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The Big Easy: 'If I can't have you, can I have my gator?'



Bigeasy TODAY'S RETRO-REVIEW: 1987's The Big Easy, which is appropriate because this is automatically publishing on my blog at the very minute my plane is expected to land in New Orleans. The film stars Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin who both, according to, consider this their favorite film.

THE PLOT: A homicide detective (Quaid) has two problems: solving a series of gang killings and fighting off a police corruption investigation led by a lovely attorney from the D.A.'s office (Barkin).

MAYBE YOU REMEMBER: Jim Garrison, the judge in Quaid's bribery case, is an actual judge in New Orleans and played himself. He was the subject of Oliver Stone's 1991 film JFK (where he was played by Kevin Costner).

SURELY YOU CAN'T FORGET: New Orleans is practically a co-star in the film, with scenes shot in prominent locations such as Tipitina's and Antoine's. Ironically, the film was supposed to be set in Chicago and be called Windy City.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID: "The Big Easy is one of the richest American films of the year. It also happens to be a great thriller. I say 'happens,' because I believe the plot of this movie is only an excuse for its real strength: the creation of a group of characters so interesting, so complicated and so original they make a lot of other movie people look like paint-by-number characters." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.

WHY WE STILL LOVE IT TODAY: All the food scenes? The fun accents? Sure, those are nice, but the bedroom seduction scene between Quaid and Barkin still boils our crawdaddys some 20 years later.


5. "Why don't you just face it, Remy? You're not one of the good guys anymore."

4. "You're a cop for God's sake, you're supposed to uphold the law, but instead you bend it and twist it and sell it."

3. "I never did have much luck with sex anyway." ... "Your luck's about to change, cher. "

2. "New Orleans is a marvelous environment for coincidence."

1. " If I can't have you, can I have my gator?"

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:48pm]


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