RARA-AVIS: Very Small Vices

Tyler, Tom (Ttyle@herrick.com)
Mon, 26 Jul 1999 15:18:56 -0400

Small Vices horned its way into my channel-surfing Saturday afternoon for a few minutes. Here's what I saw:

Joe Mantegna, a Chicago Italian, playing Spenser who, despite author Robert B. Parker's choice of an English poet's name for his detective, is most likely a Boston Irishman. Mantegna looks to be 5'5" and 140 pounds, is 52 years old, soft of body and has one eyelid dropping. Mantegna talks tough to a 20-ish, buffed, 200-pound 6' athlete. Small Vices: The athlete is cowed by Mantegna/Spenser. Better: The athlete dumps Mantegna/Spenser head first into the trash, cracking most of the detective's vertebrae.

I change the channel.

Next circuit, a few minutes later:

A bald man standing next to a black car about 20 feet from Mantegna/Spenser pulls out an M-16 and aims. He fires a shot and misses. Mantegna/Spenser looks over. Small Vices: The bald man drops the M-16 and clambers/falls down a ravine into a park. Better: the bald man empties the M-16 in Spenser's general direction, killing Spenser and three or four bystanders, OR, the bald man misses, jumps into his vehicle, and smashes it into Spenser.

The bald man runs, kind of. Mantegna/Spenser chases the bald man. He, too, runs, kind of. The film editor makes many cuts during the running scene so that Mantegna/Spenser is not seen running for more than a second or two at a time. The bald man gets away when a small dog sinks its teeth into Spenser's pants cuff (not that Spenser was gaining on the bald man anyway). Spenser goes to his girlfriend's house where two of his operatives are protecting her. The operatives looks like Drew Carey's two friends on the Drew Carey Show. That night Spenser and his girlfriend sit in the front window of her house and talk. Small Vices: They speak unsayable lines to each other. Much Better: The killer, outside the window, shoots them each through the eye, sparing them further embarassment.

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