Saturday, February 13, 2016


Year 8, Day 44 - 2/13/16 - Movie #2,245

BEFORE: I have to rely on indirect linking again today - Elizabeth McGovern links back through "She's Having a Baby" to Matthew Broderick, who has a cameo in tonight's film, also.  Just one more indirect link this month, the rest of my February connections are solid, though.  

The Valentine's Day action really gets going tomorrow on TCM's "31 Days of Oscar":

Leslie Caron carries over from "The Story of Three Loves" to:
"Fanny" with Charles Boyer carrying over to:
"Love Affair" with Irene Dunne carrying over to:
"The Awful Truth" with Cary Grant carrying over to:
"The Philadelphia Story" with Katharine Hepburn carrying over to:
"Adam's Rib" with Judy Holliday carrying over to:
"Born Yesterday" with William Holden carrying over to:
"Sabrina" (1954) with Humphrey Bogart carrying over to:
"Casablanca" with Paul Henreid carrying over to:
"Now, Voyager" with Bette Davis carrying over to:
"Jezebel" with Donald Crisp carrying over to: 
"Wuthering Heights" with Merle Oberon carrying over to:

Classics all, I'm sure, but I'm only going 5 for 12 here - I saw "The Awful Truth" last year as part of my Cary Grant chain, and I'd tackled "The Philadelphia Story", "Adam's Rib", "Casablanca" and "Now, Voyager" previously.  I watched the remake of "Sabrina" last year, so I'm less inclined to record the original, and "Wuthering Heights" is another one of those classics I feel I should watch at some point, but my schedule's already packed with Jane Austen, so I'm not going to tackle any Bronte sisters' works right now.  This brings my totals up to 50 films seen, 107 unseen, with 4 added to the list.

THE PLOT:  Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy.

AFTER: This whole week's really been about the struggles of maintaining monogamy - going back to "St. Elmo's Fire", at least, where Judd Nelson's character lives with a woman but sleeps around, then in "About Last Night" and "He Said, She Said" couples tried to make a go of it, but there was always a boss or an ex-girlfriend hanging around, making things difficult.  In "Twice Upon a Yesterday", both lead characters had affairs, just in different timelines, and even in "She's Having a Baby", both sides of the married couple faced temptations.  I get it, Hollywood, you think that one-on-one relationships are too simple, too boring - there's not enough conflict for a movie.  

That trend continues here, as Amy's character (also called Amy) starts the film with a steady boyfriend who assumes they're both being monogamous, only to find out he's only half right.  Turns out women can play the field, too, which I suppose constitutes progress of a sort - but is that really what the fight for equal rights was all about?   (Geez, you go and give women the right to vote, and they just keep wanting more...)  

But the trend of showing women engaging in "Bad Behavior" really kicked off with "Bridesmaids", as women eventually have to learn, as men once did, to put aside their roaming around in order to try and have a real, adult relationship.  That's the implication here, as men seem more capable of monogamy than women - so they've flipped the script.  And it's OK now for women to be seen drinking heavily and doing drugs, so again - progress?

So it's not your typical romantic comedy, and it has the added benefit of reminding you how awkward and humiliating the dating scene is, which you'll commiserate with if you're part of it, but if you're in a long-term relationship, it will make you glad that you're not putting yourself out there.  Since my wife and I are about to celebrate our 20th Valentine's Day together (wait, that can't be right - no, the math checks out) I'm firmly in the second camp.  

I get that people may say, "Oh, this has an unlikeable lead character" because she drinks, curses, has a lot of sex and has a tendency to sabotage her relationships.  The way I see it, the character is like these stray cats in my backyard - there are four of them and I feed them once a day, on the weekends I'll let them come inside and eat from bowls on the kitchen floor, but even though it's freezing cold outside, as soon as they're done eating, they run back outside.  I'd love to adopt one or more of them, but they just don't trust me enough, they'd rather return to the backyard, because that's the environment that they know.  In the same way, Amy has a long history of one-night stands, and they're awkward and uncomfortable but they give her what she needs, and that's the environment she knows.  When she's got the opportunity to have a long-term, stable adult relationship, the sabotage comes because in some ways, she wants to return to the known and doesn't yet trust the unknown.

I think the depiction of magazine writing is probably way off-base in several ways, like I think there's probably a rule against sleeping with the person you're writing a magazine article about, and I would imagine that if one magazine paid you to write an article and then didn't run it, you most likely could not submit that article to a different magazine's editor.  But at least when she leaves the employ of the horrible click-bait men's magazine, it's a step in the right direction, like personal growth from making a choice to stop doing destructive things and start doing things right, and the job change therefore mirrors the change in her attitude toward relationships. 

There are a ton of cameos here, mostly from the world of SNL/stand-up comedy but also from the sports world, and unlike "She's Having a Baby", they gave most of those people something to do.  Of course, I'm much more in touch with the comedy world than the sports, I really couldn't pick Tony Romo or Amar'e Stoudemire out of a line-up.  I'm being told that some of these are football players and some play basketball, it turns out we've got an NBA team here in town, the Canucks or something, who knew?  Though I'm not sure why the team name is a nickname for Canadians - the team must have moved here from Toronto or something.  

Also starring Amy Schumer (last seen in "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World"), Bill Hader (last heard in "Turbo"), Brie Larson (last seen in "21 Jump Street"), Tilda Swinton (last seen in "Moonrise Kingdom"), Colin Quinn (last seen in "Grown Ups 2"), Jon Cena (last seen in "Ready to Rumble"), LeBron James, Vanessa Bayer (last heard in "Despicable Me 2"), Randall Park (last seen in "Neighbors"), Jon Glaser, Mike Birbiglia (last seen in "Cedar Rapids"), Ezra Miller (last seen in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"), Norman Lloyd, with cameos from Dave Attell, Daniel Radcliffe (last seen in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"), Marisa Tomei (last seen in "Four Rooms"), Pete Davidson, Tim Meadows (also last seen in "Grown Ups 2"), Method Man, Tony Romo, Amar'e Stoudemire, Marv Albert, Chris Evert, Leslie Jones. 

RATING: 6 out of 10 snowglobes

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