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Yes, No, Maybe So: "American Hustle"

If the movie year has been uninspired thus far -- and what honest assessment of mainstream cinema wouldn't come to that conclusion? -- things will undoubtedly be looking up as we move out of the season of movies with only one thing on their mind (profit) and arrive at movies with at least two things knocking around in their heads (awards and profit) but hopefully more. I haven't been much interested in American Hustle up till now (for various reasons) but it dropped a grabby tease of a commercial yesterday so let's play the Yes No Maybe So game and decide how badly we want to see it now that there's something to get a hold of. any part of Amy Adams, just pick one! The trailer and three-pronged breakdown after the jump...


Though the latest film from David O. Russell moved through a title-fluid state before settling on the sorta generic American Hustle, at least the title feels accurate. This is the story of two con-artists (Christian Bale & Amy Adams) who become entangled with colorful characters from the FBI (Bradley Cooper), Politics (Jeremy Renner) and Other (Jennifer Lawrence's Giant Hair)... though the details of the story are blessedly absent from this trailer which is our first big yes.


• It's the great shame of Hollywood's marketing departments that they have so much trouble selling movies without giving the whole thing away. Who knows what the second trailer will be like (please no second trailer) but this one gives the perfect amount of info: enough to show off its look and actors and sell the tickets and too little for us to think 'why waste money, I've already seen it' as one does when one watches trailers like this or this and to a lesser degree maybe even this. This might mean that Hustle is super confident and does indeed have balls bigger than yours.

• Wait, what?!?!? There's a cast line dance sequence? TICKET… SOLD. (This is one, just one, of the reasons I love Boogie Nights more than most things in life.)

• David O. Russell films are not typically remembered as "eye candy" film but I'm candy crushing on the hair, costumes, and makeup in a big way. Even Bradley Cooper's perm looks fun.

• "I wanna show you something here" is the perfect line to open a trailer... and structurally speaking all trailers would benefit from this approach. Sizzle scene at the beginning followed by GIMME images (I'd try to list a few but just think "every other one" followed by takeaway line *boom* Title. Date. Done.

• This role looks perfect for Jennifer Lawrence -- so perfect i'ma talk about it in a separate post soon. Plus she's the only actor within the cast that I'm not starting from a place of "growing weary of..." so maybe she should immediately jump a thousand spots in the Supporting Actress prediction page despite already being amply overrewarded by AMPAS. 

• By the time this trailer was over I had forgotten about Silver Linings Playbook and was thinking "this looks as entertaining as The Fighter and Three Kings" and I wanted to change my Oscar predictions to include it in every category ... now that AMPAS loves David O. Russell it could even be a winner if it's a big enough hit. You gotta be a big hit if you're not "deep" or "messagey" in some way.

• Finally, Jason rightly points out that...

This back and forth alone makes me want to carve a place out inside my hope chest for this movie to live forever and ever. 

• Yes, that. Beautiful women + messy glam + actressy throwdown? YES full stop even if we do have to continue on to the Nos and Maybe Sos for the sake of completing what we started...


Silver Linings Playbook was my least favorite David O. Russell film (apart from his debut Spanking the Monkey) so I worry. Yes I know it won an Oscar and other people loved it but I worry that he has left some of his early truly lively idiosyncracies behind him to become a little more like everyone else. I mean, apart from the possibly electric 'her with him? him with him? them with this?' jabs and shocks and blowouts of his dependably livewire ensembles -- the chief selling point of his fimography if you ask me -- couldn't this trailer be a Scorsese movie?

• I want Christian Bale to stop yo-yo dieting. He'll die an early death if he keeps doing this extreme yo-yo dieting which by my count he's been doing for over a decade now!


• Amy Adams is my biggest question mark. She's never looked sexier and if she really lets loose this could be her Oscar moment. But she's hit and miss performance wise, sometimes nailing and deepening her material (The Fighter, Junebug, Enchanted) and other times proving that she's just the luckiest bitch on the planet (The Master, Doubt) with her pick of great roles and weirdly easy access to Oscar ballots. 

• Probably by the time you're done reading this someone has claimed biggerballsthanyou.tumblr And even if that doesn't become a ubiquitous meme by the time of the Oscars it's going to be as annoying as "Argo, F*** yourself."

Are you a YES, NO, or MAYBE SO? And do you have bigger balls than Christian Bale?

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Reader Comments (69)

I'm a big yes on this one.

This just looks like the type of role that Amy Adams finally needs to win the Oscar. There's no nice girl act or supporting others nonsense, just her being -what seems to be- a pretty carnal and fully emotional character. Reminded me a bit of Courtney Love in "the people vs Larry Flynn." And who would ever think Amy Adams would remind them of Courtney love.

