May 19, 2010


Have you stayed awake at night hankering to see Matt Damon operate as an overweight, thick mustached, balding corporate exec during the early 90's? Well hanker no more. The Informant! is a slow paced, quick-witted, off beat dramedy based on the true story of Mark Whitacre, president of the bio products division at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), turned FBI informant. Just imagine, if you can, a gainfully employed, more endearing George Costanza. This, my friends, is Mark Whitacre. A lovable loser played to perfection by Matt Damon.
I cannot say enough about Damon's performance in this film. He should have been nominated for his role in this film in addition to his role in the underwhelming Invictus which he was alternately nominated for. From opening scene to closing credits he puts the film squarely on his back and at times solely carries the load. I dare you to try to name one film that he has been in that was a disappointment. What's that you say? All The Pretty Horses and Stuck On You.. Okay, okay but, for the most part he has a near spotless track record.
Steven Soderbergh returns to form, directing his best work since Traffic and Oceans Eleven. Scott Bakula, (Quantum Leap anyone?), and host of E! channel's The Soup, Joel Mchale, do a fantastic job in their surprisingly dry and serious supporting roles as FBI agents assisting Whitacre.
My only complaint is the R-rating could have easily been avoided and the films slow pacing put my wife to sleep once in the theatre and twice while watching at home. Overall, this film is near flawless in what it set out to be: a dialogue driven, talky, drama with undertones of an intelligent comedy. This is without question the most underrated film of 2009. This film should be viewed with the focus on what it is rather than what it isn't. Rent this movie before you rent anything else. A-

Do you have a spare dollar? Good. Now go directly to your nearest Redbox location and waste it on the film Brothers. They should call this film, "Brothers: A Tobey Maguire Film." Actually, there should be a federal law passed that requires all film studios to include this advisory after the title of any movie featuring Tobey Maguire. He is one of the best anchors in the business; and not in a good way. He is the one friend you had in high school that could single handedly buzz kill the life of the best party. He dumps buckets of ice water down the front of the pants of any movie he is in.
Even knowing Cider House Maguire was in this film, I was still optimistic that Brothers could be a great drama for a few reasons. It stars top-notch Oscar nominated actors, Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Also, it is directed by Jim Sheridan, the same guy that directed the heart warming movie, In America. Even routinely accurate film critic Richard Roeper deemed this, "The best movie of the year". I made the mistake of thinking that all these factors could some how off set the Tobey Maguire factor. I was wrong. The dead weight of the movie industry has struck again.
To be completley fair, the movie is still watchable even despite Seabiscuit Maguire. It is centered around the all-too-common problem of individuals in the military having to leave their families to serve overseas. Apparently, some film exec thought it would be a good idea to cast the very nonathletic and baby faced Maguire as a former star high school quarterback turned Marine Captain. They also thought it would make sense to have said Captain the father of two preteen children. During a tour in Afghanistan he goes missing in action and is presumed dead.
His prickly dead beat brother, (Jake Gyllenhaal), steps in to help take care of his deceased brother's grieving wife, (Natalie Portman), and daughters. This portion of the film is worth your $1. Both actors are excellent and very believable. They manage to keep the serious tone soft yet enjoyably unsettling in a film that could have easily turned dark and depressing. Gyllenhaal is always impressive whether it be as a gay mustached ranch hand or as a troubled teen named Donnie. He is no exception here playing the prodigal son/ brother struggling to find his way in a delicate new role as a fill-in-father.
All the components of a good drama start to fall into place, there is only one problem. You guessed it. Spiderman Maguire doesn't stay dead. Not only is he alive, but he manages to hijack the rest of the movie ironically ending any chance of the film living up to its potential by putting a bullet right in the back of its head with a few scenes of stiff overacting. I would say more but I've given away too much already. C+

What to watch instead: Step Brothers (2008) A


  1. one film you say.....Courage Under Fire,Dogma,The Talented Mr. Ripley,The Legend of Bagger Vance,Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,The Brothers Grimm,The Good Shepherd,Ponyo (same Director as spirit away), The Departed (he sucked maybe not as bad as Jack Nicholson)Che part two,Syriana oh and Informant. Saving Private Ryan he is not a main character and barely in the film. Oceans is first George Clooney movie then Brad Pitt.Ocean Twelve got 6.0 out of 10. and he was dumb in 13. Invictus Morgan Freeman makes the movie as Nelson Mandela. Bourne series he is like Keanu Reeves for matrix not a good actor just a good idea. Best movie Matt Damon has been in is
    Team America: World Police. As for Tobey he has a part better then any Matt Damon flim....Tropic Thunder

  2. Ben Affleck is that you?! if you have kidnapped the davenports and their computer please return them ASAP. Its true they have horrible taste in movies but, that is there only flaw. Please Ben they are great people, Do not hurt them. Please untie them and give them back their computer or I will be forced to contact the police. Good day.

  3. Mr. Knuckle Pop, if you think all those movies I listed are good then I feel sorry for your wife and kids. Have you no shame? Ben Affleck has been in Good Will Hunting, Dazed and Confused and Shakespeare in Love which won best picture over "Matt Damon's" Saving Private Ryan. Plus Ben Affleck did gone baby gone. Whats that? he did not act in it you say? Thats right he was the Director. What has Matt Damon directed? besides, this has nothing to do with Ben its about Matt as a actor and there is a list of crappy movies that he has done. And this is not Ben Affleck who says this, its the world who says Matt Damon is not a top actor.

  4. Ben seriously, this isn't looking good for your career. Stick to directing Gone Baby Gone was way underrated. I actually have it on my 25 best films of the decade, possibly top ten. Watch 30 Rock tonight if your not busy acting in another bad film.

  5. 30 rock? Tina Fey is not nor has she ever been funny. She single handedly destroyed SNL. Shame on you.

  6. I wish I could disagree with you.

  7. I watched the Informant last night. During the opening credits I saw Scott Bakula and was wondering how "Charles in Charge" was going to show up in this movie and was excited that perhaps he would make a comeback. I was doubly excited when I saw the guy from Quantum Leap. I used to love that TV show, I would get so excited to see who he was going to be this episode and what he had to accomplish. It was not until half-way through the movie that I realized that I had mistaken Scott Bao with Scott Bakula and that the cornucopia of 80s TV stars was not to be. I was still glad to see the Quantum Leap guy.
    I was so confused throughout the entire movie, I was not sure what was going on. Was this guy a Genius? Was this all part of his elaborate plan? It was not until he said that he wanted to be President of the company after all the upper management was gone did I realize that he was a complete idiot. Had I known this upfront I think I would have enjoyed the movie more.
    It was almost unbearable to see him tell one lie after another, after another, after another. Come on, "He hit me with a suitcase" are you serious. Then they came down with the hammer, he was never actually orphaned when he was 6. The guy was an idiot, his one saving grace was that he had a wife that loved him despite his idiocy (I personally think that she was as big an idiot or bigger). To think that the whole thing was started because he couldn't figure out why the stupid little lycene virus kept creeping in.
    Anyhow I would give it a "C" (3 out of 5 stars) for my first viewing, but I am sure that on my second, or perhaps third viewing I will give it a higher rating.

  8. I just realized that Biff Tannen from Back to the Future was in the movie. The 80's comeback tour is on again.