There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Ah, the old odd-couple police-detective flick: By now the genre itself is like a decrepit, half-blind geezer who should have been forced into retirement years ago but—if for no other reason than a lack of fresh-faced recruits—is allowed to linger on his beat. Sure, the Lethal Weapon franchise momentarily injected a little life into things, what with its high-minded “suicidal-loose-cannon-gets-teamed-up-with-gruff old-timer” concept and all—but what the hell has Hollywood offered up since? A past-his-prime-to-the-point-of-self-parody Robert DeNiro matched with Eddie Murphy? Queen Latifah buddied up with Jimmy Fallon? Good grief. With any luck, the next time film producers sit around the table discussing which wisecrackin’ black person will get the biggest laughs opposite a dopey white dude, they’ll ask themselves WWTD?—“What Would Tibbs Do?” (Or, rather, WWMr.TD?) Because I’ll tell you what Virgil Tibbs doesn’t do: put up with any honky bullshit—especially if it’s coming from some cracka-ass sheriff down in Bumfuck, Miss. And, if I had to guess, he’d tell those Hollywood bamas to take their steaming pile of culture-clash clichés and stick ’em where the sun don’t shine. But don’t take my word for it. You can ask director Norman Jewison himself after the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center screens his five–Academy Awards–winning 1967 crime drama, In the Heat of the Night. Jewison may not be able to tell you much about the two sequels that followed his original—Gordon M. Douglas’ more straightforward They Call Me Mister Tibbs! in 1970, and Don Medford’s borderline-blaxploitation flick The Organization in 1971 (both starring Sidney Poitier as Tibbs). But one can hope he’ll at least be able to offer his assurances that In the Heat of the Night won’t join Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner as the latest ’60s race-relations classic to get a not-so-hilarious Hollywood makeover. The film screens at 6:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at the American Film Institute Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.25. (301) 495-6720. (Matthew Borlik)