Black Mass

Jay here. I’ve been MIA for a while and most likely will be for a bit more. Back surgery and its sidekick  morphine have indisposed me for writing movie reviews.

Anyway, Black Mass has been kicking around for a while now, generally disappointing folks despite its all-star cast and generous dash of promise. It basically tells the incredible story of Johnny-Depp-in-Black-MassJames ‘Whitey’ Bulger (Johnny Depp), and how he ran Boston from the underground for years, in part because of a brilliant “alliance” with the FBI. An old childhood friend (Joel Edgerton) has conveniently made a name for himself at the FBI and he convinces his boss (Kevin Bacon) that Bulger will be a useful informant. The information flows both ways though, with Bulger constantly evading investigation, and Bulger divulging details already known to the FBI by other means.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Bulger’s brother, Billy, a successful state politician. Suspicious? Well nobody at the FBI seems to think so, until there’s a new kid in town, Corey Stoll, who starts asking some incredulous questions, like how on earth has a notorious psychopath and criminal with ties to the IRA never ever been investigated? Why indeed.

So things fall apart for Bulger, although never as spectacularly as they do for everyone around 48091645.cachedhim (including Jesse Plemons, and can we just call him what he is: low-rent Matt Damon), and Rory Cochrane (bloated for this role, it’ll kill your Empire Records fantasies right quick), and Peter Sarsgaard (who once did an SNL skit where he was attending a pirate convention, and all the attendees really relished overpronouncing his name – PetARRRRGGGHHHH SAAAARRRRRRsgAAAAARRRRRRD, and now I am forever doomed to do it myself).

Maybe the biggest problem with this movie is that it crammed too many names under too small 62951a marquee. There just isn’t enough to keep everyone busy, and at the end of the day, this feels like a pretty standard mob movie, with Scorsese wannabe undertones. It fails to distinguish itself. The relief, though, is that Johnny Depp remembers how not to be a cartoon. It’s not any great relief though, since this is Depp’s fourth, FOURTH, time portraying a real-life gangster. Even my dogs have learned the trick by the fourth repetition.

You will not find a bad movie here, just a very tired one, but I guess it allowed a lot of Hollywood types to tick off MOB MOVIE on their SAG Bingo card, and if that’s not a good reason to make a movie, then I don’t know what is.

24 thoughts on “Black Mass

  1. Carrie Rubin

    First off, I hope you’re doing okay and that you’re recovery goes smoothly.

    I didn’t get to see Black Mass, but I want to. And your reference to Matt Damon for Jesse Plemons made me laugh, because my husband and I just watched Plemons in the second season of “Fargo,” and we called him “Young Matt Damon.” Not that Matt Damon is old (good grief, that would mean I’m old…ahem, throat clearing here), but Plemons looks like a younger and stouter version of Damon.


    1. Jay Post author

      He even sounds like him, which I find funny because I believe Plemons grew up in Texas.
      He gained weight for this role and the Fargo people made him keep it on. I just watched him in The Program, and playing a cyclist he was much leaner, and still very Damon.
      According to imdb, his nickname is “Meth Damon” for reasons I’d like fleshed out a bit 😉


  2. In My Cluttered Attic

    Truthfully, I had very little interest in this one, but seeing Depp like this was scary. Sorry to hear about the back surgery, but I’m sure you must have needed it. Hope you’re back up on your feet soon, Jay.


  3. J.

    I quite fancy this one, though I don’t think I’m expecting much from it. I think the last time I saw Depp in a non-cartoon role was in yon terrible movie with Angelina Jolie. I can’t even remember what that was called …

    … anyhoo, here’s hoping you feel better in no time!


  4. calensariel

    You will not find a bad movie here, just a very tired one, but I guess it allowed a lot of Hollywood types to tick off MOB MOVIE on their SAG Bingo card, and if that’s not a good reason to make a movie, then I don’t know what is. LMBO! Well! That pretty much says it all.

    Was sorry to hear you had to go through back surgery. With three ruptured discs I can sympathize. I’ve never been brave enough to do anything about them. Hope you get feeling better really soon, hon.


  5. Brittani

    I hope you feel better soon, Jay. May the Morphine treat you well.

    I feel like I’m the only one that flat out loved this movie. It just worked for me. I understand the complaints, but I didn’t think about most of them while watching.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s