We’re usually taught to respect our elders; but there have been plenty of characters in film who never quite got that memo. There’s been a long and proud tradition in movies of elderly abuse and bad doings being transgressed on the 4:30 dinner crowd. This is the generation that did things like survived the Great Depression, fought the Nazis and the Reds, raised our parents and all too often us. One would think they’d earned a bit of consideration for things like guaranteed Social Security, adult diapers that don’t leak and generally not getting the shit beat out of them or snuffed like some third rate extra. In this CHUD list, we’re going to take a look at 15 old-timers who, unfortunately, turned into having-a-really-bad-timers.
The Film: The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans (2009)
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The Director: Werner Herzog
The Elder: Binnie & Antoinette (Irma P. Hall & Lauren Swinney)
Poor old Binnie and Antoinette, two ladies from New Orleans who have no idea of the wrath about to set down on them from a crazy cop fueled by one of many potential narcotics, depending on what scene of the movie he’s in. The two clearly have a long history together, and represent a complex dynamic in the south as the black woman is serving the rich old white broad, and yet there is clearly a genuine love between. Antoinette has offered Binnie a safe haven for her troubled grandson by not only buying him a plane ticket to get the hell out of town before the cops catch up to him, but also by giving him a new home with her family. That’ a serious gesture of goodwill and respect, one that goes beyond simply buying off a problem and actually makes the trouble her own. She seeks to offer a chance for reform to the young man with a new blank slate surrounded by presumably supportive influences.
The thing is, she didn’t know Nicky Cage was on his way with his coke-caked nostrils and a gun the size of whoagoddamn.
The Abuse: If I’m not mistaken, this is the first entry on our little list in which the geriatric souls in question actually survive their ordeal. That said, I’m not sure what’s worse: to have the brief amount of time you have left cut short, or to be scarred so deeply so late in life, ensuring that your remaining years will not be blissful ones, forever haunted by nightmares of a man in a khaki suit and meth-breath.
When Terence McDonagh reveals himself to the pair in the nursing home, things start off with only a bit of creepy menace as an edgy dude (taking his morning shave on the fly) pops out from behind a door. His interrogation is harsh and accusatory, but nothing that two old broads that have probably raised countless little shits with smart mouths can’t handle. But then McDonagh kicks it up a notch and yanks out Antoinette’s oxygen tube. I don’t know that this would be immediately life threatening for most elders on oxygen, but in this case the dame in question doesn’t handle it so well…
Biddie is now faced with the reality that her charge is quickly suffocating: she’s clearly feeling the intense pain of her shriveled lungs, tacky with the dried-up mucus of age, clutching together and robbing her depleted form of the oxygen it so desperately needs to power this husk of a woman that should have been dead years ago. Her friend not even left with the means to cry out, Biddie is challenge with the plaintive face of the dying woman with who’s care she’s been saddled. On the other hand she’s met with the insane face of a drugged-out wacko on a quest for justice who finally makes it clear just how serious he is…
With a gun to her head Biddie finally gives up the goods, telling McDonagh that Antoinette has flown the thug in question out of his reach. As McDonagh replaces the oxygen tube and puts away his gun that should be the end of the trauma for the pair, but the Lieutenant’s anger overwhelms him and suddenly they’re at the end of the gun once again, while he lets loose with some elderly abuse for the ages:
“Maybe you should drop dead, you selfish cunt. You ever think about your kids! Or your grandkids? Huh?! Suckin’ up their inheritance with that fucked oxygen tube? And Binnie’s fucked intensive care? You fucks! I hate you, I hate you both! I should, I should fuck you both- just right now, I should fuckin’ kill you fuckin’ both! You’re the fuckin’ reason this country’s going down the drain!”
Lack Of Respect By: The Bad Lieutenant
The man enters the scene from behind the door, pushing it aside as he nonchalantly buzzes off his crack-soaked whiskers from the previous night.
Grown men don’t pop out from behind doors. Shit spells trouble from the start.
The bad Lieutenant is a man with a theoretically righteous quest, and there’s a definitely a decent heart at the core of him. That said, scene after scene of drug use, whore love, and collusion with all manner of gangsters demonstrates that the other side of the Dirty Harry, get-shit-done vigilant ain’t so pretty.
I mean, the man interrogates mid-shave.
Did she see it coming? Nope. he hid behind that door with the skill of a practiced 8-year old. Maybe in her more youthful days, but those periphs aren’t what they used to be…
Could the AARP Have Helped? No, no. The bad lieutenant works outside of the system. Had some asshole with a suitcase shown up, McDonagh would have just waved his hand cannon in that guy’s fuckin’ stupid fuckin’ face too.
If nature had taken its course? Maybe Antoinette had another seven or years of relatively pleasant living ahead of her, filled with philanthropy and great-grandchildren, finally passing in time for Biddie to live out the rest of her moderately-budgeted golden years with the memory of her special friend, and the warm knowledge that her grandson made it out of the slums. Who would have thought he’d have turned his life around so well? …all set to graduate from a modest English college, and with honors if he swings an A in that advanced Trig class he’s been telling her about in his monthly phone call!
“Sometimes the brave men in our law enforcement community have to use policing measures that [chuckle] might seem a bit unpleasant to the rest of us. What’s important to remember though, is that these men are in constant danger, are doing everything they can to protect us, and are ultimately serving out justice. Maybe it was extreme to wave a gun in an elderly lady’s face, and maybe it was going a bit far to withhold oxygen from an unwell woman, but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. Sometimes you’ve got to make that cunt gasp to get some fuckin’ answers.”