“What is it, Nick? You need some chap stick or lip gloss or something? Because your lips keep getting stuck on your teeth. Or is that your idea of a smile?”
Two words: Mel. Gibson. Two more words: Michelle. Pfeiffer. Heck, two more words: Kurt. Russell.
Three actors at the height of their game in 1988… Toss in a screenplay and direction by the guy behind Chinatown, and you’ve got yourself a movie, people!
Gibson is Dale “Mac” McKussic, a drug dealer who’s trying to get out of the business. Russell is the perfectly slimy Nick Frescia, an LA narcotics cop who also happens to be Mac’s best friend since high school. And then there’s JoAnn Vallenari (Pfeiffer), the woman who both men want (and, frankly, get).
Tequila Sunrise has just about everything you could want in an 80s movie: copious amounts of cocaine, a steamy Gibson-Pfeiffer sex scene, Russell ripping off 80s LA Laker coach Pat Riley’s look… And it’s all set in sun-dappled southern California.
Plus there’s the great plot twist, the cheesy smooth-jazz soundtrack by Dave Grusin, and then… well, then we have the capper: the good-ol’ 80s movie closing credits power ballad duet. Heart’s Ann Wilson and Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander team up for “Surrender to Me”, and folks– it doesn’t get much better than that.
And we haven’t even mentioned the stellar one-liners: “You were in the wrong place at the wrong time!”, “Just looking at you hurts more.”, “You mean ‘arrested’, don’t you, Hal?”, and “I’m probably gonna have to bust my friend if I’m gonna do my job, and I hate that.”
Michelle Pfeiffer never looked better (well, maybe she looked a little better in the next year’s The Fabulous Baker Boys), Mel’s eyes were never bluer, and the SoCal sunsets were never hotter.
We ♥ Tequila Sunrise.