Don’t put metal in the science oven

That’s my favorite line from my favorite film of 2013, American Hustle. It’s one of those rare 2+ hour films that felt as if it ended in the blink of an eye, and left you wanting more, which is one of the biggest compliments I can pay any movie. Writer-Director David O. Russell has been on a roll of late with The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook but American Hustle is the best of the bunch and that’s saying a helluva lot, y’all.

In addition to the Abscamtastic plot, likeable characters, and witty dialogue, American Hustle has got big hair. Really big hair. From Christian Bale’s elaborate combover to Amy Adams’ perm to Jeremy Renner’s pompadour the hairdos are spectacular. I also love Renner’s character who is a semi-fictionalized version of former Jersey pol Carmine Polito.American Hustle has the guts to present a politician who’s on the take to help his constituents. That’s a classic form of corruption here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. The so-called reformers and goo-goos (i.e. Buddy Roemer and PBJ) never do anything for the people whereas rogues like the Longs and Edwin Edwards did a lot of good things in between feeding at the troth. The fake Carmine Polito is in that tradition whereas the Bradley Cooper FBI agent character is a careerist fuck. So it goes.

I *adored* American Hustle and have a feeling that I’ll be seeing it many times over the years. What’s not to love about a movie with Jennifer Lawrence as a character that would have been played by Judy Holliday in the 1950’s? Great stuff. I give it 4 stars, an A+ and remind you to use your science oven carefully…

Update: My friend Luke Gordon pointed out in a comment that Renner’s character is based on a Joisey pol named Angelo Errichetti. I like the name Polito better for a pol…

6 thoughts on “Don’t put metal in the science oven

  1. I loved the movie too – absolutely excellent. One small quibble with your account, however. The real lift basis for the Jeremy Renner character was named Angelo Errichetti, who in addition to being Mayor of Camden, was also a New Jersey State Senator. One of the little delights of the Garden State is that you can hold both offices at the same time. Angelo’s hair didn’t quite rise to the level of the film, but Camden liked him, and when he ran for re-election in 1977, he won with 88% of the vote. Oh, and he was Chairman of the Democratic Party in Camden from 1965 to 1981. You got a problem with that?
    The reality of NJ at the time was that as the casinos started coming in, money was everywhere, and every politician in the state had their hand out. One guy I knew (a highly placed Assemblyman at the time) signed up with the Sands, and got a mess of shares of stock as a result. And he never got caught.

  2. I have to disagree with your take on the movie. I felt every bit of that 2+ hours. I thought it was really just a character study and didn’t quite gel adequately. There were some things they had Bradley Cooper’s character do that just simply wouldn’t have been ignored…couldn’t quite get past that.

  3. I am somewhere between you and Mothra. The movie did feel more like a character study, but oh how I wanted to study those characters. And the styling. My God, the styling. There were times during the film that I lost dialogue because I was too busy studying Amy Adams and mentally cataloging how I would work to look just like her. Business Insider has a story of how the party scene dresses went from sketches to reality. Michael Wilkinson spoke to the Diane von Furstenberg blog about costume design and his use of DVF’s classic wrap dresses. And I am sure someone, somewhere is talking about those perms and why cleavage should get a nod for best supporting character in a film.
    Did I like the movie as much as Sliver Linings and The Fighter? No. But I did love it and think that it has its own merits that should be celebrated. How often do you get to see Louis C.K.’s head bashed in with a telephone?

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