The only way you were getting rich in the 30′s was by robbing banks. So yeah, hate on these two for being young, smart, and prosperous.
Living in America during the Depression was hard. However, for Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty): it sure as hell wasn’t as long as they had their guns, their minds, and their love to fully round everything out. Together, the two pulled off a series of daring bank robberies and found their way to becoming two of the most notorious outlaws in American history. This is their sad, but true story.
Viewing these older movies and reviewing them is not an easy chore to complete, especially when they are considered “classics” like this one here. Usually, you have to take this movie how it is but you also feel pressured into making it sound like this movie is some end-all, be-all masterpiece, just because you saw people like Roger Ebert (R.I.P. my friend) say so. However, I’m not going to back down from a fight and I’m going to step over the line and say that THIS MOVIE IS……..good.
What makes this movie such a classic in terms of American cinema is because it was broke down some large-barriers back in the day. Due to the fact that it was filled with incredible amounts of violence, some sexual tension that was actually shown (somewhat), and some booty-showing, this movie had some people up in arms about what people should, and should not see in the movie theaters (oh, if only they could see us now). But that was back in 1967, when these sort of things being in a movie were almost unheard of, which is why you have to give Arthur Penn a lot of credit for taking that huge step and showing his material for what it was worth. The violence and killings here aren’t as graphic and disturbing as some of the stuff we see now, but the film still has plenty of it to make anybody’s grand-mom get a little scared.
One thing that at first bothered me, was that I felt like Penn was really just glamorizing everything that these two did. From the robberies, to the kidnappings, to the murders, and to everything else, it felt like I was watching Penn show us how cool it is to be like them, when in reality: he was just showing us the facts. A lot of the stuff you see in this film, is pretty much how it all happened and it’s not being shown in any hip or cool way, it’s just the way it was and how these two functioned back in the days. And whenever the shoot-out scenes do come up, they are very fun and you never know what’s going to happen next. That is, unless you haven’t been paying attention in history-class, ever.
But what really made me realize that this is no masterpiece, is that it’s just so damn dated with it’s writing. Right from the start, we get all of this corny talk between Bonnie and Clyde where they are constantly just acting like total dumb-asses with their Southern accents that make them sound like a really-bad extra from Deliverance. That was obviously annoying, and a lot of the delivery that Beatty and Dunaway used too, was annoying just because they seemed just a tad too spirited about all of this, almost to the point of where it was basically campy. I mean, what do I expect from a film that was made in the late 60′s, but I know what bothers me, and half of this dialogue is what did it for me.
Also, aside from the main 4 in this cast, everybody else sucks at acting. The kid who played C.W. Moss was really bad and made me laugh my ass off by how idiotic this character, and this actor was. For a prime example, there was the one scene where Bonnie and Clyde first meet him, and he just looks so damn awkward, stumbling around the set like a little fool. His character is pretty much one of those stereotypical country-bumpkins, that doesn’t know how to do anything else other than fix cars (because you know, that’s what all Southerners do). Hell, even the film wanted to take the high-road and go off and write him as he truly was in real life, then good, just get a better actor to play it so it isn’t so damn obvious that this kid blows major cock. There’s plenty of others here that excruciatingly bad as well and I think it’s just a strange mixture of bad acting and some bad lines that just makes everybody come off like they’re over-acting it a bit. But in some cases, they aren’t even acting at all, so it’s either one way or another. No reason for the Blondie reference, but just thought I’d throw it in there while it’s still fresh and clean in my head.
But other than these terrible supporting-performances, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway do some pretty kick-ass jobs with their titular roles and are easily the best things about this flick. They definitely have some great chemistry together and you can tell that the film is going to show them a lot together, but it surprisingly doesn’t. Instead, it gives them more time apart to develop on their own, but even when it does come back to them being with one another, it feels like it’s developing both of their characters and giving us two people that we can feel some essence of sympathy for and actually like. Beatty is this wild, high-strung dude that just wants to make his lady happy, and Dunaway is this sad and l0nely girl that is getting the worst case of homesickness, ever. Two very good performances as even when things for Bonnie and Clyde turn darker and they start doing more bad things, you still like them and I don’t know why that was. Either way, easily the best things about this flick even if there is some more to see.
