SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB: Week 70 Discussion - Bad Lieutenant

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by shadow_priest_x, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    NOTE to NON-MEMBERS: Interested in joining the SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB? Shoot me a PM for more info.

    Here's a quick list of all movies watched by the SMC. Or if you prefer, here's a more detailed examination.


    @Scott Parker 27 finally gets his wish and so this week we'll be talking about seeing Harvey Keitel's dick in none other than. . .


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    Our Director


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    This bio is fucking long so I'm going to spoiler tag it:

    Ferrara was born in the Bronx of Italian and Irish descent. He was raised Catholic, which had a later effect on much of his work. At 15 he moved to Peekskill in Westchester, New York. He attended the film conservatory at SUNY Purchase, where he directed several short films, most of which are all available on The Short Films of Abel Ferrara collection. Soon finding himself out of work, he directed a pornographic film titled 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy in 1976, which starred his then-girlfriend. Interviewed by The Guardian in 2010, he recalled having to step in front of the camera for one scene to perform in a hardcore sex scene: "It's bad enough paying a guy $200 to fuck your girlfriend, then he can't get it up."

    Ferrara first drew a cult audience with his grindhouse movie The Driller Killer (1979), an urban slasher in the mold of Taxi Driver (1976), about an artist (played by Ferrara himself under the alias Jimmy Laine) who goes on a killing spree with a drill in hand. He followed it with Ms. 45 (1981), a "rape revenge" film starring Zoë Tamerlis, who later scripted Bad Lieutenant. Ferrara was next hired to direct Fear City (1984), starring Tom Berenger, Melanie Griffith, Billy Dee Williams, Rae Dawn Chong and María Conchita Alonso. True to form, it depicted a seedy Times Square strip club, where a "kung fu slasher" stalks and murders the girls after work. Berenger portrayed a disgraced boxer who has to use his fighting skills to defeat the killer.

    Ferrara then worked on two Michael Mann-produced television series, directing the two-hour pilot for Crime Story (aired 18 September 1986), starring Dennis Farina, along with two episodes of the series Miami Vice: "The Home Invaders" (aired 15 March 1985, in season 1) and "The Dutch Oven" (aired 25 October 1985, in season 2).

    Following his television work, Ferrara directed several feature films: China Girl (1987), a modern retelling of West Side Story as a gang war between the Chinese tong and the Italian Mafia; the made-for-television vigilante action thriller The Gladiator (1987) with Nancy Allen; and Cat Chaser (1989), starring Peter Weller.

    Next, Ferrara created one of his most well-known films, King of New York (1990), starring Christopher Walken as gangster Frank White, who runs a group of black drug dealers, including one played by Laurence Fishburne. The cast included Wesley Snipes and David Caruso. As with most of Ferrara's films, the screenplay was written by Nicholas St. John.

    Ferrara next directed Harvey Keitel in an acclaimed performance as the titular Bad Lieutenant (1992). Keitel plays a foul-mouthed, sex-addicted drug-using cop who wrestles with guilt and eventually seeks redemption in a Catholic church. The script was co-written by Ms. 45 star Zoë Tamerlis. Both Ferrara and Keitel were nominated for Spirit Awards and, despite its controversial content, the film was lauded by critics. Director Martin Scorsese also named it one of his top 10 films of the 1990s.

    Ferrara was then hired for two Hollywood studio films: a second remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, titled Body Snatchers (1993), for Warner Bros.; and Dangerous Game (1993), starring Keitel and Madonna, for MGM.

    In the mid-1990s Ferrara returned to independent filmmaking, directing two well-received movies: The Addiction (1995) and The Funeral (1996). The Addiction, photographed in black-and-white, starred Lili Taylor as a New York University philosophy student who succumbs to a vampire as she studies the problem of evil and philosophical pedagogy, represented by the most violent events of the 20th century. The film also features Christopher Walken, Annabella Sciorra, Edie Falco, Paul Calderon, Kathryn Erbe and Michael Imperioli. It was also co-produced by Russell Simmons. The Funeral starred Christopher Walken, Chris Penn, Isabella Rossellini, Benicio del Toro, Vincent Gallo and others.

