Uncut Gems

Dad and I marveled over the USA Toady’s “best movies of the decade” list over lunch on Saturday. They were:

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015)
‘Arrival’ (2016)
‘Sing Street’ (2016)
‘Get Out’ (2017)
‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (2014)
‘BlacKkKlansman’ (2018)
‘How to Train Your Dragon’ (2010)
‘Inception’ (2010)
‘A Ghost Story’ (2017)
‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ (2013)/’Lady Bird’ (2017)

It’s a fun game to start calling out movies that are much better than any of these that are not on the list. Easy. But fun. ‘Dunkirk’ (2017). ‘American Hustle’ (2013). ‘Bridesmaids’ (2011). ’12 Years a Slave’ (2013). ANYTHING BY QUENTIN TARANTINO. ‘I, Tonya’ (2017). ‘Winter’s Bone’ (2010). ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ (2013). ‘Lady Bird’ (2017). ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ (2017). ‘The Favourite’ (2018). ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (2013). ‘Lincoln’ (2012). ‘Big Eyes’ (2014). ‘Dear White People” (2014). ‘Dope’ (2015). ’20 Feet from Stardom’ (2014). ‘True Grit’ (2010). ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ (2016). ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (2018). ‘The Lone Ranger’ (2012). ‘Nebraska’ (2013). ‘The King’s Speech’ (2010). ‘Eighth Grade’ (2018). ‘The Death of Stalin’ (2017). ‘Game Night’ (2018). ‘Bad Words’ (2013). ‘The Heat’ (2013).

Wasn’t that fun?

I’ll add ‘Uncut Gems’ to the list, too, although as DOD opined: “I think it’s a great movie. But imagine spending a couple of hours in a room with loud, angry, anxious assholes. Don’t want to do it often, for sure. When it’s over you think maybe it ended happily.”

I may also be the only person in America who saw a Hemingway short story in the thing. I saw it as a loosely-rendered telling of Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” Maybe that’s just me. Regardless, there are a few things you may want to know about this film if you are considering seeing it.

I found a “Breaking Bad” aesthetic to “Gems.” If you are a viewer who requires exposition, go see the Star Wars thing. This film means for you to see the story, not to be told. So much so that you actually begin the movie looking up the ass of the main character, Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler). This is where Ratner’s story begins, at his colonoscopy, which is one of the few times in the film that the character isn’t frenetic at the least.

Ratner is a man trying to support a big life, with a wife and kids at home and a pretty little thing on the side at his apartment. He is a gambler and a dealmaker, and every deal and every gamble that he makes ratchets up the butt-clench level just a bit more. ‘Gems’ is mostly lauded as a new direction for Sandler, who usually plays a goofy mensch in an otherwise sometimes likeable film. It is a stretch for Sandler, and often, it is a stretch for the audience, too, a difficult movie to watch.

But it is worth it.

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