A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
When he runs out of dumb luck he always has genius to fall back on!
Charley Varrick robs a bank in a small town with his friends. Instead of obtaining a small amount of money they discover they stole a very large amount of money belonging to the mob. Charley must now come up with a plan to not only evade the police but the mob as well.
aka No Country for Grumpy Old Men
"There's always a bigger fish." - Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars Episode I
"Last of the independents... I like that, has a ring of finality to it." - Joe Don Baker, terrifying executioner of Darwinian capitalism.
A framed photo of John Vernon is by the bed of a pretty young woman (who Walter Matthau sleeps with in the dreaded SXSW position).
i like how unsentimental this is, not just about its violence but with its actual narrative, which with its loose structure frequently comes across less as a thriller than as a collection of occupational hazards endured by everyone at every level of a criminal enterprise. cropdusting isn't paying the bills, cops try to foil a holdup, bank robbers catch bullets, hookers turn tricks, the hitman methodically tracks down his target, the passport forger jacks up the price and then sells you out. all in a day's work.
Having just spent an entire day watching Walter Matthau movies, I can confirm that he can make a womanizing dentist likeable, a drunken deadbeat little league coach lovable, and an incorrigible shyster ambulance-chasing attorney downright adorable. But he can also pull another trick, which is to suck most of his natural humor and charisma out of his bone marrow but remain intriguing, watchable, and even magnetic. His Charley Varrick isn't the romantic kind of career criminal - he unapologetically works with violent killers, and he's not saving up to get his kid brother an operation. He, like the men in many Siegel films (including this one), is just doing his job. He's smart, though, and that gives him a fighting chance, provided he can stay smart and broke rather than dumb and rich. A lesson for us all!
You know, there are one or two very subtle clues in Charley Varrick that might alert you to the fact that it is a Don Siegel film. Andrew Robinson doing his poorly acted pained cry, a John Vernon appearance, a role for the guy who "got's to know!" on the steps of the bank near the start of Dirty Harry, a Lalo Schifrin soundtrack - like I say, very subtle.
If that is all too subtle for you, they even make direct reference to Dirty Harry at one point. I have to say that I appreciated the fact that, at times, this film did make those references because for the most part I found Charley Varrick…
Walter Matthau is a bank-robbing crop-duster leaving a trail of dead bodies, satisfied blondes and Joe Don Baker sweat across the greater Albuquerque area. If you need more than that, we're very different people.
This one was a surprise!
It's a fully fledged 70s film, some of the scenes would never appear in a film these days, especially Joe Don Baker turning a woman on by slapping her over the face, totally unmotivated. Then again, he hits everyone and everything here.
It's really a two man movie, with Baker and Matthau carrying the other actors.
Keeps the suspence and action going up to a fantastic finale.
One oddity kept bugging me though; Matthau is a stud?!
Of course Walter Matthau's fantastic (cf. his reactions when dealing with Andrew Robinson) (or cf. his tenderness with his wife) (or cf. me wanting to believe he can pick up a woman he threatened to throw out a window with a nonchalant line about how one sleeps in a circular bed), & I had no idea Joe Don Baker (bearing an eerie resemblance to Marlon Brando here) could play such a ruthless sumbitch (& also pick up women with the back of his hand), but my favorite bit of this film is the extended two shot between John Vernon and Woodrow Parfrey beside the cows (& that great cut from the two-shot to Parfrey reacting after Vernon brings up the possibility of the bosses thinking the robbery was an inside job).
Don Siegel would be a fan of John Hillcoat.
Make of that what you will.
(Compare horrifically violent bank robbery sequences etc.)
My opinion could be wrong in my opinion.
Damn that was a fun film. Recommend by Tarantino. I'd not heard of this but it's shot to my list of favorite Heist films. The story is as old as The Arabian Nights: thieves find themselves with a huge pile of money and proceed to screw up. There were some nice touches in the film, sweat Walter Matthau as anti-hero, Last of the Independents crop-duster, Joe Don Baker staying chastely in brothels as he travels on business, the speakeasy ping-pong club / gambling den behind the kitchen with the waitress who keeps people away with the fake Chinese accent “I’m so solly but we closed” which she drops once you say the right thing, an absurdly over-the-top hot chick forger…
I have a soft spot for 70's crime films party because they are what I grew up on. Since there were no super-hero movies or really any action movies aside from Bond, that's what adolescent boys watched at that time; crime films and war movies. Now I like them because on the one hand the stakes are so low compared to most movies today where the world often literally hangs in the balance. In those films the one last big score was measured in the hundreds of thousands, not hundreds of millions. On the other hand usually everything was at stake for the characters and they often lost, but not always. Here Walter Matthau tries his hand as a southwestern…
Immensely entertaining, tightly-wound crime thriller in which Walter Matthau and Andrew Robinson rob the wrong bank, end up with a whole lot of mafia money, then have to try and figure a way out of a desperate situation. Matthau is at his most watchable and wily, while Jon Don Baker is great as the sadistic heavy sent to figure out what just happened.
The best Elmore Leonard adaptation that Leonard had absolutely nothing to do with. It's so "him" without being his work.
Don Siegel's terrific thriller has Walter Matthau as a cropduster and small-time bank robber in way over his head when he his accomplices rob a tiny bank in a podunk town that turns out to be a money-laundering drop for the mob, with the expected small loot turning out to be over $760,000. The film follows Matthau's Charley Varrick as he tries to get the money back to the mob-connected bank CEO (John Vernon), who's got a crazed, good ol' boy, pipe-smoking hitman named Molly (a perfectly cast Joe Don Baker) after him. Matthau is in vintage Matthau form here, and this was just part of an incredible 1973 for Baker, a year that also saw him in THE OUTFIT and his signature role as Buford Pusser in WALKING TALL.
I liked this film, I shouldn't in reality want the bank robber to succeed but I did. Makes you understand why women fall for bad guys
Edgar Wright's 1000 Favorite Movies via MUBI.