Dirty Deals, Murder, Mob Goons, and a Kidnapping: Men at Work (1990)

Dirty deals, murder, mob goons, and kidnapping

So I was surfing through Amazon recommendations and I saw this starred Emilio Estevez and his brother Charlie Sheen, and was written by Emilio Estevez, I just had to watch it.

{Picture from Ringu)

I am so glad I did as this was hilarious!

I love Emilio Estevez, I always have ,so anything with him in it, I’m down for.

So we start the film off with a meeting between gangster rich guy, Maxwell Potterdam III (John Getz) and the Mayor running for reelection. Potterdam what kind of name is that for an evil villain/gangster? Sounds more like a nerd to me.

So Potterdam has been paying the mayor so that he could illegally dump his toxic waste, but the mayor is done with it. Unbeknownst to Potterdam, he’s sneaky and caught the gangster on tape.

Oh, wow…

Hmm…From there we switch to friends and coworkers, Carl Taylor (Charlie Sheen) and James St. James (Emilio Estevez). They share an apartment and Carl likes to stare out the window and watch his neighbors with binoculars, espechially the woman across the way.

Not okay.

He finds her beautiful and has memorized her whole routine-that’s creepy.

SUPER creeped

James and Carl are trashmen and not happy about their job, it pays the bills but what they really want is to have their own surf shop. They are also in a prank war with some other trashmen and have two cops who hate them.

They take care of the trash but are the worst trashmen ever. It is hilarious how they just toss the cans everywhere, go through the trash and take some things, etc.

From Clueless

Meanwhile, the Mayor was approached by his campaign manager, Susan Wilkins (Leslie Hope). She gives him a tape with a rap on it for his campaign but he ignores her, takes the tape he made the night before and takes it to the police chief. He plays it, but you guessed it-he took the wrong tape. He runs out to find Susan-while the police chief contacts Potterdam. Yep, you guessed it-he’s a dirty cop.

The worst!

That night the guys are hanging out and playing trivial pursuit. They notice a ruckus across the way when the mayor comes over. He’s yelling about a tape and pushes Susan. Carl gets upset and when Susan goes downstairs to look for the tape Carl gets his pellet gun and shoots him in the butt.

From Supernatural

The guys laugh as he screams in pain and they hide missing seeing some hitmen come in and garrote the mayor and remove his body.The mob men are supposed to take him and dump his body, but the two hitmen start arguing about music and they don’t realize that they have lost the body, he slips and falls into a trashcan.

That’s not good.

The next day the boys are called in to work early and read the riot act because they’ve had so many complaints. The boss’ brother-in-law needs a job, so he’ll be watching them, Vietnam vet Louis Fedders (Keith David).

They both are having a hard time working with him, as they don’t want to be “observed”. As they are taking out the trash they find the body and think Carl killed him. They both start freaking out.  Can’t they tell he wasn’t shot but garroted?

Thank goodness for the Louis. He points out to the guys that he wasn’t shot but garroted. They decide to take the body with them as hey don’t have a good relationship with the cops. This seems like a very bad idea.

They discuss this and are overheard by rivals at work-uh oh not good.

So they go out to try and discuss what must have happened and I love how Louis gets defensive about his fries. There are something a man (or woman) never shares.

Louis: There are several sacred things in this world that you don’t *ever* mess with. One of them happens to be another man’s fries. Now, you remember that, and you will live a long and healthy life.

They share about what they saw last night and Carl decides to go over and get information from the girl across the apartment. Louis and James will watch from their apartment with the pellet gun in case she turns deadly. Louis turns out to not be helpful to James as he starts to lose his grip on reality and thinking he is in Vietnam again.

That’s not good.

So while the guys are waiting they order a pizza and when he pizza guy delivers it he sees the dead body. Louis ties him up and he is along for the ride.

James: [offering a slice of pizza to the pizza delivery man] Are you hungry? Would you like some?

Louis: [having a Vietnam flashback] Don’t give him any, James.

James: Why not? He might be hungry.

Louis: He’s a prisoner; he should be treated accordingly.

James: Have you completely lost your mind? We’re not soldiers and he’s not the enemy. He’s a pizza man.

So Carl gets with Susan, lying and telling her that he’s a doctor. She’s actually into him and wants to go off to the beach. The rest of the group follows-Louis, James, the Pizza guy, and the dead mayor.

Meanwhile, the cops pull over James and Louis-although Louis uses he pellet gun to disarm them and the hitmen are after Susan and Carl.

That’s not good.

Susan and Carl cut a break when the hitmen get distracted by their bickering, they are really unprofessional, Hitman Biff gets mad that Mario bought a taser, “it was on sale”, instead of using a gun and makes fun of him again. That’s the last straw. He decides to use the taser on his partner.

Biff: [Biff is slowly coming to after Mario blasted him with a taser gun] Ooohhhh… what happened?

Mario: Man, it was something. You got struck by lightning.

Biff: Really?

Mario: Freak storm.

Susan and Carl are running and Carl scared spits out that he lied and that he isn’t a doctor but a trashman, and his name is Carl, and he watched her from across the way and saw the fight. When Susan hears that he was spying she slaps him twice, but she still takes off with him as he’s a better option than the hitmen.

What the group doesn’t know is that Carl and James’ coworkers have tracked them down to play a prank on them and have cut the brake and gas line. One of them drops their cigarette so when Carl and Susan reach it, boom it explodes.

