Amazon Holiday

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Win Win

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: When a lawyer (Paul Giamatti) decides to be the legal guardian to an old man with dementia (Burt Young), he doesn't realize that he's also about to get a surrogate son (Alex Shaffer).

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Paul Giamatti, Alex Shaffer, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Burt Young, Melanie Lynsky, Margo Martindale, David Thompson, Clare Foley, Nina Arianda

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. People who can relate to growing up with a parent who's an addict, or making extreme decisions in the face of money struggles, or high school wrestling, may find brilliance in this piece. Everyone else will leave the theater having felt a little less than they were expecting to.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: Bobby Cannavale's hatred for his ex-wife is about as strong as it gets. The rest of the humor is probably too quirky for most of you.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: Could do, but mostly if you're dealing with any of the above listed problems... Like high school wrestling, for example.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: While we're on the topic, I'd like to take this moment to point out that I was in an Oscar pool with the editor of this film, and he cheated. He knows I wasn't pleased. I don't think he knows I have a blog, though.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Amy Ryan is the new Meryl Streep. Have I ever seen her do anything that wasn't 100% real? No, never. Actually, I'm starting to believe that she's not an actress at all, she's just this real person who goes from film to film saying all the stuff that's going on in her life, while actors say their lines around her.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: Tom McCarthy has a very naturalistic style that you don't notice at all. After 3 very simple successful films, I'd be interested to see him challenge himself with something a little more stylized. I mean, he doesn't have to, I'm just curious to know if he can.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: It deals with a lot of deep issues in a slightly comedic manner. The storyline works, however small the scope may be, but I would have liked to see the comedy be a little less slight.

Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?

A: Wrestling really is gay. And I don't mean that in the metaphorical way, like in The Dilemma, I mean it's really homosexual. I'd heard people joke about it my whole life. But there's a lot of it in this movie, and it's no joke. They're in leotards and their weenies are sticking out, and the goal is to get the other guy on the floor and wrap your legs around him. The only thing gayer I've ever seen is gay sex, and that's only because I've actually seen gay sex.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?

A: Win Win Trailer

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Corey said...

You think the humor's too quirky for the average movie goer? Hmm. Maybe some of it. I thought it was fairly straightforward overall, and the crowd I saw it with laughed quite a lot, FWIW.

Did you know Alex Taylor had never acted before? I thought he was pretty impressive.

I thought for sure this one would be up your alley.

Monique Elisabeth said...

I didn't think the movie was too quirky for the average person, I just thought the humor was-- by which I mean that I didn't find it all that funny. There are a few good laughs, but a lot of the time it only almost hits the mark. For me, overall, there was something missing. I liked it cerebrally, but I was never fully sucked in on an emotional level, save a couple of nice moments in the climax.

Yes, I did know that Alex Shaffer was a first timer, and I thought he did great for a guy with no experience besides wrestling. I didn't think the role was all that difficult though. Still, just being natural in front of a camera is incredibly hard to pull off. Ultimately, I don't think I was that impressed by his character. Everyone kept saying, "He's so sweet." But I didn't see anything on the screen that showed me that. I felt like I was forced to take their word for it, but I wasn't sure about it in my heart.

Karen said...

Are really a journalist or a trashy gossip columnist sports homophobe. I would guess you didn't do any sports? Both my sons wrestled and one became a state champ. My sons did gymnastics for a while but not all high schools have it and it's expensive for a private club. Wrestling is a tough sport, one kids can do if they're not tall enough to do those elite sports ( football, basketball, baseball ).
It's funny, none of the gays I know are wrestlers. Were you going to include dancers and gymnasts too. They wear tight clothing. Would you like to revise your redneck statement. Loose clothing would get in the way and is what makes the sport so difficult because there's nothing to hold on to to gain an advantage. Obviously your not an open minded person. It's sad that you and other people think that way one of the oldest sports around. It's a boring day when there are only those elite sports around for the privileged big people.

Monique said...

Hi Karen,

Thank you for your comment, I would love to respond to it. First of all, I do not think "elite sports" as you call them, are any better than the less commercialized sports. You are the one who said that, not me. Second, I agree with you that wrestling is very hard, and I congratulate you on your son's victories.

