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Listeria: The Ten Dumbest Scenes in “The Town”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on October 3, 2010

Heat meets The Departed!!” screamed the rave reviews of the trailer. Having seen those two movies probably a combined 20 times in my life, I was a pretty easy sell for The Town, newfound double-threat Ben Affleck’s heist flick follow-up to the similarly New England-set Gone Baby Gone. Also starring longtime IITS favorite Jeremy Renner and TV stars Jon Hamm and Blake Lively in gloriously quintessential “Hey remember those TV characters that you’ll always associate us with well we can do other things too look at us!!” roles, I knew this was that all-too-rare flick I actually wanted to make the effort to get out to the theaters to see.

And to be fair, the quote was not wrong–except I was kind of hoping it was more of a qualitative statement than a quantitative one. The Town is indeed Heat meets The Departed–it’s pretty much the exact plot of Heat, with even thicker accents and crazier locals than in The Departed. I’m not sure what I was expecting, precisely, but I was hoping for something a little less eye-rolling, something a little more substantial. Instead, it was mostly a bunch of scenes of Ben Affleck trying to imply soulfulness by not smiling and Jon Hamm testing the limits of how disheveled he could get his hair and still look devastatingly handsome (Unsurprising answer: Very.)

Naturally, credibility-straining interactions and cliche-ridden set pieces abound. Here are the ten worst offenders, in roughly chronological order, though it also basically doubles as a countdown since things tend to get dumber as it goes:

10. Dougie (Affleck), after his meet-cute with bank manager Claire (Rebecca Hall) in a laundromat, picks her up for their makeshift first date. Dougie was supposed to just supposed to monitor how closely Claire, who Dougie and his masked crew momentarily held hostage during their latest boost, was helping out the feds, but wouldn’t you know it, ends up developing feelings for her. Talking with her in his car, she confesses to him that she was recently involved in a heist, and Dougie, barely registering any surprise at this hardly run-of-the-mill news, starts to needle her about the fine points of the FBI’s investigation before saying anything like “Wow, that must have been horrible!” or “Hey, so did anyone get shot or anything?”

Just in case that didn’t tip Claire off enough (who by the way, is inordinately trusting of strangers for someone who just was blindfolded and taken hostage by a number of armed thugs), he responds to her statement claiming that she’d definitely be able to identify the robbers by voice by saying something like “Well, it might be harder than you think.” Oh really, Dougie? Do tell.

9. Dougie enlists the help of psycho bestie Jem in intimidating some no-goodniks. Dougie deliberately undersells on his pitch to Jem, saying something along the lines of “I can’t tell you why we’re doing this, you can never ask me why afterwards, and we’re going to hurt some people.” A second’s pause where we’re supposed to imagine Jem demanding more info before signing on with his bullying service, but instead, he merely inquires “Whose car are we taking?” Ba-dum ching! I guess this guy Jem really likes to hurt people, huh? What a psycho!

8. Dougie, after a heart-wrenching confession to Claire about his mom leaving when he was young, goes to confront daddy Stephen (Chris Cooper) about it in prison. Why, Dougie wonders, didn’t Stephen ever look for her after she went missing? (“She was a druggie whore” is basically the extent of his explanation.) Not a terrible scene, and Cooper kinda kills it on his end, but it did strike me as a little amazing that it took Claire’s innocuous questioning some thirty-plus years after the fact for Dougie to raise the question to Pops of “So, by the way, why did Mom peace out all those years ago?” Seems like something that might’ve come up in conversation in the decades in between, dunno. Maybe the two would rather just talk about the Bruins during visitations.

