The Big Easy (1987)

The Big Easy
Dennis Quaid (Remy), Ellen Barkin (Annie), Ned Beatty (Jack), John Goodman (Andre)

Directed by Jim McBride (Great Balls of Fire!)

Synopsis: A New Orleans homicide detective tangles with a stubborn district attorney as they investigate a series of murders and police corruption. In the meantime, they dance to faboo Cajun music and have hot, hot sex.

Andy Kubert's Rogue and GambitMmmmm.... Cajuns. I've never actually met a for-real genuine Cajun-type man, so my impressions are based entirely on this movie, Gambit from X-Men (Jim Lee and Andy Kubert versions only; all others are suspect), and the hot sidekick Harlan Everand in Olga Bicos's 1991 romance Santana Rose--which I really have to reread and review one day because it's Teh Awesome. Back when I first read about Gambit and Harlan--both, I think, would have been around the same time--I imagined both as played by Dennis Quaid. Relax, chère, Remy's here!

Some actors from the 80s and 90s, major and minor, have faded and disappeared only to return on occasion in scary roles--scary because, dude, we haven't seen them in years and they've aged poorly. *ahem* Cary Elwes *ahem* But a few such as Quaid have maintained a steady presence, despite--or perhaps motivated by--mondo coke habits. But because we're still acquainted with their very familiar faces, we've come to accept the gradual aging process. This makes watching The Big Easy especially fun because, whoa, Dennis Quaid was a young, hot, muscled stud. And alors! Nekkid!

The film itself could be used as a master course on how to integrate local setting and color into any narrative, while still demonstrating the need for tight storytelling and solid characterization. References to the local culture of New Orleans are woven in with, well, a little bluntness here and there, but pervasively enough to leave us thinking this story couldn't have taken place in quite the same way anywhere else. The locale is not window dressing; it's integral to the arc.

The acting is a little cheesy in retrospect, particularly Ellen Barkin's fumbling stubbornness, but Quaid is effortless sexy, especially when Remy cuts the crap and opens up about his faults. The way his voice goes hoarse when he's upset is just precious. I would have liked to see more resolution, not the "cut to dancing" scene at the end, because I'm a sucker for seeing characters who like each other. It'd just be more fun to see a few more moments when, well, they really like each other--bickering and Big Plot Issues aside. They could have resumed the famously hot nookie scene and I wouldn't have objected in the least.

Those muddy bayous run just as black as Coca-Cola.
Ain't no other place I can be bluer, that I know of.
Gonna pack my bags, turn up my collar, put on my traveling shoes--
Go down to New Orleans and turn Lou'siana blue."
"Louisiana Blue" by Radney Foster

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