In answer to your question, I was a gymnast myself. Most of my first major crushes were on male gymnasts. And coincidentally, in high school, I dated a wrestler.

I did not lump gymnastics and/or dancing, or even skating into the gay category. My point is not that men are wearing leotards, it's that when they wrestle, they look like they're humping each other. And when it looks like they're humping each other in tiny leotards, it only makes the whole thing look more sexual. Just the same, if there were co-ed wrestling, it would look like straight sex. The point is, wrestling looks like sex. And when two men do it, that automatically makes it look like gay sex.

Most importantly, though, I want you to know that I have nothing against gay people. I grew up in the Castro, which is the gay neighborhood of San Francisco, which has often been referred to as the gay city. Growing up, all of my neighbors and parent's friends were gay. I have always had many gay friends. And I have often considered being gay myself, but unfortunately, never found a woman I was attracted to in any way beyond plain old boring friendship.

So I think what you're missing is that I have in no way passed judgement on the act or the fact of being gay. I have no problem with that. All I'm saying, is that if you watch wrestling, there is no denying that it looks like two men getting extremely physically intimate with each other, and partaking in bodily positions that look like gay sex. It is because I'm open-minded, that I actually have first hand knowledge of what gay sex looks like, because, as mentioned in the post, I have watched it. Which is funny, but also true.

All that said, I think considering you and your sons' background, I would like to highly recommend this film to you. I think you will be the perfect audience for it. Both of the writers, one of which was the director, too, were wrestlers themselves in high school, and they have stated that they were very interested in appealing to the wrestling community with this film, by showcasing this sport which was so near and dear to their hearts. The main kid had never acted before, they chose him because he is a champion wrestler. You should definitely go see this film. I would love to hear your opinion of it, after you do.


Anonymous said...

Win Win is hands down the very BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR in 2011 so far (check Rotten Tomatoes). You may have missed the point on this one. A bad day in reviewerland perhaps?

Monique said...

I totally disagree with you about it being the best movie of the year so far, but I respect your opinion, and I'm glad you liked it.

As far as other reviewers are concerned, I find their aggregated opinions to be generally very pretentious, and in my reviews I try to speak to the masses, and consider what normal everyday people will enjoy, even if they're not elitist cinefiles, like you and I.

This movie is not going to speak to everyone universally, and that's a fact. I, myself, was only half-engaged in it, especially as compared to other movies I've seen in this genre, like Sideway, Juno, and Little Miss Sunshine. As far as I'm concerned it's a decent film, but it's not at the top of its genre.

seriousdingus said...

Wrestling looks absolutely nothing like sex, you're an idiot for thinking so. Not once in my entire wrestling career did I ever think anything I was doing was ever resembled a sexual act.

Please, I'd like to hear some examples of what you think "looks" sexual when people wrestle. Pinning someone to embarrass them in front of their teammates and family? Shooting a single or double leg to drive their opponent to the mat? Come on. I'd argue then that UFC looks like sex as well.

When I was a freshman walking on to the wrestling team I never thought "wow this is just like sex" or "this is gay". I was too busy respecting the sport and seeing it as a sport that those thoughts never, and still don't occur to me.

Maybe if you actually saw more wrestling matches or even wrestled yourself you'd see that. Additionally if you know what sex actually looks like, you'd know that it is absolutely nothing like wrestling.

Bottom line it's really about not being ignorant.

seriousdingus said...

Additionally, you stated:

"and the goal is to get the other guy on the floor and wrap your legs around him."

This is not the goal of wrestling, which does show your ignorance.

The "ultimate" goal of a wrestling match is to "pin" your opponent or make both his shoulder blades touch the mat. You can do this by yes, taking your opponent down to the the mat and turning them. However there are other ways to win a wrestling match and score points.

Also "wrapping your legs around him" is not the correct term either. Its called "leg riding" where the goal is to hook the opponent's legs and attempt to turn them for back points.

Really just go on wikipedia and type in "scholastic wrestling", you'll read what actually goes on during a match.

Based on those comments you obviously haven't seen a wrestling match or you just choose to be ignorant about it.

Monique said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the sport when you played it and I agree that in order to succeed at it, it would be important not to think about sex. But, I watched a lot of wrestling in this movie, and it looks like sex. Not all of it. Just the part