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8 Million Ways to Die
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Reviews & Ratings for
8 Million Ways to Die More at IMDbPro »

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36 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Underrated Mid-80's detective film

7/10
Author: JohnQpublic from Basement @ Home
24 March 2004



This film is consistently rated at or below the median for it's genre and period. In my opinion, this is an unfair rating... the film is better than it has been portrayed.

Jeff Bridges plays Matt Scudder, a down on his luck detective who is suspended by the LAPD after a violent confrontation with a suspect.

Bridges life spirals down (in something of a preview of the character he would later play in perhaps his best film, 1991's The Fisher King) into chronic alcoholism. He receives an unexpected invitation to a party hosted by Angel Maldonado (Andy Garcia in an early role) and there the story proper begins.

Scudder is drawn into the dark side of LA's party scene by "Sunny", one of Maldonado's erstwhile hangers on. Through this connection, Scudder determines to bring down Maldonado's drug empire - and make off with Maldonado's favourite girl...

All standard hollywood stuff, but reasonably well done. The mid 80's seems to have been a fairly soft time for truly good films, but this one is worth watching. I give it 7/10 on the public scale...

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37 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Lost Movie of the 80's

9/10
Author: Gortch from Montana
28 April 2005

Will be recognized as one of the lost classics of the 80's. Bridges gives a great performance and really seems to understand what an alcoholic acts like. has THE best hangover scene of any movie. Andy Garcia made his first impression as the bad guy. Some real off the wall action scenes. This movie got a lot of bad press when it was released. i never understood why as I felt that it was one of Ashby's better later movies. I think Ashby himself will come under a reappraisal in the years to come with his movies being recognized as some coif the best. Some of his stars gave their best performances under his direction, i.e. Jack Nicholson (The Last Detail), Warren Beatty (Shampoo); Jon Voight (Coming Home) and Ruth Gordon.

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21 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

It's very good: don't believe the hype!

Author: tseverin from London, England
19 April 2000

I saw this film a couple of nights ago. I only bothered as it was a Hal Ashby movie & I'm a big fan. He didn't let me down. Ok it's not a masterpiece or even amongst his best but it's still a powerfully intense thriller. Superficially similar to Scarface it is less showy, more personal & more convincing. Garcia's stylised gangster with his 'Gaudi' affectations almost unsettles the realism but is compulsive. Bridges turns in another superb performance as the hard-boiled, ex-cop battling with alcoholism & other demons. Ashby's Chandleresque take on 80's LA is familiar but beautifully vivid nevertheless. What raises it above the plethora of dark 80's thrillers is it's old-fashioned 70's values like complex character and troubled hero not in control of the narrative over fast-pace, shallow action & irony. To the post-Star Wars generation '8 Million Ways' may look meandering and indulgent but this says more about their limitations as film fans than it does about the film.

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18 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A lost piece of art from the 80's

Author: Mr Cinema from Roselle, IL
9 February 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember watching 8 Million Ways to Die (1986). There are a bunch of things I like about this film. Jeff Bridges's performance is a great, tactical, and understated. Andy Garcia is a great villain. Psychotic, warm and pathetic. He makes poison sweet like a Jalapeno pepper. This is entertaining film noir. All of the characters are flawed. They all have weaknesses or addictions that are their downfall. Bridges's Scudder is an alcoholic. Rosanna Arquette is addicted to money. Which always makes a good film noir. 2 things, that I usually see in the TV version of 8 Million Ways to Die (1986) that are cut out is (1) Alexandra Paul's Sunny has a bathroom scene with Scudder, which is usually cut out. It's as naked a scene as Isabella Rosellini's scene in Blue Velvet. (2) There is a long drawn out downspell of Bridges's character in the beginning that they. The studios usually cut out. I don't buy the ending with Bridges and Arquette's character going off together, but Arquette does say that her dad was an alcoholic and we usually go for our parent's hardest traits in our mates, so. Maybe. They do get together. Overall, This is underrated and overlooked. This is a Mr. cinema 100 pick.

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21 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

the most original and well played police movie ever

10/10
Author: didier_lds from Israel
24 July 2007

OK. this is my first comment on this site so I'll try to make it good.

Eight million ways to die is simply an AMAZING movie. since the first time I saw it - i think it was in 91 - I bought the original VHS video and saw it many times again, especially during harsh times. This is The movie to see when you are down, and shows you how a man who has been at the bottom can gather himself, and bring on his best.

May be what i write seems to be intellectual stuff but actually the film is a great police movie with a perfect direction, and the message simply comes out of its own after watching it.

the cast is brilliant, this movie made me a Jeff Bridges fan, he is the best (4 times award nominee). Alexandra Paul, Andy Garcia, and Randy Brooks are excellent. Rosanna Arquette is a bit "weaker" than the others. she can't really compete with Paul and the male cast. She is a good actress but I am not sure she fits the hooker-junkie type.

What more can I say - my favorite movie ever.

