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Not just another Tequila Sunrise



Tequilasunrise TODAY'S RETRO-REVIEW: 1988's Tequila Sunrise, starring Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell and Michelle Pfeiffer. Directed and written by Robert Towne, the movie's title seemingly has no significance in the movie whatsoever, except that Gibson's character enjoys that particular drink. So what?

THE PLOT: Gibson plays a longtime drug dealer who wants to go legit. Russell, an old high school pal, is a cop who has been charged with nailing Gibson before he can retire. To do so, he'll use Pfeiffer, a sexy restaurant owner who has caught the eye of Gibson. (Sounds boring, but it really isn't.) It might be each actor's best work in the 80s. (Nah, that's going too far.)

MAYBE YOU REMEMBER: The late, great Raul Julia playing the ping-pong loving Mexican drug kingpin. Julia is so likable that even though he's technically the villain (or is it the Fed played by the also late, great J.T. Walsh?), you can't really hate him.

SURELY YOU CAN'T FORGET: The decade's hottest sex scene -- which doesn't actually show any actual nudity. Seriously, Gibson and Pfeiffer will make you warm all over 20 years later.

THE TUNES: Impressive, especially by cop-movie standards. The Church's "Unsubstantiated" is here. So is "Recurring Dream" by Crowded House. And a gem by Robin Zander and Ann Wilson called "Surrender To Me." Even a Duran Duran song ("Do You Believe In Shame?"). Click here for the full listing.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID: "There are times when the movie seems to be complicated simply for the purpose of puzzlement, when additional layers of confusion are added as a sort of exercise having nothing to do with the plot." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.

WHY WE LOVE IT ANYWAY: No character is completely likeable. No character is completely detestable. Just like real life, my friends. Plus, it falls under the "Raul Julia Rule," which states that every movie with him in it is pretty watchable. (You doubt me? Try "Moon Over Parador.")


5. "Your lips keep getting stuck on your teeth. Is that your idea of a smile?"

4. "You go to a good deal of trouble to explain an inconsequential event, Lieutenant."

3. "You f--- like a world champion. ... I got hungry just watching you."

2. "Don't worry, buddy. I won't kill her unless you approve."

1. "It didn't hurt that bad. Just looking at you hurts more."

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:25pm]


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