DGDB: So a BEST COP MOVIE piece…say, best 5 from each of us. Lets decide the parameters. I say any film with a lead COP character that focuses on police work.
KOUTCH: Judge Dredd. Future cops.
DGDB: I don’t know about future….leaves it open for too much shit. I mean, I’d make fucking Minority Report #1-5.
HOD: Speaking of Sly, Copland is a great one. What about Zodiac?
KOUTCHBOOM: Zodiac a cop movie? Isn’t it about reporters?
DGDB: Zodiac? Well fawwwwwwwwk. I’d never say that’s a cop movie. There may be cops in it, but it’s too fucking pussy. Cop movies require a certain heft of balls.
HOD: It’s a police procedural.
KOUTCHBOOM: Nawww. It’s a journalist movie with some cop characters.
DGDB: Damn. To Live and Die in LA….secret service under the Treasury department. Is that getting too bitchy to exclude it? Should we go 100% cop?
STUNTCOCK: Yeah it all has to be pretty much the cop only
ABOM: Does the video for MEIN LAND count as a cop movie?
STUNTCOCK: Koutch if you don’t put Blown Away in your list I’ll stab you.
DGDB: So if its strictly COP ONLY…no Untouchables either? They’re Treasury right?
HOD: It is cops. Everyone in the movie but Costner is a cop. And I think it’s more Malone’s movie than Ness’ and to me he’s the ultimate cop.
ABOM: God DAMN it I’ve got to fit Robocop in my list somewhere.
DGDB: NO FUCKING FUTURE!
DGDB: Jesus….Mad Max? NO FUCKING FUTURE!!!
CHEETOH: I wrote it before I saw the guidelines so FUCK ALL OF YOU!!!
HOD: Fuck you all for forcing me to revisit Miami Vice tonight.
CHEETOH: Alright, I’m replacing Mad Max with Black Rain.
KOUTCH: Fawwwkkkiiuinnnnngggg Black Rain epic choice!!!!!!!
HOD: This was a good idea by the way. We should pick another sub genre is a few months and do another list.
DGDB: Fuck you. I’m the one that has to put this shit together.
BASEMENT CHEETOH EATER
#1 – IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT
One of my favorite all-time films. Sydney Poitier is a wonder to watch in this gritty thriller set in the shithole that is Sparta, Mississippi. As a Philadelphia detective pulled into a murder investigation that has political implications on the small Southern town, Poitier displays a confidence that turns into begrudging arrogance…and reminded people that pride in ones’ heritage can easily be a hindrance when it’s not tempered by humility and patience. Rod Steiger, as the town’s honest but frustrated sheriff, managed to elevate his character above the racist trappings his role called for – and interjected an earnestness that resulted in his winning Best Actor. And this movie took home four additional Academy Awards that year…including Best Picture. And it still rates among the greatest films of all time…and arguably the finest cop movie in the history of cinema.
#2 – EASTERN PROMISES
Quite possibly David Cronenburg’s most light-hearted and sentimental film. And considering how dark this film is at times, that’s really saying something. Eastern Promises masquerades itself as a mafia movie – complete with secret rituals and cultural insights into the criminal element of the Urals. But when the third act “twist” occurs, the entire film switches genre…and bears a second watch to see how subtly the film handles its primary protagonist. This may be Viggo Mortensen’s finest role (alongside his batshit crazy Sergeant in G.I. Jane), and Naomi Watts is sympathetic, beautiful and real. Watts plays a nurse who fosters a baby after the mother (a Russian prostitute) dies under suspicious circumstances leaving only a diary behind. All the supporting performances are outstanding….and Vincent Cassell deserves special mention for his tortured portrayal as the weak-minded son of a great mafia don. The cinematography is warm and lush….with the various set pieces embraced in hues of brown and red. A must see movie.
#3 – BLACK RAIN
Michael Douglas (a dirty cop with no apologies) and Andy Garcia are tasked with returning an upstart Yakuza warlord to Japan to stand trial for murder. They become deeply embroiled in the case (with deadly consequences) as the repercussions of a ferocious counterfeiting war explode around them. This is a Ridley Scott masterpiece – filled with exotic locations, femme fatales, incredible danger and 60 year old grudges that won’t go away. As Nick Conklin, Douglas pulls off the weary cop as well as anyone ever has….and look for a smoking Kate Capshaw from those splendid early years before ‘Berg seed infected her with mediocrity.
#4 – BEVERLY HILLS COP
Eddie Murphy’s greatest film and greatest role – he gave the world an iconic wisecracking Detroit cop in “Axel Foley”…and an annoyingly catchy synth score to go along with it (thanks in large part to Herbie Hancock). This movie has it all: great action, big laughs and a decent amount of suspense. And Eddie didn’t even have to carry the film – the supporting performances were all dead on (ranging from kick ass to hilarious). And Ronny Cox is as fantastic as ever as Lt. Bogemill. (This movie deserves special mention for teaching all of us one of the most important life lessons ever: if you’re going to smuggle blow into the US…pack it in coffee. The scent throws off the dogs).
#5 – MIAMI VICE
There are two types of people in the world…those that think Michael Mann is the king of style over substance and those that think he can (almost) do no wrong. For my part, I count myself among the latter crowd….and choose to only associate with those people who feel the same way. If you’re someone who doesn’t get Michael Mann’s genius, then I don’t want to know you. And I mean that. He’s the fucking creator of Miami Vice, after all (I’m referring to the TV show right now). And so, when he decided to try and resurrect his fabled TV cop yarn by releasing it as an updated hard-R thriller, I was sold. And the finished product didn’t disappoint. It captured the essence of the TV show while disavowing some of its cheesier elements. Mann leaned it down….and made it grittier, sexier and more ferocious. Jamie Foxx is in top form and Colin Farrell managed to both pay homage to Don Johnson’s “Sonny” while also doing his own thing and creating a character that deserves a second movie. I look forward to the next one.
#1 – MIAMI VICE
Not only my favorite cop film and my favorite Michael Mann film, but my favorite film period. This film is a lot closer in tone to the tv series than people give it credit for. Not really a happy ending. Tubbs fails to protect all the women in his life, Crockett’s first shot at an actual relationship ends in failure, as does the entire case they’re working on. Nothing is gained. Nothing is accomplished. No one is arrested. At the end of it all, Trudy is more than likely dead (as evidenced by the freeze frame of her hand in Tubbs’ in their last scene together), and the real bad guy gets away clean. And you can tell Sonny maybe digs the lifestyle a little too much.
We need sequels.
#2 – FRENCH CONNECTION 1 AND 2
The weirdest sequel I’ve ever seen. It goes from straight up Cop Drama in the first film to Popeye getting fucked over by an entire country in the second. I’d say Friedkin was impressed by the sequel. Frankenhiemer almost outdid him with it.
If the final shot of the second film doesn’t make you want to flog your cock you’re dead to me.
#3 – CRUISING
Speaking of flogging cock, here we have another Friedkin masterpiece that at times makes you grossed out (when Pacino fucks Marion Jones) to outright shock to fits of laughter. The laughter comes from imagining the studio screening during the “greasing up the fist” bar scene. Lord William was probably smiling his fucking ass off.
#4 – BAD BOYS 2
It almost gets too fucking stupid and over-the-top, but then it actually does and you feel that you are watching excess made into perfection. Pure pleasure from beginning to end.
If they actually make a third one more nuts than this I’ll be wearing rubber underwear opening night.
#5 – SHAKEDOWN
Undercover Cop Sam Elliot fights a perp on a moving rollercoaster which then crashes.
#1 – HEAT
Al Pacino is an over the hill cop who might take down his criminal better half, Robert Deniro–who pulls off a series of robberies with the help of Val Kilmer and Danny Trejo.
#2 – SERPICO
Al Pacino is Frank Serpico, a cop-turned-whisteblower who is in for all kinds of shit after doing what he thinks is the right thing and exposing some shady business behind the badge.
#3 – COPLAND
Harvey Keitel, Robert Deniro, Ray Liotti, and Michael Rappaport star in this drama about jersey cops who aren’t playing on the level. Sylvester Stallone is a pudgy, part-deaf, small-time sheriff who calls ’em out on it.
#4 – THE DEPARTED
Matt Damon and Leo DiCaprio play a Boston cop and a hoodlum. Guess which one is which? They’re not sure either. Because the hoodlum, while secretly working for Jack Nicholson, is really a cop. And the on-the-rise cop, while ostensibly answering to Martin Sheen, used to fetch groceries for Nicholson’s mobster and may well still be in cahoots with him.
#5 – NIGHTHAWKS
Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams team up to pursue a Euroterrorist who’s come to the States to hide out and cause trouble. The bad guy has had cosmetic surgery to conceal his identity; now he’s Rutger Hauer. Stallone has a beard and enough hair to choke a mule, and his girlfriend is the Bionic Woman.
#1 – M
The ultimate cop movie. This black and white gem is utterly amazing, you see it and realize where every single cop movie got it’s ideas from, and the fact that it’s still thrilling to this day is something of a testament to the story and techniques that Fritz Lang used. Also features a great killer, I always love cop movies with great villains.
#2 – FARGO
The more I see it, the more I love it. This movie is so funny and fucked up all in one, also the score in it and the stark blank white world that is North Dakota is sort of beautiful to look at. Steven Bushimi solidifying why we should like this ugly rat of a man, and also for bringing one of my personal favorite actors Peter Stormare some much needed exposure. This is one of the few films I can actually watch again and again and find new shit in it, recently I realized there is a whole homage to The Thin Blue Line in it. Great film.
#3 – BLACK RAIN
Man oh man do I love this flick, this is probably the only movie on my top five where the cop interests me more than the villain, mainly because the villains are just a bunch of random Yakuza assholes that sort of become indistinguishable. What I love about this film outside of it’s original use of The Dark Knight theme song, is how Nick Conklin isn’t a very good cop. Too many cop movies just have awesome cops fighting AMAZING villains but here the cop is sort of a fuck up, he’s messy and sloppy. But man this is one of Ridley’s underrated films, his attention to detail here is amazing, his use of dekotora is something most filmmakers would ignore. Even the final raid that was filmed in LA could pass for Japan.
#4 – RICOCHET
This movie is fucking bad ass. This was a period were John Lithgow was on a fucking roll, creating some of the best villains of all time and here he is one of his meanest. I mean he drugs a cop and makes a hooker with STDs fuck him and gets it on tape then sends it to his wife, also features a Highlander-like sword fight in prison VS. Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura. And Denzel’s tough guy/ straight cop meets him beat for beat here, an awesome underrated cop flick.
#5 – BLOWN AWAY
It’s sad that Tommy Lee Jones has just become this downtrodden mean old man in movies, I mean he’s ALWAYS been that, but there was a period in the early 90s where he played an awesome over the top villain, and this movie was probably his best. Tommy Lee seems to ravish in this role, loving every second of it. Sure the bomb contraptions are over the top, but this movie is so well paced and filmed it’s pure entertainment. I don’t look for realism in my cop films, I just expect them to keep the cock hard all the way through and this film is non stop explosive fun. Also this is some of the best mouth agape acting from Bridges, makes for a fun double feature with Arlington Ave.
HAWAIIAN ORGAN DONOR
#1 – HEAT
Michael Mann and an incredible all star cast give us the tightest 3 hour movie ever made. Any man that has ever obsessed about another human being, whether it be for love or revenge, feels the highs and incredible lows of Pacino’s character as he sabotages everything in his life in pursuit of DeNiro. When it comes to their own personal gain or saving their skin, there is not a single person in this movie who hesitates to act on instinct. As cold as the blue hues throughout, this is a cops and robbers masterpiece.
#2 – L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
What I still consider to be the greatest ensemble ever put together for any movie. They just happen to be in a riveting murder mystery that features some outstanding dialogue and a pitch perfect depiction of Hollywood’s seedy underbelly circa 1950. The role that forever launched my love affair with Russell Crowe, Bud White is a relentless justice dispensing machine when it comes to protecting women and every punch rattles my bones.
#3 – THE UNTOUCHABLES
DePalma’s finest hour. As rousing as a cops versus gangsters movie can be, there are few scenes in movie history that can rival the sheer white knuckle tension of the train station shootout. Masterfully shot with jaw dropping cinematography, this is the only movie I’ve ever stood and up cheered for in the theater.
#4 – HARD BOILED
What happens when you mix John Woo and Chow Yun Fat and give them an endless supply of bullets? You get a movie that forever changed the way I view body counts and foreign cinema. Never has a one take shootout been choreographed so perfectly.
#5 – STATE OF GRACE
In the role that I consider to be Sean Penn’s finest moment, this lesser known film about an undercover cop who returns to his old neighborhood to take down the Irish mob is proof positive that director Phil Joanou got screwed by the industry. Gary Oldman has never played psychotic as well as he did here and Ed Harris as the calm and collected mob boss gives a terrific performance. And the final shootout in the bar? I watched it a dozen times in a row that first viewing.
#1 – BROOKLYN’S FINEST
This motherfucker had me in a choke-hold from start to finish; Gere, Hawke, and Cheadle have never been better. A raw look into the lives of three Brooklyn cops with vastly different experiences, weaving through the foul, drug-infested underworld of Brooklyn. I’ve waited my whole life to see Gere standing in the doorway watching a hooker squat over the toilet and sop the filth off her twat. God bless Fuqua, finally he knocked one outta the fucking park.
#2 – MIAMI VICE
I have this recurring dream, I’m plowing a Latina in the back of a salsa club, my ass is backlit by neon, the place reeks of Drakkar Noir Eau De Toilette, my white linen suit never gets so much as a wrinkle in it, and I don’t sweat for some reason….cause it’s a fucking dream. Afterward, she’s cleaning up, using a napkin to pat her mons dry, I ask where she’s from… “Lisboa, that’s in Portugal,” she answers. But you got your tan in Miami. This is what I’m talkin’ about. Colin. Jaime. Mann. Beebe. Miami. This shit infiltrates your dreams. A near textbook example of a perfect film. It’s weird, atmospheric, sexy, introspective, and oddly hypnotic. I’ve seen this shit probably a dozen times, and I continue to pick up on subtle nuance upon each viewing. This is Mann’s natural progression from Thief, an intimate examination into the soul of those caught between a life of crime and a longing for a better existence. Overall, it’s a better film than Brooklyn’s Finest, but judging the two strictly on the law enforcement angle, BF has the edge. Barely.
#3 – THE UNTOUCHABLES
Shit’s pure AMERICAN. De Palma’s finest achievement — a classic tale of good vs evil; chronicling the escapades of uppity organized crime grease-balls and the selfless, blue-collared, patriotic do-gooders that mean to bust a hole in their fucking skulls. With the aid of one of the greatest scores of all time, the triumphs soar and the losses (poor Malone) kick our gut right in the balls. It ends the way it should, leaving you with precum crust on your thigh and the optimistic sentiment that a few good men CAN make a difference. Lets do some fucking good.
#4 – WE OWN THE NIGHT
One thing I notice all my favorite cop films have in common is a transportive sense of atmosphere and authentic grit. I wanna be put in the situation. I wanna feel the danger, the cold on my face, taste the week old coffee, smell the Cuban pussy cookin’ in the next room. I want the visual aesthetic to complement the tone of the story. I want the music to feel likes it’s actually being played in a Russian-owned club in 1988. I want the clothes to feel lived in and worn. Whether period or contemporary, these small details are vital in the cinematic crime world. I love the family dynamic here. I love the relationships. The Eva/Joaquin romance is genuine and hot, two people that care deeply about one another and can’t wait to fuck. The two brothers on opposite ends of the law shit has been done to death, but it’s never been handled this well. Joaquin always delivers, but it’s Mark that really shines in this one. It’s a better version of his stupid, over-the-top Departed bullshit. In this world, the gunshots are loud as fuck and the car chases, disorienting. When a gritty cop film is able to transcend the genre and truly sell the peril, the prospect of death is real and scary as fuck. WOTN nails it.
#5 – 48 HRS
Before Nick Nolte was a mean old motherfucker he was a mean young motherfucker, and he liked to throw the N-word around like David fucking Duke, but that was cool cause it was the Reagan Eighties, a glorious decade that gave us Thomas Dolby, the crack epidemic, and the finest films known to man. Walter Hill’s masterpiece is KING of the ‘hard-shit detective and wise-ass partner’ formula. Eminently quotable, and funny as ever, I watch this bad ass at least once a year. Holy shit does Nolte look like he reeks of ass.