Our writers have been hard at work reviewing the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards. Find out which movies are worth your time and which ones are better reserved for a rainy day, perhaps several years after the Oscars.

John Peterson

I did not love this film, despite it being a darling of movie critics. I thought the screenplay was well-written and the star-studded cast did a great job, but it didn’t blow me away. The main problem I had was the lack of audience engagement.

The art design of the film was spectacular, complete with flared out jeans, low cut dresses, velvet suits, and some terrifically horrendous hair: a very authentic seventies feel. However, the movie seemed more like a book on tape. It didn’t need Michael Bay-style explosions, but a slight hint of action or something other than David O. Russell’s classic fast-talking banter could have made the great story into a great movie.

Granted, Jennifer Lawrence was huge plus to the film’s visual aesthetic, and definitely fun to watch. Her smaller, supporting role garnered more attention than anyone thought it would thanks to her superb ability in getting the audience to fall in love with her (especially when she’s bat-shit crazy). Though she had a fraction of the screen-time that Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper did, she easily could have been the most entertaining character in the movie. In terms of historical accuracy, I think the general ideas were spot on along with a few key details, but it was also clear that aspects had been altered for both privacy issues and cinematic appeal. All in all, American Hustle was average, and definitely not “Best Picture” worthy in my opinion. Even the nomination makes me uncomfortable.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10 on the @TheDudeJohn scale

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