music friday: bruce springsteen turns 73
geezer cinema: beast (baltasar kormákur, 2022)

the iceman (ariel vromen, 2012)

This is the second film I have watched in "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2022-23", "A 33 week long challenge where the goal each week is to watch a previously unseen feature length film from a specified category." This is the 8th annual challenge, and my fourth time participating (my first year can be found at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2019-20", the second year at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2020-21", and last year at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2021-22"). Week 2 is called "Remembering Ray Week":

This week's challenge is to watch a previously unseen film starring Ray Liotta.

Ray could do these parts in his sleep. Here he plays Roy DeMeo, a real-life New York mobster. I guess I buried the lede ... The Iceman is based on the true story of  Richard Kulinski, a hitman who in the film works for DeMeo (this appears to be a bit of an exaggeration as far as being true to life). DeMeo/Liotta is not the main character. That's Kulinski, played by Michael Shannon, who can also play these parts in his sleep. (You can almost imagine the people making the movie saying "get me a Michael Shannon type and a Ray Liotta type", then realizing they could just get the originals.) The film centers on the split between Kulinski's job as a hitman and his life as a family man with a wife and daughters. The family never suspects that Kulinski is a murderer.

It's interesting that Ariel Vromen actually seems to have toned down Kulinski's character (in the movie, he loves his family and only regrets that his actions as hitman hurt them, while in real life, he was physically and emotionally abusive). I'm not sure why this was done ... are we supposed to empathize with Kulinski? Honestly, I have no idea why this movie was even made. It tells us little to nothing about the mind of a hitman, and the hitman/family life duality isn't very interesting. The cast grabs your attention ... besides Shannon and Liotta, there's Winona Ryder as Kulinski's wife, Chris Evans and David Schwimmer are barely recognizable, James Franco has what amounts to a cameo, and there's Stephen Dorff and Robert Davi and John Ventimiglia. There's nothing wrong with The Iceman, but I imagine I'm not the only person who wonders after watching it why I bothered.


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