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quick takes: Sleep, My Love (rewatch) / Trading Places (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on May 8, 2014

Last night my girlfriend Carrie and I watched the new Blu-Ray release of Sleep, My Love and had a grand old time.  I really have nothing to add or change from my first review.  But it did occur to me why I like these “Gaslight” scenarios so much, and con movies in general, and noir movies in an even broader sense.  They’re like parables, little warnings about how easy it is to abuse someone’s trust.  It’s funny because on a theoretical, abstract level I’m pretty cynical about people, but in practice I tend to be quite trusting.  But something about the fragile nature of that trust — and the nefarious ways that evildoers take advantage of it — is fascinating to me.  I wonder what it says about me that I enjoy watching these schemes… it’s not like I’m looking for ideas.  At any rate, my feelings haven’t changed about this particular film, so refer to my earlier review.  Rating: Very Good (85)

Carrie had been wanting to revisit Trading Places and I figured a Don Ameche double-header would be a good excuse to do so tonight.  It’s been… jeez, I gotta guess at least 20 years since I’d last seen it.  And yet, most of it was burned into my memory.  I did watch it quite a few times as a kid, but to give credit where credit is due, it’s pretty memorable (for example, the unforgettably horrifying image of a disheveled Aykroyd gnawing on a fish through his dirty Santa beard).  Despite a slew of plot holes, it holds up pretty well.  The two hours flies by like nothing.  Landis draws inspiration from classic screwball comedy to craft a class struggle farce for the yuppified 80’s.  It’s nice to go back to seeing Aykroyd and Murphy before they started to suck.  I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of laugh-out-loud moments (and some of the gags are not very culturally enlightened) but it’s generally amusing and entertaining.  And their scheme at the end finally makes sense to me, having not seen it since being a kid (and also having seen a quite similar plot in Dr. Mabuse the Gambler).  There are an awful lot of nagging questions, though.  Just to pick one, why are the Dukes funding their secret, illegal plan with checks made out to Beeks?  Talk about traceable… holy discoverable evidence, Batman.  And for another, if they were paying with checks before, why are they suddenly bringing a suitcase full of cash to the parking garage?  I could keep going, but never mind.  Certainly not one of my favorite comedies, but one I enjoyed revisiting.  Rating: Good (74)


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