by Adam Riske
• Best Scene/Moment: When Mos Def blows up part of Hollywood Blvd causing an armored truck to fall into the subway tunnel below.
• Best Song: There aren’t many standouts, so this was tough. By default, I’ll go with a cover of “Money” because it’s performed by Velvet Revolver, which featured my boy Scott Weiland.
• Director Check: The Italian Job was directed by F. Gary Gray, who (for the most part) is a solid genre director. After a few years directing music videos (for the likes of Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, and TLC to name a few), he came out of the gate strong with 1995’s Friday, which has gone on to become a comedy classic. He followed that up with the well-received Set It Off in 1996 and The Negotiator in 1998. Then came a five-year break until 2003 when he directed both The Italian Job and the Vin Diesel vehicle A Man Apart. After 2003, Gray’s films have been hit-and-miss including Be Cool (yikes) and Law Abiding Citizen (not great, but fun at times). Gray had a huge hit in 2015 with Straight Outta Compton but followed up that good movie with two terrible ones, The Fate of the Furious and Men in Black: International. F. Gary Gray’s next film is a heist-comedy-thriller named Lift, which is due out in August and stars Kevin Hart, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jean Reno, and Sam Worthington.
• Double It with This 2003 Movie: 2 Fast 2 Furious
• Year 2003 Movies to Trailer Before It: Confidence, A Man Apart, MonsterDraft Day or The Italian Job? Draft Day
• Mall Movie? No. Paramount Pictures action movies have a sheen of respectability (that mountain!) which usually makes them better suited for the fancy theater in town instead of the mall.
• Only in 2003: Bros wanting Mini Coopers.
• Scene Stealer (tie): Charlize Theron (she’s just really good) and Edward Norton (Paramount forced him to be in this movie and he’s clearly pissed off about it in a very watchable way).
• I Miss: F. Gary Gray movies that are at least decent.
• I Don’t Miss: Seth Green as the hip comic relief guy. In the words of Brad Pitt in Moneyball, “if he’s a good hitter, then why doesn’t he hit good?”
• 2003 Crush: Charlize Theron.
• 2023 Crush: Charlize Theron.
• What I Think in 2023: The Italian Job remake is kinda lame. There are a few good car chase sequences but that aside I was stunned to notice how much The Italian Job is like an early version of what The Fast and the Furious franchise eventually became. Everyone is annoyingly good at everything and most of the movie consists of characters who I’m indifferent to (or don’t really like) having camaraderie I don’t especially enjoy. Also, it’s strait-laced Mark Wahlberg and who wants that? Watching The Italian Job feels like dropping in on a USA Network series that you’ve never watched but has aired for 14 seasons.
For some reason, I had an 11x17 poster of this movie on my basement wall for a long time but if pressed I don't think I'd remember any part of the plot except it's a heist.ReplyDelete
It has a great cast but I think its proximity to the Oceans movies did it few favors. I enjoyed your revisit, Adam--thanks for taking one for the team! That picture of Charlize alone is worth the article.