Abel Ferrara’s instantly controversial 1992 film looks as upsetting and challenging as ever.
A couple of things:
1) I don't mention BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS above because it's kind of irrelevant to Ferrara's movie (and he doesn't approve of it). But it rules in its own right and I've written about it extensively elsewhere. (Still in stores and available online: AGE OF CAGE: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250773036/ageofcage
2) Came across this look at BAD LIEUTENANT's MPAA submission in the course of researching this: https://www.somethingawful.com/news/bad-lieutenant-movie/1/
As a PSA, when I tried to correct my BL bindspot either this past year or the year before, I watched it on iTunes and it turned out to be the censored R-version.
I *think* that was the case with Amazon as well (I'd have to double-check)
Apparently it's the same with HBO Max.
(I think the censored version is 6 minutes shorter, I'd also have to double-check that).
If you get the Lionsgate Blu-ray, it's the uncensored version. Hooray for physical media, I guess.
I caught this in a cinema in 1993 and it made a big impression, but I’ve refused to rewatch it because of Led Zeppelin. IMO the pervasive use of Signifying Rapper by Schooly D was central to the movie but a hypocritical lawsuit by song thieves Led Zep had it purged from all later copies of the movie.
This is one of those second-viewing conundrums for me. I didn't particularly care for it when I watched it for the first - and so far, only - time, and though I'm no delicate flower myself, really didn't love the very NC-17ish stuff altogether. Yet I'm tempted to try again because maybe I just didn't "get" it the first time around? But the thought of watching it again... yeesh, life is too short.
That "excruciating long" scene with the two underage girls at the traffic stop is what stays with me from BL -- I only saw it once in the theater when it came out. Just watching this scene again recently on YouTube, I think another unique quality of BAD LIEUTENANT is the fair amount of improvising on the set. As that scene goes long and longer, it really starts to feel dangerous and real -- the actresses seem very edgy and unsure about what's going to happen next. Or maybe it's just Acting...but I was surprised at how shocking and uncomfortable this scene remains decades later on a laptop screen.