Movie Reviews (& Jake Gyllenhaal Rant): Nightcrawler

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Nightcrawler directed by Dan Gilroy

I usually don’t enjoy watching Jake Gyllenhaal movies. I’m a huge fan of Donnie Darko and Zodiac, and thought Source Code was pretty good. You see, Jake does well when he doesn’t try to recapture what might have been in his failed attempts at nabbing the Spider Man or Batman roles. When in the hands of a good director, he does well. When he tries box office roles as a leading man, he fails miserably (Prince of Persia, The Day after Tomorrow). He has talent, but isn’t really a likeable character in almost anything he is in. Nobody says, “Hey, are you going to see the new Jake Gyllenhaal movie this weekend?”

He is a modern day Dennis Quaid.

Does Dennis Quaid star in a bunch of films? Yep. Do they all suck? Nope. Are any of them good? A few. Does anyone consider him a star? Nope. Do people think he can act? Sometimes. You can pretty much make a checklist and start marking off boxes and you’ll see a match fairly quickly.

In other words, who do you go to when the top 7 actors you wanted turned the script down, then the next 5 actors demand too much money, then the next 3 actors choose another project or a broadway show instead?

You go with Jake Gyllenhaal.

Going into Nightcrawler, I was expecting the worst. The preview said it was one of the best pictures of the year, which I roll my eyes at everytime I hear that. Every film is the “best” at something, from the “Number One picture in America” all the way down to “The top comedy in America” (When there are two cartoon sequels, a comic book movie, and a remake that same weekend, and the film technically finished in 8th place).

What I watched was astounding. This was “good Jake” acting like an obsessed lunatic, in an anti-hero coming of age story in relation to the media business. It could be social commentary on news, or people behind the news, or an allegory for competition in America and winning at all costs. It was slow at parts, but in a good way. The director let the story breathe. The story built up to an epic third act that had me totally engrossed in the film, up until the very end. I enjoy character stories such as this, and Drive, and wish Hollywood made more of it, rather than trying to please all four quadrants of the audience chart. If they made The Godfather to please the kids, grandma, women, and all ethnic demographics instead of just making the best Italien mobster movie of all time, could you imagine the disastrous result?

This could very well have been the best movie I saw in 2015 on DVD.

Movie Rating: 10/10 Doughnut Shop Confrontations

Guest Reviewer: “Bad Jake”

You best step off your commentary on my films. What you witnessed isn’t a one and done phenomena. If you watched the entire library of Jake-G films, you’ll witness the range of his acting. Hello … did you see Jake go “Full Jake” in Brokeback Mountain? He rolled around in Bubble Boy before Games-2-U made it a modern day past time. Are you seriously going to knock his “Hot and Cold” box office tentpoles? Jake was merely exploring the duality of a futuristic Ice Age and a past age in the desert. You see, Jake saw the writing on the wall and skated to where the puck was going way before Game of Thrones jumped on this Song of Ice and Fire bandwagon. Why am I talking about myself in the third person? Well, as it turns out, I’m going undercover studying what it would be like to be a little bit nuts. It seems I’m being typecast a little bit of late, and need to do more to gain an edge on the competition. I need to go smash a house now.

CHECK OUT MY OTHER MOVIE RANTS

14 thoughts on “Movie Reviews (& Jake Gyllenhaal Rant): Nightcrawler

      • L&OD was an incorrigible corporate playboy, “tamed” by a girlfriend with life-threatening disease. I can see if you expect a likable leading man, to embody all the virtues of idealized masculinity (a cool customer men respect, women desire), then you would read his take as some poor compensation for the Brokeback image cemented in the public mind. Technically, he made Jarhead immediately after Brokeback.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I personally like the weird character acting stuff, but some of his forays into big box office turds, mixed with the brooding type, just doesn’t fit the bill. He even tried to go tough in southpaw, and still wasn’t likable. I think maybe the whole losing out on Spider Man thing has kind of stuck with him, despite him being a better actor than Tobey-M.

        Or maybe he just arrived on the acting scene after the death of the movie star, since tentpole films and comic book films are what sells tickets now. Look at where Robert Downey and Johnny Depp and where Will Smith is going.

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  1. Except Gilroy said Jake G was his first choice for the Lou Bloom role. JG developed the role in very specific ways, that are not in the script (mostly monologues.) He also produced Nightcrawler and since then with the same financing company has developed 2 more projects (Stronger, The Son. Not counting documentary about Chris Hondros.)

    You described a pecking order of casting, that’s more an assumed consensus of “bankable boxoffice star”. Though his Southpaw, Prisoners and End of Watch performances proved good compromises of “offbeat indie” approach, to very mainstream genres and characters. (The excessive media backlash he got in 2010, persists today despite his having made huge changes in his work and life since 2011.)

