Based on a true story of rampant corruption and internal affairs in New York City (where else?), Serpico stands as the consummate cop movie, right up there with The French Connection. But while The French Connection is a standard cops-and-robbers movie, Serpico is pretty much cops-and-cops, as Al Pacino's title character hunts out corruption inside the department even though it means all but signing his death warrant.
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An old friend phones him out of the blue: Come to this address and prepare for an unimaginable new future. Indeed, no sooner has Hamilton entered the building (couriered there from a meat-packing plant, naturally) than he has become a customer, willing or not, of "the organization," which provides a radical plastic surgery regemin to cut about 30 years off the looks of its clients. Oh, and it also fakes the death of the client and provides a new identity -- and the client's new life is paid for with backdated insurance policies (after the organization takes its cut, of course).
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This time out the Griswolds aren't on a road trip -- they're spending a big family Christmas at home, filled with senile grandparents, and of course Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his white-trash brood. The usual holiday mishaps occur, from lights that won't go on to a Christmas tree that's too tall, but it's the cruel blackness of life that we see in allVacation movies that makes the film memorable. In a week's time, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) will see his family fall apart, be attacted by a crazed squirrel, and find his boss kidnapped by Eddie after he receives a jelly of the month club subscription in lieu of an actual bonus.
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