The Big Easy


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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

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6 responses to “The Big Easy”

  1. I watched this two times in a row. Standout moments for me:

    (a) Anne sees the purse-snatcher, immediately swings her bag at him to trip him up, and grabs his ankle and won’t let go for anything. That is a tough girl, right there. I love her for that. (Also amusing is when Remy tells her to stay there and the little gesture she does like “Well, okay.”)

    (b) The puking scene. The guy barely knows her and yet he’s sitting painfully precariously on the tub squeezing in there while she’s puking and wiping her mouth? That’s love, baby. I wouldn’t want to make out with someone with a mouthful of toothpaste, to be honest, but still sweet.

    (c) The not-perfect-at-first-go sex scene is totally reminiscent of many Jenny Crusie sex scenes 🙂 Now I finally know where “your luck’s about to change, cher” comes from too.

    (d) Remy is a grown-ass hot man and a cop AND HE UNASHAMEDLY SLEEPS WITH A STUFFED SQUEAKY TOY GATOR. That is adorable. He actually cuddles with it while alone. Hell, he took it to bed. She wakes up the next morning and there’s the gator squeaking, and she’s not even surprised? She was aware of that gator during the nookie. Hmmmmm.

    I don’t know if he was wooing her for political/distraction movies, out of sheer confidence that she’d never go after the likes of him, or smitten at first sight (probably a combo of the first two), but it’s adorable. Dude is smitten right off the bat and keeps it up even after the point where he feels betrayed. Wow.

    When you think about it, this movie has a lot deeper inclinations than you guys went into. He goes into this movie thinking he’s a good guy and she forces him to see that he’s not really being one, and then he turns into one because she revealed to him that she thought he could do better. (Much like a line on Farscape, but you guys wouldn’t know about that one.)

    I kept thinking about the whole Adrian Schoolcraft thing (, also, because he was another cop who was proving corruption within the PD. Unfortunately in Schoolcraft’s case, he pretty much screwed over his career for life (and probably any other prospects for work, I guess) by doing this. Now, we don’t see the outcome of Remy’s situation here–for all I know what with the dead cops, maybe nothing came of it, maybe there was a situation like the end of LA Confidential– but I seriously wondered at the end if Remy had just 100% trashed his career and police family. They’ve got that cute scene at the end where they got married (kind of makes me wonder if they tacked that on at the last minute, but it makes me happy so whatever), but they’re alone in that moment. There’s no giant crowd of people partying with them. It made me wonder if Remy still had that family to celebrate with any more, and I suspect the answer is “probably not.”

    Love takes you strange places sometimes. It made Remy a better man, but I wonder what happened after that. Not that I’ll ever know, of course.

  2. This is one of my favorite movies. I’ve loved it since the first time I saw it, but I was always really focused on the romance, and then later on, on Remy’s character arc, so I never realized how strong the mystery is. I mean, when you go back and see it again, there’s Andre reading a book about Tahiti like 40 minutes in.

    I find this a really interesting contrast with LA Confidential, as they both focus on corruption. But noir doesn’t allow its heroes to actually find redemption, and this one manages to make the point about the slippery slope and how important it is not to cross lines without doing horrible things to the protagonist at the end. Which may be why I prefer this.

    @Jennifer: I too love the puking scene. I love the “even with your head in the toilet you still want to talk business” line. The way he says it is so sweet; that’s clearly something he loves about her.

  3. Oh, I haven’t seen this in years. Now I want to see it again. Right now, especially after your rating. Also, like Katie mentioned I’d always loved the romance and this time around will pay particular attention to the mystery.

  4. I was stunned by how good it was. It’s always been one of my favorites, but usually when I go back to old movies, they don’t hold up. This one is actually better when you know story theory, it’s just so damn tight. One of the greatest B movies of all time.

  5. I think he did all right in the end. He was next in line to be captain, so he had some power. He’s not prosecuting anybody, they’re all dead, so it won’t be a high profile court case. And his family had no problem when he called them in to get the records. I have a feeling that family trumps the blue line in this case. But yeah, I love everything you said, too.

    I do think he was always a good guy, that he never crossed his own line. What he realizes is that you can’t make your own line, that the little stuff turns into the big stuff, but he was never tempted to deal drugs or murder, he just looked at his job like it was a game and he was the good guy so it was okay to cheat a little. He really turned from boy to man during the story, but i think she grows from girl to woman, too, and not just because she finally has great sex. She sees everything as clear cut, and he takes her into a world that’s all shades of gray.

    I just freaking love this movie.