Judge Reinhold: Curse of the Hit Franchise


Jumper by H.R. Giger, the peyote years

So, anyone with half a brain will have watched Beverly Hills Cop III on Saturday night.

Those were the days.  Good cop movies, with a decent slimy underbelly featuring a searingly hot Hollywood comic actor, and a few cameos from well-respected faces like Hector Elizondo, Bronson Pinchot and Joey Travolta, the gatekeeper of special secrets.

It was a fantastic franchise, and after the credits rolled, I wished for a sequel, or at least for terrestrial television to screen an encore of all three Lethal Weapon movies.

Of course, in Beverly Hills Cop, all eyes were on Eddie Murphy.  I still can’t get enough of him, especially the live standup performances of Delirious and Raw.  Head over to youtube.com today for your lifetime fix of political incorrectness, expensive divorce narratives, and “motherfucker”.

But there’s one star that got me thinking:  what becomes of the featureless white actor, the foil to Murphy’s obnoxious bombast — the “Judge Reinhold” of the situation?

In this case, that featureless actor, actually Judge Reinhold, used to star in lots of these big hit movies.  He was always the schmucky, incredulous cynic; slightly groggy with skepticism, a bit slow off the mark, since he was always observing and commentating, prior to taking part in any of the action. A mouth with legs, if you will.

He could have been a contender.  His year group included Sean Penn, Nick Cage and Forest Whittaker, all stega-famous now, all respected, in their own ways.

Judge, where did it go wrong for you?  I bet I know.

Like so many actors that walk struggle street and finally land the gig of their life, they become prize fuckwits.

They ‘James Woods’ the situation.

Why else are they rarely ever seen in leading roles, when they seemed to have the whole Hollywood thing all stitched up?  They burn people, that’s why.

I imagine that Eddie Murphy is also a jerk.  But Murphy has other skills to counterbalance that trait, and enough Hollywood clout, and talent (if we ignore the cringeworthy foray into singing) to be forgiven.

Reinhold on the other hand.  The entitlement seeps out of every pore, and the sneery superiority.  These traits are generally repellant at a workplace, and a film set is a workplace.

I imagined, then, that his trailer was slightly smaller than Murphy’s and that irked him.  I figured that the Friday drinks situation was also unbearable, with Reinhold affixed to the layback chair, and a huge Motorola brick, while tucking two twenties into the hands of those he shook.  Perhaps he even broke out a little David Brent-style dance routine, to show he could do that just as well as Murphy too.

Interestingly, the fourth in the series of Beverly Hills Cop is in pre-production, with Murphy and Reinhold pencilled in for duties.

I can’t imagine either actor being able to capture the energy of the time, and I hope Murphy doesn’t bring a reflective Foley to the screen.

We badly need a good cop franchise.  Something without Hollywood arseholes — Smith, Lawrence et al — but with energy and, of course, a cynical, schmucky featureless white actor.  Take your pick Hollywood!


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