Live by Night
The key question behind Live by Night isn’t so much “Why did they bother?” as “What went wrong?”
This is not, to be sure, a movie as good as those two wonderful titles. But it's plenty good, and it has the same buried theme: Anything a guy can do, a girl can do, too. It stars Stewart as Maddy Phillips, an athletic young girl whose father Tom (Sam Robards) once climbed Mount Everest. He had a nasty fall on the way down, which is why he discourages Maddy from climbing, while her mother Molly (Jennifer Beals) forbids it. But as the movie opens, she's scaling the local water tower.
Maddy has two best friends. Austin (Corbin Bleu) is a computer geek. Gus (Max Thieriot) is a mechanic at the go-cart track operated by her father. They both have crushes on her, although at one point, when she's hanging in danger high in the air during the heist, Gus complains that he never even got a chance to kiss her once.
A crisis comes into her life with all the melodrama of a silent movie. One night while her dad and mom are dancing in the living room, he falls to the floor and says, "I can't feel my legs!" It's paralysis -- whether from the neck or waist down, we don't learn, but in any event the condition is incurable, except for an experimental procedure offered in Europe; it costs $250,000 the family doesn't have.
Common sense at this point steps in and suggests that if such an operation really existed, Christopher Reeve would already be on site with a charity to help the Toms of the world, but no: Molly the mother is turned down for a loan at the bank where she has installed the security system. The bank president, named Brisbane (Michael Des Barres), is a teeth-gnashing, scenery-chewing villain whose origins go back even before silent films -- back to Horatio Alger, if anybody remembers who that was. Been a while since we've had a banker this evil in the movies.