Night Falls on Manhattani is a sort of premake to City Hall. Even though they came out the same year, and even though the latter ate the entire attention pieii, I hold that Night Falls on Manhattan is the better movie.
Yes, they both have the colorful career city servant - but Ron Leibman's Morgenthau is absolutely haunting, whereas Richard Schiff's anodyne "Schwartz Something-or-the-other" is just exactly that, a well done piece of anodyne background. Art versus craft, gents. Art versus craft. Not to disparage the craft, but an earnest blowjob delivered by a competent adult woman can not ever surpass an enthusiastic blowjob delivered by an unsure-of-herself teenager. Unfair ? Perhaps. How the world works nevertheless.
Yes, they both have a lovestory sandwiched in, but the credible, reflective, intellectually active and intellectually stimulating Peggy (Lena Olin) stands to comparison with the grotesque, cartoonish feminist-cockroachiii that Bridget Fonda plays exactly like a specialist surgeon compares to an angry badger. They're both ready and willing to scratch your skin, pick one.iv
Heck, they even both have the fake arrest warrant as a piece of paper. It's given too much centrality in City Hall, and it actually plays out much better as a sidepoint in Night Falls on Manhattan. None of that broad "religious humor" that tries so hard to fail to offend it fails to be amusing, either, which is always a plus. And they both have the "junkie" theme, and "justice vs corruption" theme (pro tip : it's the same fucking thing, shut up already). And also the everything else.
You could say that City Hall is a Manhattan view of the same exact story, all dolloped up in organic whipped cream and served on a cracker. Meanwhile, the best place to view Harlem from is still somewhere in Queens. It actually makes sense, from there. The big, strong, sexually rivetting black male "criminal" that spreads money around like holy water / disinfecting agent, who also happens to be "the only honest witness at his own trial" in the words of the very DA (once that DA grew up a little and found out just how stupid he actually was) is not merely a better character than the City Hall equivalent - but the latter's unwillingness to even look at him, like, at all! is very indicative, as it is a necessary result of the intellectual castration that follows the actual castration that comes before a fall. The deep reason white civilisation failed in the West is buried right here, in the un-heretofore-observed happenstance that City Hall can't even look at the prime mover.
Yes, everyone calls the prime mover "a criminal", and yes everyone conspires to keep it under wraps. Because what the fuck else could life possibly be other than a crime ? I guarantee you any blade of grass would be sued out of existence by the concrete, if there were any sort of justice in the sidewalk. Luckily, nobody asks the sidewalk. Nobody asks the "government", either, nobody gives a shit what Manhattan can or can not look at, all this simply doesn't matter. The only real difference is that the raped woman that looked her rapist in the eye will at least have a good story for the children. That's all.
Not really what you wanted to hear, is it ? Well, I guess we now know why City Hall ate the whole attention pie. Could I interest you in some very affordable New York City rentals ? Below E 96th, of course.———
- 1996, by Sidney Lumet, with Andy Garcia, James Gandolfini and an excellent Ron Leibman [↩]
- Star system, heh. Alive and kicking, would you rather go to see a film with what's his face, that Italian babyfaced dude and the other Italian dude, or would you instead take the girl out to see the latest Pacino thing with that hottie Cussack in it ? Aha. Even if the former is a better movie ?
I see. [↩]
- Allow me to quote from the discussion of Jackie Brown :
Primul si cel mai important motiv pentru care-i un film delicios este ca ma razbuna pe pizduta aia penibila de Bridget Fonda. Dupa City Hall va spun sincer ca imi venea sa ma sui in avion, sa merg pin-acolo si s-o bat pe proasta cu un dulap ud in Mall of America. Da' m-am abtinut, si foarte bine ca m-am abtinut. Va garantez si sunt dispus sa jur ca Tarantino o vazut-o in acelasi film, o gindit acelasi lucru si-o trecut la fapte : doi ani mai tirziu pizduta isi traieste adevaratul ei rol : ratata care aspira sa traga din bong si sa priveasca la televizor, al carei viitor contine un futai de aproape trei minute cu un puscarias transpiracios si doua gloante-n parking lot : unu-n ovare si unu-n trahee. Bai, e perfect, mi-o inchipui singerind acolo-n praf si-s satisfacut intr-un mod adinc si complet in care numa' celuloidu' poa' satisface. Daca ati vazut ca si mine City Hall si v-o scos din rabdari idioata ca si pe mine n-aveti incotro si tre' sa priviti Jackie Brown.
which comes to
The first and the most important reason this is a delicious movie is that it takes vengeance on the miserably pathetic Bridget Fonda. I tell you honestly, after City Hall I felt like climbing in a plaane, going over there, and beating her into a pulp with a wet armoire in Mall of America. But I abstained, and it appears to have been the better choice. I guarantee and am willing to swear that Tarantino saw her with the same way, thought the same thing and went to work : two years later the shitstain's living her true role : the fuckup that aspires to nothing above bongwater and TV glass, whose future consists of an almost-three-minute fuck session with a sweaty jailbird and two bullets in a parking lot. One to the ovaries and one to the trachea. Man, it's outright perfect, I can imagine her bleeding in the dust and this satisfies me in that deep and complete way only the silver screen can satisfy. If you've seen like I've seen City Hall and the shithead pissed you off as she pissed me off, you have no choice but to watch Jackie Brown.
It stands. And yes, the reason I've never reviewed City Hall in spite of numerous references scattered all over Trilema is exactly the presence of that scum played straight. I will not encourage this sort of imbecility, the only way "Marybeth Cogan" may appear in a movie is either a) to be humiliatingly and very painfully killed or else b) to be mocked into oblivion. Such antisocial vomit may never EVER be played straight. Bare cunts are perfectly okay, Marybeth Cogan is obscene. [↩]
- I suppose you're going to tell me now that hey, picking a woman's nothing at all like picking a surgeon, not like she's going to be doing things inside of you, or there'd things in you that need doing. Right ?
What are you, some kind of idiot ? [↩]