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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Jason Patric

After Dark, My Sweet (1990)

dark

Small towns will be the death of ya.

After having quite an illustrious career in boxing, Kevin “the Kid” Collins (Jason Patric) loses it all in one fell swoop, when he loses his cool in the ring and damn near kills his fellow opponent, way after the bell was rung. This leaves Kevin on his own, on the run from the law, essentially, and now drifting all around the country. For what reason? Or better yet, what is he trying to reach/achieve? Well, Kevin himself doesn’t quite know, until he meets the sweet, sexy and illustrious Fay (Rachel Ward), who takes him in to her abandoned home right away. Why, though? She isn’t offering him sex, and she sure as hell isn’t all that nice to him, so why would someone like Fay allow a total and absolute stranger like Kevin into her home? Well, once Kevin meets Uncle Garrett (Bruce Dern), he soon begins to realize what his purpose in the house is and it may lead to some dangerous, violent situations for all three involved.

Yep. not crazy.

Yep, not crazy.

After Dark, My Sweet is the kind of noir that you have to take your time with. I’ll admit it, the first time I saw it, I wasn’t quite ready; for some odd reason, I had the feeling that I was going to be getting a sexy, exciting, and rather tense crime-thriller, with hot people acting all dangerous and secretive, but instead, I got something much, much slower and more detailed. Back in those days, I couldn’t appreciate the movie for what it was, but the times have changed and well, so have I.

I’m still an a-hole regardless, but a better movie-viewer.

And that’s why After Dark, My Sweet, worked better for me this go around; it’s not that I knew what to expect in terms of the plot (much of which I actually forgot), but knew what to expect and look for in terms of its tone and pacing. Director James Foley has a knack for telling these rather dark and dreary tales of sad, lonely people, trying to make sense of the world that they live in, and he does a solid job here – the movie can get a little meandering at points, never knowing what it wants to be about, but the meandering actually kind of works in the movie’s favor. We don’t quite know where this story is going and the movie’s better off for it.

Foley knows that telling a story like this, you need to keep your audience in the dark, every step of the way. Eventually, the movie starts to figure itself out, make sense of itself, and tell us what it’s going to be and from then on, it does actually get rather tense and exciting, but like I said before, not in the ways that you’d expect. There’s not a whole lot of violence, there’s not a whole lot of blood, and there sure as hell isn’t a whole lot of guns, but sometimes, you don’t need all of that to make a movie exciting and tense – sometimes, all you need is good characters, a compelling plot, and oh yeah, a solid cast.

Look out when Bruce gives you that look!

Look out when Bruce gives you that look!

Which After Dark, My Sweet, definitely has.

Jason Patric is especially the stand-out here, as Kevin Collins, an odd, weird and definitely mysterious person we think we have a good idea about early on, but over time, throughout, we start to see new shadings, too. Patric deserves a lot of credit for this, too, because a character like this could have easily been annoying and dull – the sheer fact we don’t know much about him, besides what we tell him, is already a bit of a stretch – bit Patric makes this character interesting. We don’t know if he’s a good guy, a bad one, or just someone doing things because, well, he’s bored and he’s got nothing else to do. Or, is he a total loon who needs to be locked away from the rest of society? We never quite know and that’s why Patric’s performance is mostly special.

That, and well, he’s always been one of my favorites actors around, so yeah, maybe that’s got something to do with it.

Bruce Dern also shows up as Uncle Garrett, another shady, mysterious figure who doesn’t give us his full intentions right away, but over time, starts to peel away certain layers to his skin. Dern’s great at these kinds of characters and yeah, he’s clearly in his element here, although you do feel a whole lot more sad for this character. The only one who seems to be a bit out of her depth, for some odd reason, is Rachel Ward, however, I don’t know how much of that is her problem. The character of Fay is, essentially, a type – she’s the femme fatale, but a lot more naive and vulnerable. The movie doesn’t know what to say about her, though, either; she’s less of a mystery to us than the other two and because of that, we never know if she really counts to the overall story. Ward tries, and she’s definitely stunning, but her character just seems like more of a type, than well, an actual human being.

Something movies like these survive off of from dorks like me.

