A Movie A Day #263: Running Scared (1986, directed by Peter Hyams)


Running Scared is weird but good.

Ray Hughes (Gregory Hines!) and Danny Costanzo (Billy Crystal!!!) are two tough detectives in Chicago.  All they want to do is three things: retire, open a bar in Florida, and bust Chicago’s most ruthless drug dealer, Julio Gonzalez (Jimmy Smits).  Their captain (Dan Hedaya) wants them to leave for Florida as soon as possible but they are determined to take down Julio first.’

There are two strange things about this otherwise formulaic crime film.  First off, the two tough cops are played by Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal.  According to the film’s Wikipedia page, director Peter Hyams realized that Running Scared‘s plot was nothing special so he decided that the only way to make the movie stand out was by doing it “with two actors you would not normally expect to see in an action movie.”  The other strange thing is that Hyams’s gambit worked.  Gregory Hines may have been best known as a dancer and Billy Crystal as a comedian but both of them were surprisingly believable as Chicago cops.  Running Scared is actually one of Billy Crystal’s best performances.  For once, he’s believable as being someone other than a version of himself.  Even his frequent one liners seem like something that a detective would say instead of Crystal recycling punch lines from his act.  Whether they are chasing down perps and firing their guns at a moving vehicle, Hines and Crystal are never less than credible as action stars.  Lorenzo Lamas has got nothing on the team of Hines and Crystal.

Predictable though it may be, Running Scared is one of the better late 80s cop films.  The action scenes are exciting and Hyams does a good job capturing the grittiness of Chicago.  Jimmy Smits is a good villain and Joe Pantoliano, Steven Bauer, and Jon Gries all shine in supporting roles.  Keep an eye out for the always underrated Darlanne Fluegel, playing Danny’s ex-wife.

Music Video of the Day: Hovas Vittne by ABBA (1981, dir. ???)


In 1981, it was Stig Anderson’s 50th birthday. They wrote a song and performed it in his honor since he was their longtime manager. You’ll notice that they are wearing the same outfits that they wore in the music video for Waterloo.

ABBA’s career took off after winning Eurovision in 1974 with the song Waterloo. Anderson co-wrote it.

The title of the song is a reference to Anderson’s hometown of Hova and “Vittne” translates to “witness”.

Courtesy of the book, ABBA: Bright Lights Dark Shadows by Carl Magnus Palm:

…on January 25, the celebratory mood continued when Stig turned 50 and threw a lavish party. To mark the occasion, Björn and Benny wrote the tune for a song called ‘Hovas vittne’ (‘Hovas Witness’, a pun on his place of birth) as a special gift for him.

The affectionately satirical lyrics, penned by the four ABBA members, Michael Tretow and Rune Söderqvist, referred to all sorts of quant characteristics exhibited by Stig. One example was his habit of switching on a vacuum cleaner when he decided it was time for his parties to end. “When he got tired of his guests–no matter who it was–he would bring out the vacuum cleaner and announce loudly: ‘The taxi cabs are here!’ Because he had called for cabs as well,” recalled Rune Söderqvist “of course, it was a bit embarrassing to stay then.”

Also, on the day before Stig’s birthday, a special video, featuring ABBA singing ‘Hovas Vittne’, was made. In the video they were wearing their 1974 ‘Waterloo’ costumes, as if to remind everyone of the moment in time when they and their manager had been at their most unified.

A few years down the road, things would get hostile between the group and Anderson. You can read about that here.

Enjoy!

ABBA retrospective:

  1. Bald Headed Woman by The Hep Stars (1966, dir. ???)
  2. En Stilla Flirt by Agnetha & ??? (1969, dir. ???) + 8 Hootenanny Singers Videos From 1966
  3. Tangokavaljeren by Björn (1969, dir. ???)
  4. Vårkänslor (ja, de’ ä våren) by Agnetha & Björn (1969, dir. ???)
  5. Titta in i men lilla kajuta by Björn (1969, dir. ???)
  6. Nu Ska Vi Vara Snälla by Björn & Agnetha (1969, dir. ???)
  7. Finns Det Flickor by Björn & Sten Nilsson (1969, dir. ???)
  8. Nu Ska Vi Opp, Opp, Opp by Agnetha (1969, dir. ???)
  9. Det Kommer En Vår by Agnetha (1969, dir. ???)
  10. Beate-Christine by Björn (1969, dir. ???)
  11. En Stilla Flirt by Agnetha & ??? (1969, dir. ???) + 8 Hootenanny Singers Videos From 1966
  12. Att Älska I Vårens Tid by Frida (1970, dir. ???)
  13. Min Soldat by Frida (1970, dir. ???)
  14. Söderhavets Sång by Frida (1970, dir. ???)
  15. Ring, Ring by ABBA (1973, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  16. Ring, Ring by ABBA (1973, dir. ???)
  17. Love Isn’t Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough) by ABBA (1973, dir. ???)
  18. Waterloo by ABBA (1974, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  19. Honey Honey by ABBA (1974, dir. ???)
  20. Hasta Mañana by ABBA (1974, dir. ???)
  21. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do by ABBA (1975, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  22. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do by ABBA (1975, dir. ???)
  23. Bang-A-Boomerang by ABBA (1975, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  24. SOS by ABBA (1975, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  25. Mamma Mia by ABBA (1975, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  26. Knowing Me, Knowing You by ABBA (1976, dir. ???)
  27. Tropical Loveland by ABBA (1976, dir. ???)
  28. When I Kissed The Teacher by ABBA (1976, dir. ???)
  29. Tiger by ABBA (1976, dir. ???)
  30. Money, Money, Money by ABBA (1976, dir. ???)
  31. Money, Money, Money by ABBA (1976, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  32. Fernando by ABBA (1976, dir. Lasse Hallström) + Spanish Version
  33. My Love, My Life by ABBA (1976, dir. Per Falkman)
  34. Dancing Queen by ABBA (1976, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  35. That’s Me by ABBA (1977, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  36. Knowing Me, Knowing You by ABBA (1977, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  37. The Name Of The Game by ABBA (1977, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  38. Thank You For The Music/Gracias Por La Música by ABBA (1977/1978, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  39. One Man, One Woman by ABBA (1978, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  40. Take A Chance On Me by ABBA (1978, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  41. Eagle by ABBA (1978, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  42. Summer Night City by ABBA (1978, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  43. Estoy Soñando by ABBA (1979, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  44. Chiquitia by ABBA (1979, dir. ???)
  45. Does Your Mother Know by ABBA (1979, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  46. Voulez-Vous by ABBA (1979, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  47. Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie! (A Man After Midnight) by ABBA (1979, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  48. Conociéndome, Conociéndote by ABBA (1980, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  49. I Have A Dream by ABBA (1980, dir. Urban Lasson)
  50. The Winner Takes It All by ABBA (1980, dir. Lasse Hallström)
  51. On And On And On by ABBA (1980, dir. Anders Hanser)