I could totally see her walking away with the trophy since she'll be breaking what she has been sort of type cast as. However, I always fear that with actresses like her who have been nominated tons of times, she might randomly get passed over when she deserves it the most.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGJP

big YES: it looks fun,entertaining,sexy,dramatic,over the top with strong acting and a Scorcese's Goodfellas touch.Maybe it's less brilliant than Wolf Of Wall Street's trailer but it has big heart

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfrench girl

It looks Amy gets to slink, scream, and slap. Oscar trifecta? I'm so there.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

I'm a qualified yes because of Amy Adams. I am beyond weary of her, she's gotten to the point that she irks me whenever I see her come on screen. A moderately talented actress that as you said is the luckiest bitch in Hollywood. That she has four Oscar noms is one of the unexplainable mysteries of the universe. I'm close to the same place with Christian Bale too but otherwise it looks good. It depends on how inundated we are by promotion before the film actually comes out

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

YES! I can't imagine why anyone would say no to this.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Best trailer of the year so far. I am SO there, and this was barely on my "I'm curious about" list prior to seeing it. Frankly, it probably could have been just shots of Jennifer and Amy's hairdos and I would have been sold. They both look dy-no-mite in this.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I've always wanted to know what would happen if Courtney Love in "Larry Flynt" (Amy) and Sharon Stone in "Casino" (Jennifer) crossed paths. It's the actressexual version of the "unstoppable force vs. immovable object" question. I'm sold.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterManny

YES. YES. And YES. I can't stop watching this trailer. I had it #3 in my BP predictions behind Monuments Men and 12 Years a Slave, but I think this just might be the eventual winner. It seems Russell's time has come.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark Johnson

Yes yes yes. Amazing. Maybe Russell can finally put his energy in a movie that I enjoy top to bottom. BTW I think some of Adams' parts aren't really flashy enough to be nominated, but I've never hated her, not even that weird little turn in On the Road. She'd make for a wonderful Oscar winner. As soon as I read "never been sexier" comments, I knew this would be a great shot for her. (Is Roberts going Supporting though? Could be a tough category. Lawrence getting nominated would actually help Adams - she's not winning again.)

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Two things that jumped out at me while watching this trailer:

The film captures a real 1973/74 vibe;

Bale is channeling his best Robert De Niro down to the New York accent.

A big 'yes'.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Stop talking shit about Amy Adams. She's phenomenal, always, The Master and Doubt included
And damn does she look smokin' hot in this one.
But don't get me started on Jennifer Lawrence, though. Her Oscar win devaluated the Oscars even further. She was very good in The Beaver and Winter's Bone, but what she does in "Silver Linings.." is so cliched and overrated.
I hope Hollywood's interest in her fades and quickly...

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

YES to the movie since it looks like it's goning to be super entertaining and NO to the trailer.
I mean, yes, it does its thing of attracting the viewer, but damn, I need more words and less badass music (less focus on names, too, but that's marketing so I'll let it slide)

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

The most shocking by-product of last Oscar season for me (I too was generally left cold by Silver Linings Playbook) was my rooting for Jennifer Lawrence. Even though she ultimately won the statue, she got so much flak and criticism throughout the season that has continued months after the Oscars. I feel sorry for her--as much as one can for a beautiful, young Oscar-winning actress with two successful franchises under her belt. She's locked into three more Hunger Games films which have yet to be released and probably a couple more X-Men movies, all coming on the back of an Oscar-win that garners resentment and scorn from many. Those franchise movies, while good for her bank account, don't do much for her career longevity and only give the detractors more examples to point to her limitations as actress, rather than looking at the limitations of the projects. That's why American Hustle is a resounding "yes" for me. Many of these young actors whose careers are ignited by franchise films (Kristen Stewart, Daniel Radcliffe, etc, etc) make choices that indicate their failing to realize that it's the movies they make between those franchise films (not the franchise films themselves) that will define their careers. Jennifer Lawrence seems to understand this and I think she's choosing wisely. She looks perfect for the role and I'm rooting for her (and Russell) to be interesting.

YES, David O. Russell has led all four of those to Oscar Noms, and two of them to wins. If he does to them what he did with Bale and Adams in The Fighter and Cooper and Lawrence in The Silver Linings Playbook, this will be incredible, a classic.

That Lawrence and Adams throwdown gives me life.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

Yes- great trailer- with that cast it's going to be hard to ignore this movie.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

1.) Devaluated is not a word, Ulrich.

2.) Viola Davis acted circles around Amy Adams in "Doubt".

Let's not pretend otherwise.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

It's very obvious you're a resounding yes on this trailer since one of your No's is a question about whether an actor's diet is healthy or not. Lol.

