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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Filial Respect, Part VIII

Last night my son and I watched Black Mass, which was about Whitey Bulger's relationship with the FBI in Boston. The casting was terrific, the dialogue realistic, and even the Boston accents (by non-Bostonian actors) were pretty good. Johnny Depp (as Whitey Bulger) and Benedict Cumberbatch (as Billy Bulger) were both fantastic.

We rehashed it a little this morning and that led to a discussion of revenge killings and the like.

My son then said, "Dad, you and Mom have to hurry up and get killed by gangsters sometime soon so I can then kill them in revenge and get my career as an action hero started. Hmm….I have an idea. Why don't you write a blogpost called 'Homo alert: el Chapo,' and make the case for why that's so."


Steven said...

I was looking forward to black mass for months but didn't think it was great. A fairly remarkable story I suppose and Depp was good but I felt like I'd seen too many similar things before done in a similar way. It wasn't outstanding as a film. I'd probably give it a 6 or 7 out of 10. Not a patch on Scorsese's entertaining and seminal goodfellas, and not as good as Depp's previous gangster/FBI film Donnie Brasco.

I like the filial disrespect posts.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Thank you.

I actually figured beforehand it might be a second-rate Scorsese imitation, with upbeat music celebrating a lot of "cool" violence scenes. But I was pleasantly surprised, and very impressed by the acting. Since it was based on Bulger, we already knew what was going to happen ahead of time so it's not as if we could have expected any real dramatic tension. But the film was really about Bulger's old Southie pal in the FBI as much as it was about him, and I'd never really considered that angle before. And I'd never really liked Cumberbatch as an actor before, though all I'd seen him in was the Sherlock Holmes series, and was impressed by his range here. He played an older guy with aSouth Boston accent who was a politician perfectly.

Runner Katy said...

That's funny, and almost surprising you wouldn't entertain him with that post. It seems he must read your blog. I like the filial disrespect posts too.

John Craig said...

Runner Katy --
Thank you. Yes, he does read the blog, and trust me, I need to get his permission before putting up anything that identifies him. The whole series is titled "filial respect" and is about nothing but the disrespect he shows me.

Steven said...

It was a good film, a story remarkable enough to warrant the telling of it and the Irish rather than Italian angle made it interesting, but it wasn't a great film for me and plenty of it felt familiar from other gangster films and 'rise and fall of a crime boss' type stories. I don't think I was ever really gripped but I already knew the story and I expected a lot because I loved the trailer. To put my pretentious critic hat on, I'd say it crackled but it never popped.

So I may as well ask: the scene in which he shows deep feelings about his son and asks his wife 'how could you be so cold?' ...realistic for someone so psychopathic?

John Craig said...

Steven --
True enough, the rise and fall of a crime boss has been done way too many times. I liked this one because it was based on facts, and because it fleshed out people I had barely been aware of.

When the scenes with the son came on I said to my son, this is typical Hollywood bs. They're always trying to show that sociopaths have a human/humane side, and it just doesn't ring true. The best example of that was with "The Iceman," where they tried to show that that serial killer truly loved his family, which just didn't ring true. as far as him asking his wife how she could be so cold, I could easily see a sociopath doing that, in a manipulative sort of way.

Steven said...

Did you ever see brotherhood on netflix? It was based loosely on the Bulger brothers.

Bit of a slow boil but I got into it.

And there's a documentary on youtube in which the real Kevin Weeks tells the story himself.

p.s. still think you should watch Nightcrawler.

John Craig said...

Steven --
No offense, but the good brother-bad brother thing has been overdone as well. Not that Brotherhood isn't a good show (I've never seen it, have no opinion).

I was surprised to see last night when I looked him up on Wiki that Kevin Weeks had been a swimmer in Boston in high school and was two years younger than me, meaning that we were probably at a couple of the same meets at some point.

I tried Nightcrawler, watched at least half an hour, didn't like it. Didn't grab me.