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Burchfield at the Bijou: Parker versus Parker

Burchfield at the Bijou: Parker versus Parker

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Published by Thomas Burchfield
"When the fresh-faced kid behind the box-office window offered him the matinee senior discount, Burchfield told him to go to hell."

A followup to my tribute to Donald Westlake: a review of PARKER, the latest film to be adpated from a Richard Stark novel, and starring Jason Statham.

"When the fresh-faced kid behind the box-office window offered him the matinee senior discount, Burchfield told him to go to hell."

A followup to my tribute to Donald Westlake: a review of PARKER, the latest film to be adpated from a Richard Stark novel, and starring Jason Statham.

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Categories:Types, Reviews
Published by: Thomas Burchfield on Feb 02, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/02/2013

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Still too damn nice.
BURCHFIELD AT THE BIJOU: PARKER VERSUS 
PARKER 
By Thomas Burchfield When the fresh-faced kid behind the box-office window offered him the matinee senior discount, Burchfield told him to go to hell.
“ 
Screw you, buddy! 
” 
the cashier yelled. Burchfield took theticket, spat on the window and entered the theater lobby.Burchfield stopped at the snack counter, paid $10.00 for a small Coke and got back $10.00. The scotch-tape-on-the-fingertipstrick still worked.Then he stomped out his e-cigarette, spat on the door leading toa showing of 
Les Misérables
and strode into the theater.
 
 The theater was small, had a single aisle down the middle. It wasthe way Burchfield liked it. Empty. Like his mind. In the night.While watching 
 American Idol 
with the sound off. Or sitting in thedark, thinking of nothing.Two more guys came in. That was all. One sat right across theaisle from Burchfield. Their eyes met in the dark. Burchfield 
’ 
shand moved toward the holster under his coat. The guy got up,moved five rows down.When you sit in a near-empty theater with Burchfield, you 
’ 
better sit in front of him. So he can keep an eye on you.Then the commercials and coming attractions started. It had taken years for Burchfield to stop himself from marching into the projection booth and threatening the projectionist to hurry it upor else. Now it was pointless. Everything was run by computers.The machines just sat and blinked when he barked and waved his gun at them.He could have shot the machine, shot it dead, but then he would have missed the entire movie. In the end, he decided,commercials were the cost of doing business.Finally, the silk red curtain rose like a whore coyly lifting her skirt. The movie began.The movie was called 
Parker 
. It starred Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Bobby Cannavale, and Nick Nolte. It was directed by Taylor Hackford. The picture wasadapted from a novel called  
by Richard Stark .It was thefirst movie to be adapted from a Stark novel since Stark vanished forever on New Year 
’ 
s Eve, 2008.It was the first movie from a Stark novel to use Parker 
’ 
s name,instead of making one up, usual a weak, stupid-sounding namelike 
 , or 
“ 
” 
 
 
 It sounded like a promise that the Parker in
Parker 
would be just like the one in Stark 
’ 
s twenty-four Parker novels. It would capture the spirit of original character. Parker fans would know they would get the same thing. The true Parker.But it wasn
’ 
t. This Parker, played with a British accent by Statham, smiled when he didn
’ 
t have to. He bragged about hisethics (as though marketing himself as the Thief You 
’ 
d Most Want to Be Robbed By.) He held therapy sessions with hisrobbery victims. He was sincerely nice to sick people. He smiled at Jennifer Lopez 
’ 
s mother. He gave away the treasure heworked so hard to steal. He struck fear only in the bad guys, inno one else, least of all Burchfield.Worst of all, Parker 
made friends with a dog 
. A tiny, yapping dog. As the dog wagged its tail and barked and barked and barked,Burchfield recalled wise counsel from a famous comedian 
“ 
If you can kick it for distance, it 
’ 
s not a dog.
” 
 Burchfield leaned forward, anticipating the moment when Parker would kick the dog through some convenient goalposts. But themoment never came.This Parker also killed many many more people than the literary Parker would have found necessary to complete his business. Hewas a very unbusiness-like Parker.Burchfield was no touchy, obsessive fan boy. He got it that every movie from a novel had to stand on its own as a movie. Settingshave to be changed. Plots have to be reworked and telescoped,characters, even good ones, have to be put down, brutally. In thecase of a bad or mediocre book, Burchfield didn
’ 
t give a damnwhat they did, so long as the movie was good.But a good book has a spirit to it. That 
’ 
s why they want to makeit into a movie in the first place
— 
or should. A good movie

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