This is the first in a series of lists from the esoteric brains behind Filmhash. If you have a list topic, e-mail us!
One recurring trope in film is that of the “One Last Job.” We see a character at the twilight of their career (or in retirement already) pull out all the stops on pulling off that final score before riding off into the sunset for good. Here are some of our favorite “Last Jobs” in anticipation of seeing The American this weekend.
In alphabetical order:
The Brothers Bloom: It actually seems like this is a recurring trope in the titular Brothers’ lives, as Bloom (Adrian Brody) threatens his partner and sibling frequently that this is his last con. However, in the film he seems serious this time, after meeting Penelope (Rachel Weisz), the mark for their Last Job.
Reason to watch: This underestimated film has a great cast, and great direction from Rian Johnson. He’s a director to watch, and the literary feel of this film is second only to Stranger Than Fiction.
Crazy Heart: Last year’s Oscar-winning performance by Jeff Bridges is amazing, because the man adds yet another character he fully inhabits to his Lebowski repertoire. It plays with the “Last Job” formula in that for Bridges’ character the last job is one last song. A magnum opus in which to come to terms with the life he led.
Reason to watch: Not only Jeff Bridges’ performance, but the music is just so well done, and I say this as someone who usually dismisses country music.
Heat: Michael Mann’s best film to date (although Last of the Mohicans is a close second) is the quintessential ‘master cop versus master thief’ film. It helps that filling these roles are Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, both on their last job. ‘Nuff said. It’s complex, gritty, and mind-blowingly good.
Reason to watch: Did you not read what I wrote? Just watch it already! This is the movie The Dark Knight thanks before it goes to sleep at night.
The Hurt Locker: Last year’s Academy Award Best Picture winner is about a crew of men on their “Last Tour” as a bomb detail in Iraq. It’s an absolutely captivating film that reminds us the last time around doesn’t always turn out like you planned.
Reason to Watch: Again, one of the best movies of the year, if not the decade. I dare you not to be enthralled.
Inception: I refuse to spoil it, but it’s Christopher Nolan’s best film so far, and the most intelligent blockbuster film in years. And a wonderful exploration of why a character might decide to pull a “Last Job.”
Reason to Watch: If you haven’t seen this movie yet, PLEASE go see it theatrically. I can’t imagine viewing this film at home will be able to accurately capture the experience. Everything about this movie is epic.
The Italian Job: An amazing cast led by Mark Wahlberg and Ed Norton is the centerpiece in one of the best heist films ever. Revenge is one of the more popular reasons to take on that “One Last Job,” and these guys do it in style.
Reason to Watch: The cast is phenomenal, the action is punchy and real, and the film brings great humor.
Leathal Weapon: Detective Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), must team up despite their differences. They are both planning their last job, as Murtaugh is “too old for this shit,” and Riggs is a suicidal Vietnam veteran. Oddly enough, hilarity ensues.
Reason to watch: Easily the best cop comedy of all time.
Saving Private Ryan: There are actually two plot lines that refer to a “final mission” in this film. One that involves a dedicated Tom Hanks determined to locate a missing solider in order to get back to his wife, and the other involving the lost solider played by Matt Damon, who upon learning that he is free to go home, decides to stay with his platoon as it tries to defend a lonely bridge against a German onslaught in the French countryside.
Reason to Watch: This is the movie that should have won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1998. The film is a visceral experience that gets better every time you watch.
The Score: Robert De Niro and Ed Norton return (both on this list previously) in another heist movie that is supposed to be Nick Wells’ (De Niro) “Last Job,” with a younger thief, Jack Teller (Norton). Things don’t go according to plan.
Reason to Watch: It’s a fun film with a lot of twists and turns, but where the movie shines is the relationship between De Niro and Norton.
The Sting: Another film featuring an older con man and his younger protege, The Sting features excellent performances by the amazing bromance duo of Paul Newman and Robert Redford. It is one of the best films of all time, winner of seven Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Reason to Watch: Maybe the only movie on this list in which I didn’t guess the ending, but the main reason to watch is the acting of the principle cast.