Big City Blues (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Two thumbs way, way, way down. This movie is coyote bad, meaning that if you were forced by law to turn your thumb up or down, you'd chew off your thumb rather than watch it.

Scoopy's comments in white 

OK, I'll describe a film, you tell me which one it is. Two hit men are driving along in a car, headed for a job. Instead of discussing murder and gangster stuff, they are discussing real estate, settling down with a family, fast food and religion. One of the hit men is played by an actor who used to be the biggest box office star in Hollywood, and is now making a comeback. Later in the movie, two of the main characters are captured by homosexual perverts who bind them in S&M devices.

Your guess? No, Pulp Fiction is wrong. The movie is the immortal "Big City Blues", and the former mega star isn't John Travolta, but Burt Reynolds. This proves, one again, that if there were no Quentin Tarantino, we would have to invent him.


see the main commentary
You've read many reviews where the reviewer said the movie was almost unwatchable, right? Usually the reviewer was speaking figuratively. But not this time. This movie is unwatchable. It is so dark that you can't tell what is going on, and three times it literally goes black. I'm guessing that they mishandled the negative or shot it wrong, or something, and then tried to cover it up with some additional dialogue where the characters notice that the lights went out.

In other words, this is a really, really, bad movie. Really bad. Think about "From Hell It Came", "Leonard, Part 6", and those Count Yorga movies from Mexico. Think about the fact that if all other movies were like this, Kevin Costner would win best director every year.

Not to mention best actor.

Georgina Cates was the best thing about the movie, and she got naked. If it had been in better light, that could have been enough for me to forgive the movie quality. At least you can tell it's a woman.

DVD info from Amazon.

bare-bones, no widescreen version

 Tuna's comments in yellow:

Big City Blues (1999) stars Burt Reynolds and William Forsythe as hit men, Georgina Cates as a stripper, and Giancarlo Esposito and Roger Floyd as cross dressers. The film switches between the characters during one crazy Miami night that ends with them all in the same place. Think To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar meets Pulp Fiction, but with none of  the good parts of either film. The director claims it is an edgy comedy. Maybe so, but it lacks both edge and humor. Fortunately for Reynolds, the entire film is very dark. Not seeing his face most of the time helped him play a hit man, but it is decidedly not his sort of role.

Cates shows breasts and buns. 

The Critics Vote

  • Apollo 37/100

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 2.9, Apollo users a sparkling 18/100 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a F (Scoopy), or perhaps an F- (Tuna). The only thing that kept it from a G was the absence of Jeff Fahey.

Return to the Movie House home page