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Pain & Gain

It's been so long since I'd been to the movies, I was starting to go thru withdrawals. But Wedding Singer is dead and buried, so my movie time abounds once more. Well, sort of. The catch up game is a bit slow going. But I'm trying. My triumphant return to the movies this past May Day was for Pain & Gain.

I'll admit, this film didn't have a lot for me to put faith in. The idea of Mark Wahlberg as a juicing body builder seemed a bit out there. Dwayne Johnson's track record is kinda hit or miss. Then there's the Michael Bay factor. The reviews were mixed at best, and yet I was drawn to it. I guess it's because I recognized a strange voice of the film that I connected with. Really connected with. The movie boasted a really bizarre mix of dark humor and just plain old dark. \m/ up really. I loved it.

Michael Bay may be the butt of many a joke in Hollywood, but he has a knack for making them too. I loved the alternating narration between all our main characters, or the constant disclaimers to remind you at some of the more unbelievable moments that this was in fact a true story. He seriously is the last director I would have guessed had a hand in this, and it's almost enough to redeem himself for his um, other work. It still had a bit of his signature music video quality that gets annoying, but this time was more because of the content than the editing.

The story is just insane. This group of meatheads are simultaneously brilliant and the biggest morons I've ever seen on screen. I did find the original news article that recounted the story. I was curious to read it because I was sure a lot of the more "out there" details had to be Hollywood-ized. Turns out, not so much. The movie had them botch the original kidnapping 3 times. In reality it was more like six. The way the attempted murder played out was also fairly accurate.

The real hero of this film was Mark Wahlberg. He actually made what could have been a merciless criminal completely sympathetic. So then it was all that much more striking when he would snap. Oh and there was a bit of accent play for a scene or two that kinda impressed me, just because it was unexpected. Best effort goes to Dwayne Johnson. His character really was bouncing back between two opposite ends of the spectrum: reformed Jesus freak and mega cokehead. Now the Bible toting nice guy did get a bit hokey, but I certainly applaud him for the effort.

This is one that really stuck with me. Not just because I spent most of yesterday morning reading the aforementioned news article. But I'm still completely baffled by some of the events and how they unfolded. I guess truth really is stranger than fiction.

Pain & Gain - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
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