a decade of zanity

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This is me too Pacman!

Title: Colors (1988)

Colors Memorabilia with Sean Penn and Robert DuvalColors starring Sean Penn and Robert Duval, directed by Dennis Hopper
In the 80's, before "bling" and gangsta became fashionable, Dennis Hopper directed a movie that was deemed controversial at the time. Colors depicted the violent crimes and familial relationships of the LA street gangs. Growing up in the 80's, drive by's and drug busts were constantly on TV, radio, and newspaper. In my hometown, Latino gangs were prevalent and when the movie came out, those who lived in any gangland areas of Southern California attested to its accuracy. It was over-the-top in many ways, but still accurate enough.

The story itself explored many complex relationship among the thug streets of Los Angeles - gangs and gangs, cops and gangs, cop and lady gangbanger, cops and cops, cops and snitches.

The relationship between the main characters Officers Bob Hodges (Robert Duval) and Danny "Pacman" McGavin (Sean Penn) was that of a mentor-newbie. Hodges, who's near retirement, was teaching Danny how to survive the streets as a cop and deal with the gangsters to gain respect. Hodges seemed to have a rapport with Frog (Trinidad Silva), an elder gangbanger who's seen it all and may have dealt with Hodges a few times before. Frog and Hodges were seen chit-chatting a few times. Frog smirking at the end when Hodges died was mildy uncomfortable. I thought those two were friends.

Colors had some of today's prolific actors in small roles: Don Cheadle, Damon Wayans, Forrest Whittaker who starred with Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgement High, and Mario Lopez who went on to star in Saved by the Bell and Dancing with the Stars.

What's a white guy doing in a Latino gang?

I had not seen the movie in over ten years but a couple of scenes still remain in my head. The first was Courtney Gains as Whitey. You can't miss him. He's the red-headed white guy in a Latino gang. I can't help but chuckle in the drive-by scene that Whitey spent propped up against a wall because he was too waisted to move. Courtney Gains still enjoys a cult following from his role as Malachai in Children of the Corn.

Another scene that I'm fond of was when Louisa Gomez (Maria Conchita Alonso) was discovered by Danny in the backroom with a gangbanger during a party that the cops were busting up. "This is me too, Pacman!" was just too funny to forget.

There weren't many quotes that I recall. The one that stuck with me the most was the advice that Hodges gave Danny:

There's two bulls standing on top of a mountain. The younger one says to the older one:
"Hey pop, let's say we run down there and fuck one of them cows". The
older one says: "No son. Lets walk down and fuck 'em all".

Netflix, Inc.Colors is a timeless classic. The Colors soundtrack, provided by various artists such as Ice T and Salt-N-Pepa, still holds up today. Many may find the movie dated since the thug style is so prominent in today's pop culture. But Colors may have started it all.


Anonymous said...

If you knew anything about real Latin gangs, you'd know they are based around neighborhoods. Whatever kids live on a particular block have to join that particular gang or get their ass kicked. If a white guy or a black guy happen to live on that street, its not uncommon for them to be in the gang. They get gang names like 'Casper' for the white guy or 'Shadow' for the black guy, but they're in the gang nonetheless. (another movie where this happens is American Me, the white dude with the bum leg- JD I think).

CMrok93 said...

Colors has an inspired direction from Hopper, and great acting from Penn and Duvall, but just can’t get by its terrible script, and formulaic ways.