Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Harsh Times (2005)

Synopsis: Amiable lowrider and whacked-out-of-his-mind best buddy smoke a lot of dope and drive around L.A.’s basically Up in Smoke, with Tommy Chong recast a violent, gun-toting lunatic.

Blurb From the DVD Jacket: “From the creator of TRAINING DAY comes a taut, authentic, coming of age drama about two best friends who, in spite of their best efforts and the women who love them, are unable to escape the streets.” [“Coming of age drama?” All of the characters are in their late 20s or early 30s!] 

What Did I Learn?: 1) If you ever want to fool a drug test, your best course of action is to drink a glass of vinegar, place some “clean” urine into a turkey baster, and um.... well, the next step isn’t pleasant. 2) Real men express non-sexual, non-romantic feelings for each other with the words: “I love you, fuckin’ shit bag.” 3) There are many reasons why a man may slit another man’s throat in a crowded bar during daylight hours. 


Really?: 1) I realize Sylvia (Eva Longoria) and Mike (Freddy Rodriguez) have a long history together, but she’s a lawyer, and he sits around the house all day playing video games and getting high. Wouldn’t she have kicked him to the curb a long time ago? 2) I had a bit of a hard time believing Jim (Christian Bale) and Mike would be friends in the first place. Aside from a shared love of booze and dope, they seem like very different people. 

Rating: While Christian Bale delivers an uneven, and often unnatural performance as a highly troubled veteran who becomes increasingly unlikeable as the film progresses, Harsh Times is a compelling (albeit violent) character-driven film that’s worth a viewing if you get a chance. 8.5/10 stars.

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