Den of Thieves


Rated Greg’s Top 5 Most Macho Movies

  1. Predator
  2. Rocky IV
  3. Scarface
  4. Gladiator
  5. Big Trouble in Little China

Den of Thieves, starring Gerard Butler & 50 Cent, is a good movie.  Wait.  WAIT!  WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!  DON’T LEAVE!  HEAR ME OUT!


Ok you still here?  Good.  So yes, Hollywood’s newest bank robbing caper, Den of Thieves, stars Gerard Butler and 50 Cent.  And yes, it only got a 41% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.  But you know what?  Just like Carmelo Anthony proclaiming that he’s “done with the refs,” Rated Greg is officially done with Rotten Tomatoes.  You know how I know that the Tomatometer is full of shit?  75% of the public audience reported liking Den of Thieves after seeing it, which is more than the 71% that reported liking Phantom Thread, a movie that got a 91% on the Tomatometer compared to Den’s 41.  Now, Phantom Thread is a fine cinematic accomplishment and unlike The Shape of Water, I’m not going to fuss about its Best Picture nomination.  But watching Phantom Thread is not NEARLY as fun a time as watching Den of Thieves is.  It’s just not.


What critics got wrong about Den of Thieves is that they took the film as seriously as the film takes itself.  This movie oh so obviously aspires to be Heat 2.0… but just because it’s visibly inferior to the best heist movie of all time, most notably in the area of plot cohesiveness, doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile entertainment.  Comparing Den of Thieves to Heat is the wrong litmus test.  Rather, it should be thought of as an R-Rated, less self-aware Fast and Furious.  In addition to Heat and F&F, this movie also borrows from The Town, Sicario, and Bad Boys II.  Now, there’s a fine line between paying homage to something and completely ripping it off.  Because of how similar certain scenes are, Den is probably guilty of the latter, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

The main thing I took away from Den of Thieves is that it’s just OOZING with unbridled machismo.  For real, the level of swinging dicks in each frame is a throwback to this gif.


Needless to say, this film does not pass The Bechdel Test.  At the center of those swinging dicks is Gerard Butler in a ravenous performance that can only be further described as the love child of Heat Pacino, the bear from The Revenant, and a 24 oz. can of Tecate. He’s on one from start to finish and I loved every second of it (and this is coming from someone that hasn’t cared at all for his previous filmography).

Gerard Butler stars in DEN OF THIEVES

In addition to Butler we have the aforementioned 50 cent, who is second billed on the poster for marketing purposes but turns out to be no more than an ancillary character. Really, Den of Thieves is about Butler vs. Pablo Schreiber and O’Shea Jackson Jr, both also fantastic in their own rights (you might remember Pablo as Nicky Sobotka from The Wire Season 2, he’s also Liev Schreiber’s younger brother).  Anyways, there you have it. Den of Thieves is a good movie.  Thanks for sticking around.  Grade: A-

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Molly’s Game


Rated Greg’s Aaron Sorkin Rankings

  1. The Social Network
  2. Molly’s Game
  3. Steve Jobs
  4. A Few Good Men
  5. Moneyball

Molly’s Game is an undeniably delightful smorgasbord of a movie.  The rise and fall of ____, CHECK.  Courtroom drama, CHECK.  High stakes, CHECK.  Organized crime, CHECK. Family strife, CHECK.  Sports, CHECK.  Cleavage, CHECK.  Holding all of these moving parts together is peak level dialogue from none other than Aaron Sorkin.  He took some hits years ago for the misguidedly “elitist” Newsroom on HBO, but all is forgiven if he keeps throwing down en fuego screenplays like this.


Similar to Quentin Tarantino, Sorkin’s dialogue is one of a kind in that you can always immediately tell if you’re watching an Aaron Sorkin script on the big screen or TV.  There are many imitators, but no one can write conversations enriched with fast paced zingers between two smart people quite like he can.  Tossing Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain in a room with these ingredients is just as thrilling as any action scene.


I saw Molly’s Game on New Years Day and I’m a little mad at myself for putting out the all-important 2017 Rated Greg awards the day before.  Had I waited until I saw all of the holiday season Oscar contenders, this definitely would have factored into several slots. Specifically, you can go ahead insert Chastain into the Best Lead performance conversation.  Firing on all cylinders, she’s never been better.  Molly’s Game also wins the award for best dialogue and best opening scene (yes, even over Baby Driver).  As for Idris Elba, his supporting performance is nothing short of magnificent.  For real, why is he not a bigger deal by now?  It’s been THIRTEEN years since Stringer Bell bit the dust, can we scrap all of these dumbass Liam Neeson movies and give Elba some leading man roles in top notch scripts?  Fame is best measured by our parents and there’s no way in hell I should have to tell my Mom the name of the handsome actor who played Molly’s lawyer, and yet I did.  Grade: A-

The Most Wicked Storm


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The Most Wicked Storm is a one of a kind short film from Maryland native and Rated Greg board member John Beckham.  Premiering at the 2017 DC Shorts Film Festival back in September, Beckham’s eccentric vision officially came to life, perfectly encompassing the log line “from acorn to adult, a family of trees fight the elements to encounter nature’s most vicious attack.”  Seriously, take 3 minutes and check out this twisted, haunting tale of fate and circumstance.  It’ll be one of the more original works of art you’ll see all year (embedded below).  Well done JB!