy wanted to see me smack her around..." wouldn't that go a long way toward clarifying the situation?  There are just a lot of loose threads here on the investigative front.

Bottom line, this film has not aged all that well.  There was ONE murder, and we don't even get to see it happen?  And no high-speed car chase, no run for the border to escape the cops?  Put this up against more modern crime films, and it almost seems like someone just wasn't trying that hard.

Also starring Lauren Hutton (last seen in "Little Fauss and Big Halsy"), Hector Elizondo (last heard in "The Book of Life"), Bill Duke (last seen in "Bird on a Wire"), Carole Cook, K Callan, Brian Davies, Nina van Pallandt (last seen in "The Long Goodbye"), Tom Stewart, Patricia Carr. 

RATING: 4 out of 10 language tapes

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