It’s the 30th anniversary of Martin Brest’s Midnight Run, so we’re sitting down for The Unenthusiastic Critic’s first viewing of this quintessential ’80s action-comedy.
First, we’re talking about the buddy-comedy genre in general, a conversation which—as conversations with the Unenthusiastic Critic tend to do—spirals quickly into a discussion of the genre’s treatment of race relations. (Ever wonder about the subtextual racial and economic inequities present in the Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines buddy-cop comedy Running Scared? You’ve found the right podcast.)
Then, we’re sitting down to watch Midnight Run, the gold standard of buddy-comedies, starring Robert DeNiro, Charles Grodin, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano, and John Ashton.
Along the way we’re asking important questions: Does this 30-year-old comedy hold up? Is Charles Grodin the greatest deadpan actor of his generation? Has Yaphet Kotto really been abducted repeatedly by aliens? How did director Martin Brest go from Beverly Hills Cop and Midnight Run to Gigli and long-term unemployment? And, most importantly, why is Nakea so unpopular with the Chicago police department?
0:00: Prologue: Scene from Midnight Run
1:05: Preliminary Conversation: Buddy Comedies
24:57: Original Trailer for Midnight Run
26:02: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion of Midnight Run
31:45: Interlude: Scene from Midnight Run
32:24: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion of Midnight Run
1:09:24: Outro and Next Week’s Movies
Notes and Links
—Movie Reviewed: Midnight Run (dir. Martin Brest, Universal, 1988)
—Reviews Mentioned: Vincent Canby, New York Times; Hal Hinson, Washington Post; Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune; Roger Ebert, rogerebert.com
—Articles Mentioned: “‘Midnight Run’ at 30: In Praise of the ‘Casablanca’ of Buddy Comedies,” Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone; “Here come two words for you: Why I love ‘Midnight Run’,” Alan Sepinwall, Uproxx; “Guy Killed by Alien in ‘Alien’ Now Believes He’s Seen Real Aliens,” Noel Ransom, Vice.
—Sound clip from Meet Joe Black (dir. Martin Brest, Universal, 1998)
—Read The Unenthusiastic Critic in prose form at unaffiliatedcritic.com.
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—”Warm Duck Shuffle” by Arne Huseby is licensed under CC BY 3.0.