7. Jem, noticing with irritation that Dougie has been seeing Claire socially, decides to crash one of their dates, introducing himself to her as Dougie’s long-time friend in an extremely tense scene involving a lot of doublespeak and glaring matches between Jem and an obviously none-too-pleased Dougie. After Jem leaves–though not before Dougie has to inconspicuously grasp his neck during his departure, so Claire won’t notice the distinctive Notre Dame tattoo he revealed on his neck during the bank heist–Claire’s one takeaway from the encounter is “So, I guess you didn’t tell your friends about me, huh?” A more pressing question might have been “OK, that guy introduced himself as your friend but you were clearly pissed off to see him and wanted to get rid of him before he revealed some big secret, what’s the deal?” These are the kind of people that pass for bank managers in The Town? No wonder it’s getting robbed all the damn time.

6. In the bureau office during the investigation of the crew’s first robbery, Agent Frawley (Hamm) gets a call on his cell phone, presumably related to the more-recent heist that the boys pulled off seconds earlier. “Close the bridge!,” he commands his partner without explanation. “What?” he understandably asks. “Close the fucking bridge!!” clarifies an evidently impatient Frawley. I mean…what bridge? Why? Do you really need to prove what a no-time-to-talk badass you are that you can’t elaborate a little on your big-deal imperative? Better yet, close the fucking bridge yourself, Jon Hamm. You’re not the boss of me.

5. Frawley, desperate for a lead in chasing Dougie and his crew, decides to bully his old squeeze Krista (Lively) for some information, using her apparently well-known role in an Oxycontin-running operation as leverage. But rather than come right out and say that, he cozies up to her in her home bar and flirts with her for a few minutes, even launching into a ridiculous extended metaphor about the weight of a $20 bill (which starts off sounding like a boast about his dick–don’t ask) before dropping the bombshell of the bill “not being worth its own weight…in Oxy” as Krista’s expression drops. I mean…for all Frawley’s time’s-a-wastin’ bombast, he certainly loves to meander around the point when chatting up the floozies. Chemistry between the two wasn’t bad, though–do I smell a Gossip Girl / Mad Men crossover?

4. Before the two embark on their latest, biggest, presumably final heist, Jem gives Dougie a little speech demonstrating how much he hated the nine years he spent in prison when he was young. Thus, he says, if he gets cornered by the cops during the upcoming job, he’s going to die shooting his way out rather than go back to jail. I wonder how many big-moment speeches in crime-flick history have focused around thugs saying to each other “You know, if the cops corner us on this one, let’s just surrender, because bullets hurt a lot and I’m actually kind of afraid of dying, and besides my cousin’s a really good defense attorney and could probably get our sentence down to 15-20 if we cop a plea.” Could you count them on one hand? I’m betting you could count them on one hand.

3. OK, this one might actually be on me. After pulling off the movie’s climactic heist at Fenway Park (where else?), crew member Gloansy (Slaine–also a member of La Coka Nostra, apparently) makes a crack about how “No one’s robbed the Sawx like that since Jack Clark!” Over my head in the theaters, I checked Clark’s Wikipedia page hoping it would partially explain the reference. After poring over it a couple times, I still got nothing. Anyone wanna help me out? (And in the meantime, if they were going the baseball route, wouldn’t “No one’s robbed the Sawx like that since [Yankees Owner Who Traded for Babe Ruth]!” have been the obvious choice? Guess it’s a townie thing.)

2. After the final heist goes awry (Damn, damn, damn!!) and Dougie is the only one of the crew who makes it out alive, he gives Claire one last call to try to persuade her to come away with him. Unbeknownst to Dougie–well, actually, entirely beknownst to Dougie, since he’s watching with binoculars from across the way–Claire has agreed to cooperate with the Feds, and uninspiringly tries to get him to meet her at her apartment, where the cops will be waiting for him. Heartbroken at her collaboration, Dougie unconvincingly agrees to come over, but just before he’s about to hang up, a suddenly motivated Claire tells him just how much she wants to come over, saying it’ll be just like one of her “sunny days”–a call back to a previous conversation between the two where she’d mentioned that she always associates sunny days with death. Clearly relieved at her trying to help him out, Dougie says he’ll be right there and hangs up.

