Just, Actors

© Tom Shales

© Tom Shales


When we were like this,

nobody really stepped inside our world.

We could laugh and cry together,

hold one another, count on each other,

and smile for the camera as ourselves.


We lived real lives

beyond the facade of entertainment;

so compelling, so intriguing, so decimating

that our passions were swept up in


Well, perhaps not each of us


we did find our need to cast a persona

on a world around us

counting upon each story, gag, inventive moment,

to help

you, (them)

cycle through your typical day.


Watching us,

how many people realized

we were watching ourselves,

you, him, they, her, we

each ideal


at your (our) expense,

yet all in fun of course,

because we laughed as much as anyone else,

when the camera …


Here we are today

in memory,

simply wishing to evoke another nostalgic

dream come true

of life in America, of love, of fortune,

of delightful entertainment.

Remember us?

We were a household name,

to some,

we gathered in the storms of insecurity

and splayed a comedic shower of tranquility

upon the eyes, the visual masses,

waiting for our next



At the end of the scene, we too had needs,

we simply wanted to be recognized as human beings,

beyond the responsibility,

we wanted credibility,

we were after all,

just, actors.

American Hustle – A Question of Human Nature

While ‘American Hustle’ begins with a disclaimer that ‘some of this story is true’ the viewer is more importantly left with a taste of how easily drawn into hustles all of us are, no matter the situation legal, above the law, or lost in deception.

Each character in this movie has a desire for power, success, validation – no matter the concept they are each one lost in their own need to define themselves in whatever capacity they choose. Though the story line takes awhile to get rolling, once it does, the audience is drawn into each character’s psyche, and right through to the finale wondering how this might turn out. When the outcome seemed predictable, something else came into play to draw you further.

This movie contained a number of characters that you were clearly designed to dislike. In fact, I don’t think I liked a single one, except perhaps the innocent bystander – figure of speech. The intrigue of this movie is the ability to have the audience wondering how they might react to a situation, and also, how easily they could relate to the drive of each character’s actions. Where one wanted to succeed a scam, another wanted identity, while another simply wanted their life to be more purposeful than they ever believed it had been, and when things began to unravel it seemed clear that in the end everyone would probably die a brutal and cinematic death. That’s not a spoiler, I assure you.

The acting was solid to the purposeful drive of the premise. The display of the human condition in its most ill spoken and vulnerable state though, was the driving force of the movie. The outcome, while testing your own preconceived notions of how generally, a con turns out badly, in some respects, helps define how the very fallibility of our human nature is an albatross we all carry around with ourselves in our search for definitive identities in our respective societies.