Sunday, March 22, 2015

Film Pairings – Two Classic Buddy Movies, Crime Included

Davis & Sarandon
This is Women’s History Month.  And even if it weren’t, Thelma and Louise is history-making cinema and a cause to celebrate.  Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon are magnificent in this 1991 Ridley Scott film.  Best friends, the two of them. A waitress at a diner and a submissive housewife decide to take a mini-vacation together – just let loose for a while.  Things don’t go well. Thelma (Davis) is assaulted in the parking lot of an Oklahoma roadhouse and Louise (Sarandon) shoots and kills the determined would-be rapist. But that’s only the beginning.  Thinking no one would believe them, the buddies go on the run.  An empathetic cop, Harvey Keitel chases them.  Brad Pitt complicates things, provides comic relief and more than a little eye candy.  Damned and praised as a tribute to the feminist movement, it is a damn fine movie and worthy of the praise heaped upon it.

Redford &  Newman
Country-western gives way to pure western in in one of the most popular buddy movies ever made, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. There are definite similarities.  Both are filmed in big-sky country. But instead of two women fleeing the law in a Thunderbird convertible, the two men do so on horseback.  In both, there are lots of guns, lots of drinking, some sex, some explosions and a constant chase, making sure our eyes stay riveted on the screen. While there is more substance just below the surface in the wonderful tragi-comedy of Thelma and Louise, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid is played more broadly, though very well. No message, pure adventure. Producer John Foreman brought top talent from all disciplines to make this 1969 classic. Veteran George Roy Hill directed. William Goldman wrote the screenplay. The music (“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”) came from Burt Bacharach. Paul Newman played Butch and Robert Redford was Sundance in a pairing that electrified the media at the time.

Usually crime films are male dominated. This is a perfect double feature for those who want equal time for men and women. 

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