Generally, I’d think this would be the point where one of the feds would take the phone from Claire and say something like “OK, so you obviously just tipped him off with that last part there, now what’s the deal and where can we find him?” Instead, Frawley and company’s conclusion is more along the lines of “Great! Did you hear that guys? He’s coming over! This is gonna be easy!” They set up their semi-inconspicuous trap for him while Dougie gets an hour’s head start on his getaway. Eventually, Frawley realizes he’s not coming and makes a “Sunny days, huh?” type comment to Claire, just to let her know that her little ruse wasn’t completely lost on him. This is the best and brightest the local FBI has to offer? Once again, no wonder this town gets robbed all the damn time.

1. After Dougie gets away–and yes, he actually does get away, presumably because Affleck was always as crushed as I was when DeNiro got killed at the end of Heat–Claire digs up a bag that he left buried in her garden before splitting from The Town. The bag contains Dougie’s share of the money from the Fenway heist, with a note saying that she should use the money to do some good. I figured the next scene would feature a guilt-ridden Claire turning over the money to the feds, possibly exchanging an understanding glance with a resigned Frawley. But no, apparently Claire’s good with spending Dougie’s blood money, and she uses it to refurbish a skating rink that the two had previously bemoaned having lost its ice. (Dougie was once a hockey prospect, you see.)

Uh…what? Claire, an ex-bank manager (she quits halfway through the movie for some reason) who presumably knows a thing or two about money, doesn’t see the risk in laying down such a large cash donation? Do suspicions in The Town not arise when unemployed consorts of known felons suddenly shell out five or six-digit amounts for local charity projects? And on the off chance that it wasn’t already 100% transparent where she got the money from, Claire has the rink dedicated to the memory of Dougie’s departed mother. Subtle.

In conclusion, go see The Social Network. Trent Reznor does the music!

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25 Responses to “Listeria: The Ten Dumbest Scenes in “The Town””

  1. Just caught this movie this weekend and agree wholeheartedly. What a waste…

  2. Al-2 said

    You forgot to add to No. 2, Hamm and his entire squad decide to stand in the picture window while Claire receives the call from Dougie. Perhaps they should’ve thought of hiding from plain sight or thought ‘hmmm, what if he’s (or someone’s) watching Claire’s apartment?’ Also, the scene is a direct ripoff of the Val Kilmer scene from Heat.

  3. Duff said

    In defense of #8, these characters don’t really strike me as being the most emotionally open people in the world.

  4. MBI said

    Of this list, only #2 and maybe #1 strike me as particularly thoughtful or meaningful criticisms, rather than just superficial nitpicking.

    At least Natalie Portman never commits suicide for no justifiable purpose.

  5. Bob said

    Jack Clark signed a 2 year deal with the Red Sox in the early 90’s, after a monster year in San Diego. Put up half decent numbers first year, but second year he was constantly injured, didn’t produce, complained about everything, was generally considered to be a disruptive jerk, and the final straw was him filing bankruptcy for spending too much $$$ on cars while on the DL. Best line in the movie.

    • You should check your facts. Clark signed a 3 year deal, not 2, for 5 million per year, back when 5 million was a huge salary. The Sox waived him halfway through the contract, and had to pay him for a year and a half after he had played his last game in Boston. (thus he ROBBED the Sox)

      • Jack Clark said

        Oh, it was three years instead of two? BIG DEAL! Bob was the first to explain the Jack Clark line’s meaning. Who cares if he said two years instead of three? The last thing we need is you smarting off with “You should check your facts”, you tool.