    After making The Blackout (1997) with Matthew Modine and Dennis Hopper, he contributed to the omnibus HBOtelevision movie Subway Stories. Ferrara then made New Rose Hotel (1998), which reunited him with Christopher Walken.

    Ferrara returned three years later with 'R Xmas (2001), which starred Drea de Matteo and Ice-T. After recording two commentaries for Driller Killer and King of New York, he made Mary (2005), the religious-themed film starring Forest Whitaker, Marion Cotillard, Juliette Binoche, Heather Graham, Stefania Rocca and Matthew Modine. The multi-plot film concerns an actress (Binoche) who stars in a Passion of the Christ-like movie about Jesus, where she plays Mary Magdalene, with whom she subsequently becomes obsessed. Matthew Modine portrays the director of the film, who bears striking similarities to Mel Gibson. Mary premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2005. It swept the awards ceremony, garnering the Grand Jury Prize, SIGNIS Award and two others. It was also seen at the Toronto International Film Festival.[9] In 2007, he directed a comedy with Modine, Bob Hoskins and Willem Dafoe, Go Go Tales. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was either highly acclaimed or vehemently disliked. Ferrara began preparations for Jekyll and Hyde in 2009, which was to star Forest Whitaker and 50 Cent. After disagreements with Warner Bros. the film was indefinitely shelved in 2010.

    A Ferrara film, the docudrama called Napoli Napoli Napoli, is scheduled to premiere at the Rome Film Festival. Ferrara plays a small role as a mugger in the independent film Daddy Longlegs (2010). Also in 2010, Ferrara teamed up with Film Annex, an online film distribution platform and Web Television Network, to launch www.abelferrara.com. In a press release about the new web channel, Ferrara said, "We have been looking for a place, a home to express what we are doing and to avoid the misinformation found when we are not active on a website. With Francesco Rulli, the Founder of Film Annex, we hope to create a distribution platform for the work, both past and present, while actively interacting with our audience, collaborators and other filmmakers."

    In April 2011, Ferrara began shooting his first feature in four years, 4:44 Last Day on Earth, starring Willem Dafoe and Ferrara's longtime companion Shanyn Leigh. This is Dafoe's third collaboration with Ferrara after 1998's New Rose Hotel and his last feature film, 2007's Go Go Tales. The film was shot in one location, an apartment, set during the course of the last 24 hours before the biblical apocalypse. Ferrara's longtime cinematographer Ken Kelsch shot the film. 4:44 – Last Day on Earth competed at the 68th Venice International Film Festival in September 2011 and released in theatres in March 2012. In April 2013, Ferrara began shooting a fictionalized version of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexual assault case titled Welcome to New York. It stars Gérard Depardieu in the role of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Jacqueline Bisset as Anne Sinclair. It was released on May 17, 2014 on VOD because the film failed to be picked up for theatrical distribution.

    He recently finished shooting a biographical film titled Pasolini about the acclaimed Italian director, poet, journalist and intellectual who was murdered in 1975. The film stars Willem Dafoe in the title role.[14]

    It has been confirmed that Ferrara and Dafoe will collaborate for a fifth time in a film inspired by Carl Jung's The Red Book. The script has been written by Ferrara and Chris Zois and will be titled Siberia. Isabelle Huppert and Nicolas Cage will co-star with Dafoe.



    Our Star


    Harvey Keitel: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000172/


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    Film Overview and YouTube Videos


    Premise: While investigating a young nun's rape, a corrupt New York City police detective, with a serious drug and gambling addiction, tries to change his ways and find forgiveness.

    Budget: $1 million
    Box Office: $2 million





    Trivia


    * Martin Scorsese has called this one of his ten favorite films of the Nineties.

    * The lead role was originally earmarked for Christopher Walken, who had worked with director Abel Ferrara previously on King of New York (1990). Walken would work with Ferrara on three more films during the 1990s. Walken pulled out at the last minute. Ferrara was shocked. "[Walken] says, 'You know, I don't think I'm right for it.' Which is, you know, a fine thing to say, unless it's three weeks from when you're supposed to start shooting," Ferrara said. "It definitely caught me by surprise. It put me in terminal shock, actually."

