Quick-Thoughts: Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain (2013)

“…the good Lord wants you to be rich.”

My IQ dropped while watching this. W.

Meatheads that tongue meatdialogue from their meatlogic to breed their mindless meatinterpretations and earnest meategos, there is not an ounce of subtlety pulsing through Pain & Gain’s unfiltered system and it kills like Hell. It has the mechanical, bodily-driven mentality of Cronenberg’s Crash (1996) meeting ends with the greed fiends of The Coens’ Fargo (1996). Bay overwhelms audiences with grotesque and degrading American idiocies in every single role and extra he spotlights on, and there’s furthermore a dozen preachy, mopey narrations to get each of these hypocrite’s demeanor across; the director sneers his eerily cynical personal stance on the front page’s money-driven “capitalist capitalist-haters” as nothing greater than pathetic losers that read themselves like “poor me” outcasts so justifiable in their beliefs and actions that they can outlive any other person’s moral code, even sometimes their own. 

This is Wolf of Wall Street (2013) for people who’re dying to see and, furthermore, have zero sympathy for this part of the nation’s people despite that it may not be the most “ethical” way to view the situation — at least its intentions of combatting that glorified margin of Hollywood-ized crime exploitations is kept loud and clear. No need to worry about idealizing or even idolizing criminals in this pre-Safdie adrenaline ride; it’s a nauseatingly overstaged real-life account on the delusional macho-mentality gone wrong that’s strictly meant to be read as an unadulterated embarrassment, if not, a horror foremost. The funny thing is that it all feels like Bay projecting, but clearly to a self-aware degree knowing damn well what the American dream is composed of after decades of gaining advertising expertise and continuously making bank off of its glam-excess. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely writing this is also something else.

The Rock in villain roles though >>>. Why are amateur psychopaths sometimes so much more frightening than the calculated ones?

Verdict: B

“Pain & Gain” is now available to stream on Paramount+.

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