  6. Mildred said

    Criticisms of your criticisms (:

    10. Of course he had to have feelings for Claire! The only reason they can make a movie out of it is BECAUSE he took her as a hostage and then had feelings for her. It’s interesting and different compared to the norm, which would be taking a hostage and then keeping an eye on them afterwards to make sure they don’t know too much, so that’s why it’s in a movie. But anyway, the first thing out of his mouth after her confession is “I’m sorry” and throughout her explanation there was a look of interest and concern on his face, so I guess that counts for something. But yeah, I agree his question about the FBI were suspicious but I think it was definitely a natural reaction just because he was kind of like “oh shoot” I need to watch myself and it probably surprised him (don’t know why it would though)

    9. How is this a bad scene?… I think it’s one of the best… shows he’s bad ass and doesn’t mess around and YES, he does like to hurt people. He’s always the one of the group looking to do the most damage. He wanted to kill Claire, so YES he is a psycho… which makes an interesting character

    8. Maybe Dougie and his dad didn’t have that kind of relationship where they could talk about that, and you have to remember Dougie is a tough guy from Charlestown as is his father. He was kind of young when it happened too, so back when the issue was really pressing to him his dad probably gave him a dumb answer or he was too unsure to ask, but now that he’s older and the matter was in his mind because of his conversation with Claire, he wants to know the truth.

    7. I agree, it was strange. Maybe Clare is too stupid and oblivious to notice he was glaring at the creep.

    6. What do you mean what bridge? Since the movie is about Charlestown… the Charlestown Bridge but I can see how you wouldn’t get that if you weren’t from the area but it’s a big landmark. And Frawley should be allowed to be bossy since ya know he’s the boss and they’re in the midst of dealing with hardcore criminals who they’re sort of in a rush to catch so I’m sure it’s okay if he yells and swears, which is part of the Boston language anyway.

    5. Frawley probably wanted to see if he could get Krista to talk about her drug deals and I think this scene was an OH SHIT moment which was much appreciated.

    4. This wasn’t really a big moment speech… more of something Jem mentioned in passing but I don’t really understand your issue with it he’s just saying he would rather die than go back to jail, it’s just his personal opinion you can’t really criticize that ya know?

    3. Already explained but yeah I can understand how a lot of people wouldn’t catch, they probably could have said something more well known but it was still a great line

    2. I didn’t really think that the sunny days thing was obvious when she said it. I actually was confused by it and only realized it was code for GTFO when Frawley said that to Claire. One would think sunny days is an invitation for “hey come over it’s so nice out let’s hang” just because that’s what most people associate sunny days with but not Claire because she’s a freak.

    1. No argument there. You’re completely right, that was totally unsubtle, and I don’t know how much it costs to put ice in a rink but maybe it wasn’t a crazy amount of money and just seen as very generous from a dedicated volunteer but yeah still a stupid idea and she realistically would have been questioned about it.

    • Jack Clark said

      As far as #1 is concerned, I guess I’m the only guy who actually READ the plaque, which reads “anonymous gift in the memory of…” No one knows WHO made the gift, because it was ANONYMOUS. So no one can prove it was from her. They can speculate, but they have no proof. Simple.

  7. No. 1: Go back and read the plaque at the rink. It says “Anonymous donation in Loving Memory of Doris MacRay.” The operative word being “Anonymous.” Claire is a bank manager with the level of education that implies. I’m sure she knew how to wash the money before sending it to whoever in Doug’s mother’s name.

  8. Mike said

    9. One of my favorite scenes of the movie. Guess you lack that killer instinct. This was a great movie that offers a very realistic depiction of Charlestown. Your obvious disliking of this movie and the fact that you did not know who Jack Clark was leads me to believe your a feminine man and one that lacks the masculinity to appreciate it.

    • Ingvild said

      DOES HE LACK THE MASCULINITY TO APPRECIATE IT? I am a seventeen year old girl who loves musical theatre and romantic comedies, and I enjoy this kind of movie too. So shut your sexist mouth.

  9. Nahlidge said

    10. as if bein’ all “OMGBYBFF darlin’ I’m so sorry” fits the character that he’s playin’ in the movie. did you want him to shed a tear for her or somethin?

    9. stop bloggin’ and go make some friends. jem did what a close friend is supposed to do. doofus.

