Year 8, Day 112 - 4/21/16 - Movie #2,312
BEFORE: I had this film on a DVD with "The Rainmaker", but I wasn't able to watch the two films near each other last year. Then I had it next to "12 Years a Slave" for a while, because it shares two actors with that film. But if I had watched this one next to that one, then I wouldn't have been able to start the McConnaughey chain on schedule last fall. So since I'm having a clearance sale, everything must go, I'm working it in here. Brad Pitt carries over from "Fury", and he'll be here tomorrow as well. And I was able to confirm that with the exception of just four films, I've had almost a complete turnover of my list, there's almost nothing that's been on the watchlist for much more than a year. That doesn't mean that the films are all recent ones, it just means they've all been (relatively) recently added.
THE PLOT: A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.
AFTER: A counselor, for some reason, decides to get into the drug trade - and everything goes absolutely fine. Just kidding. There are repercussions from the Mexican cartel, and things go horribly wrong. Who could have seen that coming? But I seem to have a theme developing for the week, with people reaching beyond their station, and plans going wrong. Scott Lang in "Ant-Man" tries to stop being a thief, but then gets hired by Hank Pym to pull a heist. The lead characters in "Nerdland" try to become instantly famous, but things keep going wrong, yet still they sort of fail upward. And then in "Fury" the tank crew tries to pull a complicated subterfuge to take out a Nazi battalion, and then...
The conveniently-unnamed title character, our "everyman", aspires to a life of crime, which seems like a terrible idea, especially when the guy advising him looks like a Latino version of Tom Jones (the Welsh singer, not the literary character...). And when the Mexican cartel doesn't like it when a bunch of newbies start dealing in their territory. Say what you will about organized crime, these guys sure are organized. OK, so getting drugs to Chicago can generate a four thousand percent return on your investment, it's only going to cost you all of your family and friends. The cartel will not only kill them, they'll make snuff films out of their deaths, and then another film of someone having sex with their corpses (which, oddly enough, is another weird tie-in to "Nerdland".)
At least, that's what I think happened in this film. It's super confusing, not because the events are shown out of order or anything like that, it's just that nothing's very clear, especially when it come to who's working for who, or why anyone is doing any of the things they're doing. When I have to go to Wikipedia to learn what the storyline is WHILE I'M WATCHING IT, that's a really bad sign. Plus, I can't take Cameron Diaz seriously when cast as a drug-lord mastermind. Plus I didn't understand why her ex-boyfriend let her continue to live with him, especially if she might be competing with him in business. Was that a "keep your enemies closer" thing, or just really dumb?
Also starring Michael Fassbender (last seen in "12 Years a Slave"), Penelope Cruz (last seen in "Twice Upon a Yesterday"), Cameron Diaz (last seen in "The Holiday"), Javier Bardem (last seen in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"), Bruno Ganz, Rosie Perez, Ruben Blades (last seen in "Cradle Will Rock"), Goran Visnjic (last seen in "The Peacemaker"), Dean Norris (last seen in "Gremlins 2: The New Batch"), Sam Spruell (last seen in "The Martian"), Edgar Ramirez, Natalie Dormer (last seen in "Flawless"), John Leguizamo (last seen in "John Wick").
RATING: 3 out of 10 briefcases