War Dogs

2016 drama

Rating: 14/20 (Jen: No rating. She was in the room for the entire movie but didn't watch it. She says she didn't like it and doesn't like Jonah Hill.)

Plot: Childhood friends get involved in the arms dealing business, but it puts strains on the relationships of that kid who wanted to play drums in Whiplash.

If that poster above reminds you of the one for the 70's Scarface, it's not a coincidence.

If you saw previews for this movie and thought, "Wait a second! There's already a movie about arms dealing, and since it has Nicolas Cage in it, it's automatically superior to any other movie that could be made about the subject," then you're right.

If you don't like Miles Teller, there's a lot of him here. He might be in every single scene in this movie, and since he narrates the movie as well--because if there's anything we need more of in movies, it's narration--you get a ton of the guy. I didn't like him and then did like him and now just can't be sure how I feel. My feelings about Jonah Hill were similar, so when I saw previews for this and saw that both of these guys were in this movie, I was suspicious. "What are these two fellas trying to do?" I thought to myself. "What's their game here?" Turns out, they're both just fine. Hill has this recurring chuckle, a strange little quirk, and it feels a little forced by the fourth time you hear it. Neither guy plays a likable character, and since I don't find either actor all that likable, I guess that makes it work. I do like their chemistry. They bounce off each other well, and the dialogue is quick and stuffed with all these humorous asides. Most of the funniest bits in the movie are tiny lines exchanged by these two.

I will say this. The "dudes" and "bros" coming from Jonah Hill sound a little more natural than the ones coming from Teller.

The story is a little predictable with some obvious foreshadowing dropped a couple times. I guess part of the reason a twist still works is that you end up believing in the relationship in the story. And there's a point in the story where you know the characters aren't going to die, but the suspense is still very real regardless. And it's still a little funny at the same time, too.

The main issue, I suppose, is that these characters are really difficult to root for. In fact, you don't want to root for anybody in this movie with the exception of a baby and maybe a camel I thought I saw in the background of one scene. Oh, and the driver. I liked that guy. But the U.S. government? They're not something you want to root for here. The leads? No, they're despicable people. Bradley Cooper? You always want to root for his characters, right? Not here exactly, mostly because of his facial hair.

This might have gotten a rating boost from me if it did for government military spending what The Big Short did for the housing bubble collapse. Or maybe it did do that. Anyway, we definitely spend a lot of money on things that kill in this country, don't we?

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