Sunday, December 5, 2010

“Freebie and the Bean” – Unsequelized: December 5, 2010


Well before Riggs and Murtaugh would become the archetype buddy cop duo, Freebie (James Caan) and The Bean (Alan Arkin) were two seemingly mismatched partners, tear-assing through the streets of San Francisco, causing serious damage to public property and being all-around two of the most reckless cops to ever grace the silver screen. 1974 marked the true debut of what would become a genre on its own, one that wouldn't really gets it due until a decade later. And while Mel and Danny had four adventures together, Eddie and Nick had two pictures, and Martin! and Big Willie Style got two pictures out of the genre, the godfathers of the genre never got another shot at kicking ass and cracking wise.

Stanley Kubrick said that FATB was the best film of the year in 1974. I love that world-renowned artistes like Kubrick always love low-culture. In any case, I gotta agree with Stan on this one. Forget Godfather II; this was a game-changer. Of course I've being a little facetious. But really this is one of the most entertaining films I've ever seen. It's one I've shown to dozens of people and they all walk away fans. I would have loved to have seen where they could have gone from here. But it just wasn't meant to be. There was a failed TV show, but that is not the same thing. Since it never made it much further most people, even some of the biggest film geeks know, don't know much about the film.

What most people do remember is a throw away remark about the film in the documentary The Celluloid Closet. While the film is hardy the most progressive piece of entertainment it deserves better than a footnote in a doc criticizing films much larger homophobic history.

To be sure there are other buddy cops I wish would have had further adventures on the big screen. I'm sure Tango and Cash will wind up in a future edition of Unsequelized. But it starts here and many people don't even know what a great flick this is. It's only available on DVD via Warner Archives. I still rock my VHS copy. People who got rid of all their VHS are suckers!


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