Limitless VERSUS Source Code

Today is the debut of a new series of posts for NMB entitled VERSUS! Epic right? Let’s see what happens…


Bradley Cooper is definitely moving up in the world isn’t he? I like the guy. He’s a great comedic actor as evident in Hangover, as well as a great character-we-love-to-hate actor as evident in Wedding Crashers. And he’s very capable of holding a screen by himself which he proved in Limitless with Robert De Niro. Unfortunately, I think he’s a typecast as “Bradley Cooper” and just picked up and thrown into whatever genre they see fit. But I’m going to take his side until I can’t stand him anymore.

Limitless is about a guy who’s really down on his luck. And guess what? He finds something to get him up on his luck! (Never heard that one before…) He gets his hands on a pill that allows his brain to act at its full capacity making him an ungodly genius. But that kind of exposure makes him a target. And sure, I’m paraphrasing a paraphrase about this movie but let me explain why. I didn’t like the story. It was boring. Predictable. And the ending sealed that deal. I’d like to leave a flaming bag of onions and garlic on the screenwriter’s porch. Why did I watch it? The camera work and post production coloring kept me interested. It’s supposed to be a bit of a trippy trip and it worked perfectly in that sense. I haven’t seen it in a few years, but I’d have to compare the colors and camera work to Push. There’s nothing really more to say here. If you’re not interested from what I’ve said so far, don’t waste your time watching it.


Jake Gyllenhaal teams up with Moon’s Director and comes out with Source Code. (If you haven’t seen Moon with Sam Rockwell, you’re missing out. Not just on a great movie but on an outstanding creative project.) Just like Bradley Cooper, I enjoy a Jake Gyllenhaal movie. They’re almost the same guy as far as the box office numbers are concerned. And any small cast action packed trippy movie with either one of these guys will do well. So let’s dive more into the differences. Moon had a bit of a simple story with enough of a twist and some great acting to make it as sweet to watch as some sort of triple decker chocolate monstrosity of a cake is to eat. Source Code was more plot driven…which upset me a tad. I wanted to see more of Michelle Monaghan. I felt that we could spare a few more minutes in the film to dive into her character because by the time the credits rolled I felt she was just filling a role and not living it. But, not her fault. Basically Jake G. was traveling back in time to relive the same 8 minutes, in someone else’s body, riding a train ready to blow up by some bomb loving terrorist. Each time he went back he was able to gather more information before the explosion in hopes of finding the mad man behind it thus preventing a future bomb. WHOOO…yeah, told you it was plot driven.

Time travel is always a tough sale in cinema. But I love every attempt! I love time travel! And Source Code took an interesting stand on it. Jakey Gyll must have some sort of fascination with it too. (That was a reference to Donnie Darko. Enjoy it. Savor it.) Would I leave you with Source Code as a suggestion of a great movie night? Uhhh. If you invite friends over, someone will hate it. There’s always a pessimist in the crowd waiting to share their negativity and prove your optimism wrong. And objectively speaking, time travel is an easy theme to attack. As long as you realize time travel is always going to spin a conversation in circles and you might as well just enjoy the idea of it…Source Code will provide a great movie night.



One response to “Limitless VERSUS Source Code

  1. I enjoyed Source Code, but it felt to me like Hollywood tacked on this really crappy and frankly morally suspect, body-snatcher ending. I mean, I get that everyone would have died otherwise, so Mr. McBody-Snatched really took one for for the team there, good man, etc., but…how is J.G.’s character supposed to navigate family reunions? He has no idea what the syllabus is for the class he now teaches, and he doesn’t remember any of the conversations he and his now girlfriend have had in the past. Personally I just pretend the movie ended at the freeze frame when his eight minutes were up, and I like to think that’s where the writers would have ended it too, because it was pretty well written up until those last 90 seconds. The “Just tell him everything’s going to be okay” closing line left me with a really mediocre taste in my mouth, so in my opinion, someone blew it, and I’m blaming test audiences.

    Similarly, Limitless really lost the thread at the end there, though they were working pretty hard at doing so throughout the entire movie. Why is it that when someone mysteriously becomes a super genius, he becomes obsessed with math? This guy showed no mathematical proclivities at all, or political ambitions for that matter, so that closing scene was kind of baffling. The woman who dated him when he was a failing writer is totally into him now that he’s a math-whiz politician on the fast track to Presidency? Like in Source Code, this guy gets the girl and gets off scott free: kicks his drug habit but gets to keep his super-human intelligence, and as for that hooker he may or may not have killed? Who cares! I was rooting for this movie the whole time I watched it. I wanted to like it, but once it hit that downward spiral about halfway through, there really was no coming back. I enjoyed Cooper’s performance, but the writers dropped the ball big time. Therefore, +1. Winner = Source Code.


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