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American Hustle (2013)


American Hustle Poster

American Hustle (2013)

Back in August of 2013, when I first heard about American Hustle, this was my viewpoint on it:

David O. Russell has taken 3 stars from his film Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and 2 stars from his film The Fighter (2010), and brought all 5 of them together to make a movie.  If The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook had a baby, it would be named American Hustle.

Not only is this film a guaranteed Oscar contender, but it will likely be amazing.

I have been excited about seeing American Hustle ever since.

American Hustle Cooper Adams Bale

What do you get when you cross two conniving con artists, a crazy FBI agent, corrupt politicians and the mob?  The answer, American Hustle.  Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his girlfriend Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) have developed an excellent partnership of swindling desperate people out of their money.  Everything is going great until one day, a power hungry FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) catches the couple in his web.  In order to keep from going to prison, Irving and Sydney are forced to work with the FBI to try to help bring down other criminals.  One thing leads to another and they find themselves butting heads with the mafia.  The beauty of it all is that you can’t tell who is conning who.

The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Pena, Alessandro Nivola, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Robert De Niro, and Paul Herman.

I have to say that I loved the trailer for this movie.  It tells you what the movie is about without telling you much about the movie at all.  They leave a lot to the imagination.  It was refreshing.  You get excited to see the movie because of the cast of characters and how they are acting, but you are dying to know what the movie is really about.  In this day and age, this is a risky concept because there are multiple movies out there that appear like they are about nothing because their trailer does not tell you much, and when you go to watch them they are pointless.  Their secrecy sucks you in, but in reality they weren’t keeping a secret.  They just really suck and you just wasted your time.  American Hustle is not like that, at all.  There is far more to this film than the trailer leads you to believe.

I did not expect there to be as much humor as there was.  The movie was laugh-out-loud hilarious.  It was very smart, well thought out dark humor.

American Hustle Cooper Bale

The film oozed with elegance.  Everything about the movie seemed classy.  It was clean and crisp.  The colors were so clear and bright.  From a filmmaking aspect alone, the movie was perfection.  Picture that, but then throw in some of the best actors in the business into a flawlessly put together movie.

So, now you have a diamond of a movie with a cast that is worth its weight in gold.  What do you get now?  Fireworks.  American Hustle recreates the 70s believably and the soundtrack is there to prove it.  The actors play the game like the all-stars that they are.  The chemistry was electrifying between everybody.  The actors kept one-upping each other.

Chistian Bale, with a porky belly and the cheapest comb over imaginable stood out among the rest.  His performance was not surprising, but it was every bit as good as anything he has ever done before.  His performance was not surprising because he has been acting at such a high level for such a long time, that it’s hard to expect anything less out of him.  His acting was power and precision.  For a long time now, Johnny Depp has been my favorite actor and Bale has been my second favorite.  I think Bale just surpassed Depp.  Dare I say, lately he is more consistently in better movies.  Bale is capable of almost any role and he proves it time and time again.  I have not seen all of the movies that are up for Academy Awards, but as of right now, Bale gets my vote for Best Actor, and he should be competing against himself for Out of the Furnace (2013)(that movie was snubbed), as well.

American Hustle Adams Bale

Speaking of Academy Awards, Amy Adams.  She was absolutely wonderful in American Hustle.  She was stylish and sophisticated.  Instead of being dressed down, like she was in The Fighter, her beauty was really able to shine through to her core.  She played a woman who was always in control and it was the best performance by an actress that I have seen since perhaps, Hilary Swank in the film Million Dollar Baby (2004).  It certainly was Amy’s best film that I have seen to date.  It was even better than her performance in The Fighter.

Bradley Cooper had more curlers in his hair than Amy Adams.  He pulled it off though and it was funny.  He brought a level of insanity to his role in American Hustle that showed similarities to Silver Linings Playbook.  He was allowed his moments to shine, but you could tell he was along for the ride in the back seat behind Bale.  Amy Adams was riding shotgun and Jennifer Lawrence was in the back seat behind her, sitting next to Cooper.

Jennifer Lawrence seemed to pick up right where she left off in Silver Linings Playbook.  She was the broken housewife with an attitude and an appetite for wreaking havoc and turmoil.  I thought she played the part about as well as she did in Silver Linings Playbook.

American Hustle Lawrence

David O. Russell has come a long way since Flirting With Disaster (1996) and I Heart Huckabees (2004).  He took a page right out of Martin Scorsese’s book by having multiple narrators in American Hustle.  The movie actually was very Scorsese-esque.  Russell’s last three films have all been Oscar contenders and American Hustle is as deserving of an Oscar as either of the other two.  My only concern is that this movie gets screwed out of the Academy Awards that it rightfully deserves for the sake of diversity.

This film was like the acting all-star game of 2013.

I rate this movie a 10 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Note: I usually do not rate a movie a 10 after the first showing, but I could not find anything wrong with this movie.  I thought that it might drag on a little bit because of the 138 minutes running time, but it didn’t.  It was just an exercise in excellence.  I am often reluctant to give a movie a 10 rating right away because I think that it should prove the test of time.  I think this one already did.

If you liked American Hustle, then you will most likely enjoy the following films:

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Out of the Furnace (2013)

The Machinist (2004)

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

Prisoners (2013)

Broken City (2013)

The Counselor (2013)

Miller’s Crossing (1990)

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Happy Birthday to Clint Eastwood


Clint Eastwood Cigar

Happy Birthday to Clint Eastwood!  The legendary actor/director/producer turns 83 years old today.

Clint Eastwood Aiming

Not only is Eastwood one of the greatest actors of all time, but he is also one of the best directors out there.  Not including television shows or documentaries, Clint has acted in 60 films, produced 30 films, and directed 32 films.  He has also been involved in composing music for 7 films.  Eastwood has shown us that he can pretty much do it all when it comes to moviemaking.

I have seen the majority of Eastwood’s films.  He has made so many great movies that my list of favorites goes on and on.

Mystic River Eastwood Directing

My favorite film that Clint Eastwood produced and directed but did not star in is Mystic River (2003).

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Eastwood

Besides “The Man with No Name” Trilogy (A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)), my favorite Eastwood western is High Plains Drifter (1973).

High Plains Drifter Hell

I’m not going to list them all, because as I said, the list goes on and on.  Some of my other favorite Eastwood movies are In the Line of Fire (1993), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Gran Torino (2008), and Blood Work (2002).

Million Dollar Trio

Just writing about these Clint Eastwood movies makes me want to have an Eastwood movie marathon.  I might just have to do that one of these days.  That would be a marathon of awesomeness.

In the Line of Fire Eastwood Roof Hanging

Thank you for a lifetime of phenomenal films Clint!

Dirty Harry Eastwood Gun

Go ahead, make my birthday!