Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

The War Between the Sexes is Over.  Men Won the Second Women Started Doing Pole Dancing for Exercise

I felt like it was necessary to follow my reviews of the Rocky franchise with something entirely not-Rocky.  This, of course, led to me renting Warrior from RedBox.  But we’ll get to that in a couple of days.  After a bit of a near death experience I had today, I felt like I needed something life affirming.  And, after my roommate Richard yelled at me for suffering through my crippling pain in silence and driving myself to the ER without telling him even though I had to walk past his room to get to my car, he was able to suggest just the right movie for me.  And it was one that came out within the last 50 years, unlike most of the movies he watches.  Let’s see if this movie affirmed my life in my review of Crazy, Stupid, Love, written by Dan Fogelman, directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, and starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Jonah Bobo, Analeigh Tipton, Joey King, Beth Littleford, John Carroll Lynch, Marisa Tomei, and Kevin Bacon.

Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) sits down to dinner with his wife Emily (Julianne Moore).  He orders the salad and she orders a divorce.  Emily confesses that she cheated on him with a coworker of hers, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon) because she was unhappy with their marriage.  Cal does not take it well.  He starts frequenting a bar, getting drunk and talking loudly about his divorce.  Eventually, this catches the attention of Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), who decides to make Cal his pet project, turning call into a womanizer just like him.  Under Jacob’s tutelage, Cal’s first conquest is a teacher named Kate (Marisa Tomei), which will more than likely never come back to haunt him.  But Cal’s is not the only love story that’s not going well.  Cal’s 13-year-old son Robbie (Jonah Bob) has fallen in love with his babysitter, 17-year-old Jessica Riley (Analeigh Tipton).  Jessica is having none of the younger Robbie, much preferring the much older Cal, who is in turn having nothing to do with that jailbait.  Jacob also begins to have feelings for a girl named Hannah (Emma Stone).

This is a flawed movie, to be sure, but it’s one I found genuinely likeable.  There were parts to the story I took issue with, but there were also plenty occasions in this movie that caused me to burst into laughter, something most movies don’t have the ability to do (intentionally, at least).  And it did indeed have a happy, life affirming ending.  It didn’t go for the silly convention of tying everything up in a pretty little bow and giving us the happily ever after, but it was close enough and better for it.  Let’s talk about the story first.  I appreciated it for being a really good and deep look at a crumbling marriage and how it affects those around it.  The alcoholism, the depression, the denial, all of these things came into the picture.  In comes the guy that seems to give the character what he really wants with a bunch of strange tail, but all he actually wants is his wife.  It seems to lead you down the path of believing that love is a lie and there’s no such thing as soulmates, but it flips the script on you for the end.  And the part right before the ending was a fantastic and hilarious way to smash together all of the different storylines, but it will require a ::SPOILER ALERT::  Near the end is when it’s revealed that Hannah, who is dating Jacob, is the first child of Cal and Emily.  Cal was casually flippant about the idea that Jacob was settling down with a girl before he knew that this girl was his daughter.  And he had seen too much of Jacob’s sluttier behavior to let that go down.  Of course the rest of the family would like to know how Cal came to know Jacob, but that would cast a negative light on Cal.  The “love triangle” between Cal, his son Robbie, and the babysitter Jessica comes to a head when Jessica’s parents finds that she’s taken nude photos of herself with the intent to give them to Cal.  Jessica’s parents show up and attack Cal as they’re all still working with the Jacob and Hannah situation, and this reveals Robbie’s love for Jessica and Jessica’s love for Cal, which causes more problems.  And then top it all off with David Lindhagen walking in to return Emily’s scarf to her, and shit just goes down.  This was definitely the emotional climax of the movie, and it felt like it should’ve been wrapped up with a good bit of dialogue immediately after this.  That’s not the way they went with it.  They went back to depressing for a bit before bringing us back to a happy ending.  It took a little longer, but it was still satisfying.  But it also was one of the best examples of a big problem I had with the story, but this does not require spoilers so ::END SPOILERS::  I’ve noticed a dangerous trend recently that is at least partially upheld by this movie.  It seems that, in the opinion of the masses, men are stupid and bad and women can do no wrong.  It felt like Cal was getting blamed for everything that was going wrong in this movie.  Yes, I grant that he may have been emotionally disconnected in the relationship, but that’s hardly an excuse to cheat on him.  Then, when it comes out that Cal slept with 9 women after their separation, Emily gets all mad at him.  First of all, we’re separated right now, so it’s none of your gundamned business.  Second, have you forgotten that you also had sex with someone else, but didn’t have the good sense to wait until we were separated?  This kind of stuff got on my nerves, but the movie still managed to be really good and really funny.  Any movie that makes a joke about how shitty Twilight is will be considered alright in my book.

