Day 148: American Hustle

Day 148: American Hustle

I finally got to sit down and watch David O. Russell’s latest tonight, and unlike “Silver Linings Playbook,” I wasn’t disappointed this time around.

David O. Russell set the bar very, very high for me during his first highly lauded turn with “The Fighter.” That movie was freaking *brilliant*. And, in an incredibly strong year of movies that year like “The Swan” and “The King’s Speech”…The Fighter was probably my favorite of them all. Not that I would have necessarily have demanded it win Best Picture, but it was just the movie that year that most closely spoke the same language that I did.

Again, I don’t think that “American Hustle” should have won the Oscar, per se, but it was an excellent film. Mostly because of its sense of humor. It was hysterical. And, in true O. Russell fashion, the movie really soared for me when his beloved characters showed both how twisted they were and how much they loved each other, all in the span of five seconds. I really feel like THAT is his genius as a writer/director; adding such a realistic, palpable goodness and decency to his characters, even while they’re making such horrible decisions. Ie- we hurt the ones we love in fits of blinding emotion, and then immediately feel genuinely sorry. The fact that a man’s wife tries to get him beat up one second, and then frantically rushes to get his heart medication when he collapses onto the floor the other second is *completely* realistic to me, and entirely endearing. We do things, irrational things, all the time that we regret. David O. Russell takes that up 10 notches and puts in on screen. He doesn’t create villains or bad guys, he creates people wanting to do the right things, and failing most of the time.

I see eye to eye with him on that level, the belief that people DO try and do the right thing most of the time…and often fail. We mostly see the good in people, David O. Russell and I.

It’s interesting in that the research I’m doing for my pilot asserts very much the opposite: that not all people are good. That most will try and take an advantage anywhere they can, and that some are messed up to the point where they don’t know what good or bad is any more.

But, even in that, I have to stick with my guns…yes, even when it comes to serial killers. I cannot argue with the fact that anyone who rapes and kills has lost perspective. But I do see a fucked up person trying to deal with intense emotions, and clinging to a warped sense of right and wrong. John Douglas keeps asserting his position in this book that a killer is made, not born. And, while I may not *completely* agree with the assessment 100%, there is no question that a killer’s treatment as a child is the tipping point in the monster they grow up to be.

I’d also like to clarify that while I may be able, or trying, to empathize with the feelings and motives of a killer, in no way am I saying it’s remotely acceptable. Even if Douglas is wrong, and these individuals are actually insane to the point of not having responsibility, they are still incurably dangerous and must be stopped and never let free.

Not sure why I went on that little tangent there, but thinking of my outlook on the world as generally good definitely makes me feel self conscious sometimes…and it just seems especially worth examining right now given how deeply I’m diving into the darkness of serial murderers. It’s pretty dark stuff. But, as I keep saying, extremely interesting.

So yeah…back to “American Hustle.” See it. Script is great. Acting is great across the board, especially from Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Jennifer Lawrence. I mean, it even has Louis CK in it, for godsakes. Seriously, watch it. It will make you laugh, and show you a true-ish story from our past that will make you want to look up the real ABSCAM operation. Or, it made me want to do that anyway.

Oh, and there’s a RIDICULOUS amount of sideboob. It really should have been called “Amy Adams Sideboob.”

Good night, guys!