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8 Million Ways to Die

8 Million Ways to Die (1986)

April. 25,1986
| Thriller Crime

Scudder is a detective with the Sheriff's Department who is forced to shoot a violent suspect during a narcotics raid. The ensuing psychological aftermath of this shooting worsens his drinking problem and this alcoholism causes him to lose his job, as well as his marriage.


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"8 Million Ways to Die" is a perfect example of why Jeff Bridges is one of my favorite actors. The overall movie might be muddled (even bad) but he always brings a laser focus to the job; more often than not, he keeps things alive and kicking. Here, he's playing an alcoholic cop who only really develops an interest in the case after he fails to keep his employer alive. And he really sells the self-loathing that comes with addiction.This is one of those mid-'80s noirs, comparable to "Against All Odds" and "To Live and Die in L.A." (although not as good as either of those). The plotting is scattered throughout, but it starts out very nicely (a beautiful aerial opening) and sees a few startling lows (a snowcone negotiation and a frenzied warehouse shouting match). Trivia has it that the production was troubled by rewrites and studio interference, and that certainly shows in the final product. Ultimately, it just reminds me of better movies.5/10


Violent and exciting movie about narcotics dealers , hotshot prostitutes and an ex-policeman . Scudder (Jeff Bridges) is a cop from the County Department who is forced to abandon his duty , after shooting a violent suspect during a drug raid . The ensuing psychological aftermath of this busting worsens his alcoholic troubles . During his recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous , he meets a suspicious stranger (Randy Brooks) who draws him back into a world of vice and prostitution . Later on , he attempts to rescue a pimp-bound hooker (Alexandra Paul) from a drug lord called Angel Maldonado (Andy Garcia) . Scudder learns his friend has dark business with Angel . Scudder must enter a crime-world of prostitution and drugs to solve a killing , and get knee-deep in a mess of million dollar drug deals . Meanwhile , the ex-cop falls in love for another gorgeous prostitute (Rosanna Arquette).In the picture there is tension , romance , thriller , emotion , intrigue , murders , drug-trafficking and a little bit of violence . A love story between a drunk ex-cop and whore is loosely interwoven with drug dealers and many other things . The movie is fast-moving on the ending but usually results to be slow-moving and being enough amusing as well as compelling but happen many events . The pic obtained moderated success and didn't attain the box office that the producers wanted . The suspense movie is correctly narrated but there're some storyline gaps and the twisted plot makes it a few ridiculous . Famous screenwriter Oliver Stone had little to do with his original script, which subsequently was re-written by Robert Towne and then revised by Hal Ashby in improvisation , he said he only visited the set once, and wanted to have his name taken off the picture but it was too late as the credits were already made up for it . The film is rated ¨R¨ for violence , nudism and some sex . The outcome of this drug and corruption story may not end happily or neatly -just like in real life- , but the characters and ideas explored along the way are compelling . Director takes on a complex subject with a large , uniformly excellent cast . Filmmaker Hal Ashby "threw away the script" and had the actors improvise all their dialog and actions . As nice acting from Jeff Bridges as an ex-cop who hires himself out to rescue a prostitute while resisting the temptation to return to his alcohol abuse . Andy Garcia's fine interpretation as a drug dealer , he is good but plays as Latin stereotypes . And two bombshell women : Rosanna Arquette and Alexandra Paul . Furthermore , Tommy 'Tiny' Lister as Nose Guard and James Avery as Deputy , but both of whom hand roles very secondaries . Catching original musical score composed and performed by James Newton Howard but with excessive use of synthesizer . Colorful and atmospheric cinematography by Stephen Burum , being totally shot in Los Angeles , California . The motion picture was professionally directed by Hal Ashby , though with no originality . It turned out to be his last theatrical film . However , being fired just after principal photography wrapped, and the studio , PSO Entertainment took over creative control . Ashby was firstly film editor , in fact his highlight of his film editing career was winning an Oscar for the landmark ¨In the heat of the night¨ (1967) . As its director, Jewison gave him a script he was too busy to work on called ¨The landlord¨(1970) . It became Ashby's first film as a director . From there he delivered a series of well-acted , intelligent human scaled flicks that included dramas as : ¨The last detail¨ (1973), ¨Bound of glory¨ (76) , ¨The slugger's wife¨ (85) , ¨Coming home (78) ; comedies : ¨Harold and Maud¨ (71) ¨Shampoo (1975) , ¨Lookin' to get out¨(82) and his biggest hit : ¨Being there¨ (79) with Peter Sellers . Great reviews and Oscar nominations became common on Ashby films..


