“Boiler Room” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 2
There are probably a lot of movies that I just never got around to seeing in 2000. I had my head down that year finishing up my senior year of college, picking up those last few credit hours, and completing my senior thesis projects. Boiler Room is definitely one that slipped through the cracks, but I’m picking it up now as the second film for Week 2 of the challenge.
Straight away, I realize I’ve probably made a mistake. I’ve seen this movie the wrong way.
After seeing Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, I’m not sure that Boiler Room is able to compete. It feels like a very similar story, but one not told or realized nearly as well.
I had a hard time relating to Giovanni Ribisi as protagonist Seth Davis, and we never get to really get to know any of his co-workers very well. His love interest with a pretty, but rather underwritten Abbie (played by Nia Long) also seemed forced, and uneventful.
I’d say the most interesting aspect of the film was probably the relationship between Seth and his father – played by the always awesome Ron Rifkin. There’s a genuine tension between the two men, and a history that speaks through the dialogue of a father not wanting to repeat the mistakes of his father before him, and a son desperately looking for guidance and approval from a man that has hardly ever given it.
The look of the film is rather flat as well. Uninteresting framing, very overlit, and considerably less flashy than I would have expected out of a turn of the century picture. It really lacks the panache and swagger that the characters of Wolf of Wall Street have. In Boiler Room, you never really like any of the characters – but even the good guys doing bad things should be likable. Instead, I just felt like I got the weaker version of a better told story.
Boiler Room was at the time of this review at #1450 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #2100 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
National Lampoon’s Vacation is just fun. Boiler Room could have used a lot more fun.
It’s hard to think about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas without thinking of some of the more surreal moments. Dinosaur-lizard-people comes to mind. It’s kind of a meandering, wavering film (probably purposefully – to induce the “mind-altering” state of the characters), but it’s still more fulfilling than Boiler Room.
It’s been some time since I’ve seen Contact, but my thoughts of it are very positive – contemplative, thought-provoking, and emotionally satisfying. Boiler Room sadly doesn’t strive for any of that.
Yeah, Boiler Room is better than a bunch of talking animals.
I know a lot of people really like Easy A (and probably chiefly for its star Emma Stone), but I loathe it. Characters I can’t stand, plot that is nonsensical, and a waste of Emma Stone. Boiler Room takes it – easily.
I actually didn’t mind Jeremy Renner’s Bourne movie nearly as much as I thought I would. He did a decent job with the script he was given, but a movie lives and dies by the script. Boiler Room – despite its flaws – still manages to succeed in the story department better than Legacy.
I’ll definitely give the inaugural Harry Potter film the nod here. It did a lot to establish the visual aesthetic of the world, and still makes for a fun kid’s movie introduction to the Potter universe. It’s going to win over Boiler Room.
Man, F/X is super cool. I need to watch it again. They don’t make movies like this anymore.
Other than the always-perfect “Scrat” opening segments, the Ice Age films are pretty average kid’s movies. My kids have watched them all once but have yet to ask to see any of them a second time. Even they know they’re just not that good.