Dude, These Are Isotopes: The Smartypants Departed Review.

It's raining like God's sweet benevolent justice out there!

I saw "The Departed" yesterday. I'll just say this. Jack is Jack. Leo's redeemed himself since Titanic to the point where I can take him seriously as an actor, so he's great. Matt Damon's done the wise thing in distancing himself from Ben Affleck - I mean, he's always kinda hit-or-miss as it is anyway. Like, he's pretty pointless in Ocean's Eleven, and apparently he's good in those Bourne movies; but then he does Bagger Vance and Stuck On You and I've gotta wonder. Pretty much, the only thing he did that takes his C- up to a C+ is Rounders and Dogma (though, to be honest, I never saw Good Will Hunting and I don't really remember a whole lot of Saving Private Ryan). For the most part, in The Departed, those are the only three people you notice from the previews.

Let me just say this, I think Mark Wahlberg's fucking awesome. He made "Four Brothers" watchable, he was outstanding in "I Heart Huckabees" and he kicked the asses in two personal favorites: "Boogie Nights" and "Renaissance Man" (a little underrated ditty featuring Danny DiVito about how the play Hamlet can help inspire some below-average Army Recruits ... it used to be on television ALL THE TIME). Granted, I haven't seen the Planet of the Apes remake or The Italian Job or Rock Star, but I imagine without Marky Mark they would've been much, MUCH worse. And, yes, The Perfect Storm was VERY cheesy; but I've heard good things about "Invincible" (as in, "I expected it to suck, and to my surprise it didn't."), so you know what, anyone with that kind of talent is aces in my book.

Martin Sheen's just the man, and he has a bigger role in this movie than you'd expect going in. But, you know who did it for me in this movie? Alec Baldwin. He's fucking HILARIOUS in this movie! He's kind of this know-nothing boob of a police seargent or chief or whatever (not the head guy, but one of the head guys under the main head guy). Now, he's only in a handful of scenes in this movie, but God Damn, he steals every fucking one! I mean, you just don't expect to go into a Scorsese movie and laugh out loud with the audience around you, but Alec's character has been the funniest I've seen on the big screen since Ricky Bobby.

And this movie's got Chase from 24. I'm loving the fact that I can watch movies now and see all these 24 alumni; like, you know where I saw Mike Novack? Glengarry Glen Ross AND he's Mr. Slurm on "The Adventures of Pete and Pete!" It's my dream that in everything Hollywood produces, we'll see someone who's been on 24. Actually, my dream is that Edgar Stiles is involved in everything Hollywood has to offer, but that's just unrealistic (unless you stop to consider the sheer girth of his stomach, but I'm getting off-topic).

Getting back to Leonardo DiCaprio, though. Nobody's happier than me that he's shedding that Teen Heartthrob model that made him big in the 90's. Look, he's popular, he's going to BE popular, ergo I'm going to have to watch him in movies. He might as well NOT totally suck ass while he's doing it, ya know what I mean? Jesus, he got his big break by totally ruining a great show like "Growing Pains," and if that isn't bad enough, he follows it up by playing a retard! Of course, nothing will ever be as retarded as his role in "Romeo + Juliet" which, the title alone just makes me cringe. Then, it's the Titanic and the Beach. But, ever since Scorsese got his claws into him, DiCaprio's gotten his shit together (though, previews for "Blood Diamond" look pretty attrocious ... and now I see he's gonna be playing Theodore Roosevelt, wonderful).

What does all this mean for "The Departed"? It's another one of those Actors Movies. You go in on reputation of the actors (who are, I'm assuming, attached to this movie based on the director's reputation), and you really don't care what it's about. These guys could be sitting in a circle pulling out their ballhairs for two hours and they'd pack theaters. Is the story great? Ehh, it's okay. You've got a mob-type boss vs. a police-type unit. The twist here is one of the mob guys passes through the Police Academy and raises through the ranks to facilitate the mob boss's evil deeds; meanwhile, one of the police guys, without anyone's knowledge but the two head guys of the undercover program, infiltrates the mob boss's ranks. But, since the actors are so amazing at what they do, it doesn't matter. Go, see this movie. If you have any inkling for any of these actors. Go.

Nevertheless, I couldn't help thinking throughout how Worm would've been totally appropriate somewhere. Just, have ONE poker scene with Matt Damon and Edward Norton!! Fuck it, throw it in somewhere in the middle, with a drunk Alec Baldwin and a belligerent Mark Wahlberg and a one-armed Chase trying to play the game with his prosthetic limb holding his hole cards, please!!! You know, enter Jack Nicholson, who joins the table as a bigshot; maybe one of his underlings catches Worm cheating, so the two go to work torturing him with a hacksaw, a realistic dildo, and a handful of cocaine. PLEASE!!! That's all I ask. Finally, out of nowhere, Edgar Stiles waddles in naked, takes a dump on the table, and everyone goes, "Aww man! That's it! Game's over, I guess; THANKS A LOT Edgar Stiles!" Back to the story. Simple. Easy Peasy.