Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Week 42: American Gangster

Russell Crowe, you just won't leave me alone, will you? Quit popping up in good films and tainting them with your ego-stink, you naughty Aussie. Although I didn't loathe you in American Gangster, I couldn't get over how much your '70s hairdo made you look like a ghostly incarnation of the late Croc Hunter, Steve Irwin. Crikey.

All that aside, I have to give American Gangster serious props. The plot is huge and it was so enjoyable to watch the action unfold. I don't care much for Crowe or Denzel "my sh*t don't stink" Washington, but I actually enjoyed both of them in this film. Denzel, starring as self-made drug lord, Frank Lucas, does a pretty amazing job of balancing his character's murderous temper with his deeply empathetic side. Crowe's role as detective Richie Roberts is pretty one-dimensional. Wow, he's an honest cop who doesn't take bribes. I have shivers.

It's really Josh Brolin, who plays the dirtiest of dirty cops, who electrifies every scene. I would imagine that having Barbra Streisand as a mother-in-law would give an actor a few pent-up rage options to work with. Like I bet if she's making a sandwich and finds that her stepson used up all the mustard THERE IS HELL TO PAY.

What I loved most about American Gangster is that the plot is based on the true story of Frank Lucas's rise and fall as the biggest crime boss in America. I love this kind of true-life drama almost as much as I love imagining what happens at the Streisand/Brolin house if Barbra catches James eating Ritz crackers on her $5,000 sheets...or goes to the bathroom and finds someone used up all the toilet paper and didn't put out a new roll...or if Josh insists on standing on Barbra's right side...or if the gardener makes eye contact with her...

...I could really do this all day.

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