    * Harvey Keitel stayed in character the full time on set during production.

    * The first time Harvey Keitel read the script, he threw it after 15 pages, arguing it was 'a piece of junk'. When he started reading it again, he read the scenes with the nun's rape and was so captivated by her story that he understood the movie would be a unique experience.

    * Zoë Lund, the film's co-writer, is also seen playing a character in the film who uses heroin with the lieutenant in her apartment. Zoe Lund was an enthusiastic heroin advocate in real life, and died of heroin-related heart failure in 1999.

    * This film was shot in 18 days.

    * The song that plays through the credits, "The Bad Lieutenant" is written by Abel Ferrara, and performed by him and Paul Hipp, who portrays Jesus in the film. Abel Ferrara based the screenplay on this song.

    * The nun rape plot thread was inspired by a real rape of two nuns in a convent in New York. Just like in the film, rumors circulated of a cash reward being put out for the rapists' capture. The detective who caught the rapists, Bo Dietl, plays a detective in the film. He is now a best selling author.

    * Abel Ferrara admitted in a 2012 interview that he was using drugs during the making of the film: "The director of that film needed to be using, the director and the writer-not the actors."

    * The baseball game is fictional. The Mets have battled the Dodgers for the National League championship once, in 1988. (The Dodgers beat 'em and went on to win the World Series.) For the narrative Ferrara wanted-the Mets coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win the pennant-he had to make it up. He used footage from real Mets-Dodgers games (including Darryl Strawberry's three-run homer from a game in July 1991) and added fictional play-by-play. But the statistics were accurate: no team had ever been down by three in a best-of-seven series and then come back to win. (It's happened once since then, when the 2004 Red Sox did it.)

    * According to Abel Ferrara, the film was originally supposed to be funny. "It was always, in my mind, a comedy," Ferrara said. He cited the scene where the Lieutenant pulls the teenage girls over as a specific example of how Christopher Walken would have played it, and how Harvey Keitel changed it. "The lieutenant was going to end up dancing in the streets with the girls as the sun came up. They'd be wearing his gun belt and hat, and they'd have the radio on, you know what I mean? But oh my God, Harvey, he turned it into this whole other thing."

    * Much of the movie was filmed guerrilla style. Like many indie-minded directors of low-budget films, Abel Ferrara didn't bother with permits most of the time. "We weren't permitted on any of this stuff," editor Anthony Redman admitted. "We just walked on and started shooting." For the scene where a strung-out Lieutenant walks through a nightclub, they sent Harvey Keitel through an actual, functioning club during peak operating hours.

    * Abel Ferrara said a scene that epitomized the movie for him-even though he never got around to filming it-was one where the Lieutenant robs an electronics store, leaves, then gets a call about a robbery at the electronics store. He responds in an official capacity (they don't recognize him), takes a statement, walks out, and throws the statement in the garbage. "And that to me is the Bad Lieutenant, you know?" Ferrara said.

    * Abel Ferrara filmed an actual First Communion service at St. Clare of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in the Morris Park section of the Bronx, New York.

    * One of the young women in the car was Harvey Keitel's nanny. Abel Ferrara recalled, "I said, 'You sure you want to do this with your babysitter?' He says, 'Yeah, I want to try something.'"

    * Stella Keitel plays the Lieutenant's (Harvey Keitel) daughter in this film. They're a daughter and a father in real life respectively too.

    * Zoë Lund admitted in an interview that she "co-directed" several scenes in the film. Lund also claimed that she wrote the screenplay alone and believed that Abel Ferrara did not put much effort in his contributions in the film.

    * A great deal of the dialogue and action were made up on the fly. The script was only about 65 pages at first, which would have made for about a 65-minute movie. "It left a lot of room for improvisation," producer Randy Sabusawa said, "but the ideas were pretty distilled. They were there."

