Before comic-book movies ruled the box office, the genre was littered with one-offs Howard the Duck, The Rocketeer, The Shadow and franchises that are already being remade today Superman, Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A star-packed callback to the glory days of trench-coat-clad crime fighters and a nostalgic confection set to the music of Stephen Sondheim, it was unafraid to not just nod, but fully lean on its roots as a two-dimensional story ripped right from the funny pages. As Tracy attempts to take down Big Boy and his wacky band of henchmen, he also has to juggle his relationship with the long-suffering Tess Trueheart Glenne Headlythe appearance of a sass-mouthed orphan Charlie Korsmoand the advances of one helluva dangerous dame Madonna.
I didn't like the movie either. But Pacino obviously had fun with the role. Sometimes it's good to break out of the serious and take a role that is over the top.
One week a month, Watch This offers movie recommendations inspired by new releases or premieres. This week: With the Academy Awards a few days away, we look back at some of the unlikeliest Oscar nominees, picking a different major category every day. In fact, the Academy has only allowed superhero movies out of the effects ghetto a handful of times.
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There always was something inbred about the Dick Tracy comic strip, some suggestion that all of its characters had been mutated by the same cosmic rays, and then locked together in a bizarre loony bin of crime. Tracy was the first comic strip I encountered after I outgrew funny animals, and what struck me was that the physical appearance of the characters always mirrored their souls, or occupations. They looked like what they were, and what you saw was what you got, from the square-jawed Tracy barking into his wrist radio, to Pruneface, Flattop and the others.
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