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Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – March 6, 2014

Brandon's Blu-ray Wishlist THUMB“Suck it, Julia Roberts!” this week’s wishlist entry is going out to Cate Blanchett.  In honor of the actress picking up her second Academy Award on Sunday (first for the Best Actress category), I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s pick to one of my favorite roles of hers in a favorite film of mine.  What is it?  You know I don’t like to spoil that til after you click!

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Bandits wishlist

Bandits (2001)

Barry Levinson’s film about a group of bank robbers called “the sleepover bandits” was a film that opened solid at the box office back in 2001 and made what looked like a solid haul for the type of film it was, but when you spend 75 million on something like this a 67 million intake isn’t going to cut it.  It did manage to garner some award season recognition for its performances from Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett.  The film was also Academy Award winning director Barry Levinson’s last relevant film until he made a splash on the found footage horror scene with The Bay in 2012.

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The film has a fun plot, but what works the best in it is the chemistry and scene between the three leads.  After enjoying working with each other on Armageddon, Billy Bob Thronton and Bruce Willis wanted to be some sort of working duo of actors doing movies together every couple years.  But, that buck winded up stopping right here.  And that’s a bummer, because when they went for it this one time it yielded some fantastic results.  This also remains one of my absolute favorite Thornton performances as he place the uneasy and looney Terry Collins.  I still always laugh and have to rewind the “Beavers and ducks!!” moment every time I watch it.  Another funny one is the “It’s the police” part.

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Cate Blanchett holds her own with the boys her and really delivers an incredibly believable character arc as you watch her travel from a weepy weakened unappreciated housewife to a hardened bank robber.  She’s a piece of a love triangle that the two boys fight over her like a prize to be one.  But, make no mistake, the film recognizes that and let’s Blanchett’s character hold strong and sort of actually command the situation and not fall into a trap of just being a sexual object for the two men to fantasize over.  And man, she is incredibly smoking hot in the movie too.  She’s also an incredibly fun character.  It’s a joy to watch her dance, sing and weep to Bonnie Tyler ballots.  Also to note that this is the second film in a trilogy of movies using “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” in a significant or memorable moment in the film (the first being Urban Legend and the last Old School).

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A lot of the fun in this film has to do with the bank robberies and seeing how the inner workings of the clock.  Their interactions with the bank managers and people they hold hostage proves for some pretty funny comedy (in which Billy Bob Thornton is a big time scene stealer).  Also, a lot of the outfits the group wears provide some good laughs as they dress pretty ridiculous.  Their story is tracked with a show called “Criminals At Large” with longtime comedian Bobby Slayton playing the host. This is probably the best role I’ve seen him in and he nails it.  There are also a lot of good musical cues and songs used in the film.  Aside from two Bonnie Tyler classics, you’ll probably have U2’s “Beautiful Day” and Bill Withers’ “Just The Two Of Us” randomly pop up in your head throughout the following week.

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The ending to the film is a little predictable and quite a bit cheesy, but I can’t help but laugh and enjoy it.  I think the film has done enough good will leading up to it that it’s earned the right to end on its own terms.  A side note- oddly enough, until I just viewed it in preparation for this article, I had no idea it was January Jones who played Troy Garity’s girlfriend in the film.  But, hey, it’s an ideal role as she is only seen most of the time and has a total of like two lines.  The film itself has so much great humor and interplay between the actors it beefs up a lot of the downtime between robberies in the plot.  It also has fun with its “real life” type approach to many scenarios with polite ex-cons interacting with “regular Joe” civilians.

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I guess since this film’s box office came up short it wasn’t on the “must convert to Blu-ray” list.  It’s also an MGM film and I think a lot of those are sitting there hanging out at Fox.  I don’t know that this is a film many of the smaller independent studios would be interested in sub-licensing either.  The movie has Bruce Willis, (whom I’ve not talked much about in this, but he’s quite good in it and has a funny wig on the entire film) and Cate Blanchett and Billy Boy Thornton, I would think it wouldn’t have trouble selling.  I mean, the fact it has Bruce Willis alone should be enough to get this one upgraded.  Fox could easily put this out at $14.99 and move some copies.  It’s a great comedy with a love triangle and some light action.  Overall it’s a movie with three pros showing off their chops both comedically and dramatically with fantastic results.  Please put Bandits on Blu-ray!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

9 Responses to “Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – March 6, 2014”


  1. Brian White

    Hmmm…I guess I’m on the bandwagon with you Brandon about this title. Bring it! I do like the wig on Willis!
    BTW…I’m sure you don’t care, but my favorite Cate movie is THE GIFT.

  2. Brandon Peters

    I liked The Gift! Haven’t seen it since the theater, but I did dig it back then. One of my favorite performances from Keanu Reeves

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    Bandits was a fun movie.

  4. Brian White

    Yeah Reeves was awesome in that flick! He did another evil role shortly after that film. The Watcher or something like that?

  5. Gerard Iribe

    I have the The Gift on HD-DVD – it’s the highly coveted Japanese HD-DVD import, too.

  6. Gerard Iribe

    The Watcher was atrocious. I think The Watcher was before The Gift, though.

  7. Brandon Peters

    Yeah, The Watcher was horrendous. I actually blind bought that DVD when it came out and was super pissed at myself for doing so back in 2000

  8. Brian White

    I did the same thing too Brandon. LOL. But i thought Watcher was after The Gift, which I now want on Blu-ray!

  9. Brandon Peters

    There’s no US release of The Gift but the French release is region free