Tag Archives: Judd Apatow

Trainwreck

Please join us for this next instalment of A Very Special Purge: The DVD Expansion Project

Megan’s Thoughts:

I’m an Amy Schumer fan. I laugh at her jokes, I enjoy watching her interviews, and I find her quick and witty and just catty enough that the mean girl in me is satisfied but not so catty that I’m like “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE.”

Trainwreck is a modern rom com that asks the question: when a career-driven, commitment-phobe partier meets one of the “good ones,” can they change their ways? Oh, except the commitment-phobe is Amy Schumer and the “good one” is a super hunky Bill Hader.

This movie ticked a lot of boxes for me. It has a strong female lead, was written by a woman, it passes the Bechdel Test, the romantic lead isn’t some unrealistic Fabio wannabe, it’s got romance but moreso it’s a comedy and even moreso some of the best parts of the movie were in the drama.

What exceeded my expectations for Trainwreck was Schumer’s performance in the dramatic parts, the character Amy’s unapologetic drive, and her attitude towards sex. Though I should have expected nothing less from Schumer. I had a moment of horrified self-examination during the scene when Amy decides to step out from hearing Aaron (Bill Hader)’s acceptance speech for his award so she could take a call from work. I made several moves similar to that in the past couple years while I tried to impress producers on shows I worked for. Funny, it doesn’t seem to have enhanced my career options, and always ended in an upset husband. I wouldn’t call myself a trainwreck, but there are elements of Schumer’s film that mirror my own tendencies. It made me appreciate how much “growing up” I’ve done in the past few years. I don’t think that was one of Schumer’s goals when she wrote Trainwreck but I think she’d be pleased at my reaction.

Trainwreck is excellent date movie or girls’ night. Schumer is on point, I can’t get over how attracted to Bill Hader I was (am?) and who knew Lebron James was that funny. I was impressed, and considering my husband is the biggest Golden State Warriors fan ever in the history of sports, I saw a lot of Lebron this basketball season. I think having seen him play against the Warriors vs. seeing him in this film was a unique juxtaposition.

I will say, as I usually do, it could have been at least 20 minutes shorter. I miss the days of the 90 min movie. Where did they go? Hey, Apatow, I’ve got a tiny bladder and I refuse to see a movie without a soda the size of my head so we gotta figure out a balance here.

To close, I’d like to share a moment from the showing I went to which was the most satisfying example of life imitating art I have ever personally witnessed. A woman sitting near the front had clearly enjoyed a cocktail or two before the show as, once the trailers started and a preview for Joy came on, one look at Jennifer Lawrence and she slurred: “I LOVE KATNISS EVERDEEN.” For the most part I think the theatre tried to ignore her but as the movie started Drunkess felt the need to comment, talk back and interact with the characters on screen (at one point Amy says something about being a dirtbag or a horrible person in general, to which Drunkess yelled “NO YOU’RE NOT!”) About half an hour in, the most official looking Cineplex employee I’ve ever seen went up to her and, though I couldn’t hear what was said, Drunkess and her man friend were escorted out of the theatre. I don’t know this woman, I don’t know what kind of a day she had, perhaps this was even meant to be performance art…but really, let’s talk trainwreck.

I’d watch this movie again, even if it’s just to see the way Bill Hader holds a subway pole. So my vote is GET IT.

Look at the power stance on that arm!

Max’s Thoughts: 

A brief thought on the woman Megan dubbed “Drunkess”: I felt bad for the guy who was there with her. On to Trainwreck!

When you’re done reading this, you might think “That was a pretty myopic review.” I apologize in advance. Because I went to see this movie for one reason and one reason alone: Lebron James. Megan said it’s a good date night or ladies’ night movie. When we saw it, Trainwreck was both, all at once. Long story short: I was the third wheel on a lady-date between Megan and her friend.

I regret nothing.

Because as I suspected, King James was good. A few clips from trailers had piqued my interest, and I love following the off-field lives of athletes almost as much as I love watching them play. The movie itself didn’t exceed expectations for me as it did for my wife. It’s a paint-by-numbers rom-com bloated to 120 minutes with Appatovian improvisational diversions left and right. Some of them pay off. Others don’t. But whatever money and time they invested in getting ‘Bron to be in this movie paid off in full.

He stole nearly every scene he was in, sometimes simply by being gigantic, but usually by playing completely against type. How could Lebron James, a non-actor, have a type? Because he’s a public persona, and we watch him play sports. On the court, he’s an absolute killer, a leader of men and one of the most fearsomely unfair physical specimens I’ve ever seen play any sport. 600 years ago, he’d be riding the biggest warhorse, wielding the biggest two-handed greatsword and striking fear into the heart of anyone who might oppose him.