Also, you're sentenced to a two weeks in movie jail for misplacing Adams's performance in The Master in the same category as Doubt. She's marvelous in The Master.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Yes! A thousand times yes! What an awesome trailer! I was already getting excited for the fall between trailers for 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and the Wolf of Wall Street, but now I"m getting positively giddy!

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

I want Adams to win so that the acaemy can get the fuck over her, the way they got over Sarandon and Renee after they finally won.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDana

I'm not the biggest fan of Amy Adams but when I saw this trailer and how much she's showcased in it, I'm all YES! I'm really interested in how she's going to play this part. She looks like such a sexual livewire here! And that split moment between JLaw and Amy?! I'm ready to buy my ticket!

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkent

I'd be happy to see Amy go out on a high at the Oscars as a Leading contender who then wins, Jennifer Lawrence does seem perfect for this type of role that requires her to be raw and crazy...she has great natural abilities in that area, almost a bit like a young Angelina.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I fear that Amy Adams will become the new Thelma Ritter. That said, she seems foxy in this one and it's a big palate cleanser from her usual shtick I'm willing to give it a A+ for effort.

The rest of the cast looks on fine shape, JLaw looks like a glorious mess which must be fascinating to watch and they all look kinda stoned/drunk/crazy so I'm a total YES for this one.

This is shaping to be a cool season, if Saving Mr Banks, August: OC and this become the de-facto frontrunners. Crazy disfunctional family vs Emma Thompson being a snobby bitch vs 5 A-List actors going to town in a O. Russell movie? Sold.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Seems like an afterglow nomination could be coming Jennifer Lawrence's way.

I'll be very impressed if she pulls off a third nom by age 23.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMitch

P.S. - If JLaw keeps this up (and if she magically gets notices for both Serena and this), can't we start a campaign for SHE'S THE NEW MERYL STREEP?

Possibly 3 Oscar noms (+ 1 win) by the age of 23, man that's impressive. Overrewarded, like you said Nat, but entirely possible.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Gonna have to disagree, re: Amy Adams. She's never failed for me, and I can't really see where you're coming from on this one. As far as The Master goes, and I might take some heat for this one, but she was the only one of the cast who really understood their character in that misguided film. Hoffman was superficial, though that wasn't entirely his fault, since he wasn't really playing a character with anything written under the surface. Phoenix seemed great, but in a way that didn't work to the film's advantage at all, doing a impressive performance that belonged to a different character -- as if he was pole-vaulting during a basketball game. Cool to watch, but in the wrong sport.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael


I haven't been a fan of the last two DOR features, I don't find Amy Adams believable as a vamp (see also The Fighter), and the trailer itself is giving me next to nothing. Sure, I like the bum-drumming like everyone else and am glad that they didn't give away the whole movie, but a teensy little hint about the film's plot would be nice. I had to remind myself that this was the film about Abscam.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan


August 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I felt like Maya Rudolph in a Bronx Beat skit watching this trailer: somebody just struck a match and hit my pilot light! Skyrocketed up my list of must sees! Actressy 70's cokefest sounds like the perfect panacea to this sausage summer.

Sidebar: I've never had hangups with Amy Adams. She hasn't been a revelation in everything, but really, who is? In five years she gave three of my favorite performances of the decade, I'm not fussy about the inbetweens.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Call it The Amy Adams Show. If she were supporting she might finally win. But going up against Blanchett and Streep, I worry. Oh well. Looks like she'll be superb regardless.

And P.S. Nathaniel, I always feel the need to remind you (not that you probably don't know) but you were one of the very few who disliked her in The Master. I get the "ho-hum" feelings for Doubt, which most people were "meh" about, but she won several of the big critics' awards for The Master, and I personally think it's her finest work to date.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

At the moment, I'm an emphatic "NO," but that's because I still bear a grudge against David O. Russell for talking for TWO HOURS after the screening of "Silver Linings Playbook" I attended last year while I had a *terrible* migraine. I bear migraine-related grudges for one year minimum.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

Jordan -- remind away but it doesn't change my opinion ;) If i feel something strongly it doesn't matter if i'm the only one and I REALLY think her praise for The Master had everything to do with the role and not her work. I think it could have been so much greater with a different actress.I probably wouldn't mind her nomination as much if it didn't take up valuable space where Nicole Kidman could have been for genius exciting work in The Paperboy.

August 1, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R


Amy Adams always has a spot reserved for her at Supp Actress, the same as Streep in Best Actress. The person who took Kidman's spot was another Australian.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I'll be a grinch on this one - this trailer doesn't actually tell me anything. At this point I'm guessing the plot is "David O. Russell has seen a lot of Scorsese movies and also 'Boogie Nights'". Leftovers again?

