Saturday 17 May 2014

IMDb Bottom 100 Review – Number 85 Mitchell

Sometimes a movie is just so thoroughly abysmal, that it's hard to identify just what element of the production is the weakest link. With Mitchell, identifying the weakest link is easy: it's everything. You read that right. Every single aspect of this movie is its weakest link. Acting, writing, directing, sound, music. Name any single aspect of movie production, and this flick's got it, and has taken steps to ensure it's subpar. Please, ladies and in a broader sense gentlemen, join me as we wade through...

Tender lovin' between a man and a Linda Evans, the way Shiva intended it. Brings a tear to my cold eyes.

Mitchell (1975)

The 70s. What a time, eh? Hippies had almost won, the baby boomers were almost adults, generation x hadn't yet come along to fuck everything up, and Nixon had just barely made a name for himself as the most lampooned president in spe. Also, Joe Don Baker was making a name for himself as something of a movie heartthrob. At least, that's what this flick will have you believe. You know him, I'm sure. He was the CIA connection for Pierce Brosnan's James Bond in a few 007 movies. Yeah, that dude. He was young once, believe it or not, or at least in his 40s, and things weren't really panning out for him, as much as his mother had led him to believe they would. Enter Mitchell, a movie project I'm sure was pitched to him as 'something along the lines of Dirty Harry meets Bullitt”. Sadly for Joe Don (he ain't from Texas for nothing), whoever pitched this movie like a crossover of Dirty Harry and Bullitt, must have either smoked something pretty dubious, or won't be going to Heaven, because lying is bad, mkay. Joe Don, however, didn't have the first clue at this point, and happily agreed to lend his doughy physique to the titular hero. Thus ends his positive involvement in this project.

Formerly Juror numero Uno. Now... antagonist in this piece of shit. 

I don't think we could safely assume, that Joe Don was any kind of star before this movie. We can, however, very safely and confidently assert, that he wasn't any kind of star after either. In fact, he was probably slightly worse off, than if he had just stayed in Groesbeck,TX and become a dairy farmer, like his second cousin thrice removed could very possibly have wanted him too. He didn't, however, and we're treated to 97 minutes of nonsensical muffled grainy randomness with very few, if any, mitigating factors. I try not to be superficial in general, but when most of the movies, if not all, I review here are pretty fucking devoid of flavor, I tend to grab blindly after anything that could redeem them. Me being a male human of the non-homosexual persuasion, the one thing I usually end up finding that could possibly justify spending 97 mood dampening minutes, is a woman that sports enough good looks to at least please the shallow senses. Mitchell doesn't really deliver here either. It does feature Linda Evans, but I'm not sure that's good enough. She was most famously Crystal Carrington, the intrepid second wife of head honcho Blake Carrington in the now quite lame, but by 80s standards weirdly interesting Dynasty. My mom used to watch it all the time back then, and by extension I did too. I didn't understand English at that point, nor was I able to read subtitles, so I just looked at faces, which is why I remember Linda Evans. Later on, of course, Dynasty has gained a quasi cult following, in particular Linda's infamous fights with the always nefarious 1st wife of Blake; Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan (I know right) played by the imitable Joan Collins of course. I know you kind of want to take a break from reading this, and watch some of those catfights, and because I'm such an awesome person (I guess my mom really was right all along), I am now including the link for you right here.

The suspicious burglary gone horribly wrong that started all of this madness.

The movie's plot seems to revolve around Mitchell being a cop. I think I can safely make that claim. He isn't a good cop, possibly, because his boss seems to be angry at him a lot. He appears to be a slob, a sleazebag and a halfwit to boot. I don't know if that is part of his character, or if the writing team (which might possibly consist of a 5th grader and an untrained monkey bandying ideas around) just didn't think he needed any positive qualities. I'll go on record here and say, that the sound in this flick was extremely poor. The picture quality was poor too, but the sound was particularly abhorrent, so lots of the dialogue was kind of hard to catch. Combine this with a reviewer (that's me!) who had a fairly hard time really focusing on catching all the nuanced lines from each character, and you've got an overall movie watching experience that's kind of iffy at best. I suppose I could've located some subtitles, but at that time, and also at this time, that would seem like way too much effort. And I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that you (that's you, dead reader) will enjoy a platonic walkthrough of the plot more than a detailed plot outline. Because this movie just doesn't have that many details to outline.

Mitchell eyes a suspect. He doesn't take shit from nobody, does this Mitchell. 

