"One of the first things I learned is never to ask a man why he's in a hurry."
A confession: We'd been meaning to watch The Friends of Eddie Coyle [at long last available on Criterion] for a while but found ourselves never quite getting around to it. [The 'Fesser and the cinetrix are both Massholes by birth.] It was late. Too much work. Not in the mood.
Somehow last night, as thousands of our fellow citizens headed to Columbia Point to pay their last respects to the man who'd been our senator longer than either one of us have been alive, became the right time.
What a great, gritty little film, Grusin score and all. But, sweet Jesus--as Coyle, Robert Mitchum delivers the best-ever working-class Boston accent by a non-native committed to celluloid. That may seem like a caveat-filled phrase, but I'm just trying to be precise. You see, the passing of Ted Kennedy also marks the passing of the distinctive Kennedy accent from the public sphere. Save Mayor Quimby on The Simpsons, no one has ever talked like a Kennedy except the Kennedys, a distinction I've belabored here and elsewhere 'til I was blue in the face.
In The Depahted, only Mark Walhberg, son of Southie that he is, sounds right. Matt Damon doesn't count, here or in Good Will Hunting. Please, his mom is a nationally recognized education expert, and he spent part of his childhood in some Cambridge group house. He ain't working class. Lenny Clahhhke in Monument Ave. comes by his accent naturally, and Denis Leary [who seems to have modeled his early look after Coyle's Jackie Brown, above] works past most of his Worcester upbringing to deliver the goods.
But really, everything in Eddie Coyle is so right, and so long ago. Eternal, or long gone.