Numbers 4 – Lies, Partyboys, and Death

4.) The Brothers Bloom

“The perfect con is one where everyone involved gets just what they wanted.”

There’s something about a good con man story that everyone loves – which is odd, because in this day and age cons and identity thieves are absolutely reviled. Cons work in film because, usually, the targets deserve what they get. So, what happens if everyone involved in the con – from the people pulling it, to the victims – ends up with what they want?

The Brothers Bloom is what happens. Hot off of his success with Brick (a great, yet completely different sort of film), writer / director Rian Johnson has crafted another fantastic film. The story is this – the two Bloom brothers grow up orphans, bouncing from home to home, and pulling off small cons along the way. Their cons are elaborate stories, carried out over a long period of time and usually ending without the mark realizing they’ve even been conned. This, of course, continues until one of them calls it quits – and then, naturally, gets called back for one last con. One last con involving a girl. Who he absolutely must not fall in love with.

Yeah. You know that’s going to end well.

However, from there on out it’s nothing but twists and turns, with the audience (and the characters) trying to figure out who’s conning who. It consistently defies expectations, and the audience ends up not really caring where the film is going, since the ride is so much fun. It’s gorgeous, fantastically acted, and laugh out loud funny throughout the entire film. By the time the end of the film approaches, you’re expecting the typical con payoff – but you don’t expect the emotional payoff. The Brothers Bloom earns its emotions, and finishes off with an ending that, while bittersweet, is entirely perfect.

Alright – have you guesses in hand for the top four movies? Good.

The Top 5

#5 – Zombieland
#4 – The Hangover


If you don’t know the plot synopsis by now of this film, there’s not really a chance I will convince you to go see it. You obviously have good and strong reasons against seeing it. Four friends (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha) travel to Vegas for a bachelor party two days before one of them (Doug) is supposed to get married. They wake up the following morning in a trashed penthouse suite with no recollection of what happened to find Doug missing, a baby in the closet, and a Bengal tiger in the bathroom. Now – they must piece together what transpired as well as they can and find Doug so they can get him home in time to be married.

I cannot overstate how hilarious this movie is. And the fact it is based on real events makes it even better. Of course, it’s the kind of film that gets a lot of laughs from potty humor, but they also utilize every other type of humor as well. There’s physical comedy, screwball and classic comedy, one liners, and ridiculous humor. Each of the main characters seems to cover a different branch of comedy – making a mix of Kool aid that is fantastically funny. The movie covers nearly every Vegas stereotype, from the single mom pole dancer to the scary mobsters. It very nearly nabbed my number one spot (until I saw the other three movies), and was tough to push down to number four. But – the one thing I hated about this film was the credits. If you watch this movie and haven’t seen it yet, please turn it off when the credits start rolling. At first, they’ll seem just as hilarious as the film, but they quickly get very explicit and if included by the ratings board would have pushed this movie past the R rating it already has.

The 5 Worst movies I Saw in 2009:

#5 – Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
#4 – Knowing


Loner Lucinda Embry is part of a class in the 1950’s who writes letters to the future. Her letter is given to Caleb Koestler, son of astrophysicist John. Instead of a normal letter or picture, Lucinda’s piece is a list of the dates of major disasters and the number of dead. There are only three dates left, and John is trying to unravel the mystery of how to stop them while Caleb has begun seeing strange people, hearing whispering, and having visions of mass destruction. Together with Lucinda’s daughter and grand-daughter, John and Caleb try to figure out what is happening and why – and how to stop it. This film stars Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury, and Lara Robinson.

There aren’t very many Nicolas Cage films I like – even National Treasure (I know, my father in law would be disappointed). He just makes everything feel blown up and over dramatized. I couldn’t take this movie seriously, much less make any sense of the plot. The idea was there for a great apocalyptic film, but it was twisted so much to try and include nearly every stereotype in existence that the urgency was lost and replaced with a frustrating lack of focus on what exactly the main characters were trying to do. I found myself alternately bored and annoyed and when the ending came around, I mostly just got pissed off. I hated most of the characters, thought it was a boring story, and utilized my absolute least favorite style of ending – what else can I say? This was a horrible movie.


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