August 8, 2011

Bacon, Fishburne, headgear

Here’s a story for you: A young, hotshot stockbroker loses everything in one disastrous day at the market, then becomes a bicycle messenger and destroys a leading New York dope dealer.

Sound far-fetched? Absurd? Believe it or not, people get paid huge amounts of money for ideas such as this. In the case of Tom Donnelly, who wrote Quicksilver, he was even allowed to direct the danged thing (it’s his first film).

The hero (Kevin Bacon, from Diner and Footloose), who begins the film with a very bad fake mustache, drops a wad on Wall Street one day. When asked what happened to all his money, he replies, “Nothing happened to it. The money’s still there, it just belongs to somebody else now.”

Actually, he feels pretty rotten, especially because he blew his parents’ life savings, not to mention his own.

So, for some reason, Bacon scans the want ads and decides that the exciting world of bicycle message-delivering is the career for him. He takes to the streets and delivers messages through the brutal New York City traffic. See, he’s lost his nerve for the big time so he consoles himself with the heady rush of dodging cars.

While on the job, he meets some people who, I suspect, are intended to be warm and wonderful characters. Hector (Paul Rodriguez) dreams someday of owning a chain of hot dog stands. Bacon looks at him and says, “You are one optimistic Mexican,” which seems an accurate comment.

Bacon also meets a cute young thing (Jami Gertz) who foolishly gets involved delivering drugs for a bad dude (Rudy Ramos) who never seems to get out of his car. She says her parents are in Vegas as the opening act for Frank Sinatra, but we sense that this is merely a brassy subterfuge to cover up her deeper feelings. It is.

All of this leads to Bacon going back out on the stock market floor, kicking a little you-know-what and then cornering the dope pusher and doing the same with him.

It’s a strange film, full of loose ends and unmotivated actions, and the whole subplot of the drug dealer appears to have been grafted onto the story after the first few drafts of the screenplay, to add a little blood and guts to the goings-on.

There are, of course, a few sequences that are available to be lifted intact for music videos, including the obligatory Giorgio Moroder (he scored Flashdance) tune, this time sung by Roger Daltrey, who really should know better.

As for Bacon—well, he’s still a likable sort, but he should choose projects that are more like movies than mere star vehicles. This particular vehicle is as light as his high-speed bike.

First published in the Herald, February 15, 1986

A quintessential Eighties title, not nearly as much fun to sit through as it sounds like it might be. Once again I fail to mention Larry Fishburne in the case, although this has more to do with the movie than the actor. The Moroder song has a de rigueur quality to it, as Hollywood admitted that MTV was in charge. Bacon, of course, has made his career in not being a likable sort, so I don’t know why I said that.