Consensus: Sexy and compelling, After Dark, My Sweet takes its time to get going, but is still deserving of a watch with the solid cast.

7.5 / 10

Oh so sexy and well, kind of sad.

Oh so sexy and well, kind of sad.

Photos Courtesy of: Twenty Four Frames

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Sleepers (1996)

Never mess with a hot-dog stand, kiddies.

Lorenzo “Shakes” Carcaterra (Jason Patric), Thomas “Tommy” Marcano (Billy Crudup), Michael Sullivan (Brad Pitt), and John Reilly (Ron Eldard), are all childhood friends from Hell’s Kitchen who, after many years, haven’t really kept in close contact. Most of this has to do with the fact that, when they were younger, they were all sent to a juvenile delinquent center, where they were both physically, as well as sexually abused by the wardens there. Many years later, one of those wardens (Kevin Bacon), gets shot and killed in a bar late one night and guess who the shooters allegedly are? Yup, John and Tommy. Seeing as how they’re buddies are in the right to have shot and killed the warden, Shakes and Michael concoct a plan: Get Michael to defend the dead warden and have their old local mafia gangster, pay-off a lawyer (Dustin Hoffman) who will do the job that needs to be done, where both John and Tommy shine in a positive light and aren’t convicted. However, moral dilemmas eventually sink in and make everybody rethink their decisions – not just in this one particular moment, however, but through their whole life in general.

Trust Dustin, guys. He knows what he's doing.

Trust Dustin, guys. He knows what he’s doing.

There was a constant feeling I had while watching Sleepers that made me think it was just so “movie-ish”. Like clearly, a case like this couldn’t ever be true – and if it was, it sure as heck didn’t deserve the oddly-sentimental tone that Barry Levinson gives it. Despite there being a chock full of talent both behind, as well as in front of the camera, Sleepers just never resonates, mostly due to the fact that it all feels too sensational and over-wrought – something I would expect material of this nature to be.

However, that isn’t to say that Sleepers is a bad movie, because it isn’t. For at least an hour or so, Sleepers is actually a smart, disturbing, and interesting coming-of-ager that doesn’t necessarily try to reinvent the wheel of the kinds of movies that have come before it, but at least put you in the same position of these characters, so that when they do all eventually get back together some odd years later, we’re already invested in them enough as is. When the kids are transported to the juvenile delinquent center, it’s made obvious that the movie’s going to get a whole lot more heavy and mean, and it still worked.

Though maybe the big reveal of having these kids sexually abused was a bit campy, it still worked because it added a certain sizzle to a story that, quite frankly, needed one. Whenever you put young kids and pedophiles in the same story, most often, the stories tend to get quite interesting and thankfully, that’s happening with Sleepers. While I sound terrible for typing what I just did there, it’s the absolute truth; in hindsight, Sleepers is two meh movies crammed into one, with one being a lot more gripping to watch, then the other. That’s not to say that the courtroom stuff of the later-half doesn’t bring about some form of excitement, but because it all feels so phony, it never quite works.

Now pedophiles being in-charge at juvenile delinquent centers? That’s something I can definitely believe in!

Still though, the later-half of the movie brings Sleepers down a whole bunch. For one, it’s hard to ever believe, not in a million years, or even in places like Syria, that there would be a case as blatantly perjured and/or one-sided as this. Sure, the movie tries to make it understandable that a public-defender could get away with doing something like this, so long as he kept-up appearances, but I don’t believe I heard Brad Pitt’s character stand-up and yell “Objection!” once. For the most part, he’s just sitting there, looking determined, tense and most of all, pretty. That’s what we expect from Brad Pitt, of course, but it doesn’t help make the case seem at all legit, even though the movie seems to be depending on that.

"I do solemnly swear to yell at Focker anymore."

“I do solemnly swear to yell at Focker anymore.”

Then, there’s Levinson’s direction that, honestly, is pretty odd. Though Levinson makes it clear that the boys killed a person that raped them when they were kids, the fact remains that they still killed plenty of other, probably innocent people. So, to just stand by them and say, “Well, that guy had it comin’ to him”, seems a bit weird; the guy whose death is being contested over was a bad person, but what about all of the others? What if these two guys are just, regardless of what happened to them when they were younger, bad apples that need to cause some sort of ruckus by killing others? Does that make them worthy of being stood-up for?

