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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New on Video: Retro-Rourke in The Pope of Greenwich Village and Desperate Hours

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2015 at 2:00 PM



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Look, I'm not going to say Shout! Factory has a crush on Mickey Rourke, 'cuz quite frankly, I don't need to say it. Hot on the heels of their Blu-ray release of Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man comes a "Mickey Rourke Double Feature" of Stuart Rosenberg's 1984 The Pope of Greenwich Village and Michael Cimino's 1990 Desperate Hours, which Shout! Factory is releasing on a double-disc Blu-Ray set on June 2. That's right, each movie is getting its own disc, unlike their recent single-disc double-features of the Breakin', Ghoulies, or Eddie and the Cruisers films, all of which had more extras crammed onto their single discs than these do across two discs (which is to say, nothing but the trailers). And was the Eddie set branded a "Michael Pare Double Feature," or the Breakin' films as a "Michael 'Boogaloo Shrimp' Double Feature?"

They most certainly were not. Shout! Factory and Mickey Rourke, sittin' in a tree


In The Pope of Greenwich Village, Rourke and Eric Roberts are cousins and born losers in New York who concoct a plan to get rich, a plan that unfortunately involves cracking the safe of the local Mafia kingpin. It's a bad idea by any standard, and worse so because the kingpin in question is played by Burt Young, so, yeah. Temporally sandwiched between 1972's The Godfather and 1990's Goodfellas, The Pope of Greenwich Village is one of those movies that codified that decade's idea of what gangsters and small-time hoods were like.

Though the picture is more closely associated with Shout! Factory's boyfriend Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts actually gets the most memorable and oft-quoted lines, especially for those of us who first heard it on Mystery Science Theater 3000 in the 1990s.


It's inspired many parodies over the years, both by the Alamo Drafthouse…


…and also just by a couple of dudes, because why not?


Desperate Hours
is less fondly remembered, to say the least. In this remake of William Wyler's 1955 hostage drama The Desperate Hours (itself notable for being Humphrey Bogart's second-to-last film, as well as a relic of a time when Hollywood wasn't so afraid of definite articles in movie titles) Rourke plays an escaped convict who holds a family hostage in their home.


In addition to being Heaven's Gate director Michael Cimino's second-to-last movie before his career sputtered to a much-deserved halt, Desperate Hours is most significant when viewed as Anthony Hopkins' last film before Silence of the Lambs turned him into a bona fide movie star in America. Nobody paid it any mind (or, more importantly, any admission) when it was released in October 1990, but it had the good fortune to be released on VHS shortly after Silence of the Lambs hit theaters in February 1991. I was working in a video store at the time, and a lot of people who rented Desperate Hours purely because it had Hannibal Lecter in it, and as the good guy, no less.

But here's the thing: since Shout! Factory clearly wants to have all of Mickey Rourke's babies, there's an important mantle for them to pick up. They make a point of the fact that he was an Oscar nominee for The Wrestler in 2008, but of course the fact that he was a "nominee" rather than a "winner" (like Anthony Hopkins was in 1991, cough cough) means that a great injustice occurred. Some people have attempted to correct that injustice, or at least call attention to it in the most pointless way imaginable: via Facebook groups.

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What?!? What?!?! There are only five members spread across three groups that were created and abandoned over six years ago? That's not okay at all. Get to work, Shout! Factory.



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Sherilyn Connelly

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