I cannot think of any performance in this movie that I didn’t love.  It’s a star-studded cast and I expected no less from them.  They didn’t disappoint.  Steve Carell has shown us his comedic side and his dramatic side plenty of times before, and he pulls of both here fantastically.  I also like seeing him play drunk, because it’s usually really funny.  Ryan Gosling is probably the reason women would want to see this movie, and he gets his shirt off and shows the world that I am his body double.  Julianne Moore is Carell’s opposite in that she’s known for being a fantastic dramatic actress, but has done some good with comedy as well.  Emma Stone is great times to look at, and does a great deal of comedy as well.  I tend to always find her very charming.  Analeigh Tipton had unconventional good looks in this movie, but is still very attractive.  I kept thinking she looks like a younger, brunette Riki Lindhome, and that’s alright by me.  She also gives a very real performance in this movie.  I think Marisa Tomei tended to steal the show every time she was on camera.  She wasn’t in the movie that often, but when she was she was pretty hilarious as she completely flipped out over thinking Steve Carell had lied to her to get her in the sack, although I’m fairly sure he didn’t.

This movie borders on being a bit of a chick flick, but I found it to be a really good movie nonetheless.  It was well-written though it does seem to hate men, it was incredibly funny in parts, and the performances were all fantastic.  I definitely recommend this movie to you, as a watch, rental, or purchase.  I’ll probably purchase it myself at some point.  Crazy, Stupid, Love gets “Seriously?!  It’s like you’re Photoshopped!” out of “The perfect combination of sexy and cute.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Drive (2011)

Drive Sleepy

Today I headed out to the theater with my roommate to watch a movie.  I had not heard much about the movie beyond Ryan Gosling plays an assassin (which he actually doesn’t) and I made the assumption that there was to be some driving in this movie, based mainly on it’s title.  The movie was Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac, and Christina Hendricks.

Drive is about an unnamed stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) who works in a garage belonging to Shannon (Bryan Cranston) and also moonlights as a getaway driver.  He’s apparently really good at driving.  So good that Shannon goes to mobster Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) to get financing in order to back the Driver and enter him into NASCAR.  Bernie agrees once he’s seen the Driver live up to his namesake and parallel park like no other.  Bernie’s brother, Nino (Ron Perlman), isn’t excited about his brother’s new business venture, but doesn’t pay it much mind.  Back at the Driver’s apartment (which is super shitty for someone with 3 high paying jobs), he starts getting close with his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio.  But then her husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac), comes back from jail to rejoin the family.  The Driver comes home to find Standard badly beaten with Benicio looking on.  He finds out that Standard owes protection money and was beaten because he refused to take on a job to rob a pawn shop.  The Driver agrees to help Standard with the job in order to get him and his family out of the situation for good.  The heist turns out to be a set up by Nino to steal a million dollars from the East Coast mob and Standard is killed.  Driver takes this opportunity to show off his other skills in killing people, but does not change his name to Killer.  I think that movie’s already been made.

