r/movies Aug 29 '22 Silver 2 I'll Drink to That 1

Edward Norton Is at His Best in 'American History X' Article

https://collider.com/american-history-x-edward-norton-best-performance/
18.5k Upvotes

6.3k

u/DenzelEd12 Aug 29 '22

I always liked how this movie didn’t just portray him as a mindless nazi skinhead. He was intelligent and articulate and argued convincingly. It’s a big part of what makes people like that so dangerous

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u/UnhingedGecko Aug 29 '22

I will never forget the inbred polish nazi hillbilly I met in the backwoods of New York who loved this movie. This movie was so well made and Norton’s acting so good the Nazis think he is on their side.

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u/Kyle4Prez Aug 29 '22

Did he shut it off before the end or something? It's not really a pro-nazi movie

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u/GanderAtMyGoose Aug 29 '22

I would even switch some words there and say it's really not a pro-nazi movie haha.

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u/Bighippie7408 Aug 29 '22

That’s how I read it above. Mind tricks

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u/ShouldersofGiants100 Aug 29 '22 Silver

They see the violence in it as aspirational, not repugnant. The message itself requires a degree of empathy and self reflection that they lack.

It is damn near impossible to satirize Nazis because they already filter the world so heavily to support their views that they can see the same things a normal person would and get the exact opposite message. And it doesn't help that they see the ending as justification for the way the character was, rather than a commentary on the cycle of hatred and violence.

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u/KlumsyNinja42 Aug 29 '22 edited Aug 29 '22

This is why they just sprayed hitler with a machine gun in Inglorious Bastards. No satire there, just killing the shit out of hitler.

Edit: words are hard and this movie is neat!

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u/Puzzleheaded_Fox3546 Aug 29 '22

The opera and the ending was so fucking satisfying, especially compared to how the movie begins.

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u/GTOdriver04 Aug 29 '22

I firmly believe that that scene is what won Waltz the Oscar.

We see him speak three languages eloquently, he exercises beautiful tact and brilliance in deducing what happened to the Dreyfus family, and accomplished his mission efficiently.

It really shows how ruthless some of the Nazis were, but does it in a beautiful manner. But on the same token, we also see how Landa really doesn’t care about the ideology at all. He’s a smart man among fools he feels.

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u/NoodlesLongacre Aug 29 '22

I loved that character. Nazis are easy to use as villains in movies. They're evil because they're Nazis, no further characterization is needed. But Hans Landa isn't evil because he's a Nazi, he's a Nazi because he's evil.

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u/just_some_dude828 Aug 29 '22

“Monsieur LaPadite, to both your family and your cows, I say: Bravo!”

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u/Em_Haze Aug 29 '22

Hands down the most intimidating scene in cinema history.

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u/DrDetectiveEsq Aug 30 '22

Never thought I'd be scared of a 5'7" tall guy drinking a cool glass of milk.

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u/BlackRobedMage Aug 29 '22

It is damn near impossible to satirize Nazis

I think Mel Brooks did a pretty good job of it.

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u/ShouldersofGiants100 Aug 29 '22

Mel Brooks managed it because he really went all in on ridicule. He turned grand Nazi spectacle into a joke, their representatives into bumbling idiots, their beliefs into a punchline. Basically: He gave the people who admired them literally nothing to grab onto, because there was nothing aspirational in their representation. It's certainly effective, but it's also limiting. You can make "The Producers" with that mindset, but you can't make "American History X". Mocking Nazis is the most damaging to their image and ego, probably even the most damaging to their political designs, but doesn't generally fit with serious storytelling.

Even if you try the halfway point, like say, Inglorious Basterds (where all the historical nazis are moronic caricatures the story humiliates at every opportunity), the Nazi sympathizers will just latch onto the people you don't mock—so Hitler gets mocked, but now Hans Landa becomes the aspiration. Even a sliver of values that Nazis can cling to and they will twist it.

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u/Khutuck Aug 29 '22

Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator was also on the same vein.

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u/SummerAndTinkles Aug 30 '22 edited Aug 31 '22

Brooks made it very clear his mockery of Hitler is not just him being edgy for the sake of edgy; he has a personal deep-seated hatred for the guy (especially being a Jew himself) and wants to make sure no one appreciates or respects terrible beliefs like Adolf's.

He once said in an interview that being seen as a big scary boogieman is exactly what Hitler would want, and treating him like a joke is a much better way to insult and demean him and his legacy. (However, he never makes jokes about concentration camps, because he admitted there's just no humor to get out of that kind of thing.)

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u/Barkingatthemoon Aug 29 '22

I wish I could formulate my ideas like you do . Just saying. I’m saving this comment , it’s so eloquently put .