    8. you didn’t pick up on the fact that he doesn’t really get along with his dad? so maybe he barely visits him. much less have a heart to heart with him. again. doofus. say hi to mom and dad.

    7. now youj’re just trollin’. lol. I’m not even commentin’ on this one. but it’s the CLOSEST you’ve been to bein’ anywhere near havin’ a valid point so far. so semi kudos.

    6. if you were from the area you’d probably know. so again. moot point. I feel I’m gettin’ dumber by the minute readin’ you babble on about nonsense.

    5. lmaoooo “no time wastin'”? I think you just proved the point of you just wantin’ to ramble for an entire blog post instead of prove any points of why the scenes were dumb. smh.

    4. Huh? smh.

    3. a quick google search would have stopped this idiocy from happenin’. how do you post on a blog. but can’t comprehend how google works? smh.

    2. you obviously didn’t catch on to the obvious fact that you can tell he knew what she did when he commented on her “one of your sunny days huh?” comment. good job dude!

    1. did u see where the donation came from smart guy?

    smh. can’t believe I read this whole thing. I almost quit about 2452434 times. but decided to give you a chance to make any valid points. but nope. successful fail is successful in your case. keep tryin’.

    • FromBoston said

      Thank you, I really enjoyed this movie. If you’re going to nit-pick it to death, then just don’t watch it… you suck at life.

  10. mplo said

    The Town: A Stupid, Overrated, Crappy Movie:

    Hey, folks, I’m in the mood to post this, so here I am. I recognize the fact that most people really like Ben Affleck’s most recent movie, The Town, and I would’ve wanted to like it, too, but imho, there’s too much wrong with The Town for me not to look at this film with much harsher judgement and a much more critical eye than many, if not most people.

    I admittedly liked Ben Affleck a lot in Good Will Hunting. He and Matt Damon also did a great job working together in this particular movie. Good Will Hunting, imo, is a good film that really worked. However, I think that Ben Affleck fell badly on The Town, and part if it is probably due to the fact that he took on two jobs; directing and playing the lead character.
    Imho, The Town is an overrated, cheesy piece of junk that’s more like a feature-length made-for TV soap opera than a regular movie, which never, ever should’ve made it into the cinemas at all, in the first place. Yet, I realize that, in order to get the democratic society that we all long for, different viewpoints have to be aired, no matter how much at odds they may be with each other. .

    The cast is mediocre at best, the plot and story are overused, the Boston accents, especially on the part of Ben Affleck, are forced and way overdone, and the chemistry between Doug and Claire is non-existent to paltry, at best. One of the most, if not the most bothersome aspects of The Town is the message that it clearly conveys; that it’s okay to steal and rob innocent people of money that they don’t deserve to lose, to terrorize, permanently maim, put innocent bank employees and customers’ lives and safety at risk, to abet an armed felon and wanted fugitive (Doug MacRay, the ringleader)to escape the law by getting involved romantically with him, allow him to buy expensive Tiffany diamond necklaces for one, and make utter dupes of law enforcement people who’ve been assigned to bring guys like Doug MacRay to justice and end their robbery careers once and for all, by lying to the Feds, and tipping an armed felon and wanted fugitive (Doug MacRay) off to them and helping them escape. I think it’s totally wrong.

    Oh, and why is it okay for good-girl Claire to receive stolen goods and spend that ill-gotten money on the renovation of a seedy hockey rink and dedicate it to her criminal boyfriend’s mother who she never knew, instead of arranging to turn it into the police anonymously?

