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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.09%
Worth A Look34.04%
Average: 28.72%
Pretty Bad: 10.64%
Total Crap: 8.51%

8 reviews, 46 user ratings

Bandits (2001)
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by EricDSnider

"A delightfully funny and entertaining movie about bad guys."
4 stars

“Bandits” is a cheerful movie in which lovable outlaws are the protagonists and law enforcement agencies are practically non-existent. It is tempered by an underlying sense of doom, as we are told up front that our heroes died in a hail of bullets while robbing a bank. The movie is about what led to that fateful heist, and the more we get to know these guys, the sadder we are to remember what we’ve been told.

And yet it is not a sad movie, for reasons I cannot fully explain here without spoiling it. I will say, however, that no journey with Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett could ever be too unpleasant, especially with each one performing so admirably well.

Willis and Thornton play Joe and Terry, bank robbers recently escaped from Oregon State Prison. To avoid alarms, customers, employees and other robbery-foiling elements, they begin showing up at bank managers’ homes the night before, staying overnight, and going to work with them the next day. They collect all the money before the bank even opens, and no one gets hurt. They are assisted by Joe’s mildly competent cousin Harvey (Troy Garity), who wants to be a stuntman.

Their goal is to make enough money to flee to Acapulco, despite Terry’s “sanitation issues” with the place. Unfortunately, they acquire a woman named Kate (Cate Blanchett), a bored housewife who is something like a hostage but more like an accomplice, and soon she is the love interest of both bandits.

The screenwriter is Harley Peyton, who also wrote several “Twin Peaks” episodes. The script is predictably loopy, with all characters capable of having conversations while operating on completely different wavelengths. Non-sequiturs abound, including Terry’s exclamation of “Beavers and ducks!” upon being awakened, and Harvey’s comment that “the thing about Irish hurling is that it’s like football with sticks.”

Thornton is endearingly funny as mega-hypochondriac Terry. His long list of phobias includes antique furniture and Charles Laughton. He gives cooking tips to the wife of one of the bank managers he’s robbing. It’s a jokey character — as are they all, really — but it works because of a sensitive performance. If actors don’t love their own characters, the audience won’t either, but that’s not the case here. The cast is eager to portray these people as quirky, yes, but still realistic and likable. I particularly enjoyed Kate’s love for cheesy pop songs like “Just the Two of Us” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

Director Barry Levinson maintains an even pace, which is critic-speak for “sometimes it’s too slow.” Not often, but enough to notice it. It all leads to one of the most wonderful endings of the year, however. Don’t miss this delightful movie.

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originally posted: 10/11/01 07:53:04
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User Comments

6/20/07 Muted Orbz This wasn't acting, that's really Billy Bob. Ugh. 1 stars
6/04/07 Wendy Do you smell burning feathers? 4 stars
3/25/07 mb Good story ... well done. 5 stars
2/10/07 MP Bartley "Beavers and ducks!" 4 stars
8/17/05 Agent Sands One of my top 10 favorites. Elmore Leonard meets Woody Allen. 5 stars
8/08/05 R.W. Welch Shows some zip in the early going but slowly runs out of steam. Billy B has some good lines 3 stars
3/07/05 Charlie Being filmed in Oregon with a good cast, I have to give it 4 *. 4 stars
11/15/04 Joopy loop This is a 3.5 star movie from me, but still worth a look 3 stars
11/15/04 Ray I really like it!!! 5 stars
10/18/04 will rogers my favourite ivan campo tune: 1 stars
5/06/04 J.Peckerfoot harmless nad funny.great s.track and billy bob rocks! 5 stars
5/01/04 zach witham beavers and ducks- best line ever 5 stars
6/24/03 adrian lane kate what a gal 4 stars
4/08/03 Shadaan Felfeli i liked the film and loved the cast....Blanchet is my idea of a woman 4 stars
3/31/03 Paul Coleman Way below average. What was going on in the filmmakers minds? 2 stars
3/22/03 Allen How can you people like this pile of puke?!! 2 stars
2/02/03 Charlie Freschl I enjoyed it a lot 5 stars
11/03/02 Kari Wald BEAVERS AND DUCKS -best line ever 5 stars
9/18/02 Danielle Ophelia Very amusing, REAL comedy. The three leads rocked my socks. 4 stars
5/19/02 Chowie billy bob thornton is so fine.. 5 stars
4/30/02 katie hilarious.. odd comedy. GREAT! 5 stars
4/23/02 Monday Morning Bruce Willis...someday this guy's gonna make it big. 4 stars
4/19/02 Weedle Billy Bob continues to amaze 4 stars
3/22/02 antje quite like it 4 stars
1/23/02 Robert Cate is as perfect as always, therefore, it's a movie worth seeing 4 stars
1/22/02 Some Guy excellent movie! The movies ending was great. What a twist. 5 stars
12/14/01 Michael A funny movie that is just a litte too long. 4 stars
12/10/01 Matthew Bartley Could be more exciting but very funny nonetheless.Thornton was excellent 4 stars
11/22/01 Richard Connehey C ate was almost not horrible and outlandishly boring...almost 1 stars
11/22/01 j man really good movie 5 stars
11/22/01 steve goldenbaum Billy bob should stick to playing retards. A movie for Budgie brained commies. 1 stars
11/22/01 Barbara Cagle Going to see it again. Bought the soundtrack- it is awesome! Will buy the video too! 5 stars
10/31/01 ustabawillisfan Worst Willis movie I have seen. Trite, predictable and waste of time 1 stars
10/30/01 titsboobyala I shit on this film and your mom 1 stars
10/29/01 Jimmy James fun? i guess so, i barely smiled, cate rocks ass 3 stars
10/24/01 Barbara Cagle Loved it! Good escape film. Bruce Willis still melts my butter! Billy Bob/Cate are GREAT! 5 stars
10/23/01 spaceworm Cate. Yes indeed. And the guys are okay. 4 stars
10/19/01 Jestyr Way to predictable, it had brief moments on non-sucking. 2 stars
10/18/01 cindy Great movie...Billy Bob stole the show!!! 5 stars
10/17/01 Suzz easily the biggest waste of time, energy and money this year 1 stars
10/16/01 thanatos rarely do i see such interesting characters, and their interaction was hilarious. 5 stars
10/15/01 Dave Knave It had it's moments, but ultimately predictable and forgettable. 4 stars
10/15/01 poetchuck Wonderful movie with interesting twists 5 stars
10/13/01 KCobain Great, just what we need. Glorification of bank robbers. 1 stars
6/05/01 Ben Donnelly great movie, it was fantastic 5 stars
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