We Rob Banks

Bonnie and Clyde is one of the earliest movies from the villain’s point of view. It was also one of the first to bring the New Hollywood movement to life. Since Bonnie and Clyde deals with sex and violence in a frank manner. Something late 60’s films continued to do more and more. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were the original criminal couple. Between 1932 and 1934, Bonnie and Clyde went on a series of crime sprees that would sometimes end in murder. They were named “Public Enemy” during the Great Depression.

Although I knew the basics of their story, parts of the movie still surprised me. Like I didn’t realize they committed their first crime mere moments after meeting. Clyde was fresh out of prison and Bonnie was simply bored. They’re so nonchalant about their criminal activities that they don’t even hesitant to tell people they rob banks. I knew they eventually had a getaway driver. So C.W. Moss didn’t come as a surprise. It’s Clyde’s criminal brother Buck and timid wife Blanche that I wasn’t aware of. Despite all the laws that they break, Bonnie and Clyde were practically hailed as folk heroes. Due to how glamourized they were by the media. Bonnie was especially glamourized as a gun-toting cigar smoker.

Whether exaggerated or not, Bonnie and Clyde’s deaths were all too real. Just when it seems like they were ready to put their crimes behind them, the couple was struck down by a hail of bullets. I know their actions were inexcusable, but it’s still shocking to see the stars of the movie killed in such a graphic way. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway play their parts perfectly. I’m not surprised that pretty much the entire cast was nominated (with Estelle Parsons winning the only Oscar). Along with a win for Best Cinematography and a nomination for Best Picture. Bonnie and Clyde broke all the rules.

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Bonnie and Clyde rob a bank

I’m Lovin’ it🍔🍟

The Founder takes us back to the high stakes world of fast food. McDonald’s is the single most successful fast food burger franchise on Earth. I doubt there’s a person alive who hasn’t eaten at McDonald’s. From the Big Mac to the french fry, you can never go wrong with the cheap, simple, and extremely easy to find option. It was my favorite fast food place growing up. By this point I’ve tried everything on the menu at least once. I even made a Happy Meal box in my Senior art class.

So I was very intrigued to see a movie about how McDonald’s became what we all know today. Before the playplace and even before Ronald McDonald, McDonald’s was just a humble burger stand. In 1954, milkshake salesman Ray Kroc happened upon the opportunity of a lifetime. McDonald’s stood out for its speedy service, on the go option, and friendly clientele. Back when the menu only consisted of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, Coke, and shakes. The cost ranged from 10-20¢.

Michael Keaton is burgerman. I never knew just how underhanded the formation of McDonald’s was. Ray Kroc can certainly come off as a greedy jerk. Especially for his treatment of the original McDonald brothers. Yet he was such a good businessman. He personally ensured every franchise stuck to the menu. Persistence was key. The result is the tastefully done McMovie The Founder. Ba Da Ba Ba Bah, I’m Lovin’ It!

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Ray Kroc opens another McDonald’s

On Ice

Miracle depicts one of the greatest moments in sports history. The 1980 Winter Olympics “Miracle on Ice.” When an American hockey team beat the more favored Soviet Union. Of all the sports I’ve mentioned before, hockey is probably the one I know the least about. I had fun playing a mock version of the game in school, but I’ve never played the genuine version on ice. I only know that you play with a puck, the rules are similar to soccer, and fights often break out. But since I was in the midst of watching a sports movie marathon (including football, baseball, basketball, and soccer), I knew I needed to see a hockey movie. So I settled for Miracle.

A movie I guarantee I wouldn’t have seen if not for this marathon. Even though its Disney and my teacher started showing some of it in class once. Kurt Russell gives it his all for Coach Herb Brooks. As he breaks down his young ameutur team with hours worth of suicide drills and builds them up with inspirational speeches. When you invest 2 hours into a sport, you’ll pick up on the rules. So I was definitely chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” when America was victorious. I watched a hockey movie and a Miracle broke out.

