Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The (2007)

Can’t figure it out; do you want to be like me or do you want to be me?

 

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is not just a biographical drama, but an emotional examination of the human psyche.  The film follows Jesse James, played by Brad Pitt, on the tail end of his infamous crime campaign.  Accompanied by the Ford brothers, Robert (Affleck) and Charley (Rockwell), Jesse James’s paranoid final days are cataloged in an artfully crafted and insightful narrative.

Quiz Show (1994)

Well, the sponsor makes out, the network makes out, the contestants see money they
probably would never see in a lifetime, and the public is entertained! So who gets hurt?

 

When a champion of the game show Twenty-One , is asked to throw a match for the newcomer, a chain of events is set off that will change television game shows for decades.  Herb Stempel, played by John Turturro, is persuaded to throw the match against Charles Van Doren, played by Ralph Fiennes by the shows producers.  The behind the scenes deception results in a slow deterioration of the trustworthiness of the television industry and the dignity of the players.

 

Darkest Hour (2017)

Only 8 months into a global war that would last 6 years, Britain reached a pivotal point that almost led to the end of the empire.  Darkest Hour focuses in on May 1940 as Neville Chamberlain, played by Ronald Pickup, resigns as prime minister and Winston Churchill, played by Gary Oldman, takes over the premiership.  While Churchill’s war council is pushing for peace negotiations, he is forced to stand alone for the fight against Hitler.  At least, that is how the situation is portrayed in Darkest Hour.

Founder, The (2016)

The Founder follows Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton, as he transitions from a milk shake maker salesman to ‘founding’ the biggest name in fast food.  His duplicitous behavior helped bring him riches beyond his wildest imagination, but at the cost of both business and personal relationships.  The director, John Lee Hancock, straddles the benevolent nature of big business by showcasing Kroc’s success through self-fulfilling perseverance and blatant disregard for anyone else.  His desire to maintain forward momentum left many behind him in his wake in order for one the best business models to date to flourish.  Good, wholesome, intentions overpowered by greed and pride is at the heart of this film.  Did Richard and Maurice McDonald lack the follow-through to execute a venture on this magnitude or were they just steamrolled by an ambitious cutthroat?

Love & Mercy (2014)

Sometimes it scares me to think where it’s coming from, you know?
Like…
there’s someone else inside there, not me.

I am both a Paul Dano fan and a Beach Boys fan, especially in regards to Pet Sounds.  So, I was biased going in to this film from the onset.  Part of the reason I enjoyed Love & Mercy so much is the same reason I enjoy “Pet Sounds”, it challenges my thought process on life and forces introspection.  This album contributed to my psyche and I feel this film adequately conveyed Wilson’s vision.  The opening line of the movie passes by so quickly you might miss it.  Paul Dano, as young Brian Wilson, says,