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u/NiceVarmint Aug 29 '22

Ill never understand a "Polish nazi"

Your whole fucking country was burned to the ground by Russians and Nazis. The ones who lived got shoved off to German work camps. It wasnt even that long ago you dumb fuck.

It'd be like a Native American with paintings of Columbus on his wall.

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u/OK_Soda Aug 29 '22

"The Nazis would have left us alone if we didn't have any Jews" or something like that.

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u/play0ff_rondo Aug 29 '22

Nope Slavs were considered subhuman in the 3rd reich

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u/Monteze Aug 29 '22

"I'd be one of the good ones."

Thier ability to jump through hoops can't be over stated.

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u/Blade_Shot24 Aug 29 '22

I mean have you not seen the American veterans who wave confederate flags? Or the American neo Nazis that their gran daddies witnessed commit horrid atrocities?

Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing.

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u/vyleside Aug 29 '22

During WW2 a surprising number of Americans kinda agreed with the nazis. Ww2 didn't kill that sentiment, just pushed it into private.

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u/badmythology Aug 29 '22

Cognitive dissonance is incredibly frustrating as it is fascinating. I’ve seen and even met people of color, or more specifically black people, who proudly wave the Confederate flag - among other progressively more far right symbols and ideologies

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u/WeimarRepublic Aug 29 '22

I know a Latvian guy like this. Apparently the sentiment is their life under the thumb of the USSR was so bad they wish Germany would've won

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u/Tadhg2341 Aug 29 '22

Latvia had an awful time during WW2. Didn’t want to join either side and was invaded by both sides

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u/BiggieAndTheStooges Aug 29 '22

A lot of racists do like this movie as far as I can tell. It unintentionally glorifies that world even if it is actually a cautionary tale. Kinda like what Trainspotting did for heroin use.

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u/44problems Aug 29 '22

Yeah I went to school with some people who liked the brutality a bit too much.

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u/bitch_flipper Aug 29 '22

Imo the movie could have put more effort into dismantling Nazi ideology. We certainly see Norton's character defend his racists belief at length. And then boom, change of heart, hate gone. That's cool too though.

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u/putdisinyopipe Aug 30 '22 edited Aug 30 '22

He did, there’s that part where he finds out he was groomed to do bids by a guy who talks big shit but has never done time. That was a huge motivator and one of the straws that broke the camels back. His “mentor” was really a predator who took advantage of disenfranchised white youth and put them to work and in danger while he doesn’t do Jack shit and talks a hard talk,

He also gets out and sees that his brother has been radicalized after realizing that the leader of their Nazi group preys on angry young white dudes.

Main character had time to deconstruct his preconceived racial notions in his relation ship with the inmate he worked with that was black, that’s when he questions it all that’s what spurns the change from his hateful ideology into realizing black people are no different than him- he realizes his brother is headed down the same road as him.

I disagree, it wasn’t a GoT turn and spin, there’s a nuanced progression and pacing to his deconstruction.

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u/shaving99 Aug 29 '22

It started with heroin and it ended with having the high ground, can you blame them?

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u/Asswipe44 Aug 29 '22

from my point of view, non-heroin users are evil

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u/Severe-Stock-2409 Aug 29 '22

Seeing that he became a nazi after his fictional dad died saving a fire in “a neighborhood he didn’t belong”, who knows by that logic, he may have become a fictional mega nazi after the death of his brother from the fictional shooting of his brother by a black guy. To be continued.

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u/ofnofame Aug 29 '22 edited Aug 30 '22

I grew up in the south of Brazil in the 80’s, where Nazi apologists and holocaust denialism ran rampant in communities of German descent. A colleague of mine in high school showed up in school with a Neo-Nazi book telling me I should read it. He was a person of Polish descent. I was in awe of his bigotry, and mentioned it to my mom. She quickly explained what the Nazis did to the Poles during the war. At that point I realized I was surrounded by idiots.

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u/p480n Aug 29 '22

That and Derek felt he was above the “nazi” label. This line of thinking still persists.

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u/DenzelEd12 Aug 29 '22

Hmm. I’m not so sure of that. I mean the guy had a giant swastika on his chest haha. He definitely thought he was smarter than everyone else in that world though. Probably because he was, those circles don’t exactly attract the most intelligent of folk on average

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u/RoorrippeR Aug 29 '22

He specifically thought he was above the KKK. There's a scene where they discuss that idea, I'm sure that's where the above comment is coming from

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u/DenzelEd12 Aug 29 '22

Yeah that’s true. Again I think thats more to do with him thinking he is smarter. Not their ideologies. “Disorganised rednecks” he calls them

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u/TrueCommunistt Aug 29 '22

because nazis and kkk are two very different things

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u/robbiedenali Aug 29 '22

I wouldn't say it was Derek who led the "we're not just skinheads" narrative, but Cameron who did. The movie was way ahead of its time, especially with the Cameron character, who wanted to elevate the white power movement to be more like what it is today.

