Okay, so maybe I didn’t technically pay to see THIS movie, but I did pay to got to a movie, well, sort of. Please allow me to explain:
When “Traces of Red” hit theatres in late 1992, Laneit and I were in the 8th grade, and one Wednesday our school had a half day. We weren’t about to waste one of these days, so we decided it was a good idea to take a trip to Quincy MA to visit New England Comics, have lunch, and catch a movie.
Now Laneit says he doesn’t remember this, but I’m about pretty sure sure he was there. The way I remember it, it was me, Paul, Steve, Jason, and someone else, who I believe was Laneit, but maybe not. Regardless, several of us made the bus trip to neighboring Quincy.
After some lengthy comic shopping, we had lunch at a place next to the movie theatre. The restaurant isn’t there anymore (neither is the theatre), but we went there because if you ate there you received a free movie ticket. So we had lunch,m then went to scope out the movie schedule.
There were some decent movies out at the time, but because of the time, our choices were “Traces of Red” and “Toys.” Because none of us were 17 yet, the guy at the counter said we couldn’t see that, so we got tickets to “Toys” starring Robbin Williams. But while we got our popcorn and snacks, somebody in the group thought it would be a good idea to sneak into “Traces of Red.” And you know what? We should have just gone to see “Toys,” because it couldn’t have been any worse than Traces.
At the center of the drama in this crap of a movie are Jack (Jim Belushi) and his older brother, Michael (William Russ), who is running for Congress. Tony Goldwyn is Steve Frayn, Jack’s police partner. Faye Grant is Steve’s jealous wife, Beth. And Lorraine Bracco plays Ellen Schofield, a rich Palm Beach widow and former flight attendant who seduces both cops. By the way, Ms. Bracco won a Razzie Award for her performances in Traces.
The story, if I remember correctly, involves a serial killer that loves a putting a particular shade of lipstick on his victims, and leaving a few other little trinkets at the scene. “Traces of Red” is also filled with several bizarre twists that are almost impossible to swallow. For example: for most of the film you think you’re watching your typical crime thriller. Then out of nowhere, it is revealed that Jack was sexually abused by his first-grade teacher.
I don’t even remember if this bit of news had anything to do with the main plot. Maybe it “Traces of Red” had a good script and a director with a vision, all the little twists and turns might have made sense. But even if that had been the case, “Traces of Red” was still doomed because Jim Belushi is the star.
I met Belushi at a book signing years ago, and I found him to be a decent guy. But try as he might, his acting ability is incapable of projecting anything beyond a funny or confused look. And the times he was trying to act serious or menacing, it was more funny than anything.
I keep trying to think back to that day and figure out why we chose “Traces of Red.” I mean, the schedule was part of it. But if we were going to sneak into an R-rated movie, why did we go with this one?
I guess the answer to that question will forever remain a secret. Oh well, at least I got some decent comics that day.