Good Time

We’re a long ways from sparkly

Robert Pattinson is so far removed from his sparkly undead trash pop zenith that it seems almost cruel to bring it up. Let me repeat that – given how far legitimately talented actor Robert Pattinson has lifted himself career-wise from the cheeseball teen shlock that cemented his stardom eternally, it’s probably wrong to refer to him as Edward Cullen, the vampire love of Bella Swan. Robert doesn’t even look anymore like the same person who starred in five nearly-distinct and awful Twilight films … films that redefined for an entire generation where the low bar existed for acting, writing, direction, and romance. So even mentioning Twilight or any of its miserable sequels and the hideous historical cinematic “contribution” of which Robert Pattinson was a fully compliant co-conspirator would be wrong. Very wrong indeed. Twilight. Cullen. Sparkly vampire.

The Nikas brothers need money. Well, one brother needs money; I’m not sure about the other. Nick Nikas (co-director Benny Safdie) was victim of an industrial accident that left him mentally impaired. Now this man-child is the willing pawn of his brother Connie (Pattinson). Pattinson wants to rob a bank, so we’re robbing a bank. Don’t get me wrong; it looked like Nick was only too happy to participate, yet the big brother feel to this moment put me in the mind of my own childhood:

“Ma! I’m leaving!”
“Where are you going?”
“To rob a bank!”
“Take your brother with you!”
“Aw, ma, do I have to?”
“Yes. And make sure he dresses warmly.”
“Oh. All right.” [mumbles incoherently]

Yeah, I can’t even guess how many times I had to take my lousy brother to bank robbery. More than I can count, I tells ya.

Seriously, I am very surprised Connie pulls it off. And why does he ask for exactly $65k? Is there some exact amount it will take for Nick to get right again? Is there an element of altruism to the crime? Cannot say for sure. What I can say is that the boys need to check better for ink bombs in the money sacks. And during the getaway, Connie recognizes the glass door opens while Nick does his best impression of a suicidal city pigeon and is caught easily.

Now, Connie needs $10k just to spring Nick from jail. I’ll just leave it there; Connie’s evening has only just begun. Good Time is one of those series-of-poor-choice films; Connie does just enough right to make himself seem clever, but when you step back and look objectively, you can’t help being impressed by the fabulously ill-considered decisions he makes starting with asking his mentally challenged brother to abet him on a robbery.

Good Time doesn’t cheat or fizzle. Even when Connie finds a safehouse of sorts, there’s always something going on, plot-wise. I’m not calling this a great film; I was fairly frustrated with Connie’s self-inflicted wounds and his manipulation of his mentally-challenged brother.  Does Good Time = good film?  Yeah, I’ll go there. I’m very curious to see what the Benny and Josh Safdie do next.

Now, you won’t believe this, but Connie, the inner-city street hustler and vandal – it’s the same guy who played Edward Cullen in the Twilight films. I know, right? No way.

♪Brother to rassle, brother to rustle
Robbin’ a bank to make moolah
Gettin’ away if we can

Temporary set backs
Good Time
Pre-exploding ink packs
Good Time
Prob’ly better without ‘m
Good Time♫

Rated R, 101 Minutes
Director: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie (I wonder if these guys attended a “Safdie” film school)
Writer: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie
Genre: Not thinking it through
Type of being most likely to enjoy this film: Small timers
Type of being least likely to enjoy this film: Sparkly reminiscers

♪ Parody Inspired by “The Theme to ‘Good Times’ “

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