    * Script supervisor Karen Kelsall said supervising the script was a challenge. "Abel didn't stick to a script," she said. "Abel used a script as a way to get the money to make a movie, and then the script was kind of-we called it the daily news. It changed every day. It changed in the middle of scenes." Abel Ferrara was unapologetic about the script's brevity. "The idea of wanting 90 pages ... is ridiculous."

    * Production designer Charles M. Lagola had his team cover the church's altar and other surfaces with plastic wrap, then painted the graffiti and other defacements on the plastic.

    * Such was Abel Ferrara's fury of when Werner Herzog directed The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009), he said, "As far as remakes go...I wish these people die in Hell. I hope they're all in the same streetcar, and it blows up". Clearly Ferrara wasn't exactly happy to put it mildly. Apparently Herzog's film was neither a remake nor a sequel to Ferrara's original Bad Lieutenant (1992).

    * According to Jonas Mekas, Zoë Lund's ex-boyfriend Edouard de Laurot was reported to have written most of the film's script. David Scott Milton later vouched this claim. Mekas even claims he has "scribbles and notes to prove it."

    * Because of its NC-17 rating, Blockbuster refused to stock the film. An R-rated cut was specially created so that the film could be rented from the chain. This version does not include the infamous masturbation scene.

    * Harvey Keitel was criticised in an extract from User Reviews for his extreme emotional outbursts at various points in Bad Lieutenant (1992) as follows: "In the scenes where Keitel is supposed to be "exploring the depths of this evil soul" and "wrestling with this man's self-hatred" (to quote some of the more overzealous reviewers), he scrunches up his face and makes a sort of howling/whining noise, akin to the noise an injured dog might make. Is this supposed to be a career defining performance? Looked more like someone who got kicked out of drama school to me".

    * As part of 13 Great Facts About 'Bad Lieutenant', "Movie buffs were baffled in 2009, when Werner Herzog directed Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, starring Nicolas Cage. It sounds like a sequel (or a remake), but in fact had no connection at all to the earlier film except that both were produced by Edward R. Pressman. Herzog said he'd never seen Ferrara's movie and wanted to change the title (Pressman wouldn't let him); Ferrara, outspoken as always, initially wished fiery death on everyone involved. Ferrara and Herzog finally met at the 2013 Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, where Herzog initiated a conversation about the whole affair and Ferrara expressed his frustration cordially".


    [​IMG]


    Members: @shadow_priest_x @europe1 @chickenluver @jeicex @MusterX @Coolthulu @Scott Parker 27 @the muntjac @Caveat @RabidJesus
     
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  2. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    All right, I guess I'll go first.

    I have mixed feelings about this film.

    On one hand, I guess if you want to define "gritty cop drama" then this movie pretty much does it and the performances are great across the board.

    The film is ultimately about a guy who has a good part of him somewhere inside--it's there, even if he doesn't connect with it very much--and through his interactions with the nun he's able to find that part of himself and take the first step--a big one--toward becoming a better man. His act of turning toward God and then demonstrating that turn through a concrete act signifies his redemption. And immediately after having redeemed himself, he's sent to the next world.

    One thing I will say is that I felt like it was refreshing to see a movie that doesn't portray religion, spirituality and the Catholic Church in a negative way. It seems that if these subjects are broached today, then it's almost always in a contentious way. I'm thinking of shows like The Handmaid's Tale or The Sinner, both of which portray religion negatively, or movies like Spotlight (yes, I know it's based on a true story). So this film struck me as one that would seem out of place today, coming from a time when there was still respect for people's religious beliefs.

    On that note, I will say that as I was watching the film I was almost certain that it was made by a Catholic director. It seemed too personal. I don't know what it is about Catholic filmmakers, but they seem to be able and willing to approach subjects and stories that Protestants wouldn't touch, and tell them in a way that Protestants wouldn't tell them. Look at this film. Or look at some thing like Taxi Driver, with Martin Scorsese himself being a practicing Catholic. Or look at The Exorcist, which wasn't directed by a Catholic, but it was written by one. A Protestant may tell a tale of demonic possession, but he wouldn't tell it LIKE THAT.