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u/Barry_Allen208 Aug 29 '22

I rewatched the movie last week and I kept thinking that how dangerous and easily it would be for people like Cameron to influence on people and elevate the movement. He even said that with the internet they were making wonders and it was 1990s internet

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u/[deleted] Aug 29 '22

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u/seriousnotshirley Aug 29 '22

This stuff was going on in the 80s and early 90s with people like David Duke and Don Black figuring out that they needed to ditch the bedclothes and pillow cases for suits and ties. They needed to cough whitewash white power. We are seeing the fruits of that labor decades later where entire generations have been brought up in that environment.

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u/typesett Aug 29 '22

these are leadership qualities

imagine if they were used to better serve the community in tangible ways

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u/Egon88 Aug 29 '22 edited Aug 30 '22

I found this movie a bit simplistic in it's portrayal of Derek's conversion. What I didn't know at the time was that it is loosely based on a real person whose actual ly conversion was indeed a bit more complicated than what the movie shows.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Meeink#Life_after_prison

Here's a video where he talks about it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqiNrlhMkYU

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u/joe12321 Aug 29 '22

It may be abbreviated, but I don't think it's so simplistic. Meeting and getting to really know people against whom you have a prejudice is probably the most effective way to come out of that prejudice. This is what was demonstrated.

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u/DenzelEd12 Aug 29 '22

I agree it happened quite quickly in comparison to the pacing of the rest of the movie

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u/Poullafouca Aug 29 '22

Edward Norton had a great director, Tony Kaye, and that was a huge part of why you get such a brilliantly nuanced character.

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u/OfferOk8555 Aug 29 '22

Norton and Kaye had huge disagreements on set (not uncommon of course) but I remember reading something that Norton went to the studio during the editing process and fought for changes be made that Kaye disagreed with. I believe Norton won that fight and Kaye wasn’t too happy with how things ended. Idk I need to relook this stuff up but it was something like that. Norton has a bit of reputation for being a difficult talent.

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u/DirectorAgentCoulson Aug 29 '22

I was discussing Norton on a She-Hulk thread recently, and apparently he's been known to help protect female co-stars from scummy producers.

Supposedly the "overstepping" and difficult to work with label is the same way young actresses get labeled "difficult to work with" for refusing sexual advances.

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u/OfferOk8555 Aug 29 '22

I mean I don’t doubt that Norton has done that.. but I think he has also had plenty of behind the scene run ins with people from Hulk to Red Dragon to American History X, I would say it goes a little beyond this. He’s an artist who believes in his vision and fights for it. It’s gonna rub some people the wrong way but doesn’t make him a bad guy.

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u/PanachelessNihilist Aug 29 '22

Yep. Norton did a great job playing off his reputation in Birdman. He's an intensely talented and committed actor, but he can also be very stubborn and difficult to work with. The funny thing is that it seems like a switch flips as soon as filming is complete, and he's a generous, gregarious guy in his personal life and he does tons of work for nonprofit organizations without any publicity at all.

I'm a huge fan, but have definitely heard some horror stories.

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u/Archer-Saurus Aug 29 '22

Idk I relate to that just as someone who cares about their job. It's his work, on set is work time, everything that happens can impact this thing you've all been working on for months. Easy to see how someone can have, uh, passionate discussions there, but when the work is done flip the switch because you're off the clock now.

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u/PanachelessNihilist Aug 29 '22

Oh, I completely agree, and it really fits into Norton's entire ethos--he's an actor, not a celebrity.

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u/BigBananaDealer Aug 29 '22

its why they recasted bruce banner to mark ruffalo (someone norton personally suggested)

he didnt want to conform to feiges big ideas for the cinematic universe

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u/SairiRM Aug 29 '22

Considering Kaye is a little bit unhinged himself, I'd say Norton's disagreements must not have been that one-sided. Maybe Furlong's character could've been more of a centerpiece, alas the film after all ends up being quite good, Kaye's vision iirc was way bleaker.

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u/mikaelfivel Aug 29 '22

I thought it was the other way around. That Kaye apparently wanted a reformed, more positive ending, and that Norton wanted it to stay how we know it, where Danny gets killed. I recall Kaye was so upset by the idea that Norton wouldn't waiver or compromise that he ditched it and wanted his name scrubbed for a pseudonym.

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u/TriscuitCracker Aug 29 '22

Honestly...I can't think of a "bad" Edward Norton performance. He's been in a few mediocre movies, but he himself has always been good to great.

Even in his Ask the Storybots guest star roll!

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u/TheCluelessDeveloper Aug 29 '22

I loved his performance in Kingdom of Heaven. He wore a mask for 99% of that time, but conveyed so much emotion.

