This week: Heat.
"A guy told me one time, 'don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.'" - Robert DeNiro in Heat.
SPOILER ALERT - THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS, IF YOU DON'T WANT TO RUIN THE MOVIE SCROLL DOWN AND HELP DW SELL OUT BY BUYING A DAMN SHIRT!
After going all British two weeks ago, and getting in touch with emotions last week, it was time to take it back to the roots of Badassity (or is it Badassness?). Robert DeNiro. Al Pacino. Put those two together (in a movie that doesn't suck) and what do you get? That's right -- ultimate Badass. With The Godfather Part II (no joint scenes together) as their only previous appearance before Heat, DeNiro and Pacino team up for the epic story of a Los Angeles crime saga. The only question remaining by the film's end is if you just witnessed the most badass film ever.
The difference between a good Pacino and DeNiro movie and a bad one? Age...
Directed by Michael Mann (The Last of the Mohicans and Ali), Heat is truly an epic movie. Going nearly three hours long, the movie tells the tale of a LAPD police chief, Lt. Vincent Hanna (Pacino), and his chase of an amazingly good cast of criminals led by Neil McCauley (DeNiro).
Joining DeNiro in his sick gang is Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore (most likely on drugs), Jon Voight, and Danny Trejo. Also rounding out the cast of Heat is Ashley Judd, Henry Rollins (rock and roll!!), and a young Natalie Portman.
DeNiro and Kilmer being badass and holding sweet guns
The plot is simple -- Hanna tries to capture McCauley and his gang before their next big heist. McCauley and his gang are damn good -- they work flawlessly and are criminals that even cops have to respect.
In between the main plot points are many subplots -- for example, Hanna's difficulty with keeping his marriage together with his heavily medicated wife (his third marriage), McCauley and his relationship with his woman, Kilmer's relationship with his wife (played by Judd), the guy who did one heist with McCauley and then turned on them after they tried to kill his dumb ass (Waingro), and how businessmen Roger Van Zant and Alan Marciano fit into the movie.
Nobody likes Waingro... especially prostitutes.
Action packed and exciting, while painting good pictures of the main characters, Heat contains an infinite number of badass scenes. For one, the bank heist scene -- which features lots of assault rifles being shot -- is over ten minutes long. Robert DeNiro is a one man wrecking crew of badassness -- he shoots Waingro, destroys Van Zant verbally on the phone (and kills him later), and walks away from his woman after he sees the heat coming around the corner. Not to mention, his crew sets up and "makes" the LAPD.
Pacino is also a one man definition of awesome. He is tirelessly devoted to his job and taking down McCauley. As usual, he's got a million great lines in the movie: "Don't waste my motherfucking time!", "But you do not get to watch my fucking television set!", and of course the "Great ass" quote (see bottom of post). Pacino in his own right, is badass. He uses his inside contacts and lower-level criminals to get to McCauley and he leaves his third wife behind to continue on with his job.
Heat only really has two scenes prominently featuring both Pacino and DeNiro. The famous diner scene and the ending sequence where only one line is uttered. The point of Heat is that it doesn't need to force scenes between the two stars. Their plots develop just fine enough without being together. Both Pacino and DeNiro can carry their own movies, so there really is no need for much interaction. It's the classic good example of Less is More. Perhaps the writers and director of that more recent Pacino and DeNiro movie should have noted that.
Heat takes the time to develop the plot, albeit riddled with "interesting" subplots. I could have done without the annoying Pacino wife, who is very much a wet blanket (see Adrian from the Rocky series), and I'm still trying to figure out why poor lil' Natalie Portman slit her wrists and ended up in Pacino's hotel bathtub. The subplot of Waingro being a young underage prostitute killer was kinda weird and DeNiro's woman is also a little bit like Pacino's (nowhere near as annoying though). That all being said... Heat is awesome, plain and simple... just kick-ass and incredible.
Damn Natalie, you a crazy chick
Heat pulls off a movie rarity. It has a plot where the bad guy is not the leader of the gang. One could argue that by the end of the movie the viewer likes both DeNiro and Pacino, and hates Waingro the most. In fact, throughout the movie it's hard not to like DeNiro's character -- he is a respectful criminal, only kills for vengeance (for the most part), is simply after the money, and runs a real tight crew that rarely messes up. For that feat alone, Heat is definitely one of the best movies I've ever seen, overall.
So this is the ultimate question of the debate: Is Heat the most badass movie ever? It's all subjective -- personal preference. It might be my favorite movie ever, but in the movie world, it's only ranked #121 on IMDB's top 250. There are plenty of top tier contenders to the Badass line - Pulp Fiction, Il buono, Il brutto, Il cattivo, The Godfather (Parts I and II), The Dark Knight, The Usual Suspects, Fight Club, etc. - that are ranked higher. However, few movies pack the badass meter like Heat does.
In the Eric ratings chart (follows much like the Michael Scott ratings system from the "Beach Games" episode of The Office) - I'd give it 9 points, 5 gold stars, and 2 thumps up.
Now for two amazing scenes - the hilarious "Great Ass" scene and the epic ending:
Unfortunately, due to some lameness, you'll have to follow this link since embedding was disabled... bastards.
Coming in the next Peddler Movie Review - by user request - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas! Ideas/Suggestions for future movie reviews? - Leave them in the comments!