There's a lot you can say about Richard Rush's 1974 precursor to the buddy-cop genre, Freebie and the Bean, and not all of it is sympathetic. James Caan and Alan Arkin's bickering, brash detectives on the hunt of San Francisco hijacking kingpin are arrogant, cavalier in the extreme and bigoted (The whole film's uncomfortably homophobic by today's standards, including the fact that the baddie is a cartoonish transvestite), but there's a saving grace at play: the action, the action, the action. The car-chase sequences still hold up today as masterful, including a spectacular freeway crash near the Embarcadero that has to be seen to be believed The cast is all excellent, too, including solid support from Valerie Harper and Alex Rocco, and it's gorgeously shot by Laszlo Kovacs. Comedy Death Ray's film series at Cinefamily screens the film this weekend under the banner Michael Cera Presents: Freebie and the Bean; the Youth In Revolt actor (who himself will take a sharp left-turn into badassery later this year in Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World), will be on hand to discuss why F&tB is one of his favorite films.
Sun., March 14, 8 p.m., 2010