    Hey…come on! Doug put the romance moves on Claire when he met her, in order to shut her up and warn her oh, so subtly not to talk to the Feds or else! One’s supposed to think that Doug really loves Claire and is attrracted to her by her winsome personality, but nothing could be further from the truth, imo. He found Claire attractive, in that she was clearly vulnerable after being traumatized by him and his guys after they held up her bank at gunpoint, and therefore quite gullible and open to exploitation. Almost as soon as Doug got what he wanted out of Claire (a promise not to go to the cops or the Feds), he left the money in her garden and skipped town for Florida, because he was on the lam from the law and couldn’t elope with Claire and exploit her as a bargaining chip, the way he’d wanted to do. Yet, there’s another reason why Doug left Claire behind when he skipped town for Florida instead of taking her with him; Doug’s days of hiding out down in Florida in a house overlooking a bayou were numbered, that sooner or later he’d be hunted down and caught, perhaps violently, by the Feds, and at some level, both he and Claire must’ve known that. It was especially obvious when FBI Agt. Frawley said to Claire “You know the FBI is a national organization”, and then requested that the descriptions and photos of Doug MacRay be circulated. Isn’t it funny how the vast majority of people, either naively or in willful ignorance, miss all of the above!

    It’s funny how most people don’t realize that Doug was a sociopath who totally exploited the women in his life; Krista for sex, and he left her with nothing, even though he knew she had a young child to take care of (who might or might not be Doug’s), and Claire, who he thought he could elope to Florida with, but could not, after having charmed her into trusting him and then worming his way into her heart so that she’d shut up and not talk to the Feds. One is supposed to sympathize with both Doug and Claire, but, in reality, neither of them deserved any sympathy.

    Imho, when the Feds had Claire and Doug meet at her Charlestown condo in a last-ditch effort to nab Doug MacRay and send him off to a Federal penitentiary for his crimes, the Feds should’ve made Claire keep her big fat trap shut, not call Doug or answer any of his phone calls, and let them do their job of arresting Doug and bringing him to prison for his crimes.

    Doug deserved to end up in a federal penitentiary for his crimes, and Claire deserved to be criminally prosecuted herself, or at least put on some sort of probation, for abetting Doug and for receiving stolen goods (Doug’s ill-gotten heist money).

    I’m sorry, folks, but I cannot bring myself to be sympathetic to either Doug or Claire, who, imho, turned out to be the most dislikable, and annoying characters in The Town. I also think the fact that Claire quit her job as a bank manager after the robbery without telling anybody, including the Feds, is also rather suspicious. What most people don’t realize is that Doug is an armed felon and wanted fugitive who’s on the lam from the law, so he’s not going to Florida on vacation. Happily, there’s no way that he and Claire will ever meet again, which is what the final “I’ll see you again, this side or the other” sentence in Doug’s “goodbye, I’ll always love you” letter to Claire before he skipped town for Florida means, but the fact that Claire didn’t turn to Frawley for help after learning the truth about Doug and reallizing that she was in over her head, is beyond stupid, and wrong.

    The fact that Doug and Jem beat the crap out of two Dominicans from a housing project who’d supposedly thrown bottles at Claire when she’d been stupid enough to walk by herself through a housing project (no woman in her right mind would do that, at any time of night or day) and permanently cripple them, especially since they didn’t even tell the two Dominicans why they are beating him up, shows that underneath that smooth, sweet-talking, gentle veneer of his, Doug, as well as Jem, is a man of unprovoked violence, and more like his incarcerated father (who, btw, is serving several life sentences in MCI-Cedar Junction for bank robbery and murder) than he would’ve liked to admit. My, my!…Lady Claire must’ve felt flattered that two armed felons who were also wanted fugitives from the law came to her defense! Pretty sickening, this whole thing.

  11. mplo said

    Imho, “The Town” conveys the message that pretty-looking people can do whatever the hell they want, and not suffer any consequences. Priceless. Claire was a chick with a hot body, an angelic-looking face, and nothing behind the ears. Inotherwords, despite being a bank manager, she was just a bubblehead..plain and simple. Doug was a handsome failed hockey star, who also had a hot body, but nothing between the ears. Hah! The two of them had more in common than most people realized, even though they came from two different worlds.

