|This shit is like my Steel Magnolias|
Let's talk about Russell Crowe. Crowe is so damn good in this. To borrow a phrase from Bill Simmons I think it might be his Apex Mountain. He's never been higher than this. Yes I see you in the back A Beautiful Mind truthers. Shut up. The raw anger he holds throughout the entirety of the film is just perfect for him. It suits him better than this Commodus fit from the movies dramatic climax.
You remember that whole "Am I Not Merciful?" scene that Phoenix has? If aliens ever make first contact and I am charged with putting together a sizzle reel of earths greatest acting achievements to show them, It's just gonna be that scene on repeat for 25 minutes. Cue Lights, Lower Curtain. Welcome to Earth bitches.
The real testament to this movie isn't that it won 5 Oscars, (Nominated for 7 more) Or the 4 BAFTAs, or even the 2 Globes. It didn't win any Saturn Awards, (Fuck You Saturn Awards) Its that for the last 20 years its been on TNT twice a day, every day, forever. Like go to TNT right now, I bet its either Law and Order SVU, Or its Gladiator. And I watch it, or part of it, every time.
Quick story. My mom actually went with me to the theater to watch this when it came out. As I was only 13 and couldn't see it alone. If you knew my Mom, holy shit, this was like a big deal. My mom was Fire and Brimstone. She is still convinced I'm going to hell and reminds me often, So the fact that she was taking me to a Rated R Movie was about the coolest shit I could have asked her to do. She definitely took it in stride, even if she prayed for me after it was over, but I'll always remember this as the first time my mom endorsed me watching a kick ass, violent, beautiful movie. An adult movie. I hope she knows I appreciated it.
Fucking great movie and number 31 on the list.