Things Self Learned While Watching “Lawless”

  • You can make whiskey out of anything —  even tree bark.
  • SPOILER:  It is indeed possible to survive having your throat cut ear to ear —  especially if a woman like Maggie (played by Jessica Chastain) is around to drive you 20 miles to the nearest hospital.
  • Moonshiners have a lot in common with the Mafia.  While watching the movie, self kept being reminded of “The Godfather”  —  young whippersnapper/hothead (Shia LaBeouf standing in for Al Pacino) has a lot to learn before he can truly manage the family’s illegal business.  (The Godfather role was played by Tom Hardy.  The things that man can do with close-ups, dear blog readers, would drive any woman in the audience wild!  And self does mean wild!)
  • Guy Pearce gets the Charlize Theron treatment:  he gets to play ugly. Really ugly.  Not only ugly:  loathsome.  So convincing is Pearce that only long after the movie ended did it occur to self that the probability of having a villain that dandy-ish and that arch — in 1930s America, no less — was well-nigh impossible.  (He was the Nazis, the Fascists, the Bogeyman and Freddy Krueger all rolled into one.  His character had a toe-curling predilection for pomade and three-piece suits.  Whenever he was within striking distance of Jessica Chastain, self would have to cover her eyes —  until the scene where he jams his foot in her door and says, “Don’t worry, I don’t drink from a greasy cup.”)
  • A great musical number can indeed be inserted into a violent movie —  The one in “Lawless” takes place in a backwoods church, all the men sporting long beards, raising their right hands, palm outwards, singing a very rousing, homegrown hymn (Think Gregorian Chant, only backwoods.  No, think Tibetan Buddhist monks chanting, as they do in Sherab Ling in Himachal Pradesh).  In this church there occurs a highly erotic scene.  Apparently, ritual foot-washing is part of the Sunday services, and Mia Wasikowska’s foot (in close-up) looks just ravishing. Alas, Shia’s character is branded with shame for, almost at the instant when his lady-love dips one of his horrible, calloused feet into a basin of water — what is the meaning of such a ritual, self wonders? —  he does the I-am-about-to-puke routine and barges out of the church, minus one shoe.

Self was mighty impressed with Tom Hardy’s backwoods American accent, but just to show you how pathetically ignorant self is about true American backwoods accents, every other reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes denigrated his attempt as “pseudo” —  and no one praised him.  Dear Rotten Tomatoes reviewers, don’t you understand that when one is born speaking British, it takes Herculean effort just to stop sounding British?  Never mind if you don’t sound like anything recognizable.  So long as you don’t sound like what you really are —  British — you will never fail to impress moviegoers like self.

Mia Wasikowska’s character was supposed to have a really strict Papa, but this longbeard was never around, except in church, or maybe replenishing supplies at the feed store.  Mia and Shia had ample “alone time” —  at one point Mia is even able to change her clothes behind Shia’s car —  which led self to conclude that parental supervision was exceedingly lax.

Shia’s character had a lot of stupid ideas.

And that’s about all self feels able to discuss right now, dear blog readers.

Stay tuned.


  1. Ashley said,

    December 31, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Tom Hardy’s accent was FANTASTIC. I was born and raised in Appalachia and he did a stunning job!

    • December 31, 2013 at 2:47 am

      And there you have it, folks. Ashley, thanks so much for providing the definitive answer to the question of Tom Hardy’s Appalachian accent!

  2. ray brown said,

    May 19, 2021 at 4:53 am

    It can’t be too hard to fake a Southern accent. I’ve been 50 years transplanted to the West Coast and still have a decent East Tennessee accent. The movie does a decent Western Virginia accent, not to be confused with West Virginia although filmed in NE Georgia.

  3. Michelle Kirby said,

    December 18, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    Tom Hardy is all I ever need and want.

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