JP Goes To The Movies: History Brought To The Big Screen

How many Ws will JP give this movie?

How many Ws will JP give this movie?

The following are R-rated movies. Here is a link to The Motion Picture Association for more guidance on how movies are rated and what to expect when viewing R-rated movies.

These three outstanding movies are based on true stories that have occurred  in the last few decades. All were nominated for Best Picture of the Year. (Read my review of the winner of Best Picture of the Year, 12 Years a Slave.)


American Hustle

138 Minutes, Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner

This is about a sleazy Con-Man, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale). Alongside his mistress, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), they get in trouble with the FBI, and a wild agent (Bradley Cooper), for making shady investment deals. The FBI Agent offers this Con-Man and his partner a deal. For no jail sentence, he will help the FBI con these politicians for taking bribes.

This is one of the most stunning scandals in our nations history. Our own FBI hires criminals to help them bag their political targets. Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) is a passionate New Jersey mayor that is in the process of cleaning up some of the dirtiest parts of our country when he is caught up between con-artists and the FBI. This is a great movie! But it also a great showing of just how much we don’t know about our federal government; what’s going on behind closed doors.

One other thing about this movie, it’s truly unique. Usually, you can compare a movie to other movies because there have been so many films over the years. With its award winning ensemble cast of actors, and the direction of the plot, American Hustle is truly nothing you have seen before. I give it 3 1/2 W’s.


Dallas Buyers Club

117 Minutes, Rated R for pervasive language, some strong sexual content, nudity and drug use

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto

In the deep heart of Texas, an electrician that smokes, does drugs, drinks, and has a lot of casual sex is diagnosed with HIV. Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) seeks any medication he can use to help him survive from this deadly disease. With the help of his unlikely partner Rayon (a transvestite played by Jared Leto) they smuggle non-FDA approved drugs into the United States and give them away to people in need, granted they pay of small monthly membership fee. This movie documents Ron and Rayon’s journey through their battle with HIV, the police, and the federal government for their “illegal” doings, and against the persecution of being looked at like an outcast of society just because they have this disease.

This movie is very similar to Philadelphia. It brings HIV and AIDS to our attention as not only a deadly disease but also how the general public treats those souls affected by it.

With brilliant casting, this movie has two actors performing at an award winning caliber. Matthew McConaughey draws on his Texas childhood to portray the hero. McConaughey lost a considerable amount of weight for this role. So much so, that the cast and crew were starting to wonder if he was okay. In a supporting role,  Jared Leto plays Rayon, a transvestite. Each scene he is in, he steals. In fact, he stole the show with the way he portrayed a man stricken with AIDS, but still with a great optimism toward life. This is one of the best supporting actor performances in years. I give it 3 1/2 W’s.


Wolf of Wall Street

180 Minutes, Rated R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie

Living a dream, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) has more money, more drugs, more alcohol, and more women than any man could ever want. Jordan starts on Wall Street at the age of 22. In a few years he owns his own brokerage firm and makes millions. But is all of it legal? Because of his quick success, the FBI quickly follows his every move. With his assistant Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), they make a billion dollars off scams, crime, and corruption.

If you are into economics or Wall Street, I highly recommend seeing this movie. This is a great story and an example of how people can use the stock market to get rich. How they can abuse it by scamming other people who have no idea who they are giving their money too. This also tells the story of a genially and nice man, as Jordan would give thousands of dollars to help their employees when they are in need. But in the end, it shows how much money can buy; it can buy cars, drugs, alcohol, and strippers, but the one thing it can’t buy is love.

Behind his wide range of acting portrayed in Who’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Blood Diamond, Leonardo DiCaprio gives another Award Winning performance. He is just adding to his legendary career. I give it 3 1/2 W’s.

These three movies, with their fascinating (and true) plots, prove that there is a movie out there for everyone. 2013 was a year for movies. So many great movies came out and not all of them can be recognized. Take a night for yourself and watch a movie . With all the great films available, you will find something for you.