Ho! yes: an unforgettable soundtrack by James Newton-Howard. one of his earlier works (may be its best !!). The soundtrack together with the opening scene showing the police car from the air is a master-piece.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

glamor-wise, 2 reasons to watch this

6/10
Author: RavenGlamDVDCollector from South Africa
6 July 2014

Not convincingly performed, with a hell of a dramatic climax in that warehouse, which is the bit that this movie is mainly remembered for. Yes, I saw it decades ago, and tonight, on DVD. And what was good back then, now just seem ludicrous. But I'm RavenGlamDVDCollector@gmail.com and not here to discuss the action parts.

Alexandra Paul must have been desperate for an acting job. Gee, she plays somebody whom lieutenant Stephanie Holden of BAYWATCH fame would have loved to set straight. Hey, full-frontal nudity as 'the streetlights makes her pubic hair glow'... She does seem utterly, utterly miscast... This might be because of this hindsight.

But the main reason to watch glamor-wise is (cue the Toto song here: Ali I wanna do when I wake up in the morning is see your eyes, Rosanna, Rosanna): Lady Rosanna Arquette. And although the script literally has yucky moments, once she is thrown into the shower and the unnecessary makeup is washed off, wow, dudes! What a stunner!

I've cheered for this actress during the Eighties. She wasn't in successful big hit movies, real success eluded her, and I saw all that potential going to waste. Here's a good one though, to remember her by. That scene where she's clearly naked under the bedsheets, oh wow dudes! MY HEART PUMPS CUSTARD FOR HER, to coin a phrase.

To the prudes reading this: I'm just an old boy. If you saw this movie when it was on the cinema circuit, and you're waffling on about it almost 30 years later, of course you have to be an Old Boy. And Old Boys appreciate pretty girls. And get kinda silly drooling. Sigh.

If you're not into seeing these two actresses, and just want action action action this might not really be the movie for you. Lots of the action scenes are seriously flawed. Hell, he's out of work, ruins his car, yet it just stays roadworthy in the next scenes. And why don't the baddies just shoot him down in that stand-off scene?

Five stars go to Rosanna Arquette, the other star is for that glorious Clint Eastwood-y moment when Scudder fires his gun after coming to Sarah's rescue. Cinematic perfection!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Hal Ashby's Strangled Swan Song

7/10
Author: tieman64 from United Kingdom
16 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hal Ashby, cinema's great wounded heart, directs "8 Million Ways To Die". It's a conventional film, but one must remember that at this stage in his career, Ashby had little or no creative control. He was a recovering alcoholic and drug user, and the studio's lack of faith in him resulted in "8 Million Ways to Die" being taken taken away during post production.

Of course when the producers took this film away the moment it reached the cutting room, they effectively shot themselves in the foot. Ashby, who cut his teeth as a film editor, is renowned for his perfectionism in the editing room. He's a master editor. And so no surprise that "8 Million" received a limited release and faded from theatres days later.

Still, though conventional, "8 Million" is nevertheless a fine film. A cosy neo-noir, it also features a somewhat autobiographical subplot regarding alcohol abuse. Here Jeff Bridges plays your typical noir detective, but like Ashby, his character is a recovering alcoholic. As a result, there's an honesty to a couple of Bridges' dialogue scenes. One conversation, for example, has Jeff talking to a hooker. He talks about his love for his daughter (whom he hasn't seen in years) and his hatred of being a drunk. The hooker replies that she never knew her father because he was a drunkard who never came home. Ashby shoots the scene to imply that Jeff is looking into his future, our hero a wounded old man looking at both his own daughter and the very outcome of his present alcoholism.

There are two or three good scenes like this, but for the most part the film's script has been edited down to your standard cops and bad guys movie. One senses that had Ashby been at the editing desk, a more free-form movie would have resulted.

Still, the film begins and ends with two very unique scenes. It's introduction, for example, features a long helicopter shot which tracks across an American super-highway, Ashby's camera framing distant automobiles like elevator carts, watching as they rise bizarrely off into the sky. The film ends, meanwhile, with an unusual three-way Mexican stand off. Ashby draws this scene out to painful lengths, everyone yelling and screaming until their demands reach pathetic proportions. We've seen this scene before in countless other action movies, but none of these flicks have done anything quite like this.

7.9/10 - Moments of Ashby's personality and sensibilities shine through, but for the most part, this film has been hacked down by the studios into something slight. For Ashby completists only.

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13 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

8 Million Mistakes

4/10
Author: shark-43 from L.A. CA
8 August 2010

I am a huge Hal Ashby fan - he was a brilliant editor (Oscar winner for In The Heat Of The Night) and an even better director (Being There, Coming Home, Shampoo, to name a few) but this film is a mess. I just read a book on Ashby's life and here was a lot of trouble on this film - the studio wanted a sleek Miami Vice type film and of course Ashby wanted a gritty movie closer to the author Laurence Block's books. You can tell there's huge chunks missing - the film is disjointed - Bridges does a nice job playing the damaged cop but in one of the worst pieces of miscasting - Alexandra Paul plays the sultry hooker who is supposed to lure Bridges and she is awful - about all she can play is flirty sorority girl and their scenes are dull and boring. Rosanna Arquette has nothing to play - a one dimensional another hooker with a heart of gold. Garcia does his best with what he has to play and there are some good scenes btwn him and Bridges. But overall, a schlocky mess with a terrible 80's synth score.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Decent thriller in which an ex-cop with drinking problem becomes involved dark issues and attempts to save a prostitute

