Criterion Year Week 46: The Friends of Eddie Coyle

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Spine Number: 475

Director: Peter Yates

Genre: Crime Drama

There has always been a romanticism to gangsters in movies. It's understandable, at least on the surface. Think about it. Outlaws who live by their own rules taking chances and living outside the drudgery of our nine to five lives. They live on their own terms and have a code of honor that they all abide.

"The Friends of Eddie Coyle," however, takes a different view point. While gangster movies run the gamut from the gorgeous, like "The Godfather," to the more average, like "Goodfellas," and "The Departed," to the rough, street level life of a criminal, like "Donnie Brasco," and "Mean Streets," no other movie captures the reality of life as a low rent thief like "The Friends of Eddie Coyle."


For starters, "low rent," is an understatement. The crooks in this movie are so low level that they might as well be driving a bus. Everything is so dated that this movie couldn't possible be set in any other year. Not that it was cheap, but the people in it are not wealthy. They aren't even well off. They are lower middle, to upper lower class. There is nothing even approaching the neighborhood of glamorous in this movie. But that's what makes it so great.

Well... that's one of the things that makes it so great.

What's the other thing?




As Peter Boyle said, "You know what the '2001' theme is? That's the sound of Mitchum waking up."

Simply put, Robert Mitchum is an absolute BEAST in this movie. And that is saying a lot, given that Eddie Coyle is the farthest thing from a beast that you will find. He is essentially a middle man for a gun runner. He buys guns from one guy who knows people who can get guns and sells them to other guys who rob banks. That's it. He's facing two years in prison for transporting stolen merchandise and is trying make a deal to avoid those years, and trying to make enough money for his family in case he can't avoid them.

Simply put, Coyle isn't the guy, or the guy who knows the guy, or even the guy who knows the guy who knows the guy. He's the guy who goes to a bar where a guy who knows the guys works. That is this movies blessing and curse. It is a fantastic portrayal of the day to day grind of the lowest rung on the criminal ladder. It's a movie about where most of us would be if we were criminals. It's gritty, dirty, and almost a documentary on how UN-glamorous a life of crime would really be.

In short, it kills the illusion.

However, we cannot say this enough... The Friends of Eddie Coyle is an amazing film and is worth it for Robert Mitchum alone.

So, check it out and see if you agree with us.


Next Week:

Spine number 538: Paths of Glory

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Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

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Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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