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BLOG: Matty's Movies: 'Killing Them Softly'

"America is not a country, it's a business."

William Bradley Pitt, born in Oklahoma on Dec. 18, 1963. William Bradley Pitt, raised in Missouri and moved to California to pursue acting. William Bradley Pitt, married the gorgeous Jennifer Aniston... and divorced her only to hang out with his new stunner, the delicious Angelina Jolie. William Bradley Pitt, given the role of a lifetime by playing the character "Tyler Durden" in the phenominal film "Fight Club." William Bradley Pitt, known to many ladies as possibly the sexiest man on the planet. William Bradley Pitt....

Let's just call him "Brad."

All that info and I still haven't told you the best fact about him. Brad Pitt went to Kickapoo High School. Yeah, that's right! KICKAPOO! I wonder what their team nickname is? The Kickapoo Mud-ducks? If it is then I would be honored to be their mascot.

Well, "Mr. Kickapoo 1982" had a new film come out over the weekend and "Mr. Movie-man 1988" (Matty W. Kelley) went out to see it. I never let a Brad Pitt vehicle pass me by, I am a huge fan of his work. The film was called "Killing Them Softly."

We've all seen mafia movies. I mean, who hasn't seen "Goodfellas," "Casino," "The Departed" or "Corky Romano"? All fantastic mob films. "Killing Them Softly" is another mob movie that, in my opinion, may approach some of the great ones (in MY opinion).

The story goes like this: Pitt plays enforcer/hitman Jackie Cogan. Jackie is hired by the mafia to "take care" of some low life thugs that happened to rob a mob protected card game. This heist ended up scoring about a hundred grand for the criminals, causing the local mob economy to collapse. One issue here is that this particular card game has been hit before, so everybody thinks it's the same moron that set it up the first time, Mark Trattman (Ray Liotta). Trattman actually runs the card game too, so it doesn't look good for him at all (even if he wasn't involved this time).

Next, you have the bottom-feeding burglars. Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) seem to be the worst criminals in Boston (that's where this story takes place). They are disheveled, grungy and drug-riddled. Not a good combination if your planning to rob the mob.

Jackie Cogan talks to the head of the mob through mob attorney Driver (Richard Jenkins). Driver and Jackie hold their meetings in a car under a bridge and figure out what their next plan of attack is. To me, it seems that the mob doesn't really know what to do and Jackie is calling the shots.

Jackie needs some help making one of the hits, so he hires his old friend from Florida, Mickey (James Gandolfini). Mickey's a fat mess and Jackie has no real use for him. Mickey just complicates things, so Jackie's back to doing all the work.

And so the story goes. Jackie needs to whack a few guys and Jackie does what Jackie's got to do. Jackie knows the business. Jackie knows HIS OWN business too.

I'll tell you what I got from the film. Jackie Cogan is one cool dude who seems to know what's going on more than the people around him do. I mean, the lawyer for the head of the mob doesn't know what to do. It's like the head of the mafia wanted Cogan to make the calls. Also, Jackie seemed to be playing a psychiatrist for a lot of the people he was in contact with. He was always calming the attorney down, you know, setting him straight. And when he meets up with Mickey, he realizes he's too much of an angry, drunk, mental case to be making hits on people. He has to talk him through some serious "wife" issues too. Then, when he finally meets up with Frankie, (dum-dum robber #1) he pretty much has his way with him. Basically, whatever Jackie told Frankie to do, he did. Essentially, Jackie was the man.

Just a little tid-bit about the movie too, it takes place in late 2008 and all throughout the film, in the background, on TV or on the radio you would always hear Bush or Obama talking about the financial collapse. It was somewhat mesmorizing to hear about America's financial woes going on at the same time the mob's financial woes were happening... I know a lot of people lost a lot of money in the banks and bonds frauds and on Wall St. back then. Luckily, I had my money invested somewhere else... with bookies, loan sharks, and leg-breakers. Hey, we all gamble, some with the stock market, and some with the Rams and the under.

The acting in this film was superb. I've already told you that Pitt was great. Gandolfini was in his element playing a mob type tough guy. He was fantastic. One thing though about him, although it sounds great when he's snorting and weezing while saying his lines, I think in real life he's a quick heart attack away from meeting Hoffa. I'm telling you, it sounds like he's struggling to breathe. I think when you get overweight it gets a lot tougher to inhale and exhale. At least that's what it sounded like to me... But then again, I'm just a movie reviewer, not a doctor, what do I know?

But truly, the two people that stole the show for me were the two befuddled bandits. They are basically unknowns to me. Sure I've seen them before, but I couldn't tell you where. Scoot McNairy (Frankie) was the more stable of the two. He played a timid criminal who didn't really want to show that he was timid. But he liked his drugs. And Ben Mendelsohn (Russell) was dynamite as a heroin junkie just jonesing for that next fix. He was sweating throughout the entire film, and when he was wacked out on the smack, he showed us how I would think heroin would effect you. He would be going in and out of consciousness as if he was going through a long, dark tunnel. Honestly though, I must give credit to the director for that because he was the one who put in all the trippy scenes when Russell was strung out. The director's name is Andrew Dominik. The only other movie he's directed that I know of is "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," which also starred Pitt.

One minor problem I had with the film was that it takes place in Boston, yet it was entirely shot in New Orleans. It's not a major faux pas, but being from a suburb of Boston I could totally tell that they were not here. There was a scene showing the landscape of Somerville and I said to myself, "Damn! Somerville looks worse than usual!" Then I realized it was New Orleans. Hey, not everyone can live in Norwood, only the few, the proud.

That being said, there was nothing else wrong with this film. It was solid, well cast, and only 97 minutes long. Sometimes it's good to catch a quick flick and get back to living. There is much violence in this film and the cussing is abundant. Yes, I loved this movie. And listening to Pitt's monologue at the end of the flick about Thomas Jefferson, and America not being a country, but a corporation, well, that was just the icing on the cake.

Before I sign off I want to tell you that I have read two reviews on this film. Cinescore gave it an "F" rating. I don't think that is good. Entertainment Weekly gave it an "A"! That is very good! Now, let's go to MATTY: "The only review that MATTers"... I totally loved it dude! 

Matty W. Kelley, Norwood Patch, reporting.

Fun Fact: Brad Pitt turned down a role as one of the astronauts in "Apollo 13" so he could shoot the film "SE7EN."

Fun Matty Fact: I can not watch a movie while wearing a hat, or a hood or have a pen in my ear... It completely throws my equilibrium off... I have this same problem when sitting in on a toilet.

Don't forget to catch our online movie review show by googling "A Seat Apart: REEL REVIEWS" or friending us on Facebook at "A Seat Apart: REEL REVIEWS." Trust me, you'll enjoy it.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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