Middle Men Reviews
A good movie based on a true story. The movie plot is quite interesting and the director picked some good decent actors to play the parts. Ribisi and Wilson were great. Ending was excellent!
In 1995, everyone had a VCR, music was sold in record stores, and the world-wide-web was a new found discovery. Businessman Jack Harris (Luke Wilson) had the perfect life a beautiful family and a successful career fixing problem companies. Then he met Wayne Beering (Giovanni Ribisi) and Buck Dolby (Gabriel Macht), two genius but troubled men, who had invented the way adult entertainment is sold over the internet. When Jack agrees to help steer their business, he soon finds himself caught between a 23 year-old porn star and the FBI all the while becoming one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs of his time. Witness a story so outrageous, you won't believe it's true. A story that proves business is a lot like sex getting in is easy, pulling out is hard.
Director: George Gallo
Summary: After spotting a big financial opportunity in the future of Internet pornography, straightlaced entrepreneur Jack Harris (Luke Wilson) enlists his pals Buck (Gabriel Macht) and Wayne (Giovanni Ribisi) to help him develop an online billing company specializing in adult entertainment. But as the firm takes off, Jack finds some unexpected kinks in the business of kink -- including mobsters, the FBI, con men and terrorists.
My Thoughts: "This is one of those films I went into without knowing nothing about it, just that it had a couple of my fav. actor's in it, that being Giovanni Ribisi and Luke Wilson. If they were not in this film and I had known what the film was about, I would have passed on it. I really could care less how porn came to be on the internet. But in the end it was a pretty good business flick. I was surprised at how well written and directed it was. Great performances from Luke and Giovanni. Like most great independent flicks, this one too got an unfortunate small screening. Which is a shame since so much crap gets shown in so many more theaters then independent films do. Great movie with comedy, drama, and I believe is a bit of a true story. Definitely recommended."
The main character is Jack Harris (played well but a bit lethargically by Luke Wilson), a man who is basically ethical but is not averse to bending the rules when it suits him. This leads him to dangerous alliances with the Russian mob and other miscreants. Along for the ride are Giovanni Ribisi and hearth-throb Gabriel Macht, playing the original pornographers who get the idea in motion. --unfinished--
In "Middle Men," Wayne(Giovanni Ribisi), a disgraced veterinarian, and Buck(Gabriel Macht, of "Suits"), a disgraced rocket scientist, dream of hitting it big in Los Angeles but do not have the energy to accomplish much of anything. On the spur of the moment, Buck creates a program to charge credit cards for pornographic photos they scan into the internet, in order to make a little cash on the side. Eventually, the scheme works better than their wildest dreams. At the same time, they need original material which leads them to a strip club run by Nikita Sokoloff(Rade Serbedzija), a Russian mobster, who in order to let them photograph there, gets a share of the business. Except, they forget to pay. So, Jerry Haggerty(James Caan), a lawyer ten seconds away from being indicted, arranges for Jack Harris(Luke Wilson) to arrange a settlement without anybody getting killed.
Ably performed by a very good cast(of them, Laura Ramsey, playing a porn star, almost steals the movie), "Middle Men" is an irreverent look at the development of an innovation that changed the internet and therefore our lives.(Somebody got robbed of a Nobel Prize that year.) As the movie is inspired by a true story, it should come as no surprise that the wildest sounding part of the movie, a plot tangent in the second half, also rings the truest, considering what we have found out in the past year. That fits in well with the movie going after hypocrisy, considering how open a secret masturbation is. First on the list, is Jack, the protagonist and narrator of the movie. While he has no interest in being a pornographer as a family man, he sure keeps some interesting company in either mobsters or NRA members. All of which the movie is ambivalent about. In any case, what separates Jack from Buck and Wayne is he does not do drugs, allowing him to think clearly about who he is dealing with. On the other hand, if Buck and Wayne had not used drugs, they would not have made so much money, and we would probably be on Mars by now.
The entire film is from Jack's perspective, he narrates us through his story of going from helping a friends business out to helping two idiots who stumbled upon the biggest thing since sliced bread. Organizing a business around the idea of getting money through the Internet without ever having to meet another person is fascinating, seeing that origin story is even more intriguing seeing as we use it every day now and the circumstances under which it came to be even more so. The two idiots (as they are referred to as multiple times in the film) are played here with fantastical flair by Giovanni Ribisi and Gabriel Macht. Ribisi certainly has the more showy of the role as a cracked out psychotic who doesn't seem to know how to talk in a volume below yell, but he makes it work and is hilarious in every scene he plays. Macht is essentially the straight man to in their duo and makes us believe this could have all actually happened to them, while maintaining a sense of immature irresponsibility. Along with Wilson's commanding lead performance these two make this movie worth watching, if not for their drug induced antics, at least to gawk at how stupid genius can be.
The film is so quick paced and cuts quickly from one scene to the next as Jack takes us through the ins and outs of a business that makes so much money it is unsafe for anyone to stay in too long. It is somewhat of an ugly truth about society that people can and do in fact take in so much money off hidden fantasies, but the film doesn't let us think that, in fact, it shocks us into how relevant the industry actually is in our society. From being able to blackmail elected officials to helping wipe out a few terrorists, it is almost so absurd it can't be anything but true. We know its true, we just don't like to say it. It isn't a part of every day life and what is great about this movie is that it never forgets that. It understands its topics place in society. Throughout Jack gives voice over testimonials as to what is going on in his mind. He goes from convincing himself that everyone on the outside only wishes they could actually be where he sat. From that to finally admitting to himself that the little speck of knowledge does exist. That conscious that tells him what he is doing is wrong.
Which means, that in the end, this is really about the evolution and revelations of a man not sure what he wants out of life when presented with two polar opposite choices. It is part drama, comedy, and could even be a bit of an action flick at times, though in the lightest sense. And though it has many things going for it and many genres that it spans, we always feel as if a little something is missing. even now, as I write this review I'm not certain what exactly it is that didn't make the film feel complete for me. It is a solid movie, with great supporting cast and an intriguing story that is told in a definitive style. There is seemingly nothing to complain about on my end and so I will stop looking for it and say that besides the blunt content of the movie it is a greatly interesting film. One that some may want to ignore, but I dare you to pull your eyes from the screen.
I was surprised how much the film worked, but it's unbelievable. I kind of wanted the main guy in this to be more of a badass - cinema, in general, needs more of that - but he was just a middle man.
This is a middle of the road flick and not Goodfellas, which is unfair to want this movie to be, but, fuck, it really wants to be that movie so hard.