American History X (ExpDl Top 100)

“I know what film made Edward Norton my favorite actor. We’ll discuss when that one comes up on the list. This is the one that solidified that. Most articles that comment on past Academy Award results (such as this one) vehemently agree that Norton losing out the Oscar to Roberto Benigni is prolly the worst upset at least in recent memory. Its been years since I saw Life Is Beautiful, so I cant speak too specifically to Benigni’s performance, but the fact that I dont remember much of it should be a sufficient statement. Norton, on the other hand, has a performance that really \m/ stays with you.

He just has such an incredibly arc, between the Derek Vineyard we see in the striking black and white flashbacks and the Derek Vineyard we see in the present day scenes. Arc is a big thing I take into consideration when I think about who should win that year’s Oscar, and oftentimes that element seems to be overlooked. I realize Im using a (mostly) theater term, so just in case Im not clear, arc is the path that a character takes from throughout the work. In this case, Derek’s arc takes him from neo-nazi skinhead to reformed and concerned big brother. Big, visible difference, and he fully embodies both sides. You can also see the transformation throughout the film. By far, the best performance of his career, and I know he’s been aching for another shot at the gold with something similar. Sadly, he hasnt been able to land anything nearly as powerful. One day. I have hope.

The other Edward in this film, Edward Furlong, is fantastic as well. Punk (as in hoodlum, not Green Day-esque) kid, idolizing his big brother, trying to move up in the ranks of his old gang, but still has just enough of a spark of innocence to maybe get pulled back from the brink. BTW, while trying to look up a good non-Blink182-ish synonym for punk, the first definition for the word is “”any prepared substance, usually in stick form, that will smolder and can be used to light fireworks, fuses, etc””. I never knew that. Makes so much sense why that term got applied to the rock movement.

I dare you to watch this movie and not be haunted by it afterwards. There’s some scenes (ie, “”bite the curb””) that you just cant shake from your memory. I still get that icky feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about that scene in particular. Some of attitudes the flashback scenes just disgust me. Im gonna stop before I start getting semi-political (cause thats not at all something I do), but if you want an intense, hard hitting, thought provoking film, I cannot recommend this enough.

Right up at the end now, and completely holding my breath. First time I saw it, I knew something big was gonna go down, but I was expecting things to go in an entirely different direction. Did not \m/ see it coming. You know how when you watch Romeo and Juliet, you wanna tell Romeo to just hold out a little longer? Thinking maybe it’ll play out differently this time? Kinda like telling a scream queen in a horror movie not to go into the basement, except in this case you’re actually invested in her character and genuinely wanna see her survive? Yeah, thats kidna like how this is for me now.

I’ll steal of Danny stealing from Licoln and end with a quote. I actually used to have a big poster for this movie up on my wall that his this quote written out. Powerful shit.

We are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

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