Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid

[audio:/podcasts/pdm14.mp3]
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Story: PI Reardon is hired by a beautiful woman to investigate her father’s death and finds himself in a web of betrayal, violence, and old movies.  That’s noir, Jack.

Detective: Rigby Reardon

Release Date: May 21, 1982

Writer: Carl Reiner, George Gipe, and Steve Martin

Source: Every noir mystery ever filmed.

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny:   
Lani: Sure.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Yes, at least he’s the guy sending out henchmen.
Lani: I… suppose? Still not clear on what role he actually played. Usually that’s my fault for not paying close enough attention, but this time, I’m willing to blame the movie.

Conflict created by murder?
Jenny: The story is so badly handled I have no idea why a lot of that stuff was happening.  The plot was just an excuse to be cute with old movies, so there wan’t much coherent conflict.
Lani: The conflict was created by staying true to a gimmick, rather than the story.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: Well, we knew everything Rigby knew, but Rigby is an idiot.
Lani: Were there clues? If I have to ask that question, I think maybe… not?

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Solved using old movie clips.  But yes, he gets to the final scene by deducton.
Lani: He followed clue to clue in a straight line, and he had to put the puzzle pieces together in order to do that so I’d give a provisional yes.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 2Pops
Mystery: 1, Craft: 1, Suspense: 1, Romance: 1, Comedy: 1  I’d give zeros if I could, and for the romance I’d go into nedgative numbers for the date-rape intro.  Bleah.

Lani says: 0 Pops
Mystery: 0, Craft: 0, Suspense: 0, Romance: 0, Comedy: 0

High Anxiety

[audio:/podcasts/pdm13.mp3]
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Story: Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke, arrives as new administrator of The Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous and then things happen that make him very, very nervous.

Detective: Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke

Release Date: December 25, 1977

Writers: Mel Brooks, Ron Clark, Rudy DeLuca, Barry Levinson

Source:
Every Hitchcock movie ever made.

Mystery Analysis:
None of this stuff.  Not a mystery, just a string of Hitchcock jokes.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 0 Pops
Mystery: 0, Craft: 0, Suspense:0, Romance: 0, Comedy: 0

Lani says: 0 Pops
Mystery: 0, Craft: 0, Suspense: 0, Romance: 0, Comedy: 0

Comic Mysteries

Welcome to April Fools Month: Comic mysteries.

Here’s the thing about mixing mystery and comedy: you’re trying to mesh a serious threat to humanity, real tragedy, with laughter.  It can certainly be done, but usually you have to sacrifice either the light-hearted part of comedy (see Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang) or the tragic part of murder (see Trenchcoat), and either choice kneecaps that part of the genre.  So while we’ll be sticking to our six main points, we’re also going to be looking at the choices the writers made as to what to sacrifice.  Mel Brooks let go of tragedy without a backward glance in High Anxiety (the next two aren’t really deep either, but then they didn’t want to be), but there’s some stuff going on in the last two movies that will hold up under a closer look.  Mostly we’ll be looking at how these movies did or did not make death a laughing matter in order to steal what works for our own books.  Just kidding.  Kinda.

Our schedule for posting podcasts:
(Ignore what we said in the podcast about doing Hot Fuzz first; this is the schedule.)

April 2: 1977 HIGH ANXIETY (streaming on Amazon)

April 9: 1982 DEAD MEN DON’T WEAR PLAID (streaming on Amazon)

April 15: 1985 CLUE (streaming on Amazon)

April 22: 1998 THE BIG LEBOWSKI (streaming on Amazon and Netflix)

April 29: 2007 HOT FUZZ (streaming on Amazon) Warning: Lots of gore in this one

The Big Easy

 

[audio:/podcasts/pdm12.mp3]
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Story: A New Orleans detective investigates mob killings.

Detective: Remy McSwain

Release Date: August 21, 1987

Writer: Daniel Petrie, Jr.

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny: Absolutely.  Arrives at the scene of the crime, bigger than life, and takes control.
Lani: Yes, and he’s on the case right out of the gate.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Yes.  The antagonist is kind of a doppleganger for Remy, and its his minions who do the dirty work at his behest, but he’s right there in the first scene with the protagonist, playing him from the beginning.
Lani: Present and messing things up right from the start.

Conflict created by murder?
Jenny: Yes.  The murders block the romance plot and fuel the mystery plot, forcing Remy’s character arc.
Lani: Yes, as well as the mystery of the missing drugs.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: With one exception, we get them when Remy gets them.  He reads something that he doesn’t tell Ann about, but two scenes later, he confronts the antagonist with what he knows.  I’m not sure how that could have been put on the screen in the discovery scene.
Lani: For the most part, excluding the stuff he reads, but then we’re informed in the next scene.

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Yes.
Lani: Yes; Remy gets the evidence, evaluates it, and figures it out all on his own.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 5, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5

Lani says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 5, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5

Trenchcoat

[audio:/podcasts/pdm11.mp3]
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Story: A mystery writer goes to Malta to experience danger, and finds it.

Detective: Mickey Raymond/Terry Leonard

Release Date: March 11, 1983

Writer: Jeffrey Price, Peter Seaman

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny: Yes, it starts with her voiceover and she pretty much owns the movie all the way through.  Almost all the scenes are in her POV.
Lani: Yes; she sees herself as a detective, and even though she’s smart enough to turn to the police when things go wrong, when they refuse to help, she steps in and figures it out on her own.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Yes.  The first body pops up early, so you know they’re on the job.
Lani: Yes, and physically present from very early in.

Conflict created by murder?
Jenny: Yes.  Micky really doesn’t have much choice since she’s suspected of the crime.  I love her answer to Terry’s “What made you decide to play detective” question: “I got tired of being the victim.”
Lani: Yes, and Micky’s desire to figure out who the bad guy is.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: Yes.
Lani: Yes, with nice surprises all the way through.

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Yes.  It’s something Micky needs to do to feel important, I think.  The look on her face when Terry tells she did a good job figuring things out is wonderful.
Lani: Well, if you don’t consider them being tied up by the bad Irish couple “luck,” since they didn’t realize they were the bad guys until then.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 5, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5

Lani says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 5, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5