Top Five Movie Buddies

Written by Matteo Sedazzari
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At ZANI we love films. A film can transport you, enlighten you, entertain you, educate you, move you and really get your mind going. One of those feelings that are pure magic is when you become so engrossed that you never want the film to end and the characters captivate you. You cry with them, feel their joy and you want to ease their pain.

Certain scenes reel through your head and you are left with a poignant recollection that will dwell with you forever. As you witness the classic them and us against the world. Friendships are tested to their limits and more often or not deeper camaraderie is formed from the first hostile meetings.
Midnight Cowboy - Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight

We see Joe Buck (Jon Voight) leaving behind his hometown in Texas and the song “Everybody’s Talkin” (Sung by Harry Nilsson) starts the roll in. The voyage begins. He boards a bus heading for New York disillusioned with life and he thinks the Big Apple will fulfil his being.

It quickly transpires that he thinks he can make a living as a stud, selling his body to rich women. He does find a client but only to find that the woman feels he should pay her for sex.  Down on his luck he meets a cripple called Enrico “Rasto” Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) in a bar. Rasto takes advantage of Joe Buck’s naivety, proposing that he should be his manager and has the right contacts to get Buck’s gigolo business off the ground. Rasto takes all of Buck’s money and introduces him to a homosexual Christian. Before Buck realises what is going on Rasto does a runner.  However, it’s not very long before their paths cross again.

So begins one of cinema’s most powerful charismatic relationships. Circumstances have drawn them together and they find out that they do need each other. A bond is formed and they commit petty crimes to survive the hustle and bustle of New York. They both have dreams and we want them to fulfil their dreams.  
They search for wealth, happiness, friendship, sex and the quick high. Both actors are impressive and the direction and cinematography are equally essential to the impact of this influential and empathetic film. Maybe we see ourselves as The Joe Bucks and Rasto’s of the world. If you haven’t seen it please do, if you have then this is always worth a second view. I love this film and I am moved with each viewing…and it won a few awards.

Rain Man - Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman

So Mr Hoffman features again in our number two choice, well he certainly is an impressive actor. The film begins with Tom Cruise as Charlie Babbitt, a fast talking wheeler dealer of importing luxury cars in Los Angles and it would be fair to say that he cares for no one. When he hears the news that his father has just died he doesn’t even shed a tear. Then he finds out that his father has left 3 million dollars to an autistic brother that he never knew he had (Raymond) who lives in a care home on the East side of America. Charlie knows that if he has custody of Raymond and takes him back to California he will have access to half the money but on the way home he finds that his brother can’t fly and won’t travel on any major highway. 

 So begins a classic road movie, two men in a 1949 Buick doing the back roads of the states. The inevitable happens, Charlie begins to understand his brother and is delighted when he finds out that Raymond can memorise cards, counts 46 spilled toothpicks in a second and calculates square roots in a flash. So Vegas it is. They break the bank and are asked to leave the sun strip, but by now they have bonded. 

On paper the idea of Rain Man seems a little too sentimental but the performances of Cruise and Hoffman are captivating and to see humanity used in such a large scale from Hollywood is amazing. By the end of the film you feel love for Raymond and delighted with Charlie’s new look on life and that he has learnt from his brother to relax and try not to have power over people. A refreshing film and will open your mind with each viewing. And for us that are fortunate enough to communicate, we learn about the learning difficulty of autistics.

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot - Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges

You can’t beat a good seventies crime heist and this is a characteristic of the thriller genre of this era. Paced out, strong character development, plenty of good looking girls, long chats in diners, scenes of mayhem, large cars, dodgy men in dark glasses, soft packet cigarettes, ex jail birds, bar room brawls and a bank to be robbed. Who could ask for more?

Clint Eastwood stars as Thunderbolt, a retired criminal turned preacher in a small town. His past catches up with him in the shape of Red (played by George Kennedy) who opens fire whilst Thunderbolt is conducting a service in a church. Thunderbolt escapes and meets Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges) on route, Lightfoot has just stolen a car and the duo set off. Unlike the other two films, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot are cast from the small mould, criminals, like the ladies, a cold beer, open neck shirts and the love of money.

It’s their similarities that keeps the film going, there are very few complex issues here and the chemistry from Bridges to Eastwood is electric. Lightfoot persuades Thunderbolt to come out of retirement and rob one more bank and they seek the aid of Red and another old associate. This is so enjoyable and makes you really treasure your good time friends, a must for a Friday night in.