The movie never seems to make that decision and it’s a bit of a problem.

But, like I said, the cast on-deck is fine. It’s just unfortunate that most of them don’t have a great deal of heavy material to work with. Jason Patric and Brad Pitt both seem like they’re trying hard to make everybody take them seriously, but sadly, it just ends up with them being a bit dull. Ron Eldard and Billy Crudup, on the other hand, also don’t have much to do except just look mean, mad and ready to pull out a pistol at any second.

The more seasoned-pros of the cast do what they can, too, but as I said, they get lost a bit. Kevin Bacon is in full-on sicko mode that’s fun to see him playing around with, even though his character is quite the despicable human specimen; Dustin Hoffman gets some chances to shine as the inept lawyer of the case, which works because of how laid-back his persona is; and Robert De Niro, with the few scenes he gets, seems to inject some heart into this story that’s definitely needed. He doesn’t help push the movie over that cliff it so desperately seemed to be searching for, but he does the ticket just enough.

And that’s all any of us want from Bobby D, right?

Consensus: Sleepers is, essentially, two movies into a two-and-a-half-hour long one that is occasionally interesting, but ultimately, ends up seeming to silly to be believed in or compelled by.

6 / 10

Enjoy it while it lasts! Each one of your careers are going to go in some very different directions.

Enjoy it while it lasts! Each one of your careers are going to go in some very different directions.

Photos Courtesy of: Movpins

Your Friends & Neighbors (1998)

It’s like they always say, “If you can’t make it in bed, you can’t make it in life.”

Jason Patric, Ben Stiller, and Aaron Eckhart play a trio of pals who regularly get together and talk about sex and/or women, but they all have their own personal lives that somehow find their ways of mashing together. Stiller is having problems with his gal-pal (Catherine Keener), who just so happens to be finding her own lust with a fellow lady (Natassja Kinski); Eckhart is also having similar problems with his woman (Amy Brenneman), minus the whole lesbian-angle; and Patric is just enjoying his life as a total, misogynistic stud that gets what he wants, how he wants it, and doesn’t give a flyin’ hoot about what anybody thinks.

Basically, he’s portraying me.

No matter what Neil LaBute may be talking about and whether or not you agree with what he says or not, there is still one element about each of his films that cannot be argued: They are incredibly well-written. Such as is the case here where not only do we get a plainer look and view inside the world of sexual-politics, but an even plainer one at the world of relationships, whether they be same-sex or opposite sex. Basically, what it seems like LaBute is trying to say here, is that all people, regardless of what different walks of life they may have come from, still can never, ever be alone and still walk through the motions of life, without ever really taking anything in or actually feeling genuine. Why? Well, because people, as a whole, are weak and hate it when they’re alone.

Yup, total lesbians.

Yup, total lesbians.

Maybe that’s me reading into the material, or maybe that’s exactly what LaBute’s actually going for, but either way, it’s all very bleak and depressing. Although, LaBute knows this and gives us something to hold onto with rich characters that may not be the nicest of people out on-display, but are still people that you feel like you could meet a book-store (whichever ones still exist), go out for coffee, chit-chat for a bit about life, love, and all of the finer things, end the conversation, exchange numbers, and never have contact with again. The reason for that being is just because they just seem too terrible or inhumane to surround yourself with.

Yet, they are all still watchable and easy to connect with, even if they don’t always seem like the ones with the biggest heart.

Take, for instance, Ben Stiller’s black hearted-role here as Jerry, may make it seem as if the guy is trying to stretch out his acting muscles and see what he can do when there’s more depth to his act than just goofy voices and faces, but it’s more or less the same act around, just this time: More cursing and screwing. Stiller does the usual awkward, nerdy-shtick and as much as it may work for his character, it’s still terribly annoying to have to watch, let alone listen to and it makes you feel utterly no sympathy for the guy whatsoever. Then again, that’s probably the point to begin with, so if anything, it’s more of a strength.