For a quick version of the differing views between my roommate and I; he loved this movie, I fucking hated it.  But I’m the reviewer here, so his opinion can wait.  This movie moved so slow that I might have preferred a movie called PaintDry about a painter who moonlights as a painter and is the best there is at what he does.  And we watch that paint come to completion of it’s drying process.  There is a bit of a car chase in the very beginning where nothing really happens, so much so that I hesitate to even call it a car chase.  He gets spotted by a helicopter, then hides under a bridge and waits till it leaves.  He gets spotted by a cop car, speeds up a little, and hides in a stadium that’s just letting a game out.  After that, expect no action until about an hour into the movie when Standard gets shot.  In between, lots of awkward conversations between the Driver and Irene that move at about a sentence per minute.  When the action finally does happen, it’s somewhat exciting but usually brief, with a handful of really graphic deaths like stomping a man’s head to putty.  But this is one of those movies you see with a friend and ask them what they think afterwards and are completely shocked to find out they had the exact opposite reaction.  My roommate thought it was amazing.

This movie made a couple of odd decisions that pissed me off too.  (SPOILER ALERT)  And I say spoiler alert but I’d also feel pretty bad if you sat through this movie because of me anyways, but if you want to see this movie come back and read this after.  At one point, when the Driver has decided to take out Ron Perlman, he goes to the trailer of the movie set he was doing stunt driving on and grabs the mask he wears during the scenes; a creepy mask reminiscent of Michael Myers from Halloween.  But he didn’t use or need this mask!  All he does is drive up to the pizza place Nino owns and stands outside.  Then he wears the mask as he kills Nino.  But if you kill him on a beach away from everyone, why do you need anonymity?  And at the very end, the Driver kills Albert Brooks and leaves the million dollars with his corpse.  I know this is supposed to say something about the character of the Driver, but to me it says he’s a fucking idiot and the screenwriter is as well.  (END SPOILER)

The setting of this movie had me very confused throughout.  I could see that it seemed to be in LA, or at least somewhere very similar, and based on the cars being driven and the clothes Gosling wore (some really gay silver blazer with a gold scorpion on the back), I thought the movie was happening in the 80s.  The movie’s strange 80s-like soundtrack kept me thinking the same.  It wasn’t until about an hour and a half into the movie when I saw a stripper texting on an Android phone or something that I finally figured out this was supposed to be the present.  At that point I was probably more interested in the fact that I had managed to stay awake that long.  My roommate, however, loved the soundtrack.

The performances were the one good thing to the movie.  When Gosling wasn’t awkwardly talking with Irene, he was cool and calm in the most dire of situations.  The kind of badass character that I’d like to see in an action movie one day, and not so much in a pretentious art student’s version of an action movie.  Ron Perlman was probably at his least annoying in this movie.  Albert Brooks’ character was pretty awesome.  He was a very bad man that did very bad things to guys we liked.  I liked this for Albert Brooks.  I’ve never seen him play a character like this.  He was interesting every time he was on and, again, I think I’d like to see this in a good movie.  Bryan Cranston was also very good, but he typically is.  My roommate tells me that Christina Hendricks is famous from television, but I don’t know who she is and she left no impression on me whatsoever.  The problem with the performances is that I never gave a shit about any character in this movie.  But that’s not the fault of the performers, it’s the fault of the screenwriter.  Probably the director too, but he seemed more interested in throwing in unnecessary glory shots of LA at night than character development.  We don’t even get to know the name of the main character, for crying out loud.

When I left the theater, I looked on Rotten Tomatoes to find out if I was the only one who hated this movie.  I apparently was.  This movie received a 93% at the time I’m writing this.  I’m not sure if I just went into the movie with bad expectations or if this movie just sucked.  But since I’m the only one that hated it as far as I can see, my review is that you should see it and either agree with me or tell me why I should’ve liked it.  I give this movie a “Zzzzzzzzzzzz” out of “Wake up, we’re at Grandmas”.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.