Black Connection, The (1974)

Here’s the plan: You go to this place and meet this guy, and then I’ll drive the car around to this other place, and then you’ll wait for me, and then I’ll come pick you up, and then we’ll go to the bank. But before we do that, call me back in an hour — I have a phone call to make. I have to tell someone how you’re going to that place to meet that guy, and how I’m coming to pick you up to go to the bank.

I know this is complicated and I want to make sure you understand. So, just to review, you’re going to that place to meet that guy, and then I’m picking you up to go to the bank. But not right now. First, I have to call someone.

Wait, are you sure you understand?

The Black Connection is what happens when people talk about what they’re going to do, and then do what they said they were going to do. But often what they said they were going to do entails talking to someone else about what they’re going to do. This is confusing, yes. More importantly, it is boring. Really, it all boils down to this: The Black Connection is a movie where people talk. There are drugs, whores, and a disco that doesn’t serve food, but somehow all of that is secondary to making phone calls.

I glazed over during the first half hour, so I barely remember what happened. I know there’s Miles Carter, “a pimp from the west side,” which is this movie’s code for “being black.” There are mobsters who eat at an Italian restaurant because it’s not like they’re ever going out for Thai. There is a topless masseuse, a lot of blue eye shadow, and a bloody arm that dangles out of a car door. At some point, some dudes play basketball. There’s also a missing kilo of heroin — or maybe it’s three kilos. Who cares, it’s missing. Someone needs to find it and we all know the best way to find anything is to talk about it. But hold on, first we’ve got to watch an endless montage where Miles Carter and his girl go to the airport. This includes a scene where they stand at the Frontier Airlines ticket counter and another where they rent a car from Avis. Renting a car at the airport is the absolute worst. You’ve just flown for hours (on Frontier no less, which is a bus station toilet with wings) and now you’ve got to wait in a line and fill out a mountain of paperwork just to rent a car for the eighteen hours you’ll be in Albuquerque. That’s not enough time to do anything cool, such as not watching this movie.

The Black Connection does have some good qualities, though none of them can redeem this cheap turd of movie. The Checkmates Ltd. kill it on the soundtrack and every interlude has a foot-stomping horn section. There’s a sensuous song called “Your Sexy Ways,” which I’m sure is based on a true story. My suggestion is to let the movie run so you can listen to the soundtrack as you fold your laundry. Sure, you could listen to a Checkmates record instead, but then you’d miss some classic lines about whores:

“You’re stacked like a linebacker. You never played for the Packers did you?”

“You’re the best buy in town.”
“I’m glad you feel that way because all sales are final.”

You’d also miss a great opening title sequence, which is worth watching if only for the list of character names: Horse Man, Two Man, Bruiser, Don Juliano, The Cuban, and The Hit Man. Interestingly, these could also be the names of sandwiches at your neighborhood deli. Well, maybe not Horse Man.

The Black Connection reminds me that we all surrender some of our freedoms in the name of the greater good. We give up our seats for old people. We recycle. We turn off our cell phones in movie theaters. We all accept and follow a social contract, which is why we get so angry when some asshole parks his car in two spaces. Seriously, fuck that guy. Sometimes people take it a step further and actively protect the public from harm. This is where I come in.

I have watched this movie so you don’t have to.

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