Friday, December 21, 2012

Hommage au Chacal

This scope lets me see nearly 40 years into the future

Five or six nights a week, My Fabulous Wife and I will watch an episode of something on Roku or Netflix. Lately we've been watching Season 1 of Homeland, and I've noticed some homages to a few of my favorite movies. 

The first homage I recognized is based on this line from 1974's Chinatown: "When Mulvihill here was sheriff of Ventura County, the rum runners landed hundreds of tons of booze on the beach and never lost a drop. He oughta be able to hold on to your water for you." (Jake Gittes) In one of the first episodes of Homeland, Carrie (IIRC) makes a similar snide remark about a cop she thinks is corrupt, or at best, incompetent. She paraphrases the Chinatown line into a reference to illegal drugs.

Next is from 1972's The Godfather: 

"Hey, listen, I want somebody good - and I mean very good - to plant that gun. I don't want my brother coming out of that toilet with just his **** in his hands, alright?" (Sonny Corleone). In Homeland, Carrie and an FBI agent are arguing about a SWAT team fiasco. One of them uses the same vulgar imagery as Sonny to describe the hapless shooters.

After these two, I was primed for any other homages I might recognize. Then last night in Episode 9, "Crossfire," a scene opens with a sniper in the woods. I pause the show, and tell Janet, "This is going to be an homage to Day of the Jackal (1973). He's going to set up a target on a tree, then zero in his scope. He'll take two shots, adjusting his scope after each one; then take a third shot which will hit the bull's eye." I press Play, and- he does just as I expected. 

Near the end of the episode, the sniper fires another shot, this time with his rifle held steady by resting the barrel on a knife he has stuck into a tree. This is yet another Jackal homage based on the image at the top of the page, where the assassin steadies his rifle by tying the barrel against a tree.

Always fun to see that moviemakers and I like the same movies.