Director Dissection with Seanc and Rauldc


1. Your favorite scene

2. Are Russell's two proposed next movies on your radar?

3. What film do you think had the best story and screenplay?
Glad you liked Huckabees. I think it does get better on a second viewing.

Russell's next movie Joy is definitely on my radar, anything he does will be. What is his other project?

I pick The Fighter for best story. I love sports drama so that story was right up my alley. Huckabees is my favorite screenplay but not by a wide margin. I love Russell's scripts.

I am going to think about the scene question for a bit.

"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

Accidental Love is supposedly completed. I think hes been working on it for quite some time, so who knows if it will actually release.

The Fighter is on FX right now. I turned it on for a bit before we go.

Great idea guys and some great thoughts so far, i skipped a few of your comments because they were related to films i've yet to watch. When you pick a director i'm more familiar with i will participate if that's cool, but so far i've only seen American Hustle and SLP by Russell and if i'm honest The Fighter is the only other one i'm interested in.

Just looked up his movies and i actually tried to watch Flirting With Disaster on Netflix once; i got about 5 minutes in and turned it off because the parents and social worker were annoying me. I may try to give it a proper shot in the future.

I watched I Heart Huckabees a few nights ago. With the exception of Mark Wahlberg's character, I disliked everything about it. The tone and humor just didn't seem to suit Russell at all, in my opinion. The movie felt more in the wheelhouse of the Coen Brothers or even Wes Anderson or someone. Great cast, though, which seems to be true of every David O. Russell movie.

Here's how I rate/rank his filmography:

American Hustle

The Fighter

Three Kings

Silver Linings Playbook

I Heart Huckabees

I Heart Huckabees is definitely NOT like the David O. Russell movies of today.

I don't think Huckabees is really all that great... but I actually went to the movies to see it (and I think that's probably the only David O. Russell movie I've seen in a theater) .... and I don't know... a friend of mine at the time really liked it. Said it was great. I somehow got really into it, too. I thought it was kind of a spiritual movie. And I really like Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman's characters, as well as some of the others. I also love the soundtrack -- the score. I think it's a good movie. I need to rewatch it again. Maybe we could do a commentary.

Raul watched it? I need to go back and read his thoughts.

I do not see I Heart Huckabees as being anything like a Wes Anderson movie. The only similarity is Jason Schwartzman is in it.

Wes Anderson movies are all about men who have daddy issues. Family issues. Stuff like that.

Reaction to squished burgers, a mental breakdown.
I mentioned that I enjoy dark themes earlier. Maybe my idea of that is not everyone's. That doesn't always mean murder or grisly violence. In Russell's case I am talking about making movies about deeply flawed characters who are searching for ways to make life better. Drug abuse, mental illness, white collar crime, and more are all dealt with in both a serious and humorous way in Russell's films. Loving four films may not seem like enough to some to consider a director your favorite. I think it is plenty though. I love these films and can't wait to see what he has for me next.
It's funny that you mention this because (imo) David O. Russell's topics may be dark but his direction isn't dark or ever as dark as his story, you get what I mean?

American Hustle or The Fighter could've been a lot darker had it been under the direction of Darren Aronofsky or someone similar but I like David's style, it's warm and very Scorsese-like.

I have American Hustle at

It's funny that you mention this because (imo) David O. Russell's topics may be dark but his direction isn't dark or ever as dark as his story, you get what I mean?
I get exactly what you mean and I think it is a pattern for a few of the directors I love. I think you can put Payne, Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and the Coen brothers in the category of making many of these types of films as well.

Performances from David O. Russell films

David O. Russell has the unique ability to get the most out of his actors and actresses. I certainly consider it a huge milestone that he was able to lead 4 performances from the same film to Oscar nominations twice. In Silver Linings Playbook, he led Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jackie Weaver to nominations. Jennifer Lawrence was able to take home an Oscar, and I believe Silver Linings Playbook was Bradley Coopers best performance in his career thus far.

He was also able to accomplish the same feat with American Hustle. Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, and Bradley Cooper. You could make an argument for any of them winning it, but it was a very stacked year so it was tough to win. I thought Adams and Lawrence both deserved it, though.

He led three people to nominations for The Fighter, with two of them ending up winning, Christian Bale won for best supporting actor as Dickie Eklund, while Melissa Leo won for her performance as Alice Ward. Also nominated was Amy Adams for her performance as Charlene Fleming. I thought Wahlberg was great too honestly.

The other films didn't recieve nominations, but the acting in his films is always strong. I consider Ben Stiller and Patricia Arquettes performances in Flirting With Disaster pretty darn good for comedies (and I'm not much of a Stiller fan). Schwartzmann, Jude Law, and Naomi Watts also did very well in I Heart Huckabees.

I haven't seen Three Kings, but I'd be surprised if I didn't enjoy George Clooney's performance as I usually do.

It's hard to compare supports to leads, but based off of my enjoyability of the performances, I'd rank the top ten as such:

1. Jennifer Lawrence- American Hustle
2. Amy Adams- American Hustle
3. Jennifer Lawrence- Silver Linings Playbook
4. Bradley Cooper- Silver Linings Playbook
5. Robert De Niro- Silver Linings Playbook
6. Christian Bale- The Fighter
7. Amy Adams- The Fighter
8. Mark Wahlberg- The Fighter
9. Christian Bale- American Hustle
10. Bradley Cooper- American Hustle

It's worth noting that all are very good though.

Let's say that Lily Tomlin didn't really have the best time on the set of I Heart Huckabees.....

I read into that too SC. Apparently there was a scuffle between Russell and Amy Adams too. Russell isn't the most well liked guy so it seems. In real life he is kind of a douche.

Three Kings

Like I said earlier in the thread I loved this movie the first time I saw it in the theater. I think because I went in expecting a traditional war film and got a very unique experience. It was funny, stylized, and really wasn't about the war at all. It was about these three characters and their dynamic. Why I never revisited I don't know, just one of those things. About a year ago I decided to go back to it. Russell has grown to be one of my favorite directors and I was really hoping my second time with Three Kings would be at least as great as the first time, it wasn't.

I still think it is a good movie but I was hoping for greatness. I think what appealed to me the first time seemed mundane this time around. The stylized aspect felt like something I have seen 100 times before instead of the unique experience it was '99. The humorous dynamic I remember between Clooney, Wahlberg, and Ice Cube was mostly gone. This movie did not have near the laughs I remember the first time around. I still did mostly enjoy the characters and the story is fun. There is an energy to the movie that is quite enjoyable. It moves at a very nice pace.

Overall I would still recommend people see this if you have any interest in Russell at all. I think this is the place to start as I find Flirting With Disaster practically unwatchable.

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Weird? Like Scorsese, Altman, Woody Allen, Tim Burton, Capra, Preston Sturges, Fellini, Bergman, etc?
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden

Weird? Like Scorsese, Altman, Woody Allen, Capra, Preston Sturges, etc?
...Bergman, Kurosawa, this guy, that guy, everyone in between....

Its weird how Russell has used the same actors and actresses in multiple films. Maybe he will direct Clooney again?
Actors and directors get attached to each other for sure. I always like seeing Clooney so I would be cool with it. Maybe he is one of the actors that had a tough time with him though. I will have an answer for you for favorite scene tomorrow. I will talk about Huckabees too.

I would love to do a little MoFo award type thing at tge end of these, if enough people participate. Just PM me your vote for your favorite Russell movie in the following categories:

Best Film
Best Script
Best Cinematography
Best Male Performance
Best Female Performance