Announcing Con Movie Watchalong Wednesdays! A series of nine classic con films, hosted by the BFF (@Sonia_P_L) and me (@RoseLerner) on Twitter. Most of these are movies I haven’t seen and I’m super excited to discover them with you! We’ll be watching every other Wednesday starting September 17th and ending when my con artist book True Pretenses releases in January. We’ve staggered the times so hopefully folks on both coasts will have an opportunity to join in.
Watch the movies along with us and chat about them on Twitter using hashtag #cmwaw.
Schedule (summaries from imdb.com):
9/17/14, 3:30PM Pacific/6:30PM Eastern: “The Music Man” (1962). A con man comes to a Midwestern town with a scam using a boy’s marching band program, but things don’t go according to plan. Trailer
10/1/14, 6:30PM Pacific/9:30PM Eastern: “Catch Me If You Can” (2002), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. A true story about Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars’ worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor. Trailer
10/15/14, 3:30PM Pacific: “Anastasia” (1997), with the voices of Meg Ryan and John Cusack. The last surviving child of the Russian Royal Family hooks up with two con men to reunite with her grandmother, the Dowager Empress, while the undead Rasputin seeks her death. I feel like this is misleading because it doesn’t make it sound like a con! And also be prepared for me to rant a lot about the Romanovs. But whatever. The point is, DMITRI. I fell so hard for Dmitri when I saw this in theaters. That nose! Trailer
10/29, 6:30PM Pacific: “White Men Can’t Jump” (1992), starring Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes, and Rosie Perez. Black and white basketball hustlers join forces to double their chances. Trailer
11/12, 3:30PM Pacific: “The Rainmaker” (1956), starring Katherine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster. Lizzie Curry is on the verge of becoming a hopeless old maid. Her wit and intelligence and skills as a homemaker can’t make up for the fact that she’s just plain plain! Even the town sheriff, File, for whom she harbors a secrect yen, won’t take a chance—until the town suffers a drought and into the lives of Lizzie and her brothers and father comes one Bill Starbuck…profession: Rainmaker! Yes, please! Trailer
11/26 (Thanksgiving Wednesday!), 6:30PM Pacific: “The Grifters” (1990), a Martin Scorsese-produced thriller starring Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, and Annette Bening. A small-time conman has torn loyalties between his estranged mother and new girlfriend—both of whom are high-stakes grifters with their own angles to play. Trailer
12/10, 3:30PM Pacific: “Six Degrees of Separation” (1993), starring Will Smith, Stockard Channing, and Donald Sutherland. “An affluent New York couple find their lives touched, intruded upon, and compelled by a mysterious young black man who is never quite who he says he is.” Um, okay. Way to leave out the best part which is that Will Smith is passing himself off as Sidney Poitier’s son! Trailer
(One list that we used as a resource while planning this series remarked: “My high school staged a production of the play in which ‘Sidney Poiter’s son’ was played by a pale red head. Didn’t quite work.” I totally recommend reading the list. The compiler evaluates each movie based on the verisimilitude of the cons portrayed.)
12/24 (Christmas Eve!), 6:30PM Pacific: “The Brothers Bloom” (2008), starring Rachel Weisz, Mark Ruffalo, Adrian Brody, and Rinko Kikuchi. The Brothers Bloom are the best con men in the world, swindling millionaires with complex scenarios of lust and intrigue. Now they’ve decided to take on one last job—showing a beautiful and eccentric heiress the time of her life with a romantic adventure that takes them around the world.
This movie was the direct inspiration for True Pretenses because I loved it but I HATED the ending. I knew it was coming for the whole film, it was obviously the only thing that could happen, and I still desperately didn’t want it to happen. Trailer
And wrapping up on 1/14/15, 3:30PM Pacific with “The Sting” (1973), starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. In 1930s Chicago, a young con man seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con to win a fortune from a criminal banker. I haven’t seen this but David Maurer, author of The Big Con (another book I drew on while writing Pretenses) sued Warner Brothers for $10 million dollars, claiming that they plagiarized his book in the screenplay. (Apparently the suit was settled out of court for $350k.) Trailer