    So what is this man who is ultimately seeking redemption trying to get away from? Just generally being a piece of shit. Doing drugs, running up gambling debts, being a corrupt officer of the law. If that aspect of him is best summed up in one scene, it's undoubtedly the kinda hilarious masturbation scene. That is really something! According to the trivia one of the girls in the car is Keitel's own real-life babysitter, and he specifically pushed for her to do that scene, and . . . well I guess everyone can draw their own conclusions about that.

    On the downside, though, I felt like the film was kind of directionless. SO MUCH of the film really has nothing to do with plot. It's just watching Harvey Keitel go around the city and do drugs and worry about the fucking Dodgers beating the Mets. This is probably where @europe1 jumps in and says, "But . . . it's a CHARACTER STUDY! Like Raging Bull!" Maybe so. But I prefer a bit more of a clearly-defined plot, rather than such a loosely-connected series of events. This is my one real complaint, but I feel like it's a big one. Recently I watched Cop Land--another film that falls squarely into that "gritty cop drama" territory--and I felt like it was ultimately a much more satisfying movie.

    All in all, I thought it was good but not great. An interesting film that I'm glad I've watched once but I don't really see myself revisiting it.

    7/10
     
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  3. MusterX Steel Belt

    MusterX
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    1. Watching Harvey Keitel, known henceforward as the LT, fucked up on cocaine and a bottle of Stoli while filming a dick scene and making odd noises is some gritty shit to throw in at the beginning of a movie. It was the right time to do it, no easing into it, like BAM, there you go viewer, how you like that, huh? In fact, Keitel is just bad in so many scenes. His favorite pastime is driving around town while drinking alcohol straight out of the bottle.

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    2. Keitel's ability to do drugs and look fairly legit while doing them makes me think Harvey has at some point partied his ass off. I'm telling you, I've seen actors do drugs in movies and sometimes it just is off, its not realistic. With Keitel I believed it , all the way down to his facial expressions, that he has done this stuff in real life. The way he smoked coke off of tin foil in the bathroom scene using a tin foil straw to suck up the smoke is 100% accurate. I've seen people do it.

    [​IMG]

    3. I also believed that the duality of the LT, his good side and bad side, felt accurate. There have been many stories of cops over the decades doing the exact sort of shit Keitel was doing in this movie. The Bad Lieutenant sends a Korean shop owner downtown to fill a report on stolen money, the LT then makes the guys give him the cash and they run away. That is how cop crime is committed, or one way. The money is in his pocket, the shop owner files a report, the perps get away, no witnesses, done and done.

    4. The nun rape scene contrasted with the crucifixion of Christ was pretty raw. As a viewer it makes me want to see a hard core bad cop take them out. Ultimately, the nun won't say who did it and forgives the "boys" for the rape. This same forgiveness was offered to the LT near the end when he saw Jesus in the church and boy did he seem to need it. How bad is the LT? He is a drug addict, an alcoholic, a thief, a liar, an addicted gambler, a sex pervert, and that's just the tip of the iceberg with the LT. He is everything the criminals are that he pursues. The scene where he busts a nut to the underage girls out cruising in their daddy's car might not put him on the level of the nun's rapists but he is no good guy, that's for sure.

    5. The way the film used the National League Series in baseball to illustrate how the LT was descending deeper and deeper into darkness was brilliant. He loses $15,000 to a bookie then he bets 15 more to try to get even but loses again and owes $30,000, which causes him to shoot his own radio while sitting at a red light. He then decides to double down and bets $30,000 to try to get even while in a church service. The guy tells him don't do it, you are going to owe 60 grand but bad LT presses forward, citing, "That cocksucker isn't getting my money." He still thinks of himself as not on the level of the very criminals he busts. Eventually he has $120,000 riding on the Dodgers and the Mets win the series. I can't find the exact picture but he had on a black suit with white shirt and white tie and I thought it was a nice touch to show both good and evil within him.

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    Like his gambling, his drug use also escalates during the film. He starts off drinking and doing bumps, then he starts smoking cocaine off of foil, then by the end he is injecting drugs, I assume heroin, intraveneously.

