My mother hates Charles Grodin, and not for something he did in real life. Mom has an affliction I affectionately call Actor-Role Association Syndrome (ARAS). Symptoms include an intense, unforgiving dislike for an actor based on a role he or she has played. The afflicted will see nothing that the actor is affiliated with. Folks on Mom’s shit list include Carroll O’Connor (because of his Archie Bunker), Lou Gossett Jr. (because of An Officer and a Gentleman), and Ben Vereen (because of that unfortunate Bert Williams tribute he did in blackface). In Grodin’s case, it was his obstetrician character from Rosemary’s Baby who turned Mia Farrow over to the devil worshippers. Because he did, Mom wouldn’t hose down Grodin if he burst into flames on her patio. She’d probably squirt lighter fluid on him.
I bring this up because the last movie I saw in theaters with my mother was the 1988 Robert De Niro-Charles Grodin action comedy Midnight Run. This movie choice was her idea, which surprised me until I realized she probably hoped De Niro would shoot Grodin. Said shooting seemed plausible at first, as there’s no love lost between bounty hunter Jack Walsh (De Niro) and his criminal prey, Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas (Grodin). Mardukas jumped bail to the tune of $450,000, a paltry sum for a man who stole $15 million. Walsh sees the Duke as the $100,000 payday promised him by bail bondsman Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano). The Duke sees Walsh as a roadblock to freedom, though considering who else is after him, he’d be wise to stay handcuffed to the bounty hunter.