Thursday, November 4, 2010

Guilty Pleasures at the Movies, Part Three: "HOT FUZZ" (2007)


If one took an Ealing Studios comedy from the 1950's and mixed it up with a cliche-ridden violent American cop drama you would have something akin to "Hot Fuzz". Simon Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a super Type-A London policeman who gets transferred to a small country town in Gloucestershire to get him to decompress (and stop making the rest of "The Met" look bad by his overzealousness in catching and booking bad guys. )

Once exiled, he is teamed up with bumbling PC Dan Butterman (Nick Frost) a small town flatfoot whose main knowledge of police work comes from an absurdly extensive DVD collection of action movies in his closet. At first it looks as if our big city copper will die from boredom.

But something is amiss in quaint little Stamford.

The big wheels in town have secrets, secrets that get people knocked off in grisly fashion. And the local Chamber of Commerce group wants their cute little burg to be named "The Best Village in England" badly. Really badly.

The film is funny enough that you don't have seen all the "Dirty Harry"-type police melodramas to enjoy this one. Jim Broadbent plays the local top constable, and Timothy Dalton looks twice as comfortable playing the sinister over-the-top bad guy in this one then he ever did as James Bond.


  1. I love the Edgar Wright-Simon Pegg-Nick Frost team. They are awesome. This is one of my favorites (along with Shaun of the Dead)...

  2. Yes, let's give a shout-out to Edgar Wright for his co-writing and direction here! "Shaun of the Dead" is also one of my favorite comedies, Shedrick.

  3. I have to see this! Of Gloucestershire, he says, "there hasn't been a murder here in 20 years," Chortles, He hasn't watched Midsomer Murders (which is also set in Gloucestershire), and there are at least four bodies each episode. It has John Nettles in it as the lead character, Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby.

    I'm not sure you get that programme in the USA

    Thanks for the review, Doug, I may have missed this film and it looks fun. Anyway, I shall pop into the store to see if it has been released on DVD yet.

  4. I looked in the store and I couldn't see the video, I'll have to look on the net, Doug.

  5. I thought this was a documentary on first viewing Doug, yes it is really that bad here in Dad's Police State!

    This film perfectly sums up the sheer terror that stalks the mean streets of places like Lower Oddington and Wotton-under-Edge, names that strike that icy shaft of fear into the trembling hearts of those poor Gloucestershire folk.

    If you want to know how it feels to have total power in a police state just ask these guys Doug

    "Now. Be afraid. Be very afraid."

  6. I think you'll like this one Cassandra. I missed the theatrical, release, but had a friend recommend this one on a visit a while back, and we both roared with laughter in many places! Clever send-up all the way around. Of course I had to run out and get "Shaun of the Dead" by the same team shortly after.

    And nobody does these "quaint villages with dark secrets" subgenre as comedy or a straight mystery quite like the British.

    Which brings me to "Midsomer Murders". As far as I know it hasn't been on television here, or I missed it, but I almost rented a DVD of this series a while back --the title was intriguing-- but I've always had other films/series episodes to catch up on. Sounds like this one could be fun. Do you recommend it?

    Good luck tracking this one down.

  7. Yikes, coppers in shorts! When did this happen? I haven't seen such a brazen example of the law going rouge--and bare of kneecap--since Franco died, or maybe since the Wyatt Earp Gang "cleaned up" Tombstone in one of those Saturday afternoon Westerns I used to favor. ;-)

    Now that you mention it, AA, there are gritty bits of realism in the Nicholas Angel character. It got me to thinking "this blatant stampede of police force must have happened somewhere." North Oddington perhaps?

    "Hot Fuzz" might be a police training film for all I know. It certainly has a fury that goes well beyond the dictates of the Common Law.

    I know what the apologists are thinking---that when spindly-legged sweet old grandmothers bust out machine guns in the village square and start picking off North American tourists at random, some show of force by the constabulary might be prudent.

    But, still, it has to be within the parameters of justice mixed with chivalry (i.e., it is not okay to bust grandma in the teeth with a flying kick to her pate, no matter how much ammo she still has in her purse.)

  8. I hope I shall like Hot Fuzz, Doug. After looking in a couple of stores without luck, I ordered it on Ebay and I should have it by Wednesday.