    [​IMG]

    In the end, the LT loses everything but along the way he asks Jesus to forgive him. The Dodgers lose and he owes the bookie $120,000, which he can't pay. He finds the rapists responsible for raping the nun and instead of taking them in he sets them free and gives them his only money in a cigar box, $30,000. This is his way of trying to show forgiveness the way the nun did. in the final scene he is killed by a hit man that the bookie sent. The message being his life was forfeit but his soul was saved at the last minute.

    Keitel carries this film on his back.
     
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  4. Scott Parker 27 Your Mom's Box

    Scott Parker 27
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    I dont know that he progresses with his drug use as muster suggested; i have a feeling lt. Was already caught up in all that shit but now we were getting a glimpse of how it all ended. I fucking love this movie, and I have know a couple of people similar to this guy as far as addictions go. Both of those peoples lives did not end well and they ended up leaving loving families behind, so I know people like lt exist, he takes it all to the extreme, but in the end the stories all end the same.
    Imo when the nun was raped it signaled the end for lt, his faith and his addictions finally headed for a collision course.
    Also, tell me you both saw the nc17 version and not the rated r version.

    Ps, port of new orleans was bad lt was a steaming pile of shit compared to this flick.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
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  5. BisexualMMA Don't Put My Name in the Name of Steroids!

    BisexualMMA
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  6. ReAnimator Reagan Banned

    ReAnimator Reagan
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    you show me your ass, and you act like you are sucking a dick.

    classic
     
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  7. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    I also am not sure. I thought it was an interesting observation on @MusterX's part but it's not something that occurred to me while I was watching the movie. My thought was that he just likes to do any drug he can get his hands on and he's been deep into that shit for a long time.

    I think so. Not positive, but it had some shit in that I think would've only made an NC-17 cut.

    I saw it only once and don't remember it very well. It has an 86% on RT though and Ebert gave it 4/4 stars.

    I'd need to rewatch it to comment but I have a natural instinct to defend Nic Cage.
     
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  8. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    First time we've seen our unofficial member in quite a while. . .

    You were chiming in on the regular in the early days. Then you either decided you were too good for us or that we were too good for you.
     
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  9. MusterX Steel Belt

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    [​IMG]
     
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  10. MusterX Steel Belt

    MusterX
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    I dunno, it seemed like all his behaviors escalated as the film progressed. Like I said, by the end he was running heroin in his arm. His betting also escalated, sending him careening toward his inevitable demise. Its also weird how almost nobody had a name in this film. I really feel like Keitel did a superb job.
     
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  11. Caveat Mozart in a Go-Kart

    Caveat
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    I'm going to be a while for this one, sorry.
     
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  12. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    Looks like you're not the only one. Only 10 replies in two days.
     
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  13. Cubo de Sangre Gold Belt

    Cubo de Sangre
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    Damn. Two million at the box office. Dat NC-17, yo. They got my Eight bux. Loved the film at the time. Made me want to be a cop (without the gambling problem).
     
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  14. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

    europe1
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    Alright. Let me lay my cards on the table. I haven't been able to rewatch this movie (work and social occasions just take precedence). So what I'm going to do is to just talk about it from memory.

    I think something Martin Scorsese said about Raging Bull is highly relevant to this film too. I'm paraphrasing here: but Martin spoke about how Raging Bull is about how we have to watch a person like Jake LaMotta straight-on and be able to forgive him. We have to see a person with all of his vices and his sins and still be able to feel pity for him. It's a part of absolution. Even the most despicable, loathsome person is still a soul that is in need of saving, no matter his crimes.

    What Scorsese was alluding to here was a paricular strain within Catholic dogma. That even the most vile and evil people have to be saved and forgiven. It's an absolutist belief that proposes that there is something inherent about human beings. No matter how much of an earthly cesspool ones becomes -- there's still that dormant, rooted craving within oneself to be saved. To be granted forgiveness and to forgive.

    Interestingly enough, Scorsese named Bad Liutenant as his 5th best film of the 90's.



    Both Scorsese and Abel Ferrara is exploring this concept. Needless to say, it's an extremist one. So what such explorations result in are very extreme films.

