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The Film List Project #15: The French Connection

This is my 15th post! That's actually pretty cool...Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

This week, I watched The French Connection. Now, for those of you who have been reading this for a while and/or know me in real life, you know this is not my type of movie I like to watch. I don't seek out car chases, people shooting at each other makes me nervous, and I think the story of "the complicated cop" has been done over and over.

I gave this one a chance for two reasons: 1) it was on the list, and 2) I was curious to see what made this movie different from other cop stories I've seen.

I thought a lot during this movie about something we have been talking about a lot in the screenwriting class I'm taking: American films are very character driven. In other words, a great character makes a great movie. With that in mind, I've come up with a list of five things I love and admire about our protagonist, Popeye Doyle. Here's that list:

1) Popeye is a great nickname
Who wouldn't want to be associated with one of the world's most beloved cartoon characters? However, I never found out if Popeye Doyle actually likes spinach.

2) Popeye plays a great Santa
We find out right away that our protagonist is a great actor. He's dressed as Santa Claus, talking to kids, when suddenly, he takes off running. When I watched this, I was all, "Why is Santa running? Isn't he supposed to be in bad shape?" He's actually just doing his job. Turns out, he's a narcotics cop in NYC chasing after a perp (that's a term I learned watching cop shows). Who would have thought that Santa would be so un-Santa-like?

3) He's really good at the silent treatment
Throughout the film, a federal officer assigned to the case Popeye and his partner are working on teases Popeye for various missteps and poor life choices. Popeye, not one to make witty retorts, stays silent. That actually seems like a pretty smart choice.

4) He enjoys "grape drink"
He orders a grape drink in the subway while chasing his man. It's just unexpected. I didn't peg him for a grape drink guy. This guy has layers.

5) He doesn't give up
Even when people are telling him that his mission is hopeless, Popeye believes that what he's doing is right and good and important. Even though is persistence makes him a little hostile at times, it's still an admirable quality. Even in the bleakest of moments, he keeps going. That's pretty awesome in my book.

Thanks so much for sticking with me through 15 posts. Here's to many more!

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