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u/theghostofme Aug 30 '22

Yeah, that was a lot of body language acting that really worked well. He pulled that off very well. Man, I love that movie. Another Ridley Scott home run that was butchered by studio meddling with a director's cut that is amazing.

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u/sandypants Aug 29 '22

The Italian Job .. I read the background on this and he was apparently obligated to be in the movie, hated doing it and was an ass on set with production staff. Knowing that and watching his performance .. even given the character was sposta be a jerk .. sort of tell he was channeling his IRL angst. As a TD that works with performers .. that kinda behavior is a real turnoff.

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u/Netflixandzzz Aug 29 '22

I... I've never seen "supposed to" spelled like that.

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u/nowhereman136 Aug 29 '22

Italian Job wasn't great but it was still a fun movie with enjoyable characters. And Edward Norton played the role fine.

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u/Sad_Habib Aug 29 '22

I rewatched this film a couple of weeks ago, and Ed Norton basically plays 2 different characters. It was such a great, shifting performance

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u/apittsburghoriginal Aug 29 '22 edited Aug 29 '22

I’d even argue three. One as a full fledged skin head, one as a conflicted inmate and one as a reformed ex-white nationalist.

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u/its_raining_scotch Aug 29 '22

There’s even the younger version of himself talking with his dad, so you could say 4.

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u/apittsburghoriginal Aug 29 '22

Good point, I missed that. I agree.

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u/anyatrans Aug 29 '22 Helpful

Edward Norton is always at his best.

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u/reecewagner Aug 29 '22

Seriously. Even in a star studded movie like Birdman you can’t take your eyes off him

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u/thebobmannh Aug 30 '22

God I loved Birdman. I wish it had more staying power.

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u/Moodling Aug 30 '22

His performance in Birdman is one of my favorite performances of all time. Him and Emma Stone on the roof, unbelievable scene.

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u/Derp_Wellington Aug 29 '22

I watched the movie "Rounders" the other day. Didn't care for the movie, but Norton gave a top notch performance as "Worm", a skilled but degenerate poker player/cheat

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u/Ki-Gon Aug 29 '22 Wholesome I'll Drink to That

Clearly written by someone who hasn't seen Death to Smoochy

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u/Mind_Extract Aug 29 '22

"What about the rumors that you're mentally imbalanced?"

"WHO THE FUCK SAID THAT?!"

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u/Sir_Donkey_Punch Aug 29 '22

“I’m Rainbow Fucking Randolph!”

Probably one of the best cult comedy movies out there. Especially since you can’t buy it on Blu-ray anywhere

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u/LadyLoki5 Aug 29 '22

My balls! They're on FIRE!!

20 years later Robin's delivery of that line still leaves me in absolute stitches!

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u/caninehere Aug 29 '22

Weird since it used to be on TV literally all the time.

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u/F0LEY Aug 29 '22

SA-FARRRR-EEE!!

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u/iWasChris Aug 29 '22

PPPPFFFFFFFFFFBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTTT

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u/LadyLoki5 Aug 29 '22

This is my favorite fucking movie of all time by a million miles and I absolutely cannot get ANYONE to watch it! It's infuriating!

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u/Ganthamus_prime Aug 29 '22

It's a.... it's a....
Rocketship!

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u/KindRecognition403 Aug 29 '22

The quote “sure one person can’t change the world but you can make a dent” sticks with me years after watching.

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u/meatbag84 Aug 29 '22

When my brothers and I played cowboys and Indians, I was always the Chinese railroad worker.

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u/itjustgotcold Aug 29 '22

It’s… its…. ITSAROCKETSHIP!

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u/OGB Aug 29 '22

Its a cock! Its not a rocketship you sick fuck!

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u/pandybong Aug 29 '22

Best movie ever: “whatever that means, you fucking peasant!” 🤣

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u/teuwgle Aug 29 '22

He’s a bottle of pancake syrup with legs!

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u/joshbudde Aug 29 '22

One second I’m singing and the next it’s all smooch-heil smooch-heil. I’m being compared unfavorably to gorbells!

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u/Lonelan Aug 29 '22

fucking THANK YOU

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u/gamerdudeNYC Aug 29 '22

I saw this movie when I was really young and it made me decide I never wanted to go to prison

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u/waltpsu Aug 29 '22

It made me decide I never wanted to be curb stomped.

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u/Alittude Aug 29 '22

If only you watched the longest yard instead

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u/Thorebore Aug 29 '22

Dry anal rape being depicted on film tends to influence people in that direction.

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u/Dickramboner Aug 30 '22

How do these guys get hard so fast??

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u/PrettyPinkEgg Aug 29 '22

Honestly it might be 25th Hour. A bit like Denzel in He Got Game, it’s just a really natural performance of a guy with a past.

