hopscotchee: michael peña score: 64 rating: R time: 138 minutes
trust us, we are just as shocked as you!! what on earth went so bloody wrong that this film, a film that was nominated for - not 1 but - 10 oscars aside from already winning 3 out of the 9 bafta awards that it was up for aannnddd the SAG award for outstanding performance by a cast, got a stinkin' 64%?? like wtf?? to be fair, 64% is still a high score. it's only 36% away from being a 100%, so we don't want to diminish that. however, given all the hype and praise that this movie got at the time of it's release, let's just say, we were a little surprised with what we saw, which led us to question why it even got the hype and praise in the first place. we know this review is probably gonna spark a lot of controversy, so we're not going to pretend to shy away from the nitty gritty. the academy awards are bought. facts. people and podcasts have been talking about it for a while, and now a movie critique website. but, we're not gonna touch that in our review. we don't need it to justify our score. all we're gonna focus on is that lacking 36% that we witnessed while watching american hustle. if this is your favorite movie. we're sorry.
let's go straight to the crime scene, shall we? the editing. or should we say the eeeeehditing. just in general, this is a very nit picky category for any movie, not just american hustle, because no matter how great the script can be, the story can get all twisted and f-ed up by the editor. whether that's choppy scenes or plain ol' inconsistencies, any little bit of it can take you out of a scene within milliseconds and inevitably screw the storytelling for the entire hours plus of the film. kinda seems unfair, but that's just how it works. and, unfortunately, that was the situation with american hustle. now, in our humblest opinion, the eeeeehditing was probs the biggest weapon used against the movie. so yes, if it was even a little bit tighter, it could've possibly gotten a higher score; however due to how many times the editing jolted us from the film, it made it hard or, more appropriately, too distracting for us follow along with the story. which was a real shame because right from the get-go, you could tell that this script had real promise. several plot twists within plot twists, character evolutions, corruptions, and time jumps, the script was a real lengthy and elaborate endeavor to take on and portray in a neat, but still suspenseful, way. and it was sadly just because of the stale voice overs, sudden music transitions, delayed shots, and jump cuts that were thrown in throughout the film that made it all too disoriented. (spoiler) specifically if you were curious, the noticeable jump cuts between robert de niro and christian bale when in business mode at the club, amy adam's sudden disappearance in a shot while smashing a picture frame at bradley cooper's head, and the unnatural pause when bradley cooper goes to open the door after 'cracking the case'.
like we said, the eeeeehditing was our major probllama with the movie, so these next things weren't as detrimental to the movie's downfall, however, since they went hand and hand, it is just as important to point out.
so yeah, the shot comp wasn't a flex. it wasn't terrible, but the sudden and random pans and zooms to people's hands or faces seemed to be or, at least, felt impromptu to and a little amateur, causing still scenes to have abrupt shakiness which also created disruption to the story.
equally, even though, again, the music wasn't terrible, it felt too obvious for the 70s. like greatest hits material. and maybe that was on purpose, (and maybe this is just us) but they could've achieved the feel of the 70s without relying on every over-played, classic, poster-child song for the decade. yes, yes, yes, we know this is painfully picky, but it was something that made this 'high-class' movie drop a few points.
in all, we won't take anything away from the SAG award for outstanding performance by a cast. all the actors and actresses in this film were hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog incredible!! especially jeremy renner (aka older asher angel) who really stood out to us apart from his role as hawkeye. all applauds are well deserved for all o' them!! the rest is debatable - and just that, debatable!! we understand others may watch a film and see it totally and completely different!! so, we just want to say thank you for reading our review, just two takes on this movie that has been seen by many. we hope you enjoyed it regardless whether you agree or disagree :)
-- thanks, michael xo