    As for Mid Somer Murders, If you like beautiful English villages with quaint cottages and by the end of the programme a depleted population, then this is for you. I must say I enjoy the series. At every village fete there's a murder and Barnaby's wife always seems to be around when these happen, I think she maybe drumming up business for her husband.

    I wonder if it is on Utube so you can get a feel of the series.

    Thank you for your review...

  9. I'm pretty sure you'll like it, Cassandra. I think its a good balance of straight comedy and satire--with some violence of a fantastic nature.

    "Mid Somer Murders" sounds like a more English version of "Murder She Wrote"--which ran for years over here and had some good episodes, at least early on.

    There's something about small town festivities and murder can make for a pleasing incongruity---strawberry preserves, ladies in a garden club, old gentlemen on bicycles and walking their dogs--- and a murder rate that would rival a Mexican border town!

    Black comedy works well in a seemingly civilized environment. I'll have to take a look at the show.

  10. I can't wait for it to arrive.Then finding time to watch it is the next step. The television never goes on during the day in my house, probably because my parents never watched daytime television. I scan the Radio Times and if there is anything worth watching, I'll record it. I can't tell you the times its been messed up because I have done it all wrong.

    Mid Somer, is similar to Murder She Wrote, but with the addition of beautiful villages, which is more like, Miss Marples.

    Ahem, as for the murders, they do release the cottages for the housing market. With the blood splattered walls at the scene, I'll give those properties a miss.

    Oh yes, the ladies must be making strawberry jam and be able to paint a nice landscape into the bargain.

    Do look in at Mid Somer... I shrunk the vid so it doesn't stretch your page.

    Here is a clip, notice the spring they put in the Friar's step.:-) I don't know Shirley but I think she may like the series.

  11. A good rule of thumb--no television in the daytimes. When I'm home by myself, I keep it off until the news is on around five. Unless I want to finish a DVD I need to take back but that's rare now that most places you get movies from allow you several days to return them.

    I did like the most recent episodes of the "Miss Marple" series to hit our shores over here--they were designed like 1950's movies, and the casting was excellent. I have read some Agatha Christies mysteries, but only the Poirot novels as yet.

    My introduction to any of her work came from seeing the Margaret Rutherford/MIss Marple films of the 1960's--"Murder at a Gallop", "Murder Ahoy" ,et al. The humor in those adaptations was a bit broader than the newer ones. They remain fresh in my memory for the high spirits Ms. Rutherford brought to that role.

    Thanks for including the extended clip in your comments, Cassandra. Makes for a good intro.

    That is one happy Friar, no question. "Off to vespers!" Hahaha. It's remarkable what a little learning in another language can do! :-)

    And of course orchid enthusiasts are a perfect little pack of obsessives to wrap a mystery like this around! I'll definately check this series out--and I think Shirley will like it as well. Thanks.

  12. Hot Fuzz also does some great allusions to "The Wicker Man" as well...especially with Edward Woodward's participation.

  13. Ha! I'll have to look for those next time I watch the film. Thanks Shedrick.

  14. Sorry Doug. I have been shut out of Multiply for two days after the last maintenance.

    I have to watch the slightly later new because of the time I get in. Nice to check out what's going on, even if we don't like it!

    Some of the 50s Marples were fun with Margaret Rutherford. They still re-run them here. She was a real character.

    You are welcome Doug. The clip only gives an idea of the programme.

    Hahaha, the Friar did make off rather fast.

    Yes orchids and a bust of Socrates's and a touch of Hemlock, nasty!

    I hope you and Shirley enjoy the series.

  15. Yes, Cassandra, Multiply was all glitches over here for days as well. I tried to reply to your delightful video blog on great libraries a couple times, but "Dear Old Multi" wasn't having any of it. Total shut-out. (I think I got a comment through tonight.)

    Oddly enough, I could comment on a blog a friend wrote from near Birmingham,but not over in your part of the country. Go figure.

    The serious news--especially economics--has not been so good lately. Let me say the bleakest in thirty years. But I agree one needs to keep up.

    Luckily, we have an excellent local video store just opening their in new spot downtown here. Lots of British mysteries, et al, on DVD! I'm looking forward to geting on with "Misdsomer Murders", Season One.