    As they said at Cannes 2016, only Dicaprio and Cruise are seen as the last 2 remaining star “names” to get financiers to open checkbooks anymore.

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    • I replied to your last comment before seeing this. I agree. DiCaprio and Cruise are the only two male names that sell tickets anymore on their marquee alone. DiCaprio and Cruise have a resume of big box office gold that enable them to raise as much money as they need and have pull with directors.

      I’m not saying Jake-G isn’t talented. I was amazed by Nightcrawler. I just think at his age of 35, and his inability to pull in the 14-18 coveted teen demographic for box office supremacy has put him in a tough spot of indies. I think you agree with me that directors of the big budget films are not going to go with him and producers won’t green light films at that financial risk. Chris Pratt is now the next golden boy of Hollywood due to some good fortune and peppy/likeable roles. This is why a lot of directors get out of the studio system; they can’t work with the actors they want and tell the stories they want and are jammed into using certain people.

      Is the Rock more talented that Jake G? Hell No. The Rock plays the same person every role … himself in real life. Who will a producer let in a $150M film that needs $150 in marketing and needs international sales? The Rock. Talent is only a small part Kurtt.

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      • You brought up a good reference to Brokeback. It’s so “opposite” of what “box office leading men” are supposed to do, it really does stick to him. The difference with Heath Ledger, is his flops as a typical leading man were very obscure, limited releases (Casanova, The Order, Ned Kelly – definitely not gritty enough for American taste.) Ledger very wisely stuck to “anti-heroes”.

        Well audiences agreed with you. Creed has a more likable, even black, lead riding on the Rocky brand. It grossed 2 times more than Southpaw, less that overseas. It’s a miracle (and personal coup) Jake G was cast at all, as you said he’s not the first one coming to mind for a “boxer lead”:D

        Funny thing is, he addressed it this year. Why he’s not the typical lead. It gets philosophical: is star quality really being the most popular kid in class? Did the rom-com, Prince of Persia “expose” him as someone who can’t live up to “popular kid” – because all the roles he took later on are about INADEQUACY: some things inside his characters, always trip themselves up, hate themselves, blame themselves into a hole they have to get back from (Southpaw fits this.) The “bad” son, father, boyfriend – they DO NOT LOVE THEMSELVES (so yes, why should WE bother:D) A “fraud” many have in their lives (who we go to movies to get away from!) I think this is what the 70s character dramas did (before Spielberg’s blockbuster era.) Wounded guys, on the fringe, or you watch out for not stealing from you:D

        Indies are hard going these days. We all probably stream at home, and pay for blockbusters in theaters. I don’t know how long Jake G can go on (my interest is mainly since after Enemy, a good thriller about Anxiety.) Pratt has a likability (and politics) that may last him longer than Tobey Maguire, whose fate lately probably makes Jake G glad he kept his head down doing indies.
        Yeah the Rock seems to be the studio’s big hope of capturing the China market, while on the other end Jake G did another “(rich) widower” role that’s highly personal, heavily coded (IMO). Nobody in the world cared. It’s fine. Like you said, sometimes 35 year olds have things to get off their chest, whether teens wanna listen or not:D

        Liked by 1 person

      • Really succinct way to put things, and I agree with it all. The issue with Jake-G is that the indies he has picked has been typecast as the brooding/self-loathing type and he can’t seem to break it. This new movie where he is going to destroy a house is exactly what I expect of him. And until he does something to break the mold (play a gender-bender role again) it might not get him the critical acclaim that would help him cross back like Heath Ledger did, and how Jared Leto is doing, and even Eddie Redmayne is got with his Harry Potter spinoff this November. Maybe the crux of it all is a mix of studio politics and box office receipts mixed with agent advice. Hollywood loves a redemption actor story, however, they tend to be bad boys in real life turned more mature (Depp, Downey) who had a reputation for having a ton of talent but played a lot of light hearted roles smartly. In the end, actors have to please two masters: the fans and the bean-counting producers. A good mix is good for a career. This is why the bigger stars, in the older days, like to do a big movie for the studio and a smaller pet project for themselves. Now, it seems as though the divergence has increased dramatically; there is no more mid-list movie. Hollywood does either $150M blockbusters or $5M indie films, bought to distribute after a festival or something with someone else financing the risk.

        What Jake G needs to do, and is to play someone positively redemptive. No brooding. No loathing. (I remember watching one with Dustin Hoffman where he brooded for 90 mins because he had a secret the daughter broke up before a car crash).

        His choice to revive a career is to make choices like Matt Damon at this point, or pray for a comic book reboot opportunity, or jump into a really good TV series and have a McConaissance.

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  2. Brokeback Mountain, End of Watch, Prisoners, Enemy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You are free to dislike whoever you want, but posting nonsense is not OK.

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