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Million Dollar Movie

David O. Russell has a knack for chaotic domestic comedy, with the yelling and the screaming and the occasional punching. Silver Linings Playbook has a lot in common with his previous movie, The Fighter–this one is set in Philadelphia not Boston, and there is a Led Zeppelin set piece in this one, too. It also has Jennifer Lawrence who steals the movie. The rest of the cast is good but she’s the straw that stirs the drink.

The story is predictable, you can see everything coming five minutes ahead of time–and not especially credible–but that doesn’t necessarily spoil its charms. And Lawrence’s character ┬áis believable, you’ve likely known a woman like her, which makes the whole thing work. The more I thought about Silver Linings Playbook after it was over, the thinner it seemed, but I smiled and laughed while I watched it.

15 comments

1 The Hawk   ~  Jan 22, 2013 9:43 am

I think my favorite movie he directed was I Heart Huckabees

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 22, 2013 10:32 am

1) Oy. I couldn't make it through that one.

3 The Hawk   ~  Jan 22, 2013 11:27 am

I know, a lot of people hate it.

4 Matt Blankman   ~  Jan 22, 2013 12:10 pm

I've read really mixed things about this one. Seems like some people object to how bi-polar disorder is portrayed.

5 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 22, 2013 12:31 pm

4) Yeah, bro, it's completely unreal. Enough to ruin the whole thing. The Cooper character has problems until...he doesn't, and we're almost led to believe that a good woman is what cures him.

But even the sports fan stuff doesn't feel quite right either.

6 RagingTartabull   ~  Jan 22, 2013 12:34 pm

I didn't hate it, but I don't get all the praise thrown its way either. To me it was something you'd watch on an airplane.

Nice to see DeNiro not completely embarrass himself for a change, though.

7 Matt Blankman   ~  Jan 22, 2013 12:40 pm

I'll check it out eventually. Need to see ZERO DARK THIRTY, HOLY MOTORS and AMOUR, too. I liked LINCOLN much more than I expected to.

8 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 22, 2013 12:55 pm

6) I didn't think it was as good as THE FIGHTER.

7) Glad to see LINCOLN is solid.

9 Matt Blankman   ~  Jan 22, 2013 12:59 pm

[8] LINCOLN is really about political process and about Lincoln the political genius. I think it succeeds really well with that narrowed focus. The cast is terrific. It has an ending or two too many, in my opinion, and I didn't care for John Williams' score, but I found it really engrossing. Reminded me of Preminger's ADVISE AND CONSENT.

10 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 22, 2013 1:28 pm

9) I also saw ARGO. I thought it was tense and exciting but I wish Affleck wouldn't cast himself in his movies, at least not in the leads. He isn't offensively bad but he's leaden and I don't think he brings much to most of his roles. A better actor could have done so much more with that part--even though the character is tight-lipped and internal.

11 Dillon   ~  Jan 23, 2013 1:36 am

10) Argo was tense and exciting, but Affleck looked less tense and excited and more, just, morose about the whole thing. I couldn't get over it. The character was definitely internal, but I agree that a better actor could've made internal look a lot less.....bored.

12 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 23, 2013 11:28 am

11) I think he was going for something but I just don't think he's got the chops to get it.

13 Matt Blankman   ~  Jan 23, 2013 2:53 pm

[12] So, just like THE TOWN. It's like he tries to a quiet, contemplative tough guy thing, ala McQueen, but he's just not interesting enough. I have yet to see ARGO and I will. Did you read the piece Matt Zoller Seitz wrote about it?

14 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 23, 2013 4:46 pm

13) Exactly. You can be quiet and brooding and still hold the screen. I just don't think there's anything there with Affleck to carry it off. I'll check out the Seitz piece, thanks.

15 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 23, 2013 4:49 pm

Here's a good line from that piece: "And why not cast a Latino actor in this part? Benicio Del Toro might've gotten a second Oscar if he'd starred in this."

Amen to that.

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