Two movie reviews for you today–both movies are Bryce specials, meaning I absolutely loved them, but your own personal mileage may vary. They share a common theme of con artists at the height of their game, and it’s fun to see the differences between the two. (I’m a sucker for con artist movies–so sue me. It comes from a childhood of watching The Sting every year for about a decade straight.)
First up, the classic: Fitzwilly. There are some great reasons for you to watch this one. First off, it’s got Dick Van Dyke being an awesome butler. (And making you wonder whether or not his whole role in Mary Poppins wasn’t just one elaborate con game . . .) To be specific, he’s a butler to a fabulously wealthy woman, who actually has no money. She has him. He brazenly steals from just about everywhere, just to keep her in the lifestyle she’s accustomed to. (She has no idea what he’s doing.) Everything’s going swimmingly, until a new secretary shows up and threatens the whole operation. It’s a comic caper, and it works out wonderfully. (Part of the trick to a good con movie is to have all the pieces fit together well. It should work like a watch–when it does, it’s just fun to sit back and see it unfold.) Another reason to watch? The early score by Johnny Williams, who later decided to grow up and just go by John. Less than a decade later, he’d hit the world with Jaws, followed by other assorted epic scores, from Star Wars to Superman to Harry Potter to Catch Me If You Can.
Second, we have The Brothers Bloom. This one came out just three years ago, so quite a few of you might have seen it. It somehow flew under my radar, though–so I’m putting it out there for you, in case you missed it, too. Directed by Rian Johnson (who also directed Brick, which I enjoyed quite a bit, but others found dysfunctional), the movie focuses on a pair of con artists brothers who’ve been tricking people out of their money since they were in elementary school. This is one of those movies that’s almost too smart for its own good. One of those films where you’re not sure if they’re going to be able to pull off as much as they clearly think they can, and the whole movie, you’re just dreading that sooner or later, it’s all going to fall apart.
Well, my friends–I’m here to reassure you that it doesn’t. The ending is controversial, though I won’t get into why. (I’m not going to spoil this one for you). However, once you’ve seen it, I’d really like to chat about it. If you liked The Sting, then you’ll like this movie. It’s cool, slick fun.