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Robert De Niro

Why did so few people see 'Joy'? David O. Russell has some theories (and we have some defenses)

Why did so few people see 'Joy'? David O. Russell has some theories (and we have some defenses)

When it comes to David O. Russell, I'll admit I'm biased, or at least heavily influenced by past performance. I've enjoyed and admired every one of the director's movies since his unofficial comeback began a little more than five years ago.

I loved "The Fighter," its off-center view of a Massachusetts matriarch, its skillful upending of boxing-movie conventions. I marveled at "Silver Linings Playbook" and its willingness to peer under darker covers at societal underdogs -- a Russell archetype -- even as it delivered an object lesson in crowd-pleasing resolution. I was continually impressed by "American Hustle" -- its wry view on the '70s, its ability to...

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