Laurel And Hardy

Now come on, did you think we would forget the greatest comedy duo ever. It’s hard to pinpoint which film is best but mainly the material that they made with Hal Roach. It’s sad to know that they were screwed for money despite being major box office stars. And Stan Laurel ended his days living in a small flat in Los Angles with no bodyguard. Their friendship lived on and off the camera and Laurel was in control and Hardy didn’t mind.   There doesn’t appear to be any clash of egos but I could be wrong.

You remember the timeless scene where Hardy would stare into the camera with an annoyed expression, well that was for real. Hardy was a great lover and player of Golf round the Hollywood sect and Laurel would deliberately film scenes in the afternoon preventing Hardy from playing his beloved sport. Ingenious motivation.  

I would love to write endless anecdotes of this beautiful friendship, however the one that moves me for it’s sheer passion and honesty is when they visited England. It was the fifties and they embarked on a tour of England unaware of their popularity. The train would stop at towns, the church bells would play their theme song and there would be people wearing their masks. They couldn’t believe it and one night they played Blackpool and got a standing ovation. Hardy couldn’t perform for over ten minutes because he was overcome with tears of joy. It’s one of those show biz tales that moves you and shows that they where ARTISTS OF PASSION and wherever we can Laurel and Hardy will get a mention in ZANI.

Angels With Dirty Faces - James Cagney and Pat OBrien

This a great gem from the gangster film genre of the 1930’s, which focuses on friendship from start to finish. We first see Rocky Sullivan and Jerry Connolly as youths in lower East Side Manhattan, the young hoods spend their days terrorising the neighbourhood. Frankie Burke and William Tracy, who are ideal as a young James Cagney and Pat O’Brien, play the young leads. They are both equals and seem set for a life of crime, one day after a petty robbery they are chased by the police. Only one is caught, and sent to reform school and the other runs free. This event was to change their lives forever. Rocky (James Cagney) is the one who is caught and enters into the world of crime and the penal system, Jerry (Pat O’Brien) stays in his neighbourhood and starts to care about his surroundings, and the people.

Rocky is released from Prison, and returns home to roost and sort to some unfinished business with crooked lawyer James Frazier (Played supremely by Humphrey Bogart) and he finds Jerry has become a priest. They haven’t seen each other for 15 years and Rocky uses their childhood greeting when he sees Jerry for the first time “Whaddya hear? Whaddya say?” Rocky constantly repeats the greeting through out the film. They have both gone down very different paths never the less their love and affection is still paramount and they try to rekindle their friendship.

Rocky becomes a mentor for the youths of East Side Manhattan with his fast-talking, flash suits and endless amounts of dollars, the youths are the Bowery boys who went on to star in many B-films. Jerry is saddened by this, as he has been trying to keep these boys from the straight and narrow, and now it’s seems futile. Every things starts to spiral out of control, with Rocky becoming heavily involved in organised crime and Jerry declares war on his friend. However Rocky, cannot bring himself to harm Jerry despite requests from James Frazier and influential politician and racket boss Mac Keefer (George Bancroft) this dispute leads to Rocky killing Frazier & Keefer. 

Rocky takes refuge in a warehouse and the police bombard it with bullets and tear gas, only when Jerry enters the warehouse does Rocky hand himself in, not after a fight though. Rocky is found guilty of the murder of Frazier & Keefer and sentenced to death by the electric chair. What follows is one of the most powerful scenes in cinematic history, Jerry visits Rocky in his final hour and requests that he goes to the chair crying, so kids like the Bowery boys see that crime doesn’t pay. Rocky is insulted and refuses, and walks his last mile to the chair with his cocky manner and even punches one of the guards. What a test of friendship, to walk together for one’s last mile.

© Words Matteo Sedazzari /ZANI Media

Read 4653 times Last modified on Friday, 08 May 2015 16:30
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Matteo Sedazzari

Matteo Sedazzari

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ZANI was conceived in late 2008 and the fan base gradually grew by word of mouth. Key contributors came from those of the music, film and fashion industry and the voice of ZANI grew louder. So, when in 2013 investor, contributor and fan of ZANI Alan McGee* offered his support to help restyle and relaunch the site it was inevitable that traffic would increase dramatically and continues to grow. *Alan McGee co-founder of Creation Records and new label 359 Music..


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