Mitchell is a cop, like I believe I already mentioned. I only restate it, because you might've forgot I told you in the ensuing kerfuffle about picture qualities and soundings and... I'm straying from the point. Mitchell is a cop. He does something he shouldn't, and gets assigned th surveillance duty on some right socialite dude, that lives in a mansion and has butlers and henchmen and a slew of the usual hangaround people of his ilk should have according to movies. Why this particular socialite needs surveillance, and why said surveillance doesn't need to be covert in the least (Mitchell goes to his mansion and announces his presence) I could not tell you. I don't think anybody can. This aspect of the script was handled by the untrained monkey, and he hasn't mastered the sign language basics just yet. Interestingly the rich crooked socialite is played by Martin Balsam of mild Breakfast at Tiffany's and 12 Angry Men fame. In 12 Angry Men he played, I think I'm right in stating, Juror No. 1. A pivotal role, kind of but not really. Anyway, he's a known face. Anywho, Mitchell is in his car literally across the street from the mansion entrance, just sitting there. When he's not sitting in his car, conversing with the people he's supposed to be watching, he's in his apartment looking at porn and grumbling about an unfair world. So pretty much an average day of millions of neckbearded nerds in today's world. His new friend slash antagonist The Socialite, who's only crime so far has been to have a break in where the burglar was killed, sends over a prostitute for Mitchell to enjoy. Not one to scoff at easily recognizable bribes, old Mitchypoo wastes no time in inviting the hooker in. And lo and behold, it's none other than Linda 'If you want a rematch just whistle.. if you can' Evans. If you've forgotten who she is, a) punch yourself in a snout and 2) re-read this review. Sex ensues. You should know how that works by now.

In a weird twist, Mitchell decides to take Linda Evans downtown and book her after they have sex. What is this stunt suppose to mean? Anybody?

So, Mitchell and Linda E actually manage to strike up some kind of flair effectively predating a little movie called Pretty Woman by 15 years. Practically the same story here, guys. Practically. It seems to have little consequence on the movie's remaining plot bits, unless she reveals vital information to him, and I just couldn't hear it. Mitchell is relentlessly watching over this mansion entrance, on the off chance that something out of the ordinary would happen. And wouldn't you know it? Something actually does! A kid comes running along on a skateboard, stops at Mitchell's car, and a conversation only aforementioned 5th grader could've come up with ensues. I mean this is neigh on hilarity, and drew actual out loud laughs from me upon viewing. It's so ridiculous and misplaced and totally unnecessary, that I have no idea how even a 5th grader could've thought it appropriate. I wonder... ah yes. It's right here. You'll also notice, if you're savvy, that Mitcharoo opens the scene by honking the opening line of the god damn Texas A&M Aggie War Hymn 'Hullabaloo, Caneck, Caneck”. Just marvel at the unfolding dialogue, that could easily be the inspiration Quentin Tarantino used for his brilliant dialogue driven movies later on.

I think I'll just about end the plot outline here, because the rest of the movie is a pretty classic case of good guy / bad guy tug'o'war ending with a climatic car chase and on foot chase, and some weird out of place helicopter on boat chase, with Mitchell rapelling down and kicking ass. It's lame and unexciting. The movie ends with Mitchell returning home, weary from asskicking, only to find, gun drawn, a sleeping Linda Evans in his bed. In a puzzling movie, Mitcharific decides to yank ole' Linda out of bed, make her put her hands on top of her head, while he frantically searches the house. He is unnecessarily rough with her, and she appears to take it unnecessarily well. The movie ends with a still of him and her in, I think we're meant to assume, playful pose indicating they totally became a lasting couple. I don't know, you guys. At this point I was so happy to see credits, I would've accepted him shacking up with Liberace. Everything could've happened, and it would've made no less sense than what was actually happening.

'Lemme at 'em.. COME ON MOVE!'

The first thing I remember finding out about this film, before I started watching it, was that it didn't even have an appropriate cover on IMDb. As you can see, if you could be arsed enough to click the link above, the cover features Kirk Douglas, of all people. I guess that's because the movie was most likely marketed on a double bill or even triple bill with other more famous looking actors. Also namedropped on the cover are Steve McQueen (the Bullitt reference is complete), Robert DeNiro and Charles Bronson. It's a 100 movie pack, apparently, so they are bound to include at least a few well known faces. No where on that cover do the appeasing faces of Joe Don Baker or Linda Evans shine upon us with ill deserved glee. They just weren't good enough. The director of this film, born in 1920, amazingly is still alive. Either that, or nobody knows he's dead and have updated his IMDb profile page accordingly. He doesn't appear to have many known titles to his name. A John Wayne picture here and a TV movie sequel to popular movies there. Nothing of consequence. The writer, also apparently still alive, has mostly TV series and TV movies to his credit too. Upon further inspection it turns out that Mitchell is his only actual feature film, and it shows. He should've stuck to the relatively unknown world of TV B-movies instead of dabbling in the slightly less relatively unknown world of feature b-movies. I'd like to think that the on screen chemistry between Joe Don Baker and Linda Evans spurned an off screen romance that led to heartbreak and intrigues the likes of which Hollywood had never seen before. At least that way, something interesting came off Mitchell. But I can find no evidence to back my potential claim, so I suppose I'll have to leave it at this: Mitchell was bad, and whoever made it happen should feel bad. And so should you, but for wholly different reasons.

Mitchell's cap'n. He was not nearly as troubled with Mitchell's antics as he should've been. 


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