Throwback Thirty – Gotham (1988)

film, reviews, TBT

gotham-242415_star_rating_system_1_star Some weeks I plan ahead what I’m going to watch for this throwback post so I know what I’m going to be in for. Other weeks I just randomly search for a 1988 film and pick the most ridiculous. This week was the latter. I’ve just not been in the mood this week. I’m in a massive funk right now thanks to various things so I just wanted to watch something simple and easy. And if it involves Tommy Lee Jones then all the better in my opinion. I’ve always kind of love his blunt and no-nonsense attitude. I love the fact that the man I probably first became aware of in Men in Black actually has no time for jokes. Just remember what he was like at the 2013 Golden Globes with his stony-faced reaction to every joke. It’s iconic. As someone who often just has no time for people, Tommy Lee Jones is kind of my idol. So, a random made for TV movie where he falls in love with a ghost? How the hell could I not?

It’s only been a short time since I finished watching Gotham and I’m still not entirely sure what happened. It’s the story of a private detective, Eddie Mallard, (Tommy Lee Jones) who is approached by Charles (Colin Bruce) to help stop his wife, Rachel (Virginia Madsen) stalking him. Of course, Eddie isn’t exactly enthused by this case until he finds out that Rachel died 10 years ago. According to Charles, she has come back to take possession of the jewels she demanded he bury with her. Eddie initially thinks he’s crazy and approaches the woman Charles believes to be Rachel. He ends up falling for her and being dragged deeper into the weirdness.

Gotham is a weird mix between a noir detective thriller and a ghost story. It plays up the spooky elements whilst never completely deciding on what is or isn’t the truth. Is Rachel a ghost or is this just one big con? Who knows? I’m not even sure the writer, director, or stars know. I had to keep going back during my viewing of the film because I kept thinking I’d missed something. It’s all over the place. But not in that end of Inception, we did this on purpose kind of way. In the what the hell have we got ourselves into kind of way.

I kind of hoped that Gotham would at least be funny but there’s nothing. It’s all so serious and over-the-top. Which, considering how much of a hot mess it is, is super ridiculous. I genuinely don’t know what to say about this film. I don’t know why it was made or what the point is. I’m confused and angry that I had to watch it. And I’m confused and angry that a gorgeous potential ghost decided Tommy Lee Jones was the man for her. When it comes down to it, the only thing I will really remember about this film is the time a character through an egg cream in Eddie’s face meaning Tommy Lee had to carry on acting with milk on his face. It’s something I could watch for hours. The rest of the film? I can barely even remember watching it the first time let alone going back to it.

5 thoughts on “Throwback Thirty – Gotham (1988)

  1. Thirty plus years this flick has been in my collection. Today it was in my bucket list and I watched it. My health only allows items that are stay at home. I watched with an open mind because I knew nothing about it. My habit was to buy movies 10 at a time to watch some day. A lifelong firefighter with no children gave my wife and I the perfect life to travel. Today is one of many to enjoy those movies. Tommy Lee Jones fan who watches his movies over and over. I never bothered picking it up since I assumed it was his Batman flick. Oh how wrong I was. Honestly I liked it. Watched with an open mind gave me a surprising insight into Jones. It reminded me slightly of yesterday’s pick Double Jeopardy (1999). Tomorrow’s pick will be In the Electric Mist (2009). I searched online for Gotham (1988) and am beginning to learn more. Your page was the 5th or 6th result and first for me to view. Being a firefighter for a small beach community on the west coast of Florida during the 80’s and 90’s gave me some unique opportunities to meet well known celebrities. One rare opportunity gave me the pleasure to be a part of a John Candy movie, Summer Rental. As Candy is recovering from a leg injury inside the house during the rain, I am the one providing the rain with one of our reserve fire engines. What a great experience meeting such a cool actor and treated like royalty. Food beyond top shelf and paid for my time. What a great shame with his death a few years later. The location was Redington Beach and Redington Shores, they also filmed in Madeira Beach at John’s Pass. Thanks for your page. Ken Taylor

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