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Can't tell that much from the trailer... I like all of the participants ... but I need to see the "whole' ..not the "part"

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Interesting how people pick on Amy Adams but make excuses for Jennifer Lawrence. How very Mean Girls. I hope this is great because new good movies are really getting hard to find. Mad Men is consistently more interesting for audiences and actors than 99 percent of what is shown in the malls. If this, August: Osage County, and others deliver I will be happy at Christmas.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Sharp

Yes to everything in this trailer, JLaw's hair in particular.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

It looks fun, so yes.

I'm pretty neutral on Adams. Jennifer is making good career choices, though I wasn't crazy about her win either.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I believe this is going to hit big, mainly because it looks like it is a great film, much much better than The Silver Linings Playbook.

I totally agree with Nat, TSLP is much overrated.

Yes, yes, yes.

The only NO: Jeremy Renner has been too overrated as well. I am crossing my fingers that he is not going to spoil this. At least, I hope he has a very small part in the film.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarcelo - Brazil

Only if it's a major Oscar nominee - Adams, Lawrence, Cooper and DOR are all majorly tiresome at this point.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Don't get your dislike for Amy Adams. I thought she was fantastic in all four of her nominated performances. Would love to see her finally win, but I think it's going to go to Martindale.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Thank you, Nathaniel, for always coming through with a spot-on topic!! Loved the trailer.

I'm a definite YES, because I'm a big fan of the cast, have loved Russell's films, and generally enjoy period pieces. However a bit worried re timing. Principle photography was halted for a due to the marathon bombing. Isn't post production a bit rushed to get this thing out by December?

Btw--I know this is an actressy site, but wow, is the Adams/Lawrence topic polarizing. Kind of wish some of the vitriol could be saved for the truly un-talented.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Wow. I was not a fan of Silver Linings Playbook at all, but this looks good. I was actually just talking about how I hope Amy Adams doesn't get another Oscar nomination, but it seems almost inevitable with this. Looks like she gives something really interesting here, though. And I was also saying that she'd never win, but if they put her supporting for this ... this looks like it may be her best shot yet.

And YES, that moment where Jennifer Lawrence stares Amy down and cries is everything actressexuals live for, I think.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

"Btw--I know this is an actressy site, but wow, is the Adams/Lawrence topic polarizing. Kind of wish some of the vitriol could be saved for the truly un-talented."

Word, Pam. Word.

I don't know why people love to pick apart the talented ones, be it Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, Anne Hathaway or Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence.

Like Joe (I think it was Joe) said in one of your Oscar night podcasts Nathaniel, the backlash against Hathaway and Lawrence's win would be big (and then someone made that awesome Qhevanzhané joke!). And they were right.

Talented beautiful young actresses being overrewarded is such a terrible thing? God.

P.S. - And I agree with 3rtful on this Nathaniel, Adams was nominated for almost every prize, so the one who took Nicole's place was Jacki Weaver, not her.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

And this is yet another reason why people LOOOOVE to hate on Gwyneth Paltrow.

Ok, she was young, beautiful, talented, rich without having to work a sweat, famous inside the industry, celebrity parents... So it's ok to rain on her parade, just because she won an Oscar against stiff (?) competition?

I love Cate Blanchett but I didn't mind Gwyneth winning that year. But from reading a lot of Oscar blogs, that Oscar win seems to be one of the biggest blasphemies in the history of the awards. For heaven's sake. Remove that stick from up your ass, people.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Thank you, Nathaniel, for selecting another spot-on topic!

A definite YES for me because I'm a fan of the cast, have enjoyed Russell's films, and like period pieces. Don't get why these folks are considered "tiresome"? They are some of the best in the business. The Kardasians, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, TMZ, and Adam Sandler movies are tiresome.

A bit worried about the timing and post-production since filming was halted on this one due to the marathon bombing. How are they gonna get this out by December?

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Jay, what do you mean by

Word. Pam. Word

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Amy Adams in a bombshell role. Yesssss. Her diva-ish roles are my fav. Speaking of which, I kind of want to watch Miss Pettigrew now.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

Yes--Loved this trailer. Made me want to see the film.

Maybe so--Hated Silver Linings (script and execution).

Yes--Great era. Much more fun than the 60's.

Maybe so--Hated Silver LInings (Really hated it......bad sitcom preformed by actors who all elevated the material far higher than it deserved.).

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry O.

Also, has anyone noticed the trend of youtube commenters pointing out the actors' former comic book roles? "Mystique and Lois Lane and Batman together, haha!" It used to be actually cool. Now every other actor in the planet has been in a superhero movie/comic book adaptation, even multiple ones (as pointed out at the X-Men comic con panel that several actors on the panel came from other franchises) and it's just getting kind of depressing.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

I will forever resent Lawrence until Chastain receives an Oscar in Best Actress.

August 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

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