Oh, and don’t forget to be on the look-out for a performance from Gene Hackman as Clyde’s big-bro. Having Gene Hackman in any movie is always a treat, but this one especially since he actually shows everybody how to act. God, I miss him.
Consensus: Probably more influential than it is perfection, Bonnie and Clyde suffers from a terribly-dated script, and bad performances from everybody else involved, other than the four main stars. Still, you can’t go wrong with a film that was willing to show us these two criminals in a sympathetic-light and be able to get away with it, surprisingly. Oh, and the final scene is pretty freakin’ awesome, too. But I bet you have all already seen it, haven’t you?
7 / 10 = Rental!!
Whoever thought that Dawson would end up being Christian Bale’s little bro.
Set in a small, affluent liberal-arts university in present-day New England, USA, where three students named Sean (James Van Der Beek), Lauren (Shannyn Sossamon), and Paul (Ian Somerhalder) who have no plans for the future – or even the present – become entangled in a curious romantic triangle.
If you don’t know who Bret Easton Ellis is by now, go on over to Wikipedia and check him out. He’s the writer of several novels like Less Than Zero, American Psycho, and The Informers. Basically this guy is a fucked up dude who sees the world differently than I can say I do, but I also got to give him a lot of respect because this damn guy is original and it’s even better when you have an original director to help out with the adaptation.
Writer/director Roger Avary is one of the main reasons why this film works so well because he gets inside the mind of Ellis and sees the world through his eyes. Everything is mean, nasty, cruel, but also very very dark in a way that is like unlike any other flick I have seen in quite some time. On the surface, this is a college flick that shows non-stop debauchery, hell, probably a lot more debauchery than ‘Project X’, but underneath it all is actual themes about how people can never connect and these characters are perfect examples of that. They all try to connect to one another and actually be noticed, but somehow, it never works out whether it’s bad timing, miscommunication, a tongue slip, or just a total fuck up which makes everything go to shit. It’s sad to say it but this film is more brutally honest than I ever expected it to be and it was very hard to not agree with what this film was trying to say.
But as I said, this film is also about non-stop debauchery and when I mean debauchery I mean everything such as snortin’ cocaine, drinking beer, having sex, partying, snortin’ cocaine, drinking beer, having sex, and so on and so forth. There is so much of that here but it works for the film because it not only adds to the whole central theme of the flick but it also takes us into this satirical world of college that Ellis has created. These kids never go to class, any time we ever see them they’re doing something bad, and when they aren’t doing something bad, in their heads their planning on doing something bad next. It was funny how Ellis just makes fun of how young adults are, especially ones in college, but the humor isn’t obvious at all, actually it’s the kind of humor that’s pitch black and is almost too dark to understand at first. The inner-thoughts that go through these kids minds is funny because of how short-minded they are but it’s also very sad because it’s true and it seemed like every time I got a laugh out of this flick, I sat there and thought that I shouldn’t be laughing because this film is basically making fun of me as well. Hey!!!
The screenplay is awesome and fits Ellis’ style but it’s the style and inspired direction of Roger Avary that really got me here. I can’t say that this film is filled with a style that is unlike any other film you have ever seen before, but there are some pretty inventive things that Avary does here with this story that gives it that extra kick. For example: Avary uses this technique where he plays forward with his camera then rewinds it in a different place and does the same thing to other scenes. This was a technique used in ‘Memento’ but for this flick, Avary gave it this very weird and bizarre feel that not only made me feel like this director could do anything but he actually will too. There’s plenty of other memorable scenes where Avary uses a split-screen to show us the difference between fantasy and reality (hello 500 Days of Summer), a Trainspotting nod, a scene where a snow flake falls down Van Der Beek’s face to melt into a tear in a very emotional scene, a long but quick-paced montage about a dude who went to Europe and all of his experiences, and one of the best “love at first sight” scenes that I have seen in a long, long time. That’s right, a movie that is based off of a novel from the same dude who gave us Patrick Bateman, has one of the better “love at first sight” scenes I have recently seen. Don’t understand it either but it’s something that Avary did here that made it work.
However, as much praise as I may be giving this flick, there was still a huge problem in the end. Earlier I said that this film is basically non-stop debauchery, and as perfect as that idea may have suited this film, it als0 leaved a lot to be desired. This film has no plot, and while it does move at a regular pace, nothing really goes down other than all of the crap that I mentioned earlier. It takes us inside this world of these obvious, loser kids but it still doesn’t really do anything for this film to keep it’s story going and it was sort of a bummer in the end because there could have been a really solid story to work with here in the first place.
