Matchstick Men

Tonight’s film: Matchstick Men, Ridley Scott’s 2003 comedy/drama/caper movie.

He’s a genre-buster, that Ridley Scott.

In the past month I’ve watched every movie he’s made except for 1492, which for some reason is not available on DVD in the US.

Usually in a Ridley Scott movie, the stakes are pretty damn high for the protagonist. Usually lots of people will die if the protagonist screws up. This time, the stakes are smaller but more personal.

You know it’s funny, Ridley Scott’s movies often have a “happy ending,” but he seems to define “happy” differently than most Hollywood directors.


For instance, the happy ending of Thelma and Louise is that they drive into the Grand Canyon.

The happy ending of Gladiator is that Russell Crowe dies, and so finally gets to join his family in the next life. Lucky thing, there being a next life.

The happy ending of Kingdom of Heaven is that after a fierce battle, the protagonist surrenders Jerusalem to the Muslims and prevents further bloodshed.

The happy ending of Hannibal is that the cannibalistic maniac gets away and the wheelchair-bound sicko gets eaten alive by ravenous boars.

The happy ending of Blade Runner is that Harrison Ford and Sean Young make it out of the apartment alive.

Anyway, you get the point.


Ridley Scott, it should be obvious to most, loves to explore a world, usually a world that isn’t often presented to us. And the thing that he seems to love the most is The Rules. The protagonist of the Ridley Scott movie is often thrust into a strange world with peculiar Rules that he or she must learn to follow, or else, more often than not, people die. When the protagonist learns to bend the rules to his or her advantage, he or she triumphs, even when the triumph involves their own death.

Well, enough of that.

Alison Lohman is terrific in Matchstick Men.

Also tonight, the first 30 minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

I miss Karen Allen.
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9 Responses to “Matchstick Men”
  1. robolizard says:

    I just wanted to fanboyishly tell you that I loved LOVED ADORED your Martian Manhunter comic in Bizzarro stories. Simply grand.

    • Todd says:

      Thanks. I was working closely with Michael Kupperman on that project. His new comic book “Tales designed to Thrizzle Vol 2” is in a comic book store near you right now.

  2. urbaniak says:

    I met Karen Allen once. I miss her too.

    • Todd says:

      Yes, after I posted that I went to go look her up at the IMDb, and of course she shares a credit with you.

      I think you’re becoming the new Kevin Bacon.

      Ang Lee’s Ride With the Devil was mentioned in an interview with Gore Vidal the other day. He called it the best movie ever made about the American Civil War. He didn’t mention your turn as a crusty prospector. He also misidentified the title as “The Devil Rides Outside,” which made me think maybe he saw a mistranslated version in Hong Kong or something.

      Hey, you worked with Ang Lee! He’s up for something tonight!

      And I know Jon Stewart! This is the first time the Oscars ™ have ever been hosted by someone I’ve hung out and bullshitted with!

      And hey! I know George Clooney too! And I’ve spoken to Steven Spielberg a few times! Between you and me, we’re on speaking terms with three of the five nominated directors! If that’s not exciting, I don’t know what is.

      • urbaniak says:

        I’ve worked with Clooney as well! And Reese Witherspoon! And Paul Giamatti! I’ve met Philip Seymour Hoffman! We have the same agent! And I once rented an apartment in Paris from Hubert Sauper, who’s nominated in the documentary category! And years ago I met Bennett Miller at a party! It’s all true!

        Jesus Leaping Shit, what a year!

  3. gazblow says:

    Schwartz in Upstate Manhattan here. I went to college with PSH and Felicity Huffman and date-of-Meryl-and-Tomlin Wren Arthur! And Premium Bob was supposed to be on the Jon Stewart Show (MTV version) before it was canceled. Can I hang out with you guys now? Huh? Huh?

    • Todd says:

      All are welcome here at “I wonder what Todd Alcott is watching tonight?” It doesn’t matter how peripheral your involvement with Oscar people is.

      Ladies and gentlemen, Gary Upton Schwartz!