The hitmen catch up to Susan and Carl and kidnap them, taking them to Potterdam and they get sealed in containers to be dumped.

That’s not good.

James, Louis, the Pizza man, and the dead body chase after them and we have a great scene where James and Carl are hanging on the gates of a truck screaming.

So they find Susan but they still have to deal with Potterdam. They end up going through the trash and creating a little carnival of horror to freak Potterdam out and stop him. Even the pizza guy joined in. It’s hilarious.

This movie is crazy, but in a good way. It was hilarious, fun, and I loved it. After I watched it I had to show my sister and friend.

For more Emilio Estevez, go to Don’t You Forget About Me

For more spying on the neighbors, go to One Day You’ll See Something You Shouldn’t: Rear Window (1954)

For more kidnapping, go to Super Power Girl, Blackmail, Gangsters, and a Serial Kidnapper: Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)

I Just Read Books: Three Days of the Condor (1975)

I am not a spy. I just read books! We read everything that’s published in the world. And we… we feed the plots – dirty tricks, codes – into a computer, and the computer checks against actual CIA plans and operations. I look for leaks, I look for new ideas… We read adventures and novels and journals.

We watched this film in a class I was a teacher’s assistant for, America at the Movies. Some of you might not feel that isn’t a mystery but more of a political drama, but au contraire, this film won the Mystery Writers of America’s 1976 Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. So it counts!

To all you haters

I  loved this film. You have a movie that centers on reading books

And stars Robert Redford!

Swoon

The film starts out with Joe Turner (Redford) just doing day to day “office work”. Turner works at the American Literacy Historical Society-preserving the books that are important to the culture and history of our times.

Just kidding-that is the cover story. In reality Turner works for the CIA, codename Condor. His division reads mystery and spy novels looking for secret messages, plots, concepts, ideas, etc. It’s an easy job, pretty much all you do is read all day. Sounds perfect to me!

Turner reads one novel and submits it to CIA headquarters as the book has a few questionable elements and has been translated into many languages.

Hmm…

One day Turner steps out to get lunch for the staff. While he is gone, armed men enter the building and promptly kill the six staffers on duty. When Turner arrives, he discovers the dead bodies.

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scared, Turner follows protocol and reports in, giving codename “Condor”. He is supposed to meet his head of department, but it all turns out to be a trap. Now Turner is in a cat-and-mouse game, trying to outwit the CIA and assassins.

I love this as it is so similar to The 39 Steps or other Alfred Hitchcock films. Just normal guy, doesn’t really know what is going on and gets caught up in this big huge adventure.

The only thing we are missing is a beautiful blonde.

Enter, Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway), a woman he encounters by chance that he forces to take him to her home and keeps her hostage, using her apartment as a hiding place.

What a jerk

This doesn’t last as the man after him, Joubert, discovers his hiding spot and sends the hitman after him. Turner does manage to overcome the hitman disguised as a mailman. He gets a name and address of Leonard Atwood, Director of Operations of the Middle East and why the killings happened.

Joe Turner: What does Operations care about a bunch of damn books? A book in Dutch. A book out of Venezuela. Mystery stories in Arabic.

Atwood: Wait!

Joe Turner: What the hell is so important about…[He stops as he sees the connectionOil fields. Oil. That’s it, isn’t it? This whole damn thing was about oil! Wasn’t it? Wasn’t it?

Atwood: Yes, it was.

The book was fictional, but hit too close the truth and the story had to be eliminated, and those who had read it. Joubert comes on the scene and kills Atwood, the head of the CIA determining that he is too much of a liability. They have decided to let Turner “go” for his ingenuity-but will they really? Joubert warns Turner it will never be over. Just like in The Godfather, he gives him notice of how the hit will go down.

Joe Turner: I’d like to go back to New York.

Joubert: You have not much future there. It will happen this way. You may be walking. Maybe the first sunny day of the spring. And a car will slow beside you, and a door will open, and someone you know, maybe even trust, will get out of the car. And he will smile, a becoming smile. But he will leave open the door of the car and offer to give you a lift.

Turner meets with CIA operative Higgins in public-Times Square. Higgins talks more about the “plan” Turner stumbled on.

Joe Turner: Do we have plans to invade the Middle East?

Higgins: Are you crazy?

Joe Turner: Am I?

Higgins: Look, Turner…

Joe Turner: Do we have plans?

Higgins: No, absolutely not. We have games. That’s all. We play games. ‘What if?’ ‘How many men?’ ‘What would it take?’ ‘Is there a cheaper way to destabilize a regime?’ That’s what we’re paid to do.

Joe Turner: Supposing I hadn’t stumbled onto a plan; say, nobody had?

Higgins: Different ballgame… the fact is, there was nothing wrong with the plan. No, the plan was alright; the plan would’ve worked!

Turner wants out and has insurance to protect himself. He gave The Wall Street Journal the whole story-anything happens to him it is published…or will it?

Higgins: Hey, Turner! How do you know they’ll print it? You can take a walk. But how far if they don’t print it?

Joe Turner: They’ll print it.

Higgins: How do you know?

It is a powerhouse of an ending. Is Turner safe? Will he be protected? Or will he be living his life always looking over his shoulder?

We will never know. That’s the beauty of its creepiness.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Who Did I Marry?: The Stranger Beside Me (1995)

For more spy films, go to Someone Has Erased His Memory: Total Recall (1990)