Another problem I had with this story was that I think it also lost a lot of focus here because even though it’s supposed to be focusing on these three characters, it mainly puts Sean Bateman in the front, and everybody else in the back or not there at all. I get it that Bateman is basically the notorious asshole here, but there was a good 20 minutes where they didn’t even include Paul, and barely even had Lauren show up either. It was a shame that not only was there barely any story here at all, but it’s even more a shame that they try to sell this as a love triangle, when they barley focus on it or even anybody else other than Sean for that matter.
The cast is a bit odd on paper, but they all do perfectly with each of their incredibly sad and depressing characters. Shannyn Sossamon was absolutely likable and believable as the sweet and innocent virgin gal, that definitely seems like a chick I would love to just hang-out with and maybe give a hug too as well, since the whole time she seemed like she needed one. Ian Somerhalder is pretty solid as Paul, and was definitely giving off those homosexual winks at everyone around him and it worked because this character was weird but also very sad. Jessica Biel may seem like a strange choice for a total slut in a college flick, but she’s actually very good and creates a wholly unlikable character in Lara. Then again, everybody else in this flick is basically unlikable as well so she basically already had her hand in the bag.
The best performance out of this whole cast that really did shock me more than anything was probably James Van Der Beek‘s amazing performance as Sean Bateman. Yes, Dawson is the one dude in this flick, who goes to college to fuck everything up and succeeds at it. I didn’t think I was going to believe it when I was watching this, but slowly and surely, I started to really believe just how sick, effed up, and mean this character was but I also couldn’t hate him since Van Der Beek plays him with such charm and likability, much like Bale did with Patrick Bateman. This is one of the best “against type” roles that I have ever seen and Van Der Beek nails what it’s like to be a person that is angry with everything in the world, especially yourself. I’m a little ashamed to say it, but dare I say that I was actually a bit scared of him here as well…? Great performance and it’s an honest shame that he hasn’t gotten any big roles since this because this definitely should have knocked him back up in the books.
Consensus: The story is basically non-existent but where The Rules of Attraction works in is it’s inspired writing and directing work done by the wonderfully stylized, Roger Avary, and a cast that makes this more than just another film trying hard to be mean and hard to watch, it’s one that may make you look at college and young people in a different way. Still, can’t say that it’s everyone’s cup of tea either.
The film that made Jack Nicholson a superstar and Faye Dunaway even crazier.
With a suspicious, porcelain-skinned femme fatale (Faye Dunaway) bankrolling his snooping, private eye J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) uncovers intricate dirty dealings in the Los Angeles waterworks and gets his nose slashed for his trouble. Meanwhile, his financier harbors a nasty family secret.
This movie if has any flaws at all is surely an amazing American classic. The film starts out as a simple detective story but with many twists and turns the film becomes a very hard-boiled mystery movie. I’am not a very big fan of neo-noir but for this film I made an exception because this film does something amazing and mixed neo-noir and psychological drama.
The film’s emotion of mystery and confusion is shown through its mysterious setting much ado to the very creepy score. The setting was very dark and bruised much like the decade it was made in except the film takes place in 30′s and Director Roman Polanski does a great job at fully capturing the look and feel of this mysterious place.
The problem I had with this film was that the film didn’t feel or look at all like it was in the 30′s. The film could’ve easily been mistaken for taking place in the 70′s. Other than the cars, the 30′s doesn’t look too alive in this film.
The screenplay is very brilliant and very wise when it comes toward the questions and the full mystery of the story. Much of due to the very inspired direction from Roman Polanski, he creates a setting that is not just an place but a place full of lies, deception, and tragedy’s that come abroad on a regular basis.
Acting from Nicholson and Dunaway are just spectacular. Nicholson surely shows off his great acting chops in this breakthrough performance and creates this character that we cheer for in finding the exact truth of what has happened in this world. Faye Dunaway also proves her power as a leading woman and is simply just eye candy and can belt out some great heartbreaking scenes.
The film is surely an American Classic that keeps you guessing until the very end and when it’s finally over you still wonder about the world we live in and how it really is.