American Hustle - anybody see it?

I did and loved it. A fictionalized account of the ABSCAM scandal of the late 1970s, AH tells the story of two con artists forced by the FBI to assist them in setting up political figures to accept bribes. The story we follow is partly real: There was a Mel Weinberg who was a con-man who helped the FBI with the ABSCAM investigation in conjunction with a woman impersonating a member of the English peerage.

Smart, funny, sexy (what movie with Amy Adams and J-Law wouldn’t be sexy?), this one is worth going to for those of us looking for a little more than the typical action movie.

HOWEVER… there were two really large gaffes, one a continuity error, the other involving the screenwriter forgetting how phone calls used to work…

[spoiler]The first gaffe showed Amy Adams signing something (can’t remember what) early in the movie. Next to her signature is a hand-written date with the year, 1980. Later in the movie (and later in time), they are bribing Congressmen and taping it, with the tape clearly time and date stamped… 1978.

You would have to have looked for the above to see it, so it’s understandable if it’s missed. But the next one…? Oy, vey:

Christian Bale calls the FBI agent on the phone. Conversation ensues, then Christian asks the FBI agent: “Where are you?”


I literally muttered “But you CALLED him!”

(For those of you who don’t get it (and I had to explain it to my wife who grew up in the same period as I), when you called somebody, pre-cellphone, you called locations not people:

“Let me call the house and talk to Mom”… mom doesn’t answer… “Well, let me try calling her at Aunt Sally’s”… no Mom… “Well, maybe she’s at the church. I’ll try there”…

Therefore, by the simple fact that he called a known number, and the number is fixed to a location, Melvin knew where the FBI guy was. He didn’t call the guy, he called the guy’s office, expecting him to be there. A subtle difference, but one such that you wouldn’t ask the person you called where they were. You would just know.)[/spoiler]

TLDR: If you liked Argo or films with that '70’s feel, and that were made for adults by literate adults, you’ll like this one.

There are any number of reasons why Bale might not have known where Cooper was at that moment.

  1. He didn’t actually know where Cooper’s office is located.
  2. Cooper forwarded his current location’s number to Bale via the FBI office to have Bale call him.
  3. Bale was given a number of telephone numbers at which Cooper could be reached, and not know where any of them are.

At that time (within the context of the movie):

  1. He’s been to the office on a number of occasions
  2. No.
  3. No.

I don’t see all of the praise for this movie. I thought it was a “good” movie but not Academy Award material.

Yes, the plot was interesting. The acting performances were good. Christain Bale and Jennifer Lawrence played roles much different than their personality. There was nothing in the movie, however, that struck me as outstanding, revolutionary, or groundbreaking.

If I had seen the movie without all of the hype, I would have rated it as quite good. But with all of the hype, I’d have to say it was good, but overhyped.

And now I think I’ll put on my flame-proof suit… :slight_smile:


I thought it was fun, with Bale, Adams, and Lawrence particularly good. But given how interesting and smart Russell’s collective body of work has been, I found it pretty lightweight with only I Heart Huckabee’s being less substantial–although it, in its own way, is still more ambitious, if a bungled execution.

It was fun to watch, if a little long. Some great scene work, very lightweight plot, with nothing much to talk about afterwards. Not seeing where all the praise is coming from. Good, but generally pretty forgettable. One of the friends I saw it with said “if I’m still watching the costumes ten minutes into the movie, the plot has failed. All style, little substance.” Gotta agree with her.

I saw it as well. The performances were great, the direction and editing were poor. It was just too long. The fake auditory pops and crackles in the soundtrack (for that authentic 70s feel!) were distracting (a few of the people I was with didn’t notice it - but a few of us did), and the supporting cast was poorly fleshed out.

I recommend seeing it, but waiting for it on rental.

Sorry, I also meant to include:

  1. Call forwarding, which was absolutely available in the 70s. Either way, your suspension of disbelief needs recalibrating.

Eh, maybe it’s because, with a 12yo, my choice in movies is a bit limited… there’s only so many films I get to see in the theater, and most of those feature singing wizards or something similar. :wink:

The big story in my neck of the woods is that scenes from *American Hustle *were filmed here in Worcester. Made one of our streets looks like the 1940’s (for the flashback breaking windows scene) and other times the 1970’s. Filmed inside one of our popular bars, shot the outside of Union Station. And so on.

So, last summer, it was “Welcome Hollywood Money”. Now, with the release, it’s “ohhh, there’s the back door of the mid town mall.” It’s been kinda neat.

Just got back from seeing it. Despite the somewhat shaggy-dog long con plot, I saw it as a rather touching love story, and was rooting for Bale and Adams to get back together all through the thing. Also, just sayin’, Ms. Adams is welcome to play her roles braless any time she wants. Jeepers.

