We’re watching the films of world-renowned triple-threat entertainer Jennifer Lopez for the third season of Ten Movies. This week on the podcast: the sexy 1998 thriller ‘Out of Sight’ – directed by the acclaimed and prolific Steven Soderbergh and starring the eternally handsome George Clooney alongside our gal.
We had high hopes for this one. Not only is Soderbergh – a master of the cool, witty heist-movie vibe – working with two ridiculously attractive leads, the supporting cast includes Don Cheadle, Catherine Keener and Albert Brooks, alongside podcast favorites Steve Zahn and Ving Rhames. All doing a caper! Come on!
But despite that pedigree and generally high marks from critics, we did not love it. It’s not really all that sexy, since Clooney kidnaps Lopez at gunpoint and gropes her and we’re supposed to believe that revs her engines. Was kidnapping sexy in 1998? Probably not.
The movie also feels disjointed. Soderbergh would go on to make airtight stylish crime capers – like ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and ‘Logan Lucky’ – but at this early stage of his career he definitely didn’t have the formula perfected. Sometimes it’s a stylish crime caper and sometimes it’s a violent neo-noir comedy in the vein of the Coen Brothers. And sometimes it’s just a straight-up late-90s crime thriller, like all those moves where Morgan Freeman’s a rogue detective or whatever. All perfectly acceptable registers, but discordant when combined into a single film. It was hard to know what the tone was supposed to be from scene to scene. Is this brutal murder supposed to be upsetting or darkly comedic?
Anyway, give the episode a listen and see what you think. Are we judging too harshly? Also, Brian and Hemal were sharply divided over the work here of Steve Zahn, perennial Ten Movies fave. So be warned.