Aaron Eckhart, on the other hand, is doing something completely different from what we saw with him from In the Company of Men. Not only because he put on so much weight to really fit the role of the insecure, middle-aged man, but because he was so sympathetic and likable, whereas in Men, he was a total and complete dick you didn’t give a single crap about. Eckhart’s character is such a bone-headed doofuss, that you really do feel terrible for him and just want to give him a big old hug, just in hopes that he will at least put a smile on and be able to sustain an erection for his lady. Shows that the guy has some range as an actor, while also giving us a look at the nicest, most-endearing character of them all.

And trust me, that’s saying a lot.

The best out of the trio of dudes is Jason Patric, as the misogynistic, nasty lady-slayer (not literally, mind you) that seems to get along with virtually no one, yet, always finds people to be around him and even better, still finds gals in his bed. Patric is so amazing here because he always seems like the guy who really knows what he’s talking about and doesn’t care about whether or not you believe him on anything he says. He’s just doing him, and it’s great to not only see that in a character actor of high-prestige like Patric, but to also see that in a character in general. There are a couple of scenes where he really releases all hell on these people around him and not only does it make you feel as if he’s the type of guy you would never want to be stuck inside of an elevator with, but also the type of guy you don’t want in your life, mostly because he’ll just call you out on all of your dirty laundry. Patric is by-far the stand-out of this whole movie and completely owns every scene he has.

Outside of the men's locker room, problems never arise. But inside, that's where all the hell breaks loose.

Outside of the men’s locker room, problems never arise. But inside, that’s where all the hell breaks loose.

However, the guys seem to be the ones who get the most attention out of LaBute, as the gals don’t really seem to get all that much love, despite them all being pretty damn good with what they do. Catherine Keener’s character seems terribly bitchy and blunt, but also seems a bit like the voice of reason that you need in a movie like this, where not only everybody is at each other’s jugulars, but also where everybody seems to be talking a bit too much for sore ears. Playing her lesbo-lover is Natassja Kinski and is okay with what she’s given, but still seems one-dimensional and more or less just given a role to fulfill the non-stop quirk of there being a scene where almost every character goes up to a piece of art, asks the same questions, and gives their critique on it. Like Kinski, Amy Brenneman does fine with her role, but she’s almost too moody to be taken in as anyone, let alone an actual, three-dimensional character in a movie like this.

So, yeah. Here, it seems like maybe LaBute drops the ball a bit on presenting fully-layered women characters, as opposed to the men.

But don’t worry, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Consensus: Like most of LaBute’s flicks, Your Friends & Neighbors features a solid cast working with some mean, nasty and grueling stuff, even if not all of it feels as powerful as his debut.

8.5 / 10

This scene will make you want to go to the library. Yes, it's that awesome.

This scene will make you want to go to the library. That is, if you can find one.

Photo’s Credit to: Thecia.Com.Au

In the Valley of Elah (2007)

Surprise! Surprise! The war fucks up young people and their minds.

Hank (Tommy Lee Jones), a former military MP, finds out that his son has gone AWOL and that there might even be a possibility of him dead. Hank then decides to take it upon himself to drive down to the Army base, and figure out just what the hell has happened to his kid and all of the fellow soldiers that were with him. The problem is, nobody’s giving him straight answers. That’s when Hank asks the help of Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron), a New Mexico police detective, who finds it harder and harder to not only discover the truth, but be taken seriously among the rest of her fellow, more-masculine detectives.

Most movies that deal with the war, usually aren’t the pretty ones where everybody loves the war, hangs their flags, high-fives their fighting boys, and ends by chanting, “U.S.A!! U.S.A.!! U.S.A.!!”, altogether at once. Nope, Hollywood is a bit too liberal for that crap and instead, decides to usually stick it’s nosy head in, peek around a bit, and have a thing or two to say. And usually, it’s not a pat on the back, or a simple “thank you”.

Now, don’t get me wrong, nine times out of ten, you’ll usually find me talking shit against the war, some of the people that take part in it, and just what the hell is the reason behind all of it, but still, Hollywood never seems to have anything nice to say about it at all, and even when they do, it usually turns into over-patriotic shite like this.

