Sick of Doing Straight Time

One of my favorite movies, STRAIGHT TIME, is on TCM tonight/tomorrow morning at 1:30 a.m. Eastern (h/t Kent). Here’s a piece I wrote about it a few years ago.

Goodbye Like A Bullet


William Boyle

Directed by Ulu Grosbard and based on Edward Bunker’s novel No Beast So Fierce, written while Bunker was in prison, Straight Time (1978) is meandering and quietly brilliant in a way that’s representative of the movies we’re concerned with here.

Dustin Hoffman plays paroled criminal Max Dembo. Fresh out of prison, Dembo aims to live honestly, but he’s thrown off course by shitty parole officer Earl Frank (M. Emmet Walsh). At an employment agency, he meets Jenny Mercer (Theresa Russell), who helps him find work and is charmed by his honesty. Dembo catches up with an old pal, Willy Darin (Gary Busey), a decision that stomps out his efforts to live straight. Willy shoots heroin in Dembo’s room and leaves behind a book of matches that Frank finds on an unannounced visit. Frank accuses Dembo of shooting up even though there’s no…

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