Both performances aren’t loud and in your face but they can play cool, charming, conflicted and it’s just natural. Shout out Spike Lee also

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u/phome83 Aug 29 '22

25th hour was such a surprisingly amazing movie.

That rant he has to himself in the mirror, rejecting himself, was so awesome.

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u/ptcptc Aug 29 '22

That fuck you mirror scene is peak Norton. What a great movie indeed. Great performances all around.

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u/[deleted] Aug 29 '22

Lol doesnt that scene happen in every spike lee joint

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u/AreYou_MyCaucasian Aug 29 '22

It’s fun to call spike lee movies joints

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u/NoMoOmentumMan Aug 29 '22

I fellt like the "I need you to make me ugly" and every scene with Brian Cox are so much more than that monlouge.

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u/swervinh0 Aug 29 '22

I’ve watched this scene hundreds of times and know it word for word! Such an underrated film

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u/altw460 Aug 29 '22

Sorry to hijack a little bit, but I thought Barry Pepper was perfect in this movie, and sadly he hasn’t seen quite the career everyone else in that has

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u/andrewegan1986 Aug 29 '22

Solid book too. Felt cinematic so when I saw the movie it was like I had already seen it.

Mirror scene is almost word for word as it is in the book.

However, something I really liked from the book was Philip Seymour Hoffman's character being described as one of the finest pedestrians in the history of NYC and goes into detail about his and other characters walking styles through the crowded city streets. Bit of an obvious, on the nose character metaphors but I liked it a lot.

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u/Drewski_120 Aug 29 '22

That movie/book was written by one of the GOT show runners

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u/Proper-Code7794 Aug 29 '22

This is not a good date movie

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u/Master_Tape Aug 29 '22

Primal Fear is another great example

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u/sdfgh23456 Aug 29 '22

I also loved Leaves of Grass. I hear he's a massively egocentric douche, but dude can act for sure.

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u/trainstationbooger Aug 29 '22

His riff on his own persona in Birdman was really fun to watch

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u/misterfriend Aug 29 '22

His best performance, pound-for-pound, but I still prefer Fight Club as his best movie.

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u/YoungXanto Aug 29 '22 Silver

Primal Fear is my pick.

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u/Littleloula Aug 29 '22

I think that's his best performance too. Feels a bit mean given it was also his first one but it is amazing

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u/Brown_Panther- Aug 29 '22

His performance in Primal Fear is Oscar worthy and he should have ideally won instead of Cuba Gooding Jr

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u/noveler7 Aug 29 '22

It was such a good role. Matt Damon talks about how big it was for young up and coming male actors at the time, and how he and everyone he knew went for it. When he didn't get it and realized it was probably a once in a lifetime chance, he decided to write Good Will Hunting to give himself a role since Hollywood only offered so many opportunities.

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u/gopher1409 Aug 29 '22

Then they got to work together in Rounders.

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u/ItsNotButtFucker3000 Aug 29 '22

That was a great one too!

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u/evilskul Aug 29 '22

John Malkovich's performance is over the top, and so good.

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u/ChefCory Aug 29 '22

It really was. That entire movie is incredible.

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u/losjoo Aug 29 '22

Yeah but without that Oscar we wouldn't have Snow Dogs so it all worked out

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u/nova2726 Aug 29 '22

"that whole thing with 'act like a man' i knew exactly what you wanted, it's like we were dancin' Marty" ...the whole Roy Aaron reveal at the end is so good!

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u/misterfriend Aug 29 '22

His performance in that was really good. Sleeper credit also goes to Red Dragon, which I often forget about. I don't tend to think of Norton as "heroic" but his role in Red Dragon makes me really like him.

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u/snack-dad Aug 29 '22

Is that the one were ralph fiennes bites people on their mouth?

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u/misterfriend Aug 29 '22

I don't know if he bites them on their mouth, but he leaves a bitemark somewhere with his dentures taken out. His mouth is all messed up, so they call him the Tooth Fairy.

That scene where he's eating the sketch is so comically twisted, I never get tired of it. Ralph Fiennes has a way about him, much like Daniel Day Lewis. It takes time and a few rewinds to register behaviour like that.

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u/Destroyer_Wes Aug 29 '22

Any room for Death to smoochy?

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u/bmacnz Aug 29 '22

He's so disturbingly good in Primal Fear.

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u/FieldWelder77 Aug 29 '22

25th hour was a good one also.

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u/gh0stfac3killah007 Aug 29 '22

Definitely! Totally great concept and extremely well acted considered what was en route for him.

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u/misterfriend Aug 29 '22

I'll look into that one. Thanks.

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u/FieldWelder77 Aug 29 '22

Great movie “the f-you” scene is great!

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u/Graybealz Aug 29 '22

The ending gives me chills every time I see it. Such a great scene.

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u/reble02 Aug 29 '22

The biggest mindfuck of them all is 25th Hour is written by David Benioff, one of the guys who ruined Game of Thrones.

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u/Brown_Panther- Aug 29 '22

Imo Fight Club is both Nortons and Pitts best movie but not their best performances.

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u/metalslug123 Aug 29 '22

Death to Smoochie for me.

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u/almostsebastian Aug 29 '22

Death to Smoochie for me.

Finally, another being of culture.

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u/SplashBandicoot Aug 29 '22

“When you have insomnia you’re never really asleep and you’re never really awake”

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u/misterfriend Aug 29 '22

...red and blue Tuinals, lipstick red Seconals...

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u/hellsfoxes Aug 29 '22

I’d place Fight Club above for performance if only because it shows off Norton’s considerable comedic talents better.

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u/nate6259 Aug 29 '22

That's part of why Fight Club remains one of my favorites: it's so many things wrapped into one. Psychological thriller, pitch black comedy, action and crime elements... I see how the studio didn't know what to do with it from a marketing standpoint.

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u/luckyfucker13 Aug 29 '22

Fight Club is way more re-watchable, so I would agree. Fight Club touches on some dark shit, but the scope of it is wide and abstract enough that you can watch it over and over without it dragging you down. American History X is dark as fuck, but the scope of it is narrow and specific, so you have an easier time putting yourself in the situations it presents. For what Requiem for a Dream did with pulling the curtain back on drug use, American History X did with everyday racism. Not everyone will deal with the horrid aspects of drugs, but I think the majority of folks can relate to seeing/experiencing/living with racism. And that’s what makes it difficult to watch again.

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u/ChasingPesmerga Aug 29 '22

I heard that the original ending for this movie was supposed to be Norton’s character going back to being a skinhead but was changed

I don’t recall who changed it and who was disappointed that it got changed

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u/comeatmefrank Aug 29 '22

Norton had the final say on editing. There’s a remarkable video of the director of the film absolutely screaming his lungs out in anger about how it was changed.

He was so angry he sued the studio to try to get his name off of the film as he didn’t view it as his anymore.

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u/ScrewAttackThis Aug 29 '22

Oh there's way more to it than that. The director was essentially fired from the project due to his antics. At one point he asked for a year to do a complete reedit to a "different" movie.

Some of his more infamous stories involve him bringing a priest, rabbi, and a monk to a studio meeting. He also took out a couple dozen full page ads attacking Norton and other people involved in the movie.

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u/shoobsworth Aug 29 '22

Norton had final say because the director was taking forever to finish editing the film and the studio got fed up. The director is an eccentric to say the least. He made his bed.

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u/nate6259 Aug 29 '22

Is this how Norton got the reputation of being hard to work with? Whenever I hear this, it comes back to the editing of AHX, but the more I read, the more it seems that the director was taking the edit in a really bad direction (like, flashy music video style editing). Remarkable that the final edit turned out as well as it did. Seems like if anything, Norton saved it.

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u/SaffronJim34 Aug 29 '22

Holy shit you weren't kidding. Just read this excerpt from his wiki page:

His feature film debut was American History X (1998), a drama about racism starring Edward Norton and Edward Furlong. Kaye disowned the final cut of the film and unsuccessfully attempted to have his name removed from the credits.The film was critically lauded and Norton was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film. The battle over artistic control of the film, which has become part of Hollywood folklore, all but destroyed Kaye's career. He delivered his original cut on time and within budget – but when the producer, New Line Cinema, insisted on changes, the arguments began. The debate quickly escalated. Kaye spent $100,000 of his own money to take out 35 full-page ads in the Hollywood trade press denouncing Norton and the producer, using quotations from a variety of people from John Lennon to Abraham Lincoln. He attended a meeting at New Line to which (to ease negotiations) he brought a Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi and a Tibetan monk. When the company offered him an additional eight weeks to re-cut the film, he said he had discovered a new vision and needed a year to remake it, and flew to the Caribbean to have the script rewritten by the Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott. Finally, when the Directors Guild refused to let him remove his name from the New Line version of the film, he demanded it to be credited to "Humpty Dumpty" instead, and filed a $200 million lawsuit when the company refused.

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u/Dwn_Wth_Vwls Aug 29 '22

Didn't he try to pitch a horrible sequel also?

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u/[deleted] Aug 29 '22

Oh Im gonna do so much research on this now

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u/Littleloula Aug 29 '22

Norton changed it I think. The original script writer was disappointed

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u/A_Feast_For_Trolls Aug 29 '22

lol, a quick youtube search will show you that's the understatement of the year.

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u/Good_old_Marshmallow Aug 29 '22

It’s one of the big bits of Hollywood drama/personality fightings and is likely where Norton got his reputation as a diva. Tho lately there is a lot of people who think, including me, that he was stuck with that label due to his fight with Weinstein (Norton had relationships with two of Harvey’s victims and allegedly had a pretty big fight with him).