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Herb Brooks roots for his team

This Ain’t My First Rodeo

Dallas Buyers Club made us reexamine Matthew McConaughey as an actor. Before he was merely that dazed and confused stoner guy with a southern drawl. Now he’s a serious Oscar contender. So how did that happen exactly? Well Dallas Buyers Club played through McConaughey’s strengths. He portrays the real life Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof. A man so macho that it comes as a complete shock to him that he’s just been diagnosed with AIDS.

This was back when nobody knew anything about HIV. So anyone who had it was treated like a leper with a death sentence. The AIDS epidemic is another point in history I was fortunate to have avoided. Upon learning his diagnosis, Ron is in complete denial. Until he ends up losing everything and his health begins to deteriorate. With the help of his lovely doctor, Ron begins to seek treatment from outside sources. Leading to the smuggling of unapproved drugs from other countries. Realizing he can profit off it, Ron establishes the titular Dallas Buyers Club.

In the process Ron partners up with polar opposite Rayon. A trans individual who helps Ron find more AIDS patients. Their performances couldn’t be more different, but Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both ended up winning Oscars for Best Performance. What they do have in common is all the weight they had to lose for their roles. Looking like very convincing sick people. In the end, Dallas Buyers Club is all about the well being of its patients. Regardless of who they may be on the outside.

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Ron Woodroof (right) and Rayon (left) sit on a bench

The OG

American Gangster is the true story of the most powerful gangster in late 60’s, early 70’s Harlem. During one of the worst heroin epidemics in U.S. history. As a gangster, Frank Lucas stood out for being a black man that managed to surpass the Italian mafia. Since he had the idea to allegedly smuggle drugs from Vietnam into the country through the coffins of deceased servicemen. Ridley Scott is able to make the story both interesting and entertaining. Making it a standout gangster film.

My mom strongly recommended it while I was in the middle of a gangster film marathon. Since she’s a fan of the genre and Russell Crowe, she had it on a couple of times. Denzel Washington is of course up to his usual high standard. His best character moment comes when he shakes Idris Elba down for his money. Only to causally shoot him in the middle of a crowded street when he refuses. Russell Crowe plays Richie Roberts. The detective who investigates the drug trafficking.

Their respective stories are in sharp contrast with one another. As Roberts does the right thing and has a bad home life. While Lucas does the wrong thing and has a good home life. Until his wife gives him a fur coat that gets him discovered. It’s not until the very end that they meet. Despite her limited screen time, Ruby Dee was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Mostly for a scene where she confronts her son about his criminal activity. American Gangster is a unique gangster film that fires on all cylinders.

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Frank Lucas points a gun in Tango’s face

A Little Football

Rudy is the story of how one man’s love for football made him the first player to be carried off by his favorite team. Since I’ve never been much of a sports fan, I never know if I’m gonna appreciate a sports movie the same way other people do. Most of the time I focus on other parts of the movie. Like a romance for example. The same can’t be said for Rudy. Since the focus is almost exclusively on football. It was mostly my brother who wanted to watch it. Rudy is based on the true story of “Rudy” Ruettiger. He loves football more than anything. Talking about it even when he can tell nobody’s listening. His dream is to attend college at the University of Notre Dame. Where he can play football and make his dad proud. He only has two problems. He’s too small and too dumb to make it. But what he lacks in size, he makes up for in spirit. Both for his catholic faith and his determination. Even willing to leave his fiancé, family, and friends just to get there. Rudy is one of Sean Astin’s most recognizable roles (next to The Lord of the Rings and The Goonies). He plays it well, but Rudy can certainly come across as obnoxious sometimes. His teammates don’t take to him at first, because they feel he’s taking the game too seriously. Eventually they do take to him, and are even willing not to play just to ensure Rudy’s spot on the team. It may not be totally accurate, but it helps make Rudy an inspirational football classic.