Still, though, you have to give credit to movies like these that are able to tell us some obvious and well-known ideas about the war, but still make it feel honest and raw, rather than blatant and preachy. Some of it does feel like that, but not all of it, and that’s a sigh-of-relief, based on the fact that this movie is written and directed by the same dude who gave us this scene. Yeah, if you’re with me on this, Paul Haggis is the notorious writer/director behind Crash, everybody’s favorite-hated Best Picture winner of the past decade and tries to bring that same heavy-handedness to this story. Thankfully he doesn’t get too far because he always has a sense of human depth and emotion that keeps it surprisingly grounded in reality most of the time. Not all of the time, but most and that’s great to see in a flick where it could have easily been a train wreck of non-stop patriotism, from start-to-finish, but ends being something honest.

"Here, take it. It's called "The 100 Steps to Being One, Grumpy-Ass Motherfucker."

“Here, take it. It’s called “The 100 Steps to Being One, Grumpy-Ass Motherfucker.”

But what this flick is more concerned with, is its characters, and showing how they deal with their daily hardships they encounter day to day, and how they get through grief, sadness, and the war our country is currently fighting in. Seeing how most of these characters can relate and act with one anothe, is a beautiful thing to watch because it feels natural. Some scenes are coated in sugar, and some don’t go down quite as well as Haggis may have imagined in his head, but to see these characters realize more about their lives by just relating life-experiences and stories with one another, really touched me in a way that was hard to explain when it happened, and especially after too.

I was actually really surprised how the movie depicted not just the war in Iraq itself, but it’s soldiers and how much we can still trust them with our country and our lives, but may not think the same when they get back. The most prime example of this is the fact that Hank’s son isn’t really a nice guy, and in fact, turns out to be more of an asshole as we find more out about him, what he was up to, and how he caught himself going AWOL. This movie could have definitely gone down that wrong path of making him seem like everybody’s, true American hero that fights for The Red, The White, and The Blue, sings John Mellencamp all day, and does it all for our safety, so we may live, breath, sleep, eat, and die in peace, like we were meant to be. If this sound’s lengthy and over-exposed, then you get my point: This flick could have easily gone down that path, but decided to show him as a human, rather than a figure we all like to imagine each and every one of our soldiers as. They all have problems, they all get sad, and most of all, they are pretty fucked-up once they get off the battlefield, and back at the dinner table with ma and pa.

It’s sad, but it’s reality, baby.

However, the movie isn’t focusing on it’s characters, it’s themes, or it’s harsh-realities, it’s focusing on it’s police-procedural that feels more like a cheap-version of NCIS that I didn’t need to be bothered with seeing in the first place. Usually, I don’t mind when movies keep this element in because it entertains, excites, and keeps the mystery afloat, but after awhile, there was no mystery nor was there any case. It came pretty clear to me that the kid was not going to be okay, and that somebody did do something bad to him. No real gray area to be found whatsoever. And before people get on my ass, I’m not trying to give anything away, but you’ll start to see that the movie isn’t trying to reveal more details and clues about what happened, it’s just trying to show it’s characters. We already know, they don’t. And that’s what felt unnecessary and stupid to have, even if it was worth it for the first 45 minutes or so.

Thankfully, Tommy Lee Jones was the one to keep this whole movie going and always rose above the material, even when it seemed to sink, lower and lower as it went along. Jones surprised the hell out of everybody when he was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Hank, as it not only came out of nowhere, but little to no one even heard about this movie nor that Jones was even in it. Maybe I’m wrong, but I still rarely ever hear this movie mentioned, which is a shame, because Jones’ performance is a great one that could have only came from this man who may always be known to be cranky and quick-whipped, but can play it subtle like nobody’s business. Jones shows real heart and emotion with this character and as time goes on and we see more about his kid, we start to see more him layer-out, especially in ways that I didn’t think were possible from Jones and Haggis. Jones’ character began to bother me a bit when he started to show unbelievable ways in how much smarter he was than the police, but after awhile, I stopped caring and just enjoyed the show that Jones was giving me to see. Maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word to describe this movie or this performance, but I think you get my drift.

Her only scene. Nah, jaykay. But seriously. She's like barely here.

Her only scene. Nah, jaykay. But seriously. She’s like barely here.