Here, he plays himself as the tropey-as-fuck “best friend of one of the main characters in a rom-com.” He’s interested in Aaron’s problems, he councils him on how soon he should call Amy back, he gets passive-aggressive when they argue about why Aaron never visits Lebron in Cleveland (“you visited me in Miami all the time!”) It’s great. He seemed at ease.

It was all worth it so Bill Hader could hit a single jump shot while Lebron was talking during their lopsided one-on-one scene and walk out screaming “I scored against Lebron James! I’m never touching a basketball again! I win!.”

That said, I would not have gone to see it if the ticket wasn’t free (Megan’s Note: you’re welcome) and my wife wasn’t already going. I would watch it again if it came on TV but – wait this movie would suck on TV. I would definitely NOT watch it on TV. Maybe again on Netflix. FORGET IT. 

Verdict: GET IT. 

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Spy

Who Bought It?: No one!

Why?: It’s not on DVD yet!

Wait, what’s happening?: Max and I have decided that on top of reviewing our DVD collection, we should include new movies we see. Once we each give our opinions, we’ll both say whether we’d GET IT or FORGET IT (and this will hopefully keep Megan from buying every movie ever made.) So enjoy this maiden voyage of the DVD Expansion Project.

The Rules: Just like with the DVD Purge Project, for a DVD to gain a positive ruling (here: “Get It”), only one of us needs to vote positively. For a negative ruling, there must be consensus.

The Movie: Spy

Megan’s Thoughts: I walked into this movie with low expectations. I wasn’t a fan of the trailers; I thought it was going to be a feature where all the jokes were about how ugly/fat/uncoordinated Melissa McCarthy was. And I like Melissa McCarthy, I didn’t want to see her insulted for two hours.

Thankfully, my interpretation of the trailers was wrong.

Spy is about Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy), a deskbound CIA analyst stuck at her basement computer while she aids a top agent in his dangerous missions. But when her partner Bradley Fine (Jude Law) falls into danger and agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham) goes awol, she steps up to go undercover and take down Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) before the sale of a nuclear bomb can be finalized. It’s a rock-em sock-em action flick where the jokes fly as fast as the bullets.

The cast in this movie is on point. I did not know Jason Statham could be so funny, and Rose Byrne brought sass and swagger to the evil Boyanov. Susan’s sidekick and (best?) friend Nancy (Miranda Hart) had me in stitches as she jumped into the action to assist Susan on her mission and, on her own time, chase after 50 Cent. Nancy might actually be my second favourite character, behind Susan Cooper, and I’ll be binge watching more of Hart’s work.

For the record this is my favourite Melissa McCarthy role so far. About halfway through the movie they unleash her character from the desk/beginner agent version that is given lame fake identities and wears a lot of cat shirts into an insult-wielding, gun-toting boss bitch so quick on the quips I couldn’t keep up. It was outstanding. It’s the same brand of insult comedy that I enjoy when I watch something with Tina Fey behind it.

Well done to writer/director Paul Feig, who also directed Bridesmaids and The Heat. I’ll be keeping a close eye on his next project if this is the kind of material he’ll be churning out. Oh wait, it’s the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters. I’m in.

Knowing that I missed some of the jokes because I was too busy laughing at the one previous, and needing to relive the airplane scene between McCarthy and Byrne again and again and again, I’d go ahead and say this is a GET IT for me. It checks a lot of boxes I look for (namely, female characters that don’t just talk about boys.) I’d watch it again for sure.

Max’s Thoughts: The CIA in the world of Paul Feig’s Spy is a strange place to work. One minute you’re helping a gorgeous field agent take out terrorists, the next an office bat gives you pink eye. Feig is no stranger to Melissa McCarthy, as Megan noted, and I think he really knows how to wield her. Most importantly, once that switch from meek desk jockey to “boss bitch” happens, he gives McCarthy a weapon she doesn’t seem to get to use enough: Her mouth.

So many of the roles she has been given/chosen boil down to “look at how fat this lady is!” Or to put it another way, I don’t need to see Bridesmaids to know which one of the bridesmaids poops in the sink. She does her fair share of prat-falling in Spy, but when push comes to shove, it’s usually Susan Cooper doing the shoving. Her answer to her blown cover is to insult her way back undercover. It’s beautiful at times.

Feig has as long a relationship with Judd Apatow as anyone in Hollywood, so it doesn’t surprise me that this feels like something out of the Apatow oeuvre. It ticks all the boxes from the brilliant character work of big names like Allison Janney and Jude Law to the random but effective 50 Cent cameo. Every bone in my body went into this movie expecting to hate it, almost wanting to hate it. But I laughed. A lot.

And for a comedy, that’s all it really comes down to. All that said, I don’t see myself watching it over and over, and when it comes to buying a comedy on DVD, that what it all comes down to. FORGET IT. 

Verdict: GET IT.

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