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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pride and Glory

You know I’ve obviously never had any Pride or I would never tell you half the stuff about myself that I do, and I’ve never garnered a bit of Glory considering I can’t tell if there is anyone out there in cyberspace who even reads my ramblings since I never get any feedback except a very occasional burp here and there, so I’ve got little to relate to when it comes to the new movie Pride and Glory, now at the Essex Cinemas. Pride? Glory? They couldn’t make a movie called Backache and a little Bursitis?

I suppose I could say I know something about “Pride” in the one sense that I live with a large group of cats, and felines that hang together are called a ‘pride’, but I don’t like to tell people I have a houseful of cats because then I become the “crazy cat lady” on the block. Okay, I am the crazy cat lady on the block, but I never wanted to be her growing up. She was always the female version of the creepy old guy who yelled at kids to stay off his lawn. Now, since I was born being a matchmaker, I always thought if those two would only hook up maybe they’d both be happier, as long as he wasn’t
allergic to cat hair and didn’t mind if they pooped in his shrubbery (the cats I mean, not him and the Crazy Cat Lady). That ought to give you a glimpse into how completely pathetic my youth was. I had nobody better to worry about but strangers who lived down the block from me. I didn’t even know their names. They were just “Crazy Cat Lady” and ‘Creepy Old Lawn Guy”, but since I didn’t have a mother, father or any siblings to love and be loved by it was the best I could do. Unlike most everybody else, I never learned what it was like to be a part of a family.

That’s my biggest dilemma in connecting to
Pride and Glory, a movie that revolves around family, and not just any family, but one where the father, two sons, and son-in-law are all New York City cops. In other words, everybody with a drop of testosterone flowing in their bodies seems to be destined to take up the pledge to protect and serve the citizens of the Big Apple from harm. That sounds so noble, but it is a whole lot harder, messier, and violent than it seems when the family gathers around the dining room table together for a meal.

After what should have been a simple drug raid goes terribly wrong and four cops from the precinct run by Francis Tierney, Jr. aka “Frannie” (Noah Emmerich; Little Children) are killed in what appears to be a set-up, all hell breaks loose. Someone obviously tipped off the drug dealers that the cops were coming, so the scumbags were prepared to blow away the police officers before they would even know what hit them. Dad Francis, Sr. (Jon Voight; National Treasure: Book of Secrets) is the Police Chief, and he recruits his other son, Raymond (Edward Norton; The Incredible Hulk) to head up the internal investigation into what’s going on.

You just know things are going to get complicated when one brother is investigating the precinct that is run by the other. Yeah, and then it’s only going to get worse when brother-in-law Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell; Miami Vice) is also working as a detective in this precinct too, so that means that the entire male side of this family is immersed in what becomes a deepening mystery of just how far the corruption within the police department goes. It definitely goes far beyond a single incident of snitching to a lone drug pusher. As a matter of fact it begins to look like a widespread network of drug-peddling, money laundering, and who-knows-what-all.

As if this isn’t enough drama in their lives, each of the boys also has personal problems at home to deal with in their “spare” time. Jimmy has real anger management issues, but that’s not what has his wife, Megan (Lake Bell; What Happens in Vegas), worried as much as seeing a weasely scumbag like Eladio Casado (Rick Gonzalez; tv’s “The Reaper”) loitering around the family’s yard, especially since she is already preoccupied with carrying Jimmy’s fourth baby. Meanwhile, Ray is suffering from a broken heart as he tries to come to grips with the fact that his wife, Tasha (Carmen Ejogo; The Brave One), has filed for divorce and is not interested in resolving their conflicts, no matter how hard he wants to reconcile. At the same time Frannie is forced to watch as his wife Abby (Jennifer Ehle; Before the Rains) is dying of cancer right before his eyes, which will leave him a widower with two young girls to raise on his own, and Francis, Sr., whether he will admit it or not, needs his wife Maureen (Leslie Denniston; tv’s “Law & Order”), to wrench the cocktails out of his hand or he will drink every night until his liver gives out. In other words, these guys have a load going on at work AND at home. It turns out it actually sucks to be a Tierney (or be married to one).

Life gets very ugly on all counts before this lollapalooza comes to a resolution. Thanks to that, it does a great job in dampening my spirits for a big family get-together. When I get a little misty-eyed
and turn to Norman Rockwell pictures of schmaltzy scenes that could never have existed in real life, especially just before the holidays, when tv commercials start showing huge gatherings of people joined around a table the size of a bus, filled with enough food to fill up even Kirstie Alley and still keep all of Somalia fed until next Thanksgiving, I’ll remember Pride and Glory. Maybe these Norman Rockwell folks aren’t anything like the Tierneys, but with my luck, the Tierneys are who I’d end up with, a family where everyone appears to need to drop the “F” bomb in every single sentence they utter in order to make it through the day. I’m not sure I could f**king stand to spend a f**king holiday with a bunch of f**kers like these over a f**king Christmas dinner, but after watching Pride and Glory, I wish I had a dollar for every time someone used the “f” word. Geez, I’d be rich enough to buy a f**king decent f**king family if I wanted one.

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