Personally, I can’t call a film ‘badly directed’ when it manages to coherently tell an engaging story, elicits rather wonderful performances from four of its five leads (only Renner seemed rather miscast), and with the exception of maybe the ending, manages to push the story in unexpected directions. And there were some great throwaway bits, like Cooper’s careful attention to his hair, and the ice fishing story.

I will admit to thinking all through the film, “Why is the director trying to out-Scorcese Scorcese?”, and thus was a bit surprised to see it was David O. Russell at the helm. OK, so I kinda doubt FBI field operations are run the way the movie portrays them (particularly the gross insubordination that Cooper’s character gets away with), but whatever.

Bottom line: not sure I’d call it the best of the year, but I was very glad I saw it.

Fun movie… a little long. But i liked is much more than Silver Linings… Had that 70’s Argo feel… I think Im inclined like John said to really enjoy a movie made by adults for adults… When you try that you already have me interested…
Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams at Studio 54 was worth the price of admission for me… Bale… is something else… just loves to lose himself in character… fun… enjoyable… How is matters in those funny gold trophies. i gave up caring about that bs long ago…
Always nice to hear some Rundgren in a movie…

I loved it - one of my top movies of the year along with Blue Jasmine.

I’ll admit, I’m kind of a sucker for caper movies and I enjoyed trying to figure out exactly who Amy Adams was conning. Was she really done with Bale at any point, or was that just part of her game? Did she ever have any feelings for Cooper? It’s easy to look back from the end of the movie and answer those questions, but as it unfolded I went back and forth in my mind.

In fact I thought all four principal characters were complex and interesting. I was repulsed by Bale from the first scene but cheering for him by the end (incidentally it would be hard to see him in character from this movie next to his character from The Fighter or his Batman and believe they are the same actor.)

Loved Lawrence, Renner and Louis C.K. as well. I loved the humor, the script, the costumes and the soundtrack. Really there was nothing I didn’t like.

I missed the continuity error with the dates, but I did notice the “where are you?” phone call. But since he was someone who needed to be reachable, I assumed he had his calls forwarded to wherever he was going to be.

I saw this movie a couple of days ago and it’s taken this long for me to formulate an opinion. Like most people in this thread, I thought the four main characters did a masterful job; Bale especially. It really felt like a '70’s era movie, with the bad hairstyles and polyester clothes. I guess I was seduced by the 88 score that Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie in that I was somewhat disappointed by the end of the movie. I was expecting a high-energy con man film that was much lower key. I can’t find anything to specifically point to to explain my disappointment, but that’s how I feel.

The Rotten Tomatoes score, when I checked a few hours ago, was at 94% and for “top” critics, 96%. So I’m not the only one who liked it! I watched Richard Roeper’s review today and I think he may have had to change his underpants afterward. (BTW, is he putting on weight to honor Roger Ebert or something?)

Most enjoyable movie I’ve seen in the theatre in a very long time. Not ground breaking but very entertaing. Disappointed no Led Zep on the soundtrack.

I mostly agree with everybody here, both the good parts and the bad. The reason to go see is for the performances, which ranged from decent (poor miscast Jeremy Renner) to fantabulous. Though the movie fails the Bechtel Test - the only time the women talk is about a man* - both Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams had strong and distinct roles, and the movie would have suffered without them. Neither were necessary to the caper plot - there’s a ton of similar movies without women - but they were necessary to this movie’s plot, which was more about character. The hairdos and their prep were characters in their own right. Look at all the scenes with curlers.

The one element that I never could figure out -

is how Christian Bale got away with his original scam for more than five minutes. He takes money, gives nothing back - and sits in the same office to greet the next sucker. Why wasn’t he being pursued by guys with baseball bats? They were defined as being desperate. They knew where he was. Not to mention that somebody obviously went to the FBI. How was this supposed to work?

*Did you notice that in their bathroom confrontation, 5’4" Adams is shown as taller than 5’9" Lawrence? Was she standing on a box? And before you say it, they were both wearing heels because they were all dressed up in fancy clothes.

I’ve permanently renamed my microwave “the science oven”.

Great movie. Amy Adams’ performance was astounding – vulnerable, brassy, sexy, manipulative, fierce and more, practically all at once.

What really sets this movie apart is the way it walked a tightrope between drama and comedy without ever losing its balance.

I haven’t seen the movie and didn’t even make the connection until this post that at some point a while ago I was annoyed to be stuck on 290 and the people on the radio wouldn’t stop talking about Bradley Cooper being in town when all I wanted to know was why the traffic was backed up and whether or not I was going to be late for class.

The movie looks decent but I’ll be waiting for DVD. I only go to the theater for RiffTrax these days.