The film maker was taking a long time editing the film and wouldn’t send a finished version to the studio which was making a lot of people upset. Norton took the footage and edited his own final cut which is a lot less shock for shock value, keeps the focus on his character by cutting out a lot of skinhead scenes, and primarily cuts the original ending out.

The director was furious at Norton and disowned the film openly shit talking it. The studio was furious at said director and tried to take his name off the credits. The film won a shit ton of awards. The rest is history

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u/blablabla9876 Aug 29 '22

Outside Kaye's crusade, I don't remember those rumors about him picking up until around 2001, when he stepped in and helped rewrite Frida removing multiple sex scenes and gratuitous nudity that Weinstein wanted added... At the same time attempting to never let Ashley Judd or Selma Hayek alone with Weinstein.

Weinstein retaliated by not allowing his name to be credited for the film, even after doing the rewrites for free per Weinstein's demands, and later basically banned him from Miramax productions. And warned other companies off of Norton as well.

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u/Puzzleheaded_Fox3546 Aug 29 '22

Wait, so Norton's actually the good guy?

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u/Gifted_dingaling Aug 29 '22

Tbh, the fact that he didn’t go back to being a skinhead was a good move.

It shows the impact your decisions in life make. You also see an instant of regret on the kids face who shot the little brother, before shaking that off. That’s a decision HE made.

It was a very damn good film. And for him to not return as a skin head shows that it’s an individual, not a group as a whole.

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u/Kingkongcrapper Aug 29 '22

Yeah, I agree. If it had retained added shock value it would have been nearly unwatchable. It is a hard enough movie to watch as it is and that’s the toned down version. If the stories are true, the director is an asshole who couldn’t finish his work on time and required someone to come in and take over because he was unable to make decisions. Then when it turns out it’s one of the all time great movies he whines that it could have been even better with his vision.

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u/nova2726 Aug 29 '22

Tony Kaye is kind of an edgelord and wanted the final shot to be Norton shaving his head in the mirror. The only reason this movie isn't a cringe fest is because Norton took over and re-edited the shit out of it.

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u/TJOW40 Aug 29 '22

The thing about him in this movie is he essentially gives 3 different performances within 2 hours. The youngest version of Derek who is still coming to terms with his views, the neo-nazi version, and later the reformed version. All three very distinct and very believable from each other. Fantastic performance overall.

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u/0xB0BAFE77 Aug 29 '22

This should be one of those movies that everyone is required to watch at some point in high school.

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u/Dot6 Aug 29 '22

It’s an absolute shame he didn’t win an Oscar for this

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u/calsosta Aug 29 '22

Looking back, it is even more of a shame. Saving Private Ryan was absolutely the best movie of the year (NOT Shakespeare In Love), but Edward Norton had the best performance. That evil smirk when he looks back as he's being arrested is haunting.

But what could you do? Everyone was obsessed with Life Is Beautiful, they had to give it something other than foreign film.

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u/JaySayMayday Aug 29 '22

I think the problem was this this was way too real for way too many people. I got the shit end of the stick living though the LA riots when I was little, then moved to ... Detroit. I've seen people like pretty much everyone in this movie, except the one fat dude.

People just didn't want anything to do with it at the time, that's why it became a cult hit. An amazing movie with a great life lesson about breaking the circle of violence before it can begin. But the theme was far too real and the characters were way too relatable for many. It ended up being categorized with films like Romper Stomper when it should have been in the same category as The Butterfly Effect.

Too many people got the wrong message after watching it

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u/calsosta Aug 29 '22

Well I know you are right, because that's exactly what happened but it's strange that the horror of landing at Normandy and life in a concentration camp were more acceptable. Maybe it's because there was half a century between those events and the movie and AHX was a look at modern racism/hate.

I think it just makes movies like AHX and Kids all the more important. We cannot just ignore this shit as repulsive as it might be.

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u/Konstant_kurage Aug 29 '22

That was a great movie. I hated it and will never watch it again.

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u/[deleted] Aug 29 '22

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u/callmemacready Aug 29 '22

liked that film a lot need to rewatch, didnt it come out round the same time as The Prestige and get overshadowed ?

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u/Herbacult Aug 29 '22

It was very weird those came out the same year. Prestige was way better IMO. I used to love Norton but Bale is by far my favorite.

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u/OfferOk8555 Aug 29 '22

Love him in Birdman! Maybe not as showy as some other roles but really quality grounded performance.

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u/Gavica Aug 29 '22

Rounders is his best

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u/SnooWoofers8788 Aug 29 '22

He was such a believable dick!

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u/rivers2mathews Aug 29 '22

I’ve seen the movie so many times and his character still pisses me off every time. Great performance.