6/10
Author: ma-cortes from Santander Spain
3 December 2015

Violent and exciting movie about narcotics dealers , hotshot prostitutes and an ex-policeman . Scudder (Jeff Bridges) is a cop from the County Department who is forced to abandon his duty , after shooting a violent suspect during a drug raid . The ensuing psychological aftermath of this busting worsens his alcoholic troubles . During his recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous , he meets a suspicious stranger (Randy Brooks) who draws him back into a world of vice and prostitution . Later on , he attempts to rescue a pimp-bound hooker (Alexandra Paul) from a drug lord called Angel Maldonado (Andy Garcia) . Scudder learns his friend has dark business with Angel . Scudder must enter a crime-world of prostitution and drugs to solve a killing , and get knee-deep in a mess of million dollar drug deals . Meanwhile , the ex-cop falls in love for another gorgeous prostitute (Rosanna Arquette).

In the picture there is tension , romance , thriller , emotion , intrigue , murders , drug-trafficking and a little bit of violence . A love story between a drunk ex-cop and whore is loosely interwoven with drug dealers and many other things . The movie is fast-moving on the ending but usually results to be slow-moving and being enough amusing as well as compelling but happen many events . The pic obtained moderated success and didn't attain the box office that the producers wanted . The suspense movie is correctly narrated but there're some storyline gaps and the twisted plot makes it a few ridiculous . Famous screenwriter Oliver Stone had little to do with his original script, which subsequently was re-written by Robert Towne and then revised by Hal Ashby in improvisation , he said he only visited the set once, and wanted to have his name taken off the picture but it was too late as the credits were already made up for it . The film is rated ¨R¨ for violence , nudism and some sex . The outcome of this drug and corruption story may not end happily or neatly -just like in real life- , but the characters and ideas explored along the way are compelling . Director takes on a complex subject with a large , uniformly excellent cast . Filmmaker Hal Ashby "threw away the script" and had the actors improvise all their dialog and actions . As nice acting from Jeff Bridges as an ex-cop who hires himself out to rescue a prostitute while resisting the temptation to return to his alcohol abuse . Andy Garcia's fine interpretation as a drug dealer , he is good but plays as Latin stereotypes . And two bombshell women : Rosanna Arquette and Alexandra Paul . Furthermore , Tommy 'Tiny' Lister as Nose Guard and James Avery as Deputy , but both of whom hand roles very secondaries . Catching original musical score composed and performed by James Newton Howard but with excessive use of synthesizer . Colorful and atmospheric cinematography by Stephen Burum , being totally shot in Los Angeles , California .

The motion picture was professionally directed by Hal Ashby , though with no originality . It turned out to be his last theatrical film . However , being fired just after principal photography wrapped, and the studio , PSO Entertainment took over creative control . Ashby was firstly film editor , in fact his highlight of his film editing career was winning an Oscar for the landmark ¨In the heat of the night¨ (1967) . As its director, Jewison gave him a script he was too busy to work on called ¨The landlord¨(1970) . It became Ashby's first film as a director . From there he delivered a series of well-acted , intelligent human scaled flicks that included dramas as : ¨The last detail¨ (1973), ¨Bound of glory¨ (76) , ¨The slugger's wife¨ (85) , ¨Coming home (78) ; comedies : ¨Harold and Maud¨ (71) ¨Shampoo (1975) , ¨Lookin' to get out¨(82) and his biggest hit : ¨Being there¨ (79) with Peter Sellers . Great reviews and Oscar nominations became common on Ashby films.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Ex-cop Jeff Bridges wants to bring down drug dealer Andy Garcia

6/10
Author: msroz from United States
31 May 2015

"8 Million Ways to Die" is a neo-noir that seems not to have much of an original story but yet this movie has a good many memorable scenes and performances that make it stand out and deliver the entertainment goods.

Jeff Bridges is a major Hollywood star and he shows why in this film. He is immensely believable as an alcoholic ex-cop trying to kick the habit. He keeps us interested the whole way as he investigates a murder. Andy Garcia is a worthy drug lord opponent who comes up against Bridges in a bunch of different scenes. It's always a better movie when we see these confrontations between good guy and bad guy and when they seem real. This movie has that. The next to last confrontation is a doozie, involving an extended Mexican standoff. Randy Brooks moves in and out at crucial times. There are two ladies of the night involved, Alexandra Paul (who briefly goes fully nude) and Rosanna Arquette who keeps her clothes on in this one.

I wouldn't worry about who wrote what in the script or who directed what or the trials and tribulations of getting this film in the can. I wouldn't worry too much about its rough edges, which seem to include some improvisation. Just sit back and take it for what it is, a tale that's not really complex but is still gripping and entertaining.

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