Updated: Sep 17, 2020
UNCUT GEMS (2019) directed by Josh & Benny Safdie
Executive Produced by Martin Scorsese
"With his debts mounting and angry collectors closing in, a fast-talking New York City jeweler risks everything in hope of staying afloat and alive."
You might like this if you like: Adam Sandler (lifelong fan, in awe at his career, love everything he’s done, the good ones, the bad ones AND the ugly ones, and will continue to watch WHATEVER he does), The Sopranos or Breaking Bad (just has that feel to it), Scorsese vibes for sure, just crime movies or gangster movies in general but I wouldn’t necessarily call it either of those it feels like a genre of its own I can’t explain it just watch it), Basketball maybe (not being a B Ball fan I wouldn’t know, but you also don’t have to be a fan to love this as I am a living example)
Uncut Gems was one of my favorite films of 2019.. It was PAINFULLY IGNORED at the Oscars. It’s not necessarily what movies they nominate it’s the lacking of hundreds of others that came out that year that they choose to ignore therefore.. each year.. we get about 8 films that people talk about.. all thanks to whatever the Academy tells us to talk about that year. I will say, as a movie junkie, I’d watch a 10 hour award show if that meant more movies were appreciated each year.
Benny Safdie (left), Josh Safdie (middle), & Adam Sandler (right) on the set of "Uncut Gems" (2019)
Anyways, being a massive Adam Sandler fan all the way back from SNL to Uncut Gems and everything in between. I wasn’t surprised at his incredible performance.. I was just happy he finally got a role that wasn’t necessarily what you’d expect Sandler to fit into. Punch-Drunk Love (2002) and Funny People (2009) were my favorite Sandler performances for years and now (well when it came out back in December when I saw it) Uncut Gems flew right up there.
I heard about the film from Rian Johnson (Knives Out, Last Jedi, Looper) and Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Boy, Thor Ragnarock) who COULD NOT stop talking about it. It was their favorite of the year and I love their movies so much and trust filmmakers for a good review.
Back in 2009 the Safdie brothers came up with this incredible idea and approached Sandler’s manager who rejected the script before Sandler could even read it. Martin Scorsese signed on to executive producer and Jonah Hill was cast to play Howard Ratner with A24 distributing. Sascha Baron Cohen was even considered at one point. In 2018 Adam Sandler replaced Jonah Hill due to the character’s age and Hill’s youth. Also, Jonah was getting caught up in his outstanding directorial debut “Mid90s” (2018) and Netflix’s original mini series “Maniac” (2018). I honestly wouldn’t have minded Jonah or Sascha but Sandler deserved this one.. I think he also deserved a Best Actor nominee and maybe even a win.
Julia Fox in "Uncut Gems" (2019)
Julia Fox who stars in the film as Julia de Fiore and Idina Menzel (“Frozen”s Elsa) plays Dinah Ratner are INCREDIBLE in this. Two awesome roles for two awesome women. Kevin Garnett... ok I honestly don’t know anything about Basketball but he’s great in this. Eric Bogosian (who I just saw recently in HBO’s “Succession”) and LaKeith Stanford (“Knives Out”, “Get Out”) were great in this.. A lot of lesser known stars or.. unexpected ones I should say.. who I absolutely loved. Wonderful cast.
The original score is just like nothing I’ve ever heard before.. there’s a really fascinating behind the scenes on this if you’re interested (don’t watch if you haven’t seen film yet):
The cinematography... something about this imagery just stuck with me. And I understand 1917 came out that year too but the colors in the film.. the lighting. The images haunt my mind with psychedelic pleasure. I can’t explain it. I just loved it.
Adam Sandler in "Uncut Gems" (2019)
Again I hate giving plot away, it’s a rollercoaster non-stop ride. It’s like the Mad Max: Fury Road of crime thriller.. I was on the edge of my seat the whole 135 minutes.. this movie IS INSANE. It feels like some 70s crime pulp fiction. Powerful. Raw. Brutal. Beautiful. Bittersweet. F*cking hilarious. Profoundly powerful and hits you right in the gut. I watched it twice in two days. Seen it three times in total. I was obsessed. Adam f*cking Sandler is THE MAN. I hope you guys watch and enjoy this film as much as I did. It’s one hellevu badass thrill ride.
Written by Sam Gall 04/05/20
CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0
Trailer for "Uncut Gems" (2019):
Rent for $4.99 or buy for $7.99: