Sue Me!

May 23, 2013

Sue Me! I like Dick Tracy

So, here’s the thing. I saw Dick Tracy in the theater when it was first released in 1990. (Man… I am old.) After the huge previous summer smashes, the top of which for me was Burton’s first Batman, I was primed and ready for another comic adapted blockbuster. But instead… I fell asleep… twice… during an afternoon matinee. Could it be possible. Was this film for real? Or, was Warren Beatty going to say “just kiddin’. Here’s the real one.” But alas, two grueling hours later, I wondered out of the theater dazed. Not really sure if it was from the heat or the boredom that I was still trying to rub from my sleepy eyes.

Fast forward 23 years later and I run across a used copy on DVD at the thrift store for $2.99. Now, I am an avid comic adapted film fanatic. If I don’t own it on DVD, I just haven’t run across it at the right price yet. That was almost the case for this Dick Tracy DVD. But, I figured it was about as cheap as I was ever gonna find it, so I dummied up the cash. Then… the unthinkable. Later that night, in a moment of nostalgic lunacy, I decided to put it in just for background noise. I figured that I would make it through the opening scene, remember why this thing was so awful and then punch myself in the bag for wasting 3 bucks. 1 hour and 45 minutes later, I was typing up a blog on The Action Elite, entitled “Sue Me! I like Dick Tracy”.

Now, let’s not go overboard. The blog title specifies “like” not “love”. It’s by no means a perfect film. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Madonna music montages are unbearable. Come to think of it, aside from her scene in the sheer nighty, with her perkies playing peek-a-boo, Madaonna as a whole is unbearable. Al Pacino spends every scenery chewing moment doing what only Al Pacino can do and that’s over do being Al Pacino. Coming hot off of his smash soundtrack from the previous summer, Danny Elfman makes the bold choice to… well, basically rip off his own work and make another score that sounds way too much like the far superior score, for the far superior film Batman.

But, as I rewatched it at the age of 38, as opposed to 15, I realized some of the true beauty of the film. Rewatching it reminded me of when I saw Speed Racer for the first time in theaters. (I returned and saw that another time in the theater by the way.) The colors and bold choices in the direction and acting, to say it loud and proud “this is a film based on a silly childrens story”. It also gave me a sense of seeing Sin City for the first time. The over the top characters and “comic strip” editing made it mesmorizing at times. The action is admitedly sparse throughout the feature, but when you are treated to the likes of Hollywood greats such as Warren Beatty, James Caan and Dustin Hoffman (who steals the show, as Mumbles) you are willing to let it slide. It may sound like high praise, but I do not think it is overstating to call this film bold and groundbreaking for its time. Warren Beatty is a huge Dick Tracy fan and he had his work cut out for himself when he made the choice to not only star in this adaption, but direct as well. He didn’t make a great film. But, he did make a fun film that pays great tribute to a pop culture icon.

If I learned one thing from rewatching Dick Tracy, it is that “old me” should never trust “young me” when it comes to forming an opinion on a film before giving it a second chance.

About the Author

Brian M
Movies have been a big part of my life since the creation of the VCR. They have always been a way for me to escape. The action genre allowed that feeling more than any other, because the heroes in these films were living in an ordinary world, but were doing extraordinary things. Watching action movies encourages my imagination to explore while I am doing even the most mundane thing and make it exciting. Don't be afraid to use your imagination and keep action alive, no matter how old you get.



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