John Travolta's prayers have been answered y'all. Finally a reason to chat about the guy that doesn't involve terms like "reverse massage" and law suit.
I'm talking about his new flick Savages, of course. It's the gritty, big screen drama directed by Oliver Stone. If you haven't heard of it, you will soon. It's good. Really good. Like Oscar good.
I'll be honest. I didn't expect to like it. A story about two Laguna Beach pot growers who go up against a Mexican drug cartel. Huh? What? I didn't think the feuds in Laguna got much deeper than the jealous, eye-roll filled rants between Lauren Conrad and Kristin Cavallari. But this is a side of So Cal I've never seen.
Based on a novel by Don Winslow, it centers around Ben (Aaron Johnson), a Buddhist idealist who uses his pot profits to help poor people around the world, his tough partner Chon (perfectly played by Taylor Kitsch), an ex Navy SEAL who is clearly the muscle of the biz, and their shared girlfriend Ophelia (Blake Lively), nicknamed "O". They have a complicated relationship, to say the least. And yes, there is a THREE-WAY!
But the action really starts when Salma Hayek's Mexican drug king pin Selena kidnaps O to have leverage against the guys. Selena is ruthless when it comes to getting her way and her minions live in fear of her. Basically a total BADASS. Think Scarface, but with boobs and a much better wardrobe.
Actually, the entire ensemble is great. SPOILER ALERT!!!! Travolta's sniveling, crooked DEA agent plays both sides skillfully. Gun fights, torture scenes, and kills come in a steady stream, but not in the Schwarzenegger-Stallone kind of way. If possible, there is something thoughtful and more calculated about the violence. It goes well beyond a regular shoot 'em up. That said, it is bloody. Very bloody.
And those who haven't seen Lively outside of the gilded penthouses of Gossip Girl will be pleasantly surprised. I'll admit, the role isn't exactly a stretch for the starlet. She's this rich 19-year-old who is irresponsible, likes to party, have sex, and makes insanely bad choices in men. Sounds EXACTLY like Serena van der Woodsen, right?
But her blissed out, wayward, hippie teen is so spot on in the film. You can see why the guys, best friends since high school, are so enamored with her and are willing to go to war for her. And nothing feels cliche -- not the stoner dudes with the primo weed or Selena's brutal henchman played by Benicio Del Toro.
Now, I know with tickets as high as $13 a pop, catching a movie is all about getting the most bang for your buck. I'm usually all about 3D special effects, huge, theater rattling explosions, and skyscraper size monsters. But trust me when I say this tense, fast-paced film is just as engrossing as any CGI generated web slinger.
Are you planning to see Savages?
Image via Savagesfilm.com