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u/HugofDeath Aug 29 '22

Pay thyat myan hees myony

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u/Elin_Woods_9iron Aug 29 '22

Buncha municipal workers up in binghamton. Very fat.

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u/sazerrrac Aug 29 '22

“Pffft, municipal workers?!”

“What?! These guys work for the state!”

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u/AlconTheFalcon Aug 29 '22

“These guys work for the city.”

“They work for the state, you idiot.”

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u/[deleted] Aug 29 '22

He's a legend

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u/raylan_givens6 Aug 29 '22

Death to Smoochy is the best

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u/Doctalivingston Aug 29 '22

I mean smoochie is also a Nazi in that one lol.

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u/CQ1_GreenSmoke Aug 29 '22

Hello little nipple nibbler. The RHINOS a NAZI!

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u/Frogsmom69 Aug 29 '22

Pinnacle performance

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u/The_alchemist667 Aug 29 '22 edited Aug 29 '22

Saw this moxie while in rehab in Huntington beach.

It was extra impactful for me because I was hanging out with these exact types of people out there where the movie is based, mostly out of desperation and necessity to get my fix.

Mfs with SS tattoos covering their neck/face

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u/Thankkratom Aug 29 '22

I was so surprised by the amount of Nazi’s in HB. As a kid from the EC fresh out of highs here going over there for rehab I had a completely different picture of SC.

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u/[deleted] Aug 29 '22 edited Aug 29 '22

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u/skike Aug 29 '22

Well that lecture was intended to be seen as one of many, right? You can draw the logical conclusion that his father spoke of the "difficulties for the white man" frequently, and while maybe not ever being as overtly racist or acting on it, that he made those beliefs known.

Then when his father died at the hands of a black drug dealer, it both confirms everything Derek's been taught, while also allowing an outlet for the grief of his lost father, sending him deep into the spiral of his racist culture. Plus, his father figure is then replaced with Stacy Keach as a surrogate, manipulating that relationship to create his own figurehead for his "movement".

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u/cakedestroyer Aug 29 '22

I haven't seen the movie in years, but wasn't this explicitly stated? Norton's character thought something to the effect of "all this started with XYZ" and Furlong's character in his narration says "I think this started even before then" and goes to the flashback.

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u/surgingchaos Aug 29 '22

Yes. When Danny is writing the essay for Sweeney, he explicitly mentions that the dinner conversation is what caused Derek to fall down the rabbit hole.

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u/do-o-ob Aug 29 '22

His dad's lecture was the seed, but how his dad died made it consume him.

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u/reecewagner Aug 29 '22

Lol, it feels like this because that was the entire point of the scene

Is this how some of you watch movies? Seeing a deeper point in what is hitting the rest of us in the face like a baseball bat?

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u/Werealldudesyea Aug 29 '22

American History X is such a great movie about hate, and how it poisons everything it touches. One of the few movies I watch and get a visceral reaction from it, almost existential.

The only other film that does that to me is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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u/jtrail13 Aug 30 '22

American History X is in my top 10 movies ever.

Eternal Sunshine is also an absolutely spectacular movie

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u/bengalstomp Aug 29 '22

I’ve always said he’s such a heavy hitter but I don’t think he’s recognized for it. Also, Leaves of Grass is my favorite. He plays the antagonist and protagonist and has you rooting for the antagonist while totally understanding why the protagonist is right. Then, he kinda becomes the best of both in the end. Beautiful film with some solid performances by Timothy Blake Nelson (Delmar from O’ Brother) and Susan Sarandon. Underrated film IMO!

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u/RedDawn82 Aug 29 '22

Kingdom of Heaven. Brilliant performance in my opinion.

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u/The_NiNTARi Aug 29 '22

I personally liked his performance in The Score. Typical heist movie, but a fun watch none the less.

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u/crabsatoz Aug 29 '22

This is one of the few movies that actually changed my life

I was going through a hard time with addiction problems and rewatched this film and the part where the principle from the school is visiting Norton in prison after he gets raped and the principle says “what have YOU done to make your life better”

Something about it really resonated with me and I started applying it to my own life and it helped me quit smoking pot all day everyday, have been quit for almost 2 years now

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u/manthing17 Aug 29 '22

Tony Kaye disagrees! I'm sure there's slightly more to that story

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u/Kunama_Namadgi Aug 29 '22

He’s a great actor

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u/itsnever2late4now Aug 29 '22

I'm guessing you haven't seen Death to Smoochy.

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u/Namydna Aug 29 '22

So many people have not seen Smoochy. Absolutely perfect dark comedy

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u/toexistispain Aug 29 '22 edited Aug 29 '22

Well, someone’s never seen the Hulk.

Edit: a word

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u/Environmental_Loss32 Aug 29 '22

Hate is baggage. Life is too short to be pissed off all the time. — Danny Vinyard