  12. Nick Y said

    It’s a movie, there is a reason they call it cinematic. It’s supposed to pike interests and be a thriller right in front of you. There may have been some corny parts; but it achieved it’s goal in being am action hit, so sorry it wasn’t the non-fiction FBI big book of history.

  13. Mplo said

    Sure, it’s a movie, but it’s a piece of junky cinematic technology. Sure, it’s supposed to whet interests and be a thriller, but, in reality, it wasn’t, imo. It’s more like a made-for-TV feature-length soap opera than a regular movie. I enjoyed the beginning of The Town, with the various shots of Charlestown, both aerial and on the ground, as well as the opening bank heist, but The Town went from being okay to being just plain bad, in a matter of minutes.

  14. TJ said

    Your number 3 you got wrong. It’s no one has robbed the red sox like this since jack Clark. Not Sawx

  15. mplo said

    This is something that still continues to dog me, even though I’ve written about it so many times. Why, oh why do so many people fall for such a hyped-up, cheap, overrated, trashy movie such as The Town, and, more to the point, refuse to accept dissenting opinions on it? It beats me…I don’t know!

    I admit to one thing, however: The Town left me rooting for the cops and the FBI, especially Agt. Adam Frawley and wanting them to catch Doug MacRay and his men and send them to jail for their crimes, and to have Claire either criminally prosecuted herself for being an accessory to Doug’s crimes and for tipping him Doug off with a “sunny days” code and enabling him to elude the law, or at least put on some sort of probation for her bullshit. Sure, I sympathized with Claire at first, because she was the victim of an armed bank robbery, which wasn’t her fault, but I completely lost my sympathy for her when she not only got involved, wholesale, in a romance with Doug, but refused to sever all contacts with him even after she learned through Agt. Frawley who Doug MacRay really was, and what he was up to.. Unlike most people, who are sympathetic with Ben Affleck’s character in that film, and with Claire, I am not.

    Why should I be sympathetic to either Doug or Claire? The idea that Doug MacRay wanted to change and redeem himself through Claire is utter bullshit, especially after he engaged in an act of vigilantism by taking the law into his own hands, going back to Charlestown, and gunning down Rusty and Fergie just because they threatened Doug’s ladygirl Claire with physical harm. Come on now! Doug MacRay’s still a criminal and he was not the decent guy he came across as when he and Claire met “by chance” in a C-Town laundromat.

    Doug MacRay, like his friends and partners in crime, are not only skilled, disciplined and ruthless in their quest for quick money through parasitic behaviors such as armed robbery, and who’d unquestionably kill or seriously injure people enough to put them in the hospital if they’re considered obstacles to what they want, but Doug knows how to come across as a nice guy, when he’s really not. He may not be crazy like his best friend and righthand man, Jem, but he’s a sociopath and a person of unprovoked violence just the same. The fact that he came across as such a nice, charming guy and deceived Claire by pretending to be an upstanding, law-abiding citizen, when he’s really not, is more than disgusting…it’s part of his criminal behavior. As for Claire, the fact that she took Doug’s bait and rose to it is pathetic indeed.

    If Doug had really wanted to change, imo, he would’ve turned himself and his guys in, come forward, negociated with the Feds for some protection for him and Claire, and stopped robbing banks once and for all. Doug left for Florida without Claire for two reasons:

    A) Doug macRay was an armed felon and wanted fugitive who’d been on the lam from the law for quite awhile, plus he’d just killed Fergie and Rusty.

    B) Doug had gotten what he really wanted out of Claire all along; a promise from her not to turn him in, which he got.

    How can so many people be so naive or willfully stupid as to miss that?

