October 26, 2009

Required Viewing: "My Bodyguard" (1980)

Serves well as a double-feature with Over The Edge (this was Matt Dillon's follow-up) or Harold and Maude (see, Maude didn't die, she just relocated to a Chicago hotel). My Bodyguard is by far my favorite bully film and my second favorite film set in Chicago. It does a lot of things well. First, the confrontations between the bullies, the bodyguards, and the victims are played very realistically. Second, the soundtrack is minimal. The absence of musical cues during the tense moments makes those scenes subtly nightmarish. Third, I've never seen Chicago look so gross! The entire city seems to be overflowing with garbage and peeling paint. It's dingy, dangerous and abused, like a public toilet, the exact opposite of the safe wonderland which served as the backdrop for the John Hughes films. And fourth, it's refreshing that the adults are played just as sympathetically and intelligently as the kids. I can't think of another film within this genre which does not treat some or all of the parents and teachers as crackpots, clueless buffoons, or overbearing bastards. Two final thoughts: 1) I like that Clifford (Chris Makepeace) resembles Regan, the possessed girl in The Exorcist, and 2) as far as I know, the band name "Ricky Linderman's Brother" is still available for the taking. As usual, check it out before the authorities pull it. The entire film is embedded. No need to hunt down the individual parts.

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