Tapping out yesterday’s riff about three approvable Taylor Hackford flicks (The Idolmaker, An Officer and a Gentleman, Against All Odds) led to a re-watch of Odds (‘84), and good God…I humbly apologize!

It’s been almost exactly 40 years since my initial late February viewing at the good old Academy auditorium (Wilshire & La Peer), and I guess I just wasn’t perceptive enough back then.

Eric Hughes’ plot (loosely based upon 1947’s Out of the Past) and especially the dialogue (or good-sized portions of it) are chores to sit through, and Jeff Bridges’ painfully unsubtle performance as main protagonist Terry, an aging, none-too-bright football player, gave me a splitting headache.

Young Bridges was often too emotionally emphatic and actor-ish, and in this thing he’s certainly too childish. I was starved for the adult attitude that permeates Out of the Past. Fortified by Daniel Mainwaring and Frank Fenton’s tart dialogue, laconic Robert Mitchum knew how to play this kind of material. Which is to say a bit cooler.

I was nonetheless okay with the opening 20 or 25 in Los Angeles (love the ridiculous hot-dogging on Sunset Blvd. at 80 mph) and especially that hot, flavorful lovers-in-Yucatán section (Terry blissing out with Rachel Ward’s Jessie), but when Alex Karras interrupts their lovemaking inside a Chitchen Itza temple the whole thing suddenly turns bad, and then it stabs itself in the chest by returning to L.A. for the final 40 or 45 minutes, which are mostly atrocious.

Ugly people behaving horribly…sullen, scowling, sneering, snorting blow. You can all go fuck yourselves.

The exception is a Century City office sequence in which the excellent Swoozie Kurtz, playing a secretary to Saul Rubinek’s odious sports agent, does Terry a great favor by stealing a trove of incriminating documents, and with a hostile Doberman growling and breathing down her neck.

Lesson learned: If you have fond memories of a Taylor Hackford film you saw when young, don’t re-watch it decades later. Leave it there.

The original Out of the Past is a shining, gleaming city in the hill…a much, much better film.