Charlize Theron doesn’t back down from Jones’ acting either though and actually makes her character more than just another run-of-the-mill, strong female that we need in a flick like this, to show that she can not only hang with the big boys but learn a little something in life as well. Yep, her character is pretty conventional with the whole single-mommy thing, but yet, still works because Theron is not only a strong actress, but one that is able to adapt to any environment she is placed in and that’s a skill that most actresses haven’t been able to master just yet.

Susan Sarandon also got top-billing in this movie, and is pretty solid (as usual) as Hank’s equally-grieving wife, but doesn’t get much screen-time to develop her character. Then again, it’s Susan Sarandon and the girl can act alongside a piece of wood, and make it work. She’s that damn good. Also, James Franco is randomly here trying to look tough, buff, and cool, but seems like he’s really trying to hold in the fact that he just wants to smoke and eat some munchies. It’s so painfully obvious.

Consensus: Paul Haggis isn’t known for being all that subtle when it comes to his themes and messages about life, liberty, and war, but In the Valley of Elah still benefits from a wonderful cast, especially Jones, and characters that give us a darker look at the boys in uniform who are over there, fighting for us, protecting us, and yet, are just as equally as messed-up as we are.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

Sir, yes sir?

Sir, yes sir?

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB

Narc (2002)

It seems like every cop in Detroit is dirty and never does a nice thing for anybody. Only in the movies, though, and I don’t know how much fact there is behind that.

The plot revolves around the efforts of two police detectives (Jason Patric and Ray Liotta) as they search for the murderer of an undercover police officer. As they proceed in the investigation they engage in suspect tactics and give viewers a glimpse into the seedy side of undercover work.

Right before I even got into watching this movie, I was thinking that it was going to be another fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled, cop-action movie but instead, I got something totally different, and probably a hell of a lot more gritty. Actually, “gritty” is probably the best word to describe this flick as I could literally taste the blood, sweat, and dirt that seemed to fall right-through the camera and into my face. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad and literal, but you get what I mean: it’s pretty freakin’ gritty!

I have to give a lot of props to writer/director Joe Carnahan, who takes a pretty normal cop-story of two detectives on opposite ends of the spectrum, that are looking for a killer, and giving it a dark and eerie style that kept me involved with this film even when it seemed to be a tad too predictable. Carnahan makes this film look just as depressing as these two characters are, and it shows us just what sort of terrible side-effects come along with being an undercover cop. Yeah, it’s another one of those hand-held camera style movies, but it’s not as annoying this time around since nobody really saw a Paul Greengrass film around the time this came-out so the hand-held camera was still young, innocent, and normal, just like my grade-school days. Oh dear, how they went to waste after. Definitely not as fun and easy as other movies make it out to be, but Carnahan shows us differently, but that is also another separate-reason as to why I liked this movie so much.

The main mystery surrounding this film was pretty good, but what really got me involved with this story was Carnahan’s detailed-attention to its characters, that not only made me feel something for them, but also made me realize just why they were doing all of this undercover ish to begin with. You get a feel for how these guys go through their jobs on a daily basis and it doesn’t seem like that much of a walk in the park at all. These guys pretty much have to deal with terrible shit all of the time at-work, only to come home, some more terrible shit with their wives/families hootin’ and hollerin’ at them for choosing a job like this. Maybe the film doesn’t go that far in showing us how these guys live but I like what I saw with these characters and it kept me riveted through every twist and turn this story took. The attention to characters made more of an emotional-bump for me, just when things started to seem to get very, very sour for these jokers in the end.

What I was bummed out by here was that the story does get ultimately formulaic by the end and I could kind of tell just where this story was going, mainly because of the type of cliches I’m used to seeing with all of these cop-dramas. There’s a certain point in this flick where you realize that something is a little not all that right with one character, and it starts to turn into something we have all seen before. The same old, tired “bad-cop, good-cop” element starts to get in the way and take over the flick which was a real, real shame for me as I felt like I really was getting to see a new, interesting, and fresh-take on the whole cop-drama. Instead, I was only saddened by the fact that Carnahan starts to lose himself and give us what we didn’t want in the first-place: predictability.

