Hooray, R-rated movie in a theater!

1. Elegant premise.

John Carpenter, one of my favorite screenwriters (and composer and editor and director…) loves a concise premise for his movies:

“Ghostly fog attacks town for sins of the past.”
“Killer stalks people in his old hometown on Halloween night.”
“The president’s plane crashed on a prison island, and a famous criminal can get a pardon in exchange for rescuing him.”
“Reliquary containing evil is opening in a basement and the residents of the building are trapped.”
“What if John Wayne was in a wuxia picture as the sidekick but he thought he was the hero?”

Carpenter is influenced by his love of Westerns, especially those of Howard Hawks, which is most evident with Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) being a retooling of Rio Bravo (1959). And Westerns often had bare-bones plots because everyone already knew the tropes and there were 200 more Westerns to be shot on the same locations that month, so no time to mess around. Anyway, layering quirky characters and special effects over such lean stories is one reason they work so well. CopShop is not an explicit retelling of Assault on Precinct 13 but has an equally lean premise, and this is so refreshing in the modern movie world.

2. Hire a veteran comedy actor and let them enter the movie like Bugs Bunny with a submachine gun.

Toby Huss steals the show and his character ratchets up the tension and comedy. Pitch-perfect casting.

3. The film’s hero is a newcomer who is instantly iconic.

Alexis Louder, who plays the main officer, is a movie star. This was the first time that I was aware of her as an actor, and she was great. Fantastic screen presence, badass, funny. I am excited to see her future projects.

4. Gerry B. finally starred in a good movie!

Gerard Butler has a mixed reputation in the Alleged Beef household, with some of us loving him because of Dracula 2000 (2000) while others have yet to see him in a good movie (see the 40 Movies About installment on Den of Thieves (2018)) despite his lengthy career and amazingly puffy-yet-emotive face. Well, he finally has a good movie on his CV thanks to CopShop.

5. For those vaccinated and comfortable with being in a movie theater, this is probably the best time in decades to see smaller films at the local theater.

We live in Pittsburgh which, while not New York or LA or Chicago, is a large enough city that we have a zillion theaters, so even the small indie dramas are playing somewhere eventually. However, just like everywhere else, the multiplexes have limited their options since oh, around 2008, with most theaters dedicating three (or more!) screens to the next ungainly installments in various neverending franchises. (I’m not here to carry water for film studios or theaters. They exist to make money so they are optimizing that. I just wish they’d find less exhausting ways to do so.) However, recent events have caused many of these blockbusters to be delayed or released on the exclusive streaming services owned by the studios that made the movie. THE UPSHOT is that a lot of smaller movies are seeing local theatrical releases right now that might not otherwise when Spider-Man 15: Thor’s Curse Put on Him by Red Skull As Punishment for Loki Stealing Super-Soldier Serum in the Alternate Timeline is sucking all of the oxygen from the room. To wit, the multiplex where we saw CopShop has ten (10!) different movies screening today.



5 Thoughts on… is a quick dispatch on movies that might not otherwise be covered in our normal features, and is normally not quite so wordy.