Movie of the Week: ‘Midnight Run’

With Charles Grodin’s passing on Tues., May 18, AHFW’s Movie of the Week is our film critic’s – Jeff Mitchell’s – all-time favorite comedy, director Martin Brest’s “Midnight Run” (1988) starring Robert De Niro and Grodin.

FBI Special Agent Alonzo Mosely (Yaphet Kotto)

“Midnight Run”(1988) – Jack Walsh (De Niro), a former Chicago Police detective, works as a bounty hunter these days.  He bags some local jobs here and there, but Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano) asks Jack to pick up a mob accountant Jonathan Mardukas (Grodin) in New York City and fly him back to Los Angeles, it should be simple and easy.  He’s an accountant, not a violent criminal.

“It’s a midnight run,” Moscone says.   

Not so fast…but Brest and screenwriter George Gallo’s picture is.  Actually, the movie’s runtime is 126 minutes, but the laughs and pure comic joy pepper the screen more frequently than – and pardon the cheap 80s references – Bo Derek runs around topless in “Tarzan the Ape Man” (1981) and Al Pacino says the f-word in “Scarface” (1983).   Yes, that much.

“Midnight Run” is one of the most quotable movies ever made, and it’s also a buddy movie, so Jack and John develop a friendship along the way that may just bring a tear to your eye. 

An all-star ensemble cast accompanies De Niro, Grodin, and Pantoliano: John Ashton is a rival bounty hunter, Yaphet Kotto is an FBI special agent, and Dennis Farina is mob boss Jimmy Serrano, who tells his lawyer to relax, have sandwich or a glass a milk, while he’s committing egregious crimes. 

Chicago crime boss Jimmy Serrano (Dennis Farina) and his associates

It’s not a crime if you haven’t seen “Midnight Run” yet, but perhaps probation is in order.  Maybe Jack Walsh should bring you in.

“Midnight Run” is currently streaming on HBO Max.

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