Law Abiding Citizen, written by Kurt Wimmer (Salt, Total Recall, Point Break), directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton, The Fate of the Furious), starring Gerard Butler (every movie critics love to hate for the last 20 years), came out nearly 8 years ago. I saw it twice opening weekend, in Lincoln Center in NY, with one of my besties – it was a fantastic trip, but I digress. I’ve written about the film before (on this blog) and I stand by my assessment.
I’ve also written more than once about the disconnect between “critics” and the vox populi. I’m remarking on this again tonight because I came across Law Abiding Citizen on TNT, again, and while I’m always compelled to watch at least a little bit of it whenever I do, I just noticed not just the fact that XFINITY gives you the “Rotten Tomatoes” score of the movies in its onscreen guide, but that the “Tomato-meter” score for Law Abiding Citizen is: critics 25% (which is actually up from about 16% when it was first released) and “users” 75% (which is also up from its original which hovered around 60).
Now, there was and is, obviously, a huge gap between critics and casual viewers of the movie, but the real news here is how the appreciation of the movie has grown both with critics and viewers over the intervening eight years. Hell, even imdb.com now has it at 7.4. TNT doesn’t continue to air it every other month because no one likes it or, more importantly for them, because no one is watching.
Part of the renewed appreciation might have to do with F. Gary Gray, who now has two huge back-to-back hits to follow up LAC. It’s only natural for those who suddenly become enamored of a director’s work to check out their back catalogue, and an orphaned or maligned film may gain new fans, particularly among those who may have missed it the first time around.
It’s no secret that I am a Gerard Butler fan. I will forever be convinced that, like other actors of his generation, Matthew McConaughey, until recently, comes to mind, he’s not yet been given the chance to shake loose the trappings of his leading man appearance and become the character actor he really wants to be. And he’s damned good in Law Abiding Citizen. (Sorry, I will always thing Jamie Foxx snoozed his way through the movie.)
While I admit to being a snob to some degree, there are instances where I am willing to dig deep to find something to like in anything I’ve paid my hard earned money to see.
I even enjoyed Gods of Egypt. I like to think I can see it for what it is: an ode of sorts to the Saturday matinees of old, and particularly the Ray Harryhausen creature-features where the strings and zippers are visible, but the movie we’re watching is just too much fun to care. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with that? Are we really at a point, as a theater-going, cinematic audience, that we cannot still appreciate a film just for the good time it seeks to provide?
My point might be an obscure one, but it’s this: Don’t let anyone come between you and what you like. Even Adam Sandler has done good work. (He’s a victim of his own success, if you ask me, but really, who did?) If you want proof of his talent, beyond his really early films (I admit to laughing at Happy Gilmore, but I go no further with his comedies – there has been some true dreck), check out the dramas like Reign Over Me. But if you are a fan, and there must be quite a few of you, then you get on with your bad self.
History, even as little as eight short years, might prove you right.