Movie Reviews: Love and Other Drugs and The Fighter



Movie – Love and Other Drugs

Director: Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, Legends of the Fall, Glory)

Writer: Charles Randolph (The Life of David Gale, The Interpreter), Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain, Zodiac) and Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, Bride Wars, Brokeback Mountain)

Theater – Cinemark Movies 12 – Ames, Iowa

Companion
– Nader Parsaei

Food – Probably, but can’t remember.

Intellectual Honesty

I love Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. Particularly Anne Hathaway. I probably even like the Princess Diary movies more than I should.

Baggage

With the obvious exception of Glory, I don’t think that Edward Zwick can make a superior movie. I think he can make good movies, but they fall just short of great because he has tendency to allow the movie to break down into its weakest elements in the third act. Blood Diamond is a prime example. It starts out so intelligent and then turns into a run-of-the-mill action movie in the third act. You don’t leave the theater angry, but slightly disappointed by the wasted potential.

Synopsis from IMDB

Maggie (Hathaway) is an alluring free spirit who won’t let anyone – or anything – tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie (Gyllenhaal), whose relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with the ladies and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. Maggie and Jamie’s evolving relationship takes them both by surprise, as they find themselves under the influence of the ultimate drug: love.

Review

Once again I left the theater disappointed by wasted potential. Gylenhaal and Hathaway give full effort and they certainly have chemistry, but this movie is schizophrenic. It doesn’t know what it wants to be and instead goes in a hundred different directions.

The filmmakers clearly wanted to make a modern day Love Story and so they did aspire to great things, but since part of the movie is comedy and part of it is super serious it just feels very disjointed.

An example is a great scene where Jamie goes to a meeting that is sort of a support group for people suffering from Parkinson’s. While Maggie is finding out that she isn’t alone in her struggle with Parkinson’s, Jamie is talking to the husband of a woman suffering from Parkinson’s. I wish I could find a snippet of the dialogue so I could copy and paste it.

The scene is a real eye opener and shows Jamie that being with Maggie is going to go down a very negative road as her health degenerates. It is a great scene as a stand alone, but in the movie it feels slightly out of place.

I think this movie had a lot of potential, but it tries to be too many things and ends up being not much of anything.

Great characters and great actors though.

Rating

3.0/5 Caramels

Buy on DVD

Not likely, but I would watch it again.

2010 Ranking

I don’t know that it particularly ranks anywhere. Maybe 2nd best Romantic Comedy that I’ve seen this year.

Bonus Information

Really nothing to report.



Movie – The Fighter

Director: David O. Russell (Three Kings, Spanking the Monkey, I Heart Huckabees)

Writer: Scott Silver (8 Mile), Paul Tamsay (Air Bud). and Eric Johnson

Starring: Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights, The Departed, Planet of the Apes), Christian Bale (The Prestige, The Machinist, The Dark Knight), Amy Adams (Junebug, Doubt, Enchanted) and Melissa Leo (Conviction)

Theater – Cinemark Movies 12 – Ames, Iowa

Companion – Mom and Nader Parsaei

Food – I don’t think so…

Intellectual Honesty

Amy Adams is by far my favorite actress. I would watch her in virtually anything. I’ll even slum and watch Talladega Nights now and again because of the small role she has in it. I don’t even hate myself in the morning. I had very high hopes for David O. Russell after Three Kings, but then he disappeared after I Heart Huckabees bombed.

Baggage

I really want to hate Christian Bale because he is such a doucher in real life, but he is always great and he makes such great movies. I’m never excited for a Mark Wahlberg movie because he is so hit and miss. He can be brilliant like in The Departed or terrible like he was in The Happening.

Synopsis from IMDB

A look at the early years of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s.

Review

This movie is dominated by great performances. Christian Bale deserves the Oscar for his performance as Dicky Eklund, a drugged up-washed out former boxer living off the glory of once knocking down Sugar Ray Leonard. He is followed around by a camera crew that he thinks is doing a documentary on his boxing comeback. In reality they are doing a documentary on “Crack in America”.

Dicky isn’t the main character in the movie. Dicky’s young brother Micky Ward is the main character. Dicky, along with the rest of Mickey’s family are hurdles that he has to hurdle to have a chance at an actual boxing career and an actual happy life.

I bring up Dicky first because he absolutely steals the movie. That isn’t to say that Mark Wahlberg is bad as Mickey Ward. He isn’t, but Micky is the simplest character in this movie and he is upstaged in nearly every scene.

Almost as great as Bale is Melissa Leo as Alice Ward, Mickey and Dicky’s mother, that uses Mickey (by “managing” his boxing career) to support the rest of her worthless family.

A particularly great scene in the movie is when Alice goes to get Dicky out of a crack house. She is crying behind the wheel of the car when Dicky starts to sing. He wins her back and damn it, no matter how much you hate him for ruining Mickey’s life, he wins you back too. Dicky makes bad choices, but he isn’t a bad person and you want to see him succeed almost as much as you want to see Mickey scrape off the barnacles in his life.

Amy Adams is wonderful (would you expect anything less) as the woman that tries to help Mickey steer his life in the write direction.

Without giving up too much of the movie, one of my absolute favorite scenes in the movie is when Dicky gets out of prison. He is cleaned up and intends to stay cleaned up. It is the scene where he tells his friends from his crack den goodbye. It is understated and brilliant.

The boxing scenes are by far the most realistic boxing scenes I’ve ever seen portrayed in a movie.

My only real complaint about the movie is that I would have liked to have seen more out of Wahlberg’s Ward.

Rating
4.0/5 Caramels

Buy on DVD

On Blu-Ray the first day it comes out.

2010 Ranking

3rd Best Movie of the Year. Behind Inception and The Social Network.

Bonus Information

There is a ton of profanity in this movie. Despite that fact, my Mom still liked the movie, even though she hates profanity.