American Hustle was one of a handful of films that garnered multiple Oscar nominations and went on to win none. But of that handful, we felt duty-bound to see at least one and chose this film. American Hustle tells the true tale of a con man and con woman who get busted by the FBI and then set up the ultimate con, resulting in the exposure of political corruption, bribery, and organized crime activities. Like one of my favorite crime films, L.A. Confidential, American Hustle takes its time setting up the characters and the situation before the complex plot really takes off. I like complex plots and well-drawn characters. But while it’s easy to root for the cops on the right side of the law in L.A. Confidential, this viewer found it difficult to sympathize with or root for people who scammed money out of small businesspeople desperate for working capital. In the end, American Hustle is a soulless endeavor, much like the 1970s.

The only reason you may want to view this film is Jennifer Lawrence’s Golden Globe Award winning performance as the nutty, frustrated Jersey housewife who spouts pop psychology and blows up a microwave oven. Lawrence is as hilarious as Lucille Ball’s dizzy housewife in the 1950s. We can only hope someone will write a decent comedy for this talented comedienne.

Since American Hustle takes place in the 1970s, we decided to see Little Murders, written by the cartoonist and humorist Jules Feiffer. Tom Robinson vaguely remembered seeing the film as a kid, which was released in 1971, and thought it mildly funny. Billed as a “black comedy,” the film is about a young man so disaffected by life, nothing—not even sex—interests him. While the scene where he confronts his professorial parents, who raised him as if he was a doctoral dissertation, is mildly amusing, the rest fails to engage as comedy or drama. The nutty New York family of the young man’s fiancé doesn’t provide any laughs, and her younger brother as a psychotic gay man is downright offensive. The very dark “shock” ending is not funny at all. Leave this film in the dustbin of history, where it belongs.

Tom Robinson remembered a scene in Little Murders taking place in an art gallery in which the entire show consists of photographs of dog excrement. We decided to choose a recent film, Untitled, which spoofs the present-day art scene, as well as the atonal music scene. In fact, there is no such scene in Little Murders; the apathetic young man does take photos of nothing but dog excrement, but we never see the photos, nor is there a show. (Tom has a wild imagination.) The crazed gallerist in Untitled is pitch perfect; when she has to hang a show of “real art”—you know, pretty paintings—instead of the totally absurd conceptual art she champions, she sinks to her knees and sobs. The deadpan atonal musician, who never cracks a smile and can actually play classical piano, is also spot on. But the spoof of nonexistent art and ugly “music” veers so close to reality, this viewer found the film more painful than amusing.

So there you have it, my friends. One Qualified Recommended, one Stay Away From This Turkey, and one Slightly Amusing.

As a student of American culture, I just don’t find the 1970s very interesting. Periods when huge societal changes are in the works, as well as huge changes in consciousness on the societal level and on the personal level interest me. That’s why the 1960s and the 1890s fascinate me. The position and power of women and minorities were significantly transitioning during these periods.

I’ve written extensively about the 1960s in Summer of Love, A Time Travel. The Bantam print edition was a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book.

I’ve written extensively about the 1890s in The Gilded Age, A Time Travel, a companion book to Summer of Love, a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book. My passionate romantic suspense, Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery), also takes place in the late 1890s, as well as two novellas, Every Mystery Unexplained, published in David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible (HarperPrism), and Daughter of the Tao, published in Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn (HarperPrism).

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Tomorrow’s Child is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. Tomorrow’s Child is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

 

Advertisements