Let me also not forget to mention that the ending does feel a tad rushed. There’s a whole bunch of twists with the ending and how everything with this mystery actually did happen, but that’s not what really bothered me. What really bothered me was how they just dove right into it as soon as the tension was really picking up and it made me feel like Carnahan was a bit too scared of over-staying, his welcome which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the first place, but he almost seems like he dropped the ball a bit too early. Then again though, this guy has some real talent for taking a generic story like this and give it an unpredictable feel so I can’t hit him too much.

Having said all of that junkola, the real reason this story works so well is because of the performances given by everybody here, especially the two main stars. Jason Patric is, in my opinion, a very underrated actor but with his performance here as Nick Tellis, he shows that he has the dramatic range to be a great leading man. He’s trying to get away from all of these problems he’s been having as an undercover cop, trying to seek some peace at home with his wife, and is just trying to do the right thing but the guy keeps on finding himself in once again, terribly shitty situations. Patric displays this sadness very well here and is character that’s easy to trust even though he may not have all of the right answers.

I was actually very impressed with Ray Liotta as Lieutenant Henry Oak, a guy who I would not want to be stuck in the room alone with at all. This guy is one hard-as-nails son of a bitch that’s a force to be reckoned with throughout this whole flick but he also shows a lot of heart too, that made me feel something for this lean and mean character. There’s a little monologue that Liotta gives that makes you realize that this character has a lot more going on then you would first imagine, and it’s a very good scene that shows Liotta isn’t so bad when it comes to drama. Shame that this guy doesn’t get better roles nowadays, but maybe he’s done that to himself. Who knows.

Consensus: Even though it’s ultimately a pretty formulaic cop story, writer/director Joe Carnahan gives Narc a style that is gritty, mean, and grungy, and the performances from Patric and Liotta make this more than just another another, run-of-the-mill story about two messed up cops.

7/10=Rental!!

Rush (1991)

Should have just watched Cops instead.

Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh star as undercover narcotics agents who become lovers when they partner up to infiltrate the Texas drug scene and bring down a suspected drug lord (Gregg Allman). But as their relationship intensifies and they become increasingly dependent on each other, they have difficulty resisting the temptations of the world they’re trying to subvert … and soon, their drug use becomes more than just a cover.

I wanted to like this, but the writer and director seem more intent on showing drug use and depicting the characters strung out in scene after scene than to tell the actual story: NARCs getting caught up in what they’re trying to stop. I don’t know what happened to me during this film but I just didn’t like it at all. This movie at times comes across as an outrageous PSA or an online criminal justice class with a bad teacher. I don’t know what happened to me during this film but I just didn’t like it at all. The main problem with this film is that nothing really happens here, other than a bunch of drug use and people crying over their addiction.

Very little of the film is focused on the actual investigation. They explain what might happen, then skip that scene entirely. The point that’s arrived at in the film is confused at best and stupid at its worst. All of the cops/investigators are weak and ineffectual, while the drug traffickers noble and wise, always one step ahead.

There was also no character development at all here and that’s why watching these characters do nothing but drugs and cry about it, started to really bother me. It’s over two hours so you would think that there would be some compelling material here to hold you over, but there’s not really. Just drugs, drugs, crying, and more drugs. Also, this was advertised as a crime action film, where there is only about 2 scenes of actual guns being fired.

The one thing about this film that made it suitable was the rockin’ soundtrack that featured many great classic rock artists. The score is done by Eric Clapton, and his slide “Texas” style guitar doesn’t fit well with this film and makes it seem more of a melodrama, but I have to say that a lot of the other songs here were awesome.

The performances from these two are good, but their both not really doing much here other than what I mentioned before: drugs and crying. Jason Patric is good as Jim Raynor although we never understand as to why he does all of this stuff that he does to himself. Jennifer Jason Leigh is also good as Kristen Cates and saves the film sometimes from when this film starts to wain on. Gregg Allman is here as the villain Will Gaines, and doesn’t really do much other than be some big hippy in a cool-looking suit. Pretty laughable if you ask me. Sam Elliot is always good and he is a saving grace here.

Consensus: Rush is not what it’s title says it is. It’s slow, boring, melodramatic, and features little or no character development for a story that is all about two characters practically crying and fighting over drugs.

1.5/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!

