Needless to say, I don’t agree with everything said in this piece, but there is good stuff to be had: questions to ask, history to exhume, art to be found and appreciated – especially for people who live in the constant american present, which only recognizes history as propaganda to be commodified and sold to consumers.
Yesterday I decided to allow my readers to evaluate David Denby’s claim that “American Hustle” was “into the magical sphere—Shakespeare rules over it and Ernst Lubitsch and Preston Sturges are denizens—where profound human foolishness becomes a form of grace.” Thanks to Youtube, it is fairly easy to provide sample film clips that make comparisons possible. Let’s start with David O. Russell’s “American Hustle”.
In this scene above you see Abscam conman Irving Rosenfeld (played by Christian Bale, which makes about as much sense as Woody Allen playing a Nazi general) bickering with his wife Roslyn. I imagine that some people must have found this scene funny but the humor was lost on me. Like “Nebraska”, “Inside Llewyn Davis”, and “August: Osage County”, this is just one more Oscar-destined film whose main characters are repulsive. It is beyond the scope of this article to trace the origins of this tendency to…
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