    Also, if Doug wanted to redeem himself, he would’ve come forward, served his time, and
    after a prison term, found honest ways to raise the funding for the renovation for the C-Town hockey rink himself, instead of using Claire Keesey as a go-between. What people don’t realize is that Doug wasn’t a nice guy…even to Claire, even though most people firmly believe that. The fact that he deceived her, seduced her and made a total fool out of her was vicious. The fact that Claire acted like a poor, confused, dumb-assed adolescent and allowed herself to be manipulated, made a fool out of and taken advantage of by Doug is pitiful, but she doesn’t deserve pity, due to the fact that she helped the very guy who turned her life upside down and caused her a ton of grief in the first place escape the law.

    Now that I think of it, I wouldn’t cared one iota if Doug and Claire had either ended up in jail, or been shot and thrown into the Charles or the Mystic River. An awful thing for me to say, but that’s how disgusted I am with this kind of thing.

    As for Kristina, well, I don’t like her sordid lifestyle or behavior (drug and alcohol addiction, sleeping around with too many men, and the fact that she was in the business herself by helping to book hotel rooms and get costumes for Doug and his men, and being a drug mule for Fergie and Rusty), but i’ll say this: I feel kind of sorry for Krista, in a way, because she had far fewer choices than Claire; she’d grown up with Doug and Jem, who, like many other men, abused and exploited her for their own ends. Krista’s daughter, Shyne, still an infant, caught in the middle of all this shit, was innocent, and I felt sorry for her, too.

    I’m so sick of people saying that what the white collar criminals (not defending them, btw) are worse than guys like Doug MacRay and his gang, because it’s unrelated, and not true.

    Neither the book Prince of Thieves, on which The Town was based, or the movie, make any effort to get at causes of bank robbery and other crimes, and the circumstances under which Doug and his men had grown up under. Moreover, the movie asks the audience to sympathize with Doug MacRay and his men, as well as Claire, who acted stupidly enough to allow Doug to take advantage of her, and who became an accessory to his crimes, while considering law enforcement officials assigned to bring criminals like MacRay and company to their knees and have them locked up in penetentiaries once and for all.

    Dez was a smart (he was college-educated and had a regular job) but stupid guy; he was pretty much just along for the ride, and did what he was told to do by the gang, and yet, at the same time, he seemed to be pretty much their victim, as well, if one gets the drift. Dez allowed himself to be taken for a ride, also.

    At least the book fleshes out the characters and spends more time on Dez and Krista, and doesn’t focus on the viewpoint of Doug and Jem so much, plus the book takes a far less sympathetic outlook towards Doug and his men.

    Sorry, folks, but I can’t bring myself to like this film, except for the very beginning.

  16. mplo said

    Here’s another question:

    Why in the world is Claire so interested in a guy like Doug MacRay, who’s not only a convicted felon with an extensive criminal record of armed bank/armored car robberies (Federal offenses, btw) and severe assault, who also commits two murders on top of all that, and, moreover, has no family and has nothing to recommend him? It beats me!

  17. mplo said

    I think that one of the dumbest parts of the film were the conversations that occurred in the first two dates between Doug and Claire. The fact that Doug acted like a big know-it-all, schpieling off to Claire about how the criminal justice system supposedly works and then admitting “I watch a lot of TV” after being challenged by Claire, who said “You’re quite the expert”, should’ve been a red flag for Claire about who Doug MacRay really was and what he was up to from the get-go. A smarter, more streetwise woman than Claire Keesey would’ve had Doug pegged even before the FBI Agt. intervened on her behalf, bailed and immediately turned to FBI Agt. Frawley for help and protection.

  18. mplo said

    The dumbing down of America and the world at large continues! How so many people here in the United States and throughout the world, to boot, could’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for this hyped-up piece of junk of a film indicates precisely how far popular culture, in general, has fallen. It totally takes the viewpoints of Doug MacRay and his posse of murderous, thieving thugs, and a stupid, immature and confused bank manager who’s either so willfully stupid or gullible that she falls, hook, line and sinker for Doug MacRay, a wanted armed robber, thug and killer, and wiles the willfully ignorant or gullible audiences into sympathizing with them while condemning law enforcement people as a bunch of incompetent, stupid jerks.

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