The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, brought you by the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, a/perture Cinema, is The Grifters (1990). The film stars John Cusack, Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening,
Per IMDb: “A small-time conman has torn loyalties between his estranged mother and new girlfriend–both of whom are high-stakes grifters with their own angles to play.”
Cusack plays Roy a trickster that plays a lot of petty cons. A lot of petty cons. His mother Lilly (Huston) is a bigger-time crook that hedges large bets for a bookie to bring down the odds of longshots. Lilly and Roy haven’t talked in eight years. Myra (Bening) is Roy’s girlfriend and is a scammer of her own usually dealing in high-dollared, fake jeweled switcheroos and luring her landlord into her room for sex to pay late rent. All three are scum but both women seem to have an affection for Roy even though they can’t stand each other.
Roy gets whacked by a baseball bat trying to scam a bar owner that leads to internal bleeding and other abdominal problems. The women fight in the hospital, a lot. The rest of the film shows them both fighting for Roy’s attention, trying to one-up each other whilst running from other pursuers and people and situations from the past that may be after them. There’s a lot of death in this film’s latter half. There were cameos by the late, greats J.T. Walsh and Pat Hingle.
The movie itself really left me with a bland feeling. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t bad. The characters didn’t move me other than Annette Bening is full-on nude for a good portion of the film, especially the beginning. And when I say full-on, I mean full on. Pat Hingle was good as Bobo Justus, the cruel yet compassionate bookie that Lilly worked for; yes that’s possible. J.T. Walsh was excellent in his role as Cole, a co-conspirator from Myra’s past; he was always phenomenal and didn’t get the overall respect he deserved. Don’t get me wrong the acting itself was great, just the film itself was just meh. The ending was a bit of a plot twist-ish; fairly predictable, though. Overall, it was a let down for me (other than the Bening nudity).
Rotten Tomatoes has it rated 90% Fresh while the audience score is only 70%. That’s a big difference in critics vs. audience watchers. Personally, I side with the audience on this and down rate it to about 3 Stars. 3.25 if you add in the nudity, but we don’t usually do that. It was directed by Stephen Frears and produced by Marty Scorsese, Robert A. Harris and Jim Painten. I watched it on Netflix.
Have you seen it? Do you agree with me? Drop me a line and let me know. If you haven’t and you’re a fan of Cusack’s dark, comedy-styled films or if you want to see Mrs. Warren Beatty nekkid, then I’ll recommend it to you.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“I guess we won’t be getting a straight job.” – Lilly Dillon (Anjelica Huston)