If your Macho score is really high on the Bell Curve, these two films might not be for you. The subject matter might very well make you uncomfortable. Then again, I’m not a psychiatrist — nor a movie critic for that matter, but I do like to come up with interesting ideas for double features. These two movies were about a subject that was rarely talked about at the time of their making — and is still likely to raise eyebrows in some circles.
Perhaps too simply put, Dog Day Afternoon starring Al Pacino, is movie about a man who is desperate for money so his biologically male lover could complete the transformation to womanhood through surgery. A young Pacino plays the lover who decides to rob a bank. Based on a true story, the film has an almost journalistic sensibility brought to an increasingly tense conclusion. The main thrust of the movie is the bank robbery, but the underlying motive for the robbery was pretty provocative for 1975. Even so, it worked — critically and at the box office. Directed by Sidney Lumet, the movie was nominated for several Golden Globe and Academy Awards, and Dog Day Afternoon continues to be held in high regard 36 years later.
The Crying Game (1992) may be a little more complex. Less a fast-paced thriller, it nonetheless covers more emotional ground. The main character, played by Stephen Rea is involved with the Irish Republican Army and in the kidnapping and killing of a hostage. Fed up with the cold violence of his comrades and initially motivated by promises he made to the hostage, Rea’s character checks on the welfare of the dead man’s girlfriend. He falls in love with her. Who wouldn’t? But that of course is the question. This could have been the end of the movie. However, much to our protagonist’s dismay, it is only the beginning. He must somehow deal with the threats made on his life and his identity. Like Dog Day, The Crying Game, which was directed by Neil Jordan, was nominated for several Academy Awards. Both films won for “best original screenplay.”
In order to continue to stir up controversy, at least among the Irish, I’ll suggest that the drink for the evening’s double bill be a “Black and Tan.” It is made from pale ale and a stout, often Bass Pale Ale and Guinness. If poured correctly, the two will form layers rather than mix.