    In Bad Lieutenant, Keitel is basically an incarnation of vices and sins. He indulges in all manner of crimes and misdemeanors. His entire persona is one of vileness. His badge is basically just a tool for him to work his evil with. Yet he is also strangely human. He isn't the caricature of fiction but a man that has sunk so low that he might as well be an animal at this point.

    The rape of the nun triggers something within him. His initial motivations for hounding after those gangbangers is no doubt the reward money. But on the journey he changes.

    One of the startling things about his encounter with the nun is how unearthly good she is. She forgives them and harbors no ill will. She is forgiving beyond any reasonable point to be so. Even after the rape she can feel nothing but love for them. She is so good -- that she cannot even feel evil.

    A lot of the Lieutenant's arguments are perfectly sensible. But she doesn't care about what is sensible or realistic. She has forgiven the sinners, prayed for them, and that's all that matters. Everyone has to be forgiven and offered penance.

    Basically, the nun is a caricature. She's there to represent the religious maxims while the rest of the film absolutely wallows in human baseness.

    [​IMG]

    The atmosphere of this scene also communicates this. The church has these etherial lighting to it. The rest of the world is a cesspool -- full of grime, vices and nasty people. It's the contrast beteen the absolutist moralistic maxism of religion -- the metaphysical "purity" of it all... vs the grit, baseness and nastiness of the material world where evil reigns supreme.



    I think it's just this dualism that seems to painfully fascinate Abel Ferrar. The dualism between the moralistic maxism of his Catholic upbringing as well as what an absolute shithole he grew up in.

    A lot of Ferrar's early films are just bathing in repugnancy. He really is a filmmaker with a fascination for the vile and slimey parts of humanity. There is a callous and sadistic bent to everything. Stuff like the Driller Killer or Ms 45 just reveals in it. Needless to say, Bad Lieutenant does to, as much of it is just an escapade of wrongness at the hands of Harvey Keitel.

    This fascination serves the film excellently. The extremeness of the repugnancy going on in New York City also highlights the extremeness of the religious-moral message. If you have a belief as absolutist as "everyone needs forgiveness" then Keitel and the premise about the raped nun is the proper way to explore that belief.



    So Keitel's conversation with the nun triggers a religious revelation within him. He sees a vision of the crucified Christ -- and has some sort of emotional catharsis regarding his own sinfulness.

    In his absolution, he to tries to offer the boys forgiveness. He offers them a chance to escape this vile city and start a new, good life. The consequences of this is left in the dark. Based on the boys reactions, it's very difficult to tell if they are actually internalizing what he's saying or if they don't care at all. They might as well have gotten off at the next bus-stop and continued their criminal lifestyle. Considering the night-black cesspool of pessimism with which Ferrara seems to view 80's New York -- it might well be so that not even a vision of Christ is enough to save them.

    And of course -- considering the circumstances, it might be that the vision was all in Keitel's head, adding another element of danger to the question if such a sinful world and characters can be saved at all.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  15. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

    europe1
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    That said, I think the depiction of vilness going on in Bad Lieutenant would irk a lot of people's religious sensibilities though. A lot of religious communities does consider the mere depiction of sinfulness and vice to be offensive in-and-of-itself.

    Well I think that goes both ways. I can't imagine a Catholic making a film like The Word, for instance.

    Yeah, I've tried to put my fingers on that vein to. Summarizing it in words is difficult. But I have to imagine that it has something to do with the focus on Guilt, Sin, moral maxims, original sin, the iconography, and so on. All cultures churn out certain kinds of people, of course.

    There is a moment in the documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut when Trauffaut is speaking about a pivotal scene in the film The Wrong Man, and says, "You must have meant something spiritual. Only a catholic could have directed that."

    To which Hitchock responded, "cut the camera." :D
     
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  16. CEROVFC --------------------------------------------------

    CEROVFC
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    Thought this was a great movie. Felt to me like it sums up the chaos an individual faces in modern life. And the inner fight we have around being a bigger person, who can forgive, versus acting more out of carnal instinct. We see Keitel struggle to control his impulses -- drugs, alcohol, sexual, gambling. We also see the nun, as the opposite, calmly speaking and offering forgiveness to her attackers.

