Taking Pride & Glory in Cop Cliches

The movie "Pride & Glory"  has taken a long, troubled road to the screen. Among its problems, according to critics, is that its steeped in cliches. So much so, that the New York Times used it as a primer on NY cop movie cliches that just won't go away:

between enforcing the law and watching the backs of his relatives or
buddies in homicide/narcotics/missing persons/the seven-six. By the
way, he has “seen some things.” Not things like traffic on the Belt
Parkway or a matinee performance of “Mamma Mia!” But things that he really, really doesn’t want to talk about. Just leave it alone. O.K.? Just leave it.

who is either on The Job or just retired from The Job and who talks
about honoring the family — though that family could be the one in the
seven-six in Brooklyn or the one in a split-level out on Long Island.
(It helps if the father drinks too much, so that someone at some point
can reach for his glass and gently say, “Hey, Pop, you’ve had enough.”)

who has left him because he is torn between her and The Job. Yes, he is
really, really torn; leave it alone. But you know what? Jimmy, Billy,
Timmy, Tommy, Sean, whatever your name is? She can’t take it anymore.
She has to get on with her life. After an awkward hug, Jimmy, Billy,
Timmy, Tommy, Sean, or whatever leaves to see some more things.

whose behavior on The Job will place the protagonist in a no-win
situation; he gets “jammed up,” a phrase you are welcome to use. They
confront each other in a station house’s locker room, a split-level’s
living room or a bar, where their feelings are such that words fail and
only fists will do.

course: the kind that, once exposed, will blow the lid off this town,
and everybody, but everybody, gets jammed up. And finally, this:

ENOUGH REFERENCES TO IRISH AMERICA TO DRIVE YOU TO DRINK. But that’s a stereotype. Yeah, but I’m Irish-American, so it’s O.K. Or is it? Just leave it alone. Just leave it.

3 thoughts on “Taking Pride & Glory in Cop Cliches”

  1. I loved this article. It does what you expect from a top critic, it discusses the conventions and cliches of the genre, giving the reader a big-picture view of the themes and characters and their world.
    But I’m wondering about the difference between a convention and a cliche. A convention gives the writer themes and characters and a setting, and it strongly reasonates with the audience. A cliche is the same stuff but it no longer reasonates with the audience, it makes them groan because it’s become stale and predictable.
    For me, these cop conventions are still powerful. I thought to myself, these are exactly the ingredients needed for a great NY cop story. Maybe it’s a need for the familiar, or the need to believe that strong characters can overcome all the inner and outer difficulties of this world, but whatever it is, it’s still real with me and not yet a cliche. I still want the HERO to be the HERO, to be able to overcome ALL the obstacles, antagonists and difficulties. Those MAIN CHARACTERS who can’t overcome SOME of their problems seem like much lesser figures. Anyway, this article sure makes the reader think.


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