Lawrence Bender is an Academy Award-winning American producer famous for such popular movies as Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, An Inconvenient Truth, and The Mexican. He was born in the Bronx, New York. Lawrence Bender grew up in New Jersey and graduated from the University of Maine in 1979. With a degree in civil engineering, Bender entered the film business by working as a grip on the television series Tales from the Darkside. He then went on to produce his own films starting in the late 1980s.
His movies have been nominated for 29 Academy Awards. Three of these films, Good Will Hunting, Inglourious Basterds, and Pulp Fiction, were nominated for Best Picture.
My favorite movie by Lawrence Bender is The Mexican. While this movie is sometimes overlooked in relation to his other work, it is a funny and exciting crime comedy. Brad Pitt gives an entertaining comedic performance as Jerry Welbach, a hapless member of the mob whose girlfriend Samantha (Julia Roberts) wants him to get out of the business. His boss gives him an assignment to steal an antique pistol called “The Mexican.” When he decides to take the job, his girlfriend throws him out.
It isn’t that difficult to find the gun, but getting the gun back involves many near-misses, shootouts, and comic mishaps. One memorable scene involves Jerry on a donkey.
While Jerry is in Mexico, Samantha is kidnapped by hitman Leroy, played by James Gandolfini. The scenes with Samantha and Leroy are even funnier than those with Jerry.
The movie is uneven at times, but the weird mashup of romantic comedy and crime movie make for an entertaining experience. The movie is quite violent, though not on the same scale as a Quentin Tarantino film. Lawrence Bender has been Tarantino’s business partner and worked on many of his films. If you are looking for an underappreciated mob comedy and don’t mind a violent film, The Mexican might be for you.