    Perhaps a moral of the story is you need assholes to protect the good people of this world from the bigger assholes.

    Regardless what you get out of this, the movie was very un-hollywood which I liked. It was different - different good. At first I didn't quite know what to make of it, but as time passed I managed to see a bizarre genius in it. To me, this is one of the greatest movies ever made. And the lead actor really deserved credit to take on such a role and nail it. Think of how many A-list actors would steer clear of such a role.
     
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  17. MusterX Steel Belt

    MusterX
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    I agree with your post on virtually all counts. It occurs to me that the final sequence of the film when the BL asked Jesus to forgive him in the church is supernatural but in a sort of subtle way. What he was seeing as Jesus turned out to be the lady carrying the stolen chalice from the rape event. He asks the lady where she got it and she leads him to the rapists. They eventually get in the car and bad LT is having a hard time forgiving the guys. He says the nun forgave them and keeps asking why would she forgive scumbags like you, also pulling a gun on them.

    [​IMG]

    Now here is the thing, he had just asked Jesus to forgive him in the church. If we look to scripture, we find this.

    Matthew 6:15 (KJV)
    But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


    God says if you cannot forgive others, why should I forgive you? So we have the BL asking for forgiveness and then thrust immediately into a situation where he must forgive and he struggles with it mightily, eventually giving them all his money and sending them away on a bus. His death in the next scene, as you have already pointed out, puts it in the viewers mind that at the last second he was saved, despite him being the exact sort of scumbag that he has trouble forgiving. It is himself that he has trouble forgiving.
     
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  18. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    This is kind of what I was saying. In fact, I made the same point--to you, I think--a couple of weeks ago when I was talking about The Exorcist.

    I was saying that when The Exorcist was released it was criticized greatly by Christian groups, because many Christians don't think it's right to portray pure vileness on screen. But I feel like The Exorcist is one of the more profoundly Christian movies I've ever seen, precisely because it calls a spade a spade in terms of portraying evil for what it is. It pulls no punches regarding the nature of Satan and evil, and in the end God wins.

    Same goes for Bad Lieutenant. It doesn't sugarcoat how debased the LT is. Instead of says, "Hey, look at how legitimately fucked up this guy is and how much he needs redemption." But like you say, many religious viewers would find this very offensive, just cuz.

    I'm not sure I understand this story.
     
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  19. Coolthulu Green Belt

    Coolthulu
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    So fucking grimy and gritty and dark; watching Keitel's crack-addicted cop in a never ceasing spiral of misery, sympathy for him undercut by the constant depravity that he is very much the cause of. Keitel's performance is monstrous here, he is like a man who knows he can't go on like this much longer but isn't willing to pull out, there's this constant battle underneath it all. Intensely captivating stuff. And then when you throw in the themes of spirituality and religion, forgiveness and wrath, it all amounts to something a lot more affecting and impressive than the exploitation movie it seems like it could be on the surface.

    Lots of memorable scenes in this thing, although I guess there are also moments that seem less essential. I guess there was a portion of the movie where the pacing felt slightly off. The downward spiral that Keitel's life was taking became extremely clear but still needed to be visualized, and there were perhaps a few too many scenes with that charge that felt like padding.

    Still a nice change of pace to the films I've been watching recently. Oh & I cant wait to check out Herzog's remake some time.

    <mma4>
     
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  20. MusterX Steel Belt

    MusterX
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    Also have not seen Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. This has me confused though, is it connected to the Bad Lieutenant we just watched in any way?

    Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is a 2009 American black comedy film directed by Werner Herzog and starring Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Tom Bower, Jennifer Coolidge, Alvin 'Xzibit' Joiner, Val Kilmer, and Brad Dourif. Though the film's title resembles that of Abel Ferrara's 1992 film Bad Lieutenant;[4] it is neither a sequel nor a remake; according to Herzog, its only commonality is a corrupt policeman as the central character.[5] Both Bad Lieutenant films were produced by Edward R. Pressman.
     
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