The Losers (2010)

The 14-year old boys definition of freakin’ awesome!

After learning that their handler, Max (Jason Patric), has set them up, a group of disavowed CIA operatives led by Clay — aka the Colonel (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) — bands together to bring down their betrayers in this slick action thriller.

This film is based off a graphic novel that I have never read, but from what this film makes it out to be, it’s a crazy read.

To say the least, this film has a lot of things blowing up, people getting shot, and materials being destroyed. The action here is pretty non-stop for the most part, and I must say I did not have a problem with this because it actually kept me entertained, despite being another loud and noisy action thriller.

I did think this film was actually funny at times, and I liked that because not many action comedies can actually be “funny”. The film is downright dumb, and proud of it which I liked because it’s not at all trying to hide it. They also tried to make some sort of story here, but that didn’t quite work, because the film wasn’t all that involved with the story as much as they were with the explosions and killing.

However, there were moments where I felt like this film tried too hard to be cool, and that really did annoy me after awhile because some gags just fell right on their ass. I can’t say that I’m totally against this, because not many other action comedies can be as funny as this one is, but they try too hard with the puns, and the random shootings and explosions that don’t really do much other than be a cool thing to watch.

The cast here is what makes this film a step above many action comedies as well. Jeffrey Dean Morgan does a good job here as Clay, and just proves he can be that leading tough guy we want in Hollywood. Jason Patric is pretty corny as our villain, but I think he was going for that here so I can’t really diss too much. I was glad to see that Zoe Saldana can fill those Angelina Jolie shoes, and not so much as Megan Fox like Hollywood was planning. You also have Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada, Idris Elba, and the best out of the cast, Chris Evans who brings so much humor to this film that he was probably the best, and the one I’ll most likely remember.

Consensus: The Losers is loud, noisy, and all-over-the-place, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it works if you’re looking just to have a good time watching everything in sight blow up.

6.5/10=Rental!!

Your Friends & Neighbors (1998)

What a bunch of assholes.

Director Neil LaBute excels at creating cynical characters loosed in an unredeemable world. Jason Patric plays a narcissistic stud who swaggeringly comes on to anything in a skirt. Oh yeah, and he’s a jerk to his friends (Ben Stiller, Aaron Eckhart), too.

This is written and directed by LaBute who created a storm with his first film, In the Company of Men, which is about two guys taking advantage of this one woman. And, needless to say this film isn’t any different.

I think the one thing about this film is that it paints a great portrait of sex and love. Much of this credit goes to the writing from LaBute who gives us this darkly funny dialogue about these couples and how each one betrays the other with sex. Basically the film is all talking, and it stays interesting at most points with its dialogue.

But that is also where the problem lies. The film is so so talky, that nothing else really happens other than screwing and talking(which in some ways can be considered the same thing, I gotta million of em!). And for some people who don’t like these dialogue filled movies, they will find themselves at a lost here, much ado to the incredibly slow pace.

Also, though the film is very funny I actually didn’t find it to be very happy by the last hour or so. Actually, mostly the film made me depressed with the ways these people were actually carrying themselves. The film doesn’t show any bright sides to these people’s lives and although they make a lot of sex, and talk about love, they never seem in love and are never happy no matter what they do.

The one thing that really did it for me was the performances from the stellar cast. Throughout the whole film I was just simply astonished by Jason Patric as the misogynistic doctor. He plays the utterly unlikable and cocky of a character that at times you want to smash his face in, but at other times you want to be like him. There is one scene where its just him for like 10 minutes and he really just gives it all out there, and its great. I also found Stiller to be equally as awkward and nervous as he is in other movies playing himself and wasn’t surprised here, and I liked Eckhart as a guy that I felt so sympathetic for in the end, that I just wanted to give him a big hug. Catherine Keener, I though was a huge bitch in this and I really didn’t like her character at all, and I found myself wondering as to why anybody would want to even be with her, there’s probably one scene where I was actually glad she was upset after it, cause she is such a bitch.

Consensus: With great performances from the cast, and realistic/funny dialogue, Your Friends & Neighbors give a good look on relatinships, but shows a bleack and slow-moving film that will sort of bore some people by the end.

6/10=Rental!!