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At The Movies: Not such ‘Little Things’

The big thing about “The Little Things” is its trifecta of Oscar winners casting:

Denzel Washington (Two Oscars: actor, “Training Day,” 2001; supporting actor, “Glory,” 1989; eight-time Oscar nominee, including best picture, “Fences,” 2016; actor, “Malcolm X,” 1992); Rami Malek, Oscar, actor, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” 2018, and Jared Leto, Oscar, supporting actor, “Dallas Buyers Club,” 2013.

Washington, Malek and Leto appear together in one key scene in the procedural crime drama, which I defy you to explain to me.

In “The Little Things,” Albert Sparma (Leto), an appliance shop repairman and suspect in the serial killings of young women in Los Angeles, is being interrogated by Jimmy Baxter (Malek), a Los Angeles Police Department detective, and Joe “Deke” Deacon (Washington), a Bakersfield, Calif., deputy sheriff.

Deacon has taken time off from his sheriff department duties to help in the Los Angeles murders investigation because he sees similarities to a case he had worked on.

Washington and Leto share the majority of the scenes in “The Little Things.” Malek has a crucial scene with Leto.

“The Little Things” is an enigma wrapped in an enigma. Did Washington and Malek get their man? I will let that up to the movie-goer concerning a film that will have many discussing and debating the outcome for days, weeks, if not years to come.

“The Little Things” is written and directed by John Lee Hancock (“Saving Mr. Banks,” 2013; “The Blind Side,” 2009) at a leisurely pace, capturing the gritty underside of sunny California circa 1990 when the story takes place, and with an attention to character and the portrayals of those characters by the three main actors. Hancock’s choice to have the musings of Deacon to materialize in his scenes doesn’t work.

Washington has some paunch and gray hair for the role. His acting is very interior-oriented. He seems preoccupied by grief.

Malek is rail-thin and so intense in his portrayal as to make the character he plays unlikeable.

Washington and Malek seem to be competing in the overbite competition. Each sets their teeth in such a way that bespeaks a deep thinker.

Leto displays a beer belly and walks in a crab-like gait, performing with an aggressiveness that is Charles Manson frightening.

William Safire, in his “On Language” column, delved into the derivation of “God, or the devil, is in the details.” That goes for most everything on God’s green Earth, but especially for a legal proceeding, sports contest and writing, notably, screenplays.

“The Little Things” explores the details, advising in the cautionary tale: Yes, it’s the little things that matter, but don’t get too hung up on the details. It’s the little snares that can trip us up.

As it’s stated in Song of Solomon 2:15: “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.”

One interpretation of the Biblical verse might be that it’s stating that a minor problem could ruin a good relationship, job, or vintage.

The aphorism could be the basis for a great movie, which, alas, “The Little Things” is not.

“The Little Things,”

MPAA rated R (Restricted Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.) for violent-disturbing images, language and full nudity (that of the depiction of a corpse); Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller; Run time: 2 hr., 7 min, Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous:

Jared Leto received a Golden Globe, supporting actor nomination, and a Screen Actors Guild nominee, supporting actor, for “The Little Things.”

At The Movies:

“The Little Things” was seen in the Dolby Theatre, AMC Center Valley 16, The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, Upper Saucon Township. It was my second time seeing a movie in the Dolby Theatre, which opened in November 2020. If you have the opportunity to see a movie in the Dolby Theatre, it’s well worth it. At AMC, COVID-19 protocol is in effect, including online ticketing, face mask wearing, social distancing in theater seating, and available hand sanitizers.

Movie Box Office,

Feb, 12-14: “The Croods: A New Age” moved up one place to No. 1, with $2.04 million, on 1,890 screens, $48.3 million, 12 weeks, edging out “Judas And The Black Messiah,” based on the story of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, opening at No. 2 with $2 million on 1,888 screens, and ending the two-week No. 1 run of “The Little Things,” dropping two places to No. 3 with $1.8 million, on 2,090 screens; $9.6 million, three weeks.

4. “Wonder Woman 1984” stayed in place, $1.3 million, on 1,681 screens, $41.8 million, eight weeks. 5. “The Marksman” dropped two places, $1.1 million, on 1,825 screens, $10.4 million, five weeks. 6. “Land,” $940,000, on 1,231 screens, opening. 7. “Monster Hunter” dropped two places, $650,000, on 1,366 screens; $12.6 million, nine weeks. 8. “News Of The World” dropped two places, $385,000, on 1,243 screens; $11.3 million, eight weeks. 9. “Promising Young Woman” dropped two places, $182,000, on 733 screens; $4.9 million, eight weeks. 10. “The War With Grandpa,” starring Allentown’s Oakes Fegley, stayed in place, $180,287, on 525 screens; $20 million, 19 weeks. 13. “Come Play,” starring Allentown’s Winslow Fegley, stayed in place, $86,000, on 148 screens, $10.2 million, 16 weeks.

Box office figures are from Box Office Mojo as of Feb. 14 and are subject to change.


Feb. 19


R: Chloé Zhao directs Frances McDormand and David Strathairn in the Drama. A woman sets out on her own in a van in the United States during the 2008 Great Recession.

“The Mauritanian,”

R: Kevin Macdonald directs Shailene Woodley, Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tahar Rahim in the Drama Thriller. An imprisoned man fights for his freedom.

“Blithe Spirit,”

PG-13: Edward Hall directs Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher, Aimee-Ffion Edwards and Michele Dotrice in the Comedy Fantasy Romance based on the play by Noël Coward. A writer is bedeviled by the spirit of his deceased wife much to the chagrin of his wife.

“Silk Road,”

R: Tiller Russell directs Nick Robinson, Jennifer Yun, Jimmi Simpson and Jason Clarke in the Crime Drama Thriller. A DEA agent tries to bring down a dark net website.

“Body Brokers,”

R: John Swab directs Frank Grillo, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jessica Rothe and Melissa Leo in the Crime Thriller. A drug addict goes to rehab.

Movie opening dates are from Internet Movie Database.

Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO COURTESY WARNER BROS. Denzel Washington (Joe “Deke” Deacon), Rami Malek (Jimmy Baxter), “The Little Things.”