Sorry already, Done. Warning : if you've never seen White Heat and you plan to see it one day, then, please don't read any further or just scroll right down to the Juvenile song at the end. Well, unless you don't like Juve, I guess, but if you're not down with Mr J-u-v-e then, sheesh, what's wrong with you?
I dunno if a sizeable portion of directors who worked throughout the eighties all attended the same film school where they were endlessly shown White Heat as an example of great movie-making, but the decade was a particularly fruitful era for villains literally going out in a blaze like Cagney's Cody Jarrett on the gas storage tanker : Freddy usually exploding into flames at the climax of every Elm Street flick; various shady government agents and punk hoodlums left as nothing but pairs of smoldering boots after opening the trunk of the '64 Chevy Malibu in Repo Man; James Bond temporarily distracting the petrol soaked Franz Sanchez with a question before lighting his ass up in Licence To Kill; vamps getting Guy Fawkesed in The Lost Boys and both Fright Night movies; the cackling alien Fourth Of Julying himself all like "You, kill me? Whigga please!" in Predator; all the Gremlins bar Stripe going up in smoke as they were trapped in the cinema after their screening of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs was rudely interrupted in Gremlins; and MacReady blowing up the creature, taking the base with it, and thus that ensuring him and Childs would spend their last days on Earth freezing to death in The Thing. I'd have gone with the Rather Let The Thing Assimilate Me And Fly His Ship Back To His Home Planet option, personally - at least alien spaceships would have home-comforts like heating, electricity, and a working toilet.
If you were as underwhelmed by Public Enemies as me last year (though I've never really been a fan of Micheal Mann and there was no way it was ever going to rival the 1973 Dillinger movie with Warren Oates) then rewatching White Heat, which arguably shares more traits with Film Noir and the Western than it does with your traditional American Gangster movie encumbered with social commentary about them poor immigrants forced into a life of racktereering, was the perfect remedy to yet another Mann movie which consisted of one good lead performance and a handful of amazingly well done scenes strung together with an otherwise fairly boring hour or so. Oh, and a terrible turn by Christian Bale proving once and for all that he's really bad at doing stern and understated.
As a blackout suffering gang boss with overwhelming mother issues which affected his relationship with his wife, David Chase freely admits that Cody Jarrett was a key inspiration when he was sketching out the character profile for Tony Soprano, while Scorsese once noted in an Empire interview that homicidal mamma's boy Jarrett was the precedent for Pesci's Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas. That's all hunky dory, but if only Virginia Mayo's performance as his moll Verna Jarrett could be as influential to the modern British woman. Sure, Verna didn't actually love Cody and, yeah, she was guilty of infidelity, being involved in the murder of his beloved ma' and conspiring to have him killed on two seperate occassions, BUT she was the original "she talk dirty, but her mouth clean" broad who'd spit her gum out before kissing her man and you really gotta respect such class in this uncivilised age where every wench in this country has a fag permanently hanging from their gob and at least 5 seperate, possibly septic tongue piercings.
Bonus beats to Fire Walk with :
Juvenile - Juvenile On Fire
From the Hot Boy$ era when various forms of pyromania were a ubiqitous motif for Ca$h Money Records rappers. Handily, this is my favourite song on Juvenile's 400 Degreez and if you've never wrapped a towel around your head into the shape of a solja rag as you rap along to anything by Juve in the shower then we'll never be anything more than vague acquaintances. Can we pinpoint Wayne's Fireman as officially marking the end of the Hot Boy$ era? That original line-up reunion with Mannie production is never going to happen and, although I'm sure Baby & Slim will put togrther a Hot Boy$ 2.0 with Drake, Tyga and Jay Sean replacing Juve, B.G, and Turk, I'll pretend it didn't happen like The Next Karate Kid in 1994 and the recent Jaden Smith reboot.