Song of the Day #2,002: ‘Live and Let Die’ – Paul McCartney & Wings

american_hustleWriter/director David O. Russell, once on Hollywood’s shit list for his antagonizing movie set antics, has turned his career around to an astonishing degree.

It started with The Fighter, which netted him Oscar nominations for both writing and direction and supporting acting wins for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo (the film was also nominated for Best Picture and two other awards).

He followed that up with Silver Linings Playbook, which picked up eight nominations (again, including nods for him as both writer and director) and a Best Actress win for Jennifer Lawrence.

This year he combined the casts of those two films for American Hustle, his fictionalized take on the Abscam sting, and barring any huge surprises he’s on his way to multiple nominations once again.

O. Russell always adds his unique stamp to his films, even when working across such widely different genres. His films walk the razor’s edge between conventional and wildly off-kilter. They always feel like they’re about to fly off the rails, in a good way.

American Hustle might be his best work yet. The acting is uniformly excellent, the cinematography and editing are bold and confident, the script is alternately hilarious and touching. It is epic in scope but very personal in tone.

The popular opinion is that O. Russell is “doing Scorsese” in this film, and stylistically it does owe quite a bit to Goodfellas. I’ve also read one critic’s take that he is doing Paul Thomas Anderson doing Scorsese, and I think that’s even closer to the mark. Like Anderson, O. Russell is in love with his characters in a way that Scorsese isn’t.

The easiest character to love is Jennifer Lawrence’s Rosalyn, the loose cannon wife of Christian Bale’s con-man Irving Rosenfeld. Lawrence gives a live-wire performance that never feels written, even though she has the movie’s best lines.

In a fabulous scene that inspired today’s SOTD choice, Rosalyn makes a dangerous and impulsive decision and then spends the aftermath singing and dancing to the Wings’ ‘Live and Let Die.’ It’s a moment as wild, unexpected and exhilarating as the movie itself.

When you were young
And your heart was an open book
You used to say live and let live
You know you did
You know you did
You know you did
But if this ever changin’ world
In which we live in
Makes you give in and cry
Say live and let die
Live and let die

What does it matter to ya
When you got a job to do you got to do it well
You got to give the other fella hell

You used to say live and let live
You know you did
You know you did
You know you did
But if this ever changin’ world
In which we live in
Makes you give in and cry
Say live and let die
Live and let die

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,002: ‘Live and Let Die’ – Paul McCartney & Wings

  1. Dana says:

    Okay, okay! I am LITERALLY getting on a plane this morning to get back home so I can see this and other movies you have mentioned of late.😄

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    I thought the movie was slick and very Hollywood with first rate acting. It also left me cold. Meh.

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