I don’t know what my problem was, but I didn’t dig on GLADIATOR like everybody else did, and for some reason I was bitter about it and skipped most of the Ridley Scott movies after that. But like the typical SCARFACE-loving American male I couldn’t resist AMERICAN GANGSTER, and that’s when I realized the error of my ways. So predictably my post BAD LIEUTENANT fascination with Nic Cage sent me back to catch up on Mr. Scott’s con men movie.
Cage plays Roy and Sam Rockwell plays Frank, two grifters we first meet in the midst of scamming an old lady by calling up and telling her she won a contest. I must be getting soft in my old age because seeing it open that way made me wonder if this movie was gonna be too unpleasant to watch. We all love a good con job in a movie, but telemarketing scams on the elderly? Usually not as fun. Fortunately it gets more complicated when they show up at her house pretending to be FBI agents after the people who scammed her and take advantage of her hotheaded husband. The more complicated it gets the less moralistic we become as an audience. We would cheer on Ocean’s 11 even if they were stealing from orphans, as long as they had to use a tunnel and dress up in uniforms. Or that’s one theory, anyway. (read the rest of this shit…)
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.