"Nobody wants me to quit. You know, don't quit. Don't get caught. Stay on top long enough for us to knock you off. I mean, that's the motto around here. Nobody wants me to quit. The cops want to bust me. The Colombians want my connections. My wife, she wants my money. Her lawyer agrees and mine likes getting paid to argue with him. Nobody wants me to quit. I haven't even mentioned my customers here. You know they don't want me to quit."
Dale "Mac" McKussic
Tequila Sunrise is a 1988 romantic crime drama written and directed by Robert Towne and starring Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kurt Russell, JT Walsh and Raul Julia.Dale "Mac" McKussic (Gibson) is a retired drug dealer living in Los Angeles, now trying to run an irrigation business. However, no one believes he's really retired, even his best friend Nick Frescia (Russell), a lieutenant in charge of narcotics at the sheriff's department. Nick is being pressured by Hal Maguire (Walsh), a DEA agent, to bust Mac, especially since Carlos, a Mexican drug dealer friend of Mac's, is coming to visit (Escalante (Julia), a Mexican detective, is helping Maguire). As if that wasn't complicated enough, both Mac and Nick end up falling in love with Jo Ann Vallenari (Pfeiffer), who owns an Italian restaurant Mac frequents.
This film contains examples of:
Anguished Declaration of Love: Jo Ann gives this to Mac after he saves her from being killed by Carlos. Unfortunately, he's still a little too freaked out by what he's just done.
Berserk Button: Do not tell Nick to manufacture evidence, especially when his best friend is involved.
Also, don't call Jo Ann "slick".
The Cameo: Famed Western director Budd Boetticher plays a judge who is a customer at Jo Ann's restaurant.
Kenny Moore, a track star and writer who also appeared in Towne's previous film Personal Best, plays Woody, a Coast Guard official.
Radio DJ Jim Ladd can be heard at one point.
Chekhov's Gun: Literally - the gun Nick gives Jo Ann is the gun Mac ends up pulling on Carlos so he and Jo Ann can escape safely.
Love Confession: Nick has a particularly long one to Jo Ann, ending up with:
Nick: You're honest, kind and principled, and I trust you. Suddenly, I'm ashamed...You're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, and I'm nuts about you. Now, I've only got one question, and it isn't about Mac, I don't wanna know what you know about Mac. Man, I just wanna see you tonight. Will you see me?
Jo Ann: Mr. McKussic, it seems, has been engaged in his business for purely romantic reasons, whilst you have been engaged in romance for purely business reasons.
Nick: I'm not sure I understand.
Jo Ann: A little vague for you?
Nick: A little.
Jo Ann: Well, then, let me spell it out for you; you want to fuck your friend, then fuck him, not me!
Real Life Writes the Plot: At the time, Towne was going through legal issues with The Two Jakes, the planned sequel to Chinatown, and it ended up severing his friendship with Jack Nicholson (they have apparently since reconciled). Greg ("Who says friendship lasts forever?") and Carlos ("Friendship is all we have; we chose each other! How could you fuck it up? How could you make us look so bad?") each have a speech about friendship that reflects Towne's feelings of betrayal.
Carlos: You son of a bitch! How could you do this? Friendship is the only choice in life you can make that's yours! You can't choose your family; goddammit, I've had to face that! And no man should by judged for whatever direction his dick goes; that's like blaming a compass for, for pointing north, for Chrissake! Friendship is all we have! We chose each other! How could you fuck it up? How could you make us look so bad?