It’s been 26 years since I suffered through Micheal Lehman‘s Hudson Hawk. I’d kinda forgotten the particulars, although it all came rushing back when I began watching clips. The only thing I liked about it was James Coburn playing George Kaplan. Not Coburn’s performance, mind, but screenwriters Steven de Souza and Daniel Waters‘ decision to pay tribute to North by Northwest‘s “non-existent decoy.”
No, I didn’t decide to hate Hudson Hawk because just about everyone trashed it or because it cost $65 million and earned $17.2 million or any of the other lynch-mob rationales. I hated it all on my lonesome because it struck me as smug and arrogant and unfunny, and because watching it was like being held down on the pavement as Bruce Willis and producer Joel Silver strolled over, bent down and farted in my face.
Go ahead — open your mind to Richard Brody’s revisionist assessment (“The Misunderstood Ambition of Hudson Hawk”) in the current New Yorker. It’s an intriguing argument, if unpersuasive. Because those YouTube clips don’t lie. Sink into that haughty attitude, those frosty vibes, that rot and corrosion.
And remember that Brody led the charge in that strangely successful campaign to elevate (resuscitate?) the reputation of Alfred Hitchcock‘s disastrous Marnie, which was verified when a 2015 BBC Culture poll ranked Marnie as #47 among the 100 Greatest American Films of all time. This led to one of the all-time greatest HE comments (“brenkilco” remarking that this Brody-led fraternity is “insidious and frightening…they’re just like ISIS except instead of beheading people they like Marnie“) but also to a 7.23.15 HE piece called “O Come All Ye Marnie Haters!”
Now Brody is trying to restore Hudson Hawk to respectability. Hey, why not? Larry Karaszewksi agrees with him. By all means read the piece, but also watch the below clip. In the space of 164 seconds it will start to drive you insane.