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

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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