Monday, October 31, 2011

Small Bites: House of Games, On the Waterfront

House of Games

I had been itching to watch David Mamet’s The Spanish Prisoner again but House of Games more than fulfilled my Mamet fix for a few months. Mamet is one of those filmmakers whose dialogue plays like music to my ears. House of Games is no different as each scene feels like an advanced lesson in screenwriting. Mamet takes his time to detail how each con is constructed all the while constructing a bigger con unbeknownst to the viewer. Lindsay Crouse gives a solid performance in the film. It is easy to see why her character, Dr. Margaret Ford, would be swayed by Joe Mantegna’s con artist Mike. If you enjoy films about con artist, or the confidence game in general, then House of Games should be up your alley.

House of Games is part of our "The Must See List" series. The film was recommended by Colin.

On the Waterfront

It is amazing how many times I have seen the “I could have been a contender” scene but never actually got around to seeing the entire film. There is not much to add to heaps of the praise that the film has already received. While Marlon Brando won the Academy Award for best Actor, the highlight of the film for me was Karl Malden’s Father Barry. Malden allows Barry to be the voice of reason in the film without becoming overly preachy. Although the film is exceptional from beginning to end, the last act in particular really resonated with me. It was great to see Terry finally become a man and stand up for what was right despite the consequences. On the Waterfront is a classic film that still feels relevant even in this age.

On the Waterfront is part of our "The Must See List" series.


  1. I saw House of Games more than 20 years ago and have never seen it since. Even with the number of movies I see, I usually remember at least a general plot of each one, but for this one I can remember little at all. I may have to seek it out again.

    As for On the Waterfront, I completely agree. I actually consider this Brando's best performance, even over The Godfather.

  2. @Chip Lary – House of Games centers around a psychiatrist who becomes fascinated with a con artist and the con game in general. As she learns the tricks of the trade the cons get more elaborate and her ,role in the whole thing begins to change. Ultimately leading to her being pushed to her breaking point.

  3. 'House of Games' is a fascinating movie and Joe Mantegna is awesome in it, but I hate, hate, hate Lindsay Crouse. She strikes me as bland and completely unconvincing. I enjoyed 'The Spanish Prisoner' much more.

  4. I love love love On the Waterfront! Marlon Brando is amazing in that role and of course it's fairly quotable. After reading your opinion on House of Games I want to give it a watch.


  5. @Rich - I did not mind Crouse at all. I thought she was adequate for the role. Like you, I prefer The Spanish Prisoner more but that is partly due to the number of times I have seen that film.

    @French Toast Sunday - I would recommend giving House of Games a shot. It is not a memorable as On the Waterfront but still enjoyable in its own way.

  6. On the waterfront has been on my list ever since I saw A traincar named Desire, which I absolutely loved! I will try to see it soon!Great review!

  7. @Aziza - If you liked Streetcar than you should enjoy On the Waterfront. It was a film that I had been putting off seeing for quite a while. However, I am glad I finally got around to watching it.


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