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Rudy wins

A Loving Family

Loving makes me happy to be alive. As my brother will sometimes say. Since I myself am mixed race. With a black mom and a white dad (just like the Lovings). A fact I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog. Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and since I’ve exhausted all the noteworthy MLK movies, I decided to focus on very different civil rights fighters. Mildred and Richard Loving were an interracial couple who got married in 1958. When interracial marriage wasn’t legal in most states. Her pregnancy was also illegal. They were arrested, forced to leave Virginia, never to return while they were still married. Until they took their case to court. It turned out to be a landmark case and that’s why interracial marriage is legal in every state. Without it, I might not be here typing this review. Despite the pivotal role they played in the decision, the Lovings weren’t trying to be heroes. They just loved each other and wanted to be together. Joel Edgerton perfectly captures Richard Lovings laid back nature. While Ruth Negga’s loving optimistic portrayal of Mildred was enough to earn her an Oscar nomination. Loving is a romance worth loving.

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The Lovings

Queen: The Freddie Mercury Story

Bohemian Rhapsody is a movie I’d been waiting years to see. I’ve been a Queen fan pretty much my entire life. Not realizing all their songs were by them. Which has always been the point of Queen. None of their songs sound exactly the same, but all of them are hits. So when they announced they were making a biopic, I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. To listen to Queen’s greatest hits all at once. Songs that include, but are not limited to: “Killer Queen,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” “Somebody to Love,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Under Pressure,” “You’re My Best Friend,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “Bicycle Race,” “Radio Ga Ga,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “The Show Must Go On,” and of course their magnum opus “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Which is also my favorite song. Bohemian Rhapsody recounts all of the most important parts of Freddie Mercury’s short life. When he first meets/joins his bandmates, his marriage to wife Mary Austin, meeting Jim Hutton, and when they played Live Aid. Writing all their hit songs along the way. Despite some turbulent behind the scenes drama involving the director (Bryan Singer) and the original star of the movie, Rami Malek perfectly captures the unique vocal talent of Freddie Mercury. From his teeth to his mustache. Although the film is much more devisive than I thought it would be. Since Mercury is a gay icon, it’s possible some fans were expecting more. I personally thought it was just the right amount. They do talk about his AIDs diagnosis, but that’s not where the focus should be. They know it’s supposed to be all about the music. Which is what makes Bohemian Rhapsody a champion in my mind.

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Freddie Mercury sings

Life, Liberty, and…

The Pursuit of Happyness is proof that Will Smith deserves an Oscar. Before seeing the movie, I knew of its reputation for being sad. I also knew that The Pursuit of Happyness starred Will Smith and his real life son Jaden Smith. Which might not seem all that appealing now, but bare in mind that Jaden was only 8 years old at the time. He was fine as long as he didn’t have to carry the whole movie. I first saw the movie in my Junior health class. We were watching a lot of movies about some form of depression. The Pursuit of Happyness is the true story of Chris Gardner. A struggling recently single father who sells bone density scanners to local hospitals. Since the job isn’t always successful, he has to leave his son in daycare, and eventually ends up homeless. His only hope is to earn employment as a stockbroker. As he displays a high amount of intelligence (even being able to solve a Rubik’s Cube). Will Smith’s emotional performance is what saves the movie from being another cautionary tale. The only major difference from the real life Chris Gardner is that Will Smith doesn’t look a thing like him. Which isn’t a problem because he’s not exactly an icon. The Pursuit of Happyness is an unalienable right that we all should watch.

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Chris Gardner teaches Christopher an important lesson

Glass Jaw

Cinderella Man is a true rags-to-riches Cinderella story. Only instead of a ball, there’s a boxing match. Instead of a glass slipper, there’s a glass jaw. Cinderella Man brings together the duo behind A Beautiful Mind. Director Ron Howard and star Russell Crowe. I’ve said before that my mom was a big fan of Russell Crowe movies when I was growing up. Cinderella Man is another movie I saw in pieces for a long time. Part of the movie I even used for a school project. To make a miniature diorama of a Hooverville. I finally saw the entire movie in my sophomore U.S. history class.

Cinderella Man is a true story that takes place during the Great Depression. James J. Braddock was a broken down boxer who steadily made a comeback that eventually lead to a fight against the defending champion. There are many great boxing movies out there, but Cinderella Man stands out for being so inspirational. Since Braddock has a wife and kids to feed in the worst economic crisis in American history. Along with a fine performance from Paul Giamatti as Braddock’s manager. Cinderella Man is a timeless underdog story.

James J. Braddock wins over the crowd