Not convincingly performed, with a hell of a dramatic climax in that warehouse, which is the bit that this movie is mainly remembered for. Yes, I saw it decades ago, and tonight, on DVD. And what was good back then, now just seem ludicrous. But I'm [email protected] and not here to discuss the action parts.Alexandra Paul must have been desperate for an acting job. Gee, she plays somebody whom lieutenant Stephanie Holden of BAYWATCH fame would have loved to set straight. Hey, full-frontal nudity as 'the streetlights makes her pubic hair glow'... She does seem utterly, utterly miscast... This might be because of this hindsight.But the main reason to watch glamor-wise is (cue the Toto song here: Ali I wanna do when I wake up in the morning is see your eyes, Rosanna, Rosanna): Lady Rosanna Arquette. And although the script literally has yucky moments, once she is thrown into the shower and the unnecessary makeup is washed off, wow, dudes! What a stunner!I've cheered for this actress during the Eighties. She wasn't in successful big hit movies, real success eluded her, and I saw all that potential going to waste. Here's a good one though, to remember her by. That scene where she's clearly naked under the bedsheets, oh wow dudes! MY HEART PUMPS CUSTARD FOR HER, to coin a phrase.To the prudes reading this: I'm just an old boy. If you saw this movie when it was on the cinema circuit, and you're waffling on about it almost 30 years later, of course you have to be an Old Boy. And Old Boys appreciate pretty girls. And get kinda silly drooling. Sigh.If you're not into seeing these two actresses, and just want action action action this might not really be the movie for you. Lots of the action scenes are seriously flawed. Hell, he's out of work, ruins his car, yet it just stays roadworthy in the next scenes. And why don't the baddies just shoot him down in that stand-off scene?Five stars go to Rosanna Arquette, the other star is for that glorious Clint Eastwood-y moment when Scudder fires his gun after coming to Sarah's rescue. Cinematic perfection!


Alcoholic former LA sheriff, Matt Scudder(Jeff Bridges)gets embroiled in the middle of a dope smuggling operation after a hooker, Sunny(Alexandra Paul, actually going full frontal in one scene!) is killed while under his watch. A Hispanic drug-lord, Angel Moldonado(Andy Garcia), is the one who had Sunny murdered(she knew too much because she's a major reason Angel was able to move his product)and Scudder wants to bring his empire down. Angel was using a pimp named Chance(Randy Brooks)to traffic by using his "box boys", hiding the coke in logs. Chance, trying to go straight(well, not dope dealing as he once did in the past), running legitimate supermarkets(and allowing girls to pimp at his mansion), is plenty upset to find out, through Scudder's detective work, that Angel was using his places of business to move coke. This sets off a war between Scudder and Angel, with Chance wanting a piece of the action after it is truly acknowledged that Sunny was killed by Moldonado. A bargaining chip in all this is a high priced hooker named Sarah(Rosanna Arquette)who Angel is obsessive over and Scudder falls in love with. Scudder "confiscates", with Chance's help, the logs of cocaine and is willing to trade the product for Sarah..sufficed to say, this exchange doesn't go according to plan, as Scudder involves the police and Chance wishes to get revenge for Angel's actions.Well, 8 MILLION WAYS TO DIE is a redemption story in that it follows a struggling boozing detective who has lost his marriage and recked his career by drinking on the job, including shooting a Hispanic drug dealer(who pulled a Louisville Slugger baseball bat to attack cops under Scudder's command)in front of his family when an arrest goes awry. What's interesting is how Scudder is rather inadvertently pulled into his dilemma through the pleas of a hooker wanting to get out of the life and away from a dangerous criminal using her to help him traffic his cocaine. Arquette is the hooker who is around the LA crowd due to her working at Chance's palace, and this is where she was introduced to Angel. It's only when Scudder discovers lots of green and other valuables left by Sunny in his trunk, that he goes to Sarah for answers regarding a fellow call girl, and who might want her dead.Garcia's oily, temperamental gangster(he, at first, seems to want a piece of a club which Chance runs)has several heated exchanges with the seemingly fearless Scudder, where both men size each other up, this lit fuse eventually exploding at the end as Scudder and Angel finally square off with Sarah their desired prize. With unsavory characters and foul language(not to mention, we spend an entire film with these people), 8 MILLION WAYS TO DIE won't exactly ingratiate itself to everyone. I must admit that I enjoyed the "sno-cone" confrontation where Scudder initiates a meeting between he and Angel, forward about knowing that Moldonado killed Sunny, and instigating a potential "partnership"(in actuality, Scudder wants to find a way to shake him down, to no avail)where money and coke would be of major emphasis. It's one of those instances where two actors of the caliber of Bridges and Garcia have opposing characters who meet nose to nose and measure each other's dicks with Arquette's nervous Sarah looking on. They just go at each other, while sucking on their sno-cones, profane remarks passed back and forth, Sunny's death a frequent topic which stirs the pot. Bridges uses his outward ability to express the effects of alcoholism while we also see that he's still a pretty damn good cop who snuffs out Angel and joins forces with an incensed Chance which doesn't exactly bode well with the police(whose reputation is tainted because of Scudder's associations with Chance, a known criminal and his ongoing battle with booze). I must admit that the dialogue had me wincing at times, it was rather hard to listen to. The cast does what it can with the material. I had read that the film was taken from the director and cut by the studio which might explain some of the film's problems in it's overall plot and characters. Particularly glaring is the moment in the movie where Sunny is killed, Scudder looks over the bridge in despair due to his inability to save her, and the movie seems to leave us in the dark over a period of two days, Matt awakening to find himself in a hospital. It's said that he got drunk and blacked out, but he appeared to have been beaten(even hobbling on the leg with bruises throughout). This foggy portion of the film is an example of probable tampering which effects the quality of the movie(not to mention an excessively long conclusion, after Bridges' overlapping dialogue, regarding his promising future, with Scudder and Sarah walking in embrace on a beach, going on and on). And, I'm simply amazed that Scudder can seemingly walk around in broad daylight without a care in the world and remain safe, especially with a hothead like Angel in the city, having the resources to eliminate such an obvious threat.