Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

A Movie A Day: PARTNERS (1982)
You don’t want to work with Kerwin because you’re scared. He’s gay. He might rape you.

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] John Hurt bridges us from yesterday’s bizarre slice of ‘70s fairy tale THE PIED PIPER to today’s early ‘80s buddy cop comedy PARTNERS. Don’t go! I know, I saw the cover, too, and almost didn’t put it on the queue. Ultimately, the name of John Hurt kept it on the list. I didn’t read the back cover or look up a plot synopsis until I threw it in the DVD player and checked the runtime. (BTW a note to Legend Pictures: Please, in the future, don’t put a picture of one of your two leads lying on the ground with a giant bullet-hole in their stomach on the back of the goddamn DVD). Even then I didn’t read the text, just glanced at the pictures and the DVD information. So I had no idea that this movie was set in the gay community… or rather the stereotypical gay community of the early ‘80s. You have gay models being murdered, one of whom is the son of a prominent newspaper man, so suddenly the cops are being pressured to investigate, which is kind of shitty anyway. They don’t give a crap about the gay community until it affects them. The Chief (played by great ‘70s and ‘80s character actor Kenneth McMillan, who you’ll remember as playing either a chief or sheriff in ARMED AND DANGEROUS and SALEMS LOT as well as the Baron in DUNE) forms an unlikely partnership with a semi-closeted gay desk jockey (Hurt) and ladykilling Detective (Ryan O’Neal). There were buddy cop movies before this film (including one of my favorite of all time, FREEBIE & THE BEAN, still not out on DVD), but I find it interesting that this one hit just before 48 HOURS kicked off one of the biggest sub-genres of the ‘80s that resulted in the LEATHAL WEAPON and BEVERLY HILLS COP franchises. And this movie isn’t half bad. I’d even go so far as to say I enjoyed it quite a bit, but maybe that had to do my expectation more than the quality of the film. I can’t really determine that until I rewatch it in a year or so. Sure, I get the feeling that this film will date like many of the racist cartoons and musicals of the ‘30s and ‘40s. The homosexual community represented here all fit into the same lisping, fey and/or mustached Village Person persona, but the overall message hopefully transcends that.

Hurt and O’Neal don’t make a bad comedic pair, actually. O’Neal’s definitely the straight man (in all ways) and homophobe who has to learn his life lesson by the end of the movie. It’s predictable, no doubt, but the movie actually makes you care about the two cops as they Odd Couple it, keeping their gay couple cover while investigating the murders. The actual cop aspect of it, the investigation, is convoluted and a bit on the convenient side, but that’s not the point of the movie. The crimes are all a backdrop for the central message of tolerance, which would come off as preachy if Hurt and O’Neal didn’t work so well together. Maybe the movie will play horribly for you having me say anything good about it in advance… maybe I liked it because it didn’t make me want to pop my eyeballs and shove pencils in my ears like I expected it to. Or maybe there is something to the movie that stands on its own. It’s certainly not as enjoyable as 48 HOURS or any of the other buddy cop movies I’ve mentioned in this installment of AMAD, but I found it surprisingly entertaining. I laughed constantly throughout, but I’m the first to admit that my comedy tastes are a little on the odd side. Some stupid shit makes me laugh, but I usually realize that I’m laughing at something I really shouldn’t be and I didn’t find that sensation here. The flick was directed by a guy named James Burrows who has a lot of credits, but a quick IMDB scan seems to reveal this is the only feature he ever directed. There’s not much style to the direction, but shit cut together and the actors do well, so I won’t give him any grief. The writer, interestingly enough, is Francis Veber, who also wrote the original La Cage aux folles (which was later remade as THE BIRDCAGE). Final Thoughts: My ‘80s nostalgia was in overdrive, seeing some great ‘80s faces listed above as well as Sydney Lassick (from ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST and ALIGATOR) in a formulaic buddy cop flick. I found some real laughs to be had as well as another great performance by John Hurt who somehow both plays into the gay stereotype and gives the character a few extra dimensions. So far this is the best of the Legend Films DVDs we’ve gone through.

The schedule for the next 7 days is: Monday, August 11th: BARRY LYNDON (1975) Tuesday, August 12th: THE SKULL (1965) Wednesday, August 13th: THE HELLFIRE CLUB (1961) Thursday, August 14th: BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE (1963) Friday, August 15th: TERROR OF THE TONGS (1961) Saturday, August 16th: PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER (1962) Sunday, August 17th: THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES (1964) -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Aug. 10, 2008, 9:41 p.m. CST

    "Stop ironing my socks!"

    by Circean6

    "Men don't iron other mens socks!!!". Yeah this one is a bit dated but its heart was in the right place, and the chick in the shower had an AMAZING rack!

  • Aug. 10, 2008, 9:41 p.m. CST


    by mithrandir16

    I believe it was NWA.

  • Aug. 10, 2008, 9:42 p.m. CST

    They butchered the poster

    by TheSneak

    I've seen crappy dvd covers before, but I don't think I've ever seen one that quite fucks up the poster as bad as this one. It loses the joke, is fairly nonsensical, and would have worked better with those crappy generic close-ups that some many dvd seem to love.

  • Aug. 10, 2008, 10:04 p.m. CST


    by long live the new chris

    you are retarded.

  • Aug. 10, 2008, 11:27 p.m. CST

    yeah, somebody erased one of my posts on scriptgirl post

    by Stengah

    fuck that dude. keep this shit laissez faire, not gayness extremo.

  • Aug. 10, 2008, 11:38 p.m. CST

    What happened to Harry's Clone Wars Rant?

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • Aug. 10, 2008, 11:39 p.m. CST

    ah shit i wanted to read that

    by Prossor

    waseager to read the clone wars tb :(

  • Aug. 10, 2008, 11:41 p.m. CST

    If I remember correctly...

    by LoneGun

    ...this film was utterly reviled by critics when it came out.

  • Aug. 10, 2008, 11:51 p.m. CST

    I swear i thought that was Martin Short

    by Larry of Arabia

    Uncanny. That poster is hilarious. You see, he wants to kill himself because his partner's gay. That's comedy right there.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 12:01 a.m. CST

    Re: James Burrows...

    by dingleberryjerry

    He was (and still is) one of the most sought-after TV Directors of the last 20 years or so. He also co-created Cheers. Maybe you should look a little harder next time.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 12:01 a.m. CST

    In defense of Francis Veber

    by Larry of Arabia

    He has written some great French farces, but all his American movies are crap. The French got "The Closet" and "The Dinner Game" while we got "Father's Day' and "Pure Luck." Even when his great French movie is adapted it turns to shit. "The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe" became "The Man with One Red Shoe." I mean, come on man!

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 12:42 a.m. CST

    It was NWA, Soylent...

    by Lord John Whorfin

    The song was called "Fuck tha Police" and it goes a little something like this: Fuck tha police Comin straight from the underground Young nigga got it bad cuz I'm brown And not the other color so police think They have the authority to kill a minority Fuck that shit, cuz I ain't tha one For a punk muthafucka with a badge and a gun To be beatin on, and throwin in jail We could go toe to toe in the middle of a cell Fuckin with me cuz I'm a teenager With a little bit of gold and a pager Searchin my car, lookin for the product Thinkin every nigga is sellin narcotics You'd rather see me in the pen Then me and Lorenzo rollin in the Benzo Beat tha police outta shape And when I'm finished, bring the yellow tape To tape off the scene of the slaughter Still can't swallow bread and water I don't know if they fags or what Search a nigga down and grabbin his nuts And on the other hand, without a gun they can't get none But don't let it be a black and a white one Cuz they slam ya down to the street top Black police showin out for the white cop Ice Cube will swarm On any muthafucka in a blue uniform Just cuz I'm from the CPT, punk police are afraid of me A young nigga on a warpath And when I'm finished, it's gonna be a bloodbath Of cops, dyin in LA Yo Dre, I got somethin to say...

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 12:58 a.m. CST

    I have not seen it since it was on HBO

    by disfigurehead

    or one of those channels years ago.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 1:23 a.m. CST

    I haven't seen this movie in 25 years but..

    by earlfist

    I recall this as a really funny movie. Of course it was pre aids and probably has got the humour that has dated badly but i do remember laughing a lot. Can't get this in the uk so i will wait but now i just want to check it out. Can't be more offensive than pacino in cruising.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 3:20 a.m. CST

    you know...

    by Bloo

    I think I've actually seen this film, maybe on a USA up all night or WGN feature film back in the 90s...sounds vaguly familiar<P>anyways James Burows like was mentioend above, creator of Cheers, directed the best eps of Newsradio (the first season is almost entirly his) and I THOUGHT he did that movie about air traffic controllers with Angelina Jole, Cate Blanchett, Bily Bob Thorton, and John Cusak

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 3:43 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    I meant no disrespect to him at all. I mentioned he had at on of TV credits, I just thought it was odd to look up the director of a film and see that the film you're looking him for is his only feature film credit... especially when there are, like, 100 credits on his page. That's all...

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 4:53 a.m. CST


    by Bloo

    that's cool and I don't think you were trying to disrespect him, as it is a little strange. Just adding to your commentary<P>I'm kinda curious now is to WHY this was Burrows only film

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 5:12 a.m. CST

    Carbon Copy

    by papabendi

    reminds me of that awful film from about 1981 called Carbon Copy where middle class businessman George segal finds out he has an illegitimate son that turns out to be Dezel Washington. Absolutely ham fisted attempts at racial harmony messages that in fact re-enforce stereoptypes. Great to watch though.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 5:13 a.m. CST


    by papabendi

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 5:59 a.m. CST

    .. IS NEXT!

    by ironic_name

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 6:36 a.m. CST

    Other than Love Story, had Ryan O'Neal done

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    any good acting. I can't recall him in anything. Oh, I guess Paper Moon with Tatum. Would this movie be rated R today, or was it just because of they gay theme it was R. O'Neal's a jerk anyway for stealing his best friends wife.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 7:21 a.m. CST


    by Bloo

    I belive there is a nude scene in it, but I'm not sure, I really may have gotten thismovie confused with something else but it does spark something in the back of my brain

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 8:17 a.m. CST

    "This guy James Burrows"

    by Lou C.

    I guess I'm just shocked that someone can work at this Web site and not know who James Burrows is. He's not just one of the most sought after TV directors, he's one of the GREATEST of all-time: Will & Grace, Friends, Frasier, NewsRadio, 238 episodes of Cheers for God's sake, 75 episodes of Taxi, Laverne & Shirley, The Bob Newhart Show.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 9:56 a.m. CST

    "This guy James Burrows"

    by Ishkabibble

    Love ya, Quint, but I gotta go with Lou C. and the others on this. I know you're not so much with the Co-axial, but I'm nonetheless amazed that your profession is covering "the biz" yet you don't know who James Burrows is. That'd almost be like Herc not knowing who Sydney Pollack was.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 10:24 a.m. CST

    This looks incredibly shitty.

    by Geekgasm


  • Aug. 11, 2008, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Ryan O'Neal plays Bones' dad on Bones

    by chrth

    He does good work there

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 10:45 a.m. CST


    by MCVamp

    I know cops can be major assfaces (I know one personally, actually) but if you came home and your house was broken into and robbed, who do you call, Batman?

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Sydney Pollack

    by Bloo

    is that Kevin's dad<P>I'm kidding!!!

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Wasn't "Cruising" right around this same time?

    by JackRabbitSlim

    As, I believe, was "Personal Best", the film that essentially sunk Robert Towne. Hollywood had a brief fling with gay-themed mainstream films that faded very quickly - like volcanoes in 1996.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 12:55 p.m. CST

    " like Herc not knowing who Sydney Pollack was."

    by jim

    Of course Herc knows who Sydney Pollack was - he played Will's dad on Will & Grace.<p>I wasn't sure if Quint was being cute or really was not familiar with James Burrows. I, however, was surprised to learn Partners was directed by Burrows. I did not know he had ever tried his hand at directing a feature film (but to be fair, I never spent much time pondering this). I guess he tried it once, and decided he prefered television.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 4:10 p.m. CST

    barrt lyndon

    by ddog

    cant wait to read this one. i love barry lyndon. the kubrik collection is fantastic. all his films are must sees. wish was still around.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 6:27 p.m. CST

    The stereotypes about gays haven't changed much...

    by TheGhostWhoLurks

    Mainly because so many gay people continue to reinforce them.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Yo! Joeelliott!

    by gamerawangi

    You say, "the gay community is portrayed pretty much the way it was back in the 80's". REALLY? Were YOU there??!! So you're gay and part of that community, right?... Not like I expect you to respond to this...

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Yo! The GhostWhoLurks!

    by gamerawangi

    That's IT???!!!! That's the best gay-baiting you could come up with?? What, in too big a hurry to get to the trucker stop once the sun went down? Watch out for poison oak, honey!!! (Opposing stereotype of homophobes reinforced).

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 10:52 p.m. CST

    Thanks for proving my point, Gamerawani...

    by TheGhostWhoLurks

    Less arm-waving and screaming "LOOK AT ME!!!" through their outward behavior and dress would help cut down stereotyping of the gay community immeasurably.<p>Oh, and calling straight men "honey" or "sweetie" in an obvious attempt to make them uncomfortable is pretty much a gay cliché in and of itself.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:46 a.m. CST


    by s00p3rm4n

    Less arm-waving and screaming "I HAVE A MINISCULE PENIS!!!" through your outward behavior, dress, politics, attitude toward other folks, and choice in motor vehicle would help cut down stereotyping of the straight male community immeasurably.<br><br> Oh, and calling a commenter a gay male and assuming that should be taken an insult (even if it were true!) is pretty much an uptight-hetero-male cliche. Thankfully, the majority of thinking persons in this world don't suck as hard as you. (Though some of us suck harder... tip the veal, try the waitress.)

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST

    MoM & Barry Lyndon

    by speed

    Each to their own. <P> Sure it looked beautiful, but for me that is where it ended. I think he used some special lighting technique malarky when shooting to give it that effect. <P> BUT as a film it was all over the place, with under par acting and believe it or not it seemed to lack directorial presence. Not a bad thing is some cases but when it comes to kubrick you want the bugger to stamp his authority on a flick. <P> i think there is a very good reason why it is forgetten...Because it just aint that good.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:20 p.m. CST

    You're quite welcome, Mr. TGHL!

    by gamerawangi

    Oh, you have SOOOOO taught me a lesson. From now on, I shall dress in black, brown, and gray, wear black socks with shorts, be completely humorless, be judgmental of all "others" who aren't just like myself, and never mention my romantic life lest I shock the straight people around me, all the while allowing them to talk about their sex lives in excruciating (and boring) detail. Please send me one of your pods so that I may sleep next to it tonight and make the transformation complete. Oh, and thanks s00p3rm4n. My thoughts exactly, and as a matter of fact, I am a gay male, so no offense taken from TGHL's "insult". It was pretty much the equivalent of him saying, "Your dog has 4 legs and fur." Hey... Come to think of it, if TGHL really is a ghost, why doesn't HE stop perpetuating his own stereotypes? I mean, how annoying is it that those ghosts go around with that silly sheet over their heads, waving their arms and going, "BOOOO! Look at me! I'm so SCARY!!!", passing through walls, rearranging furniture when no one is looking. Ugh. If you ghosts want to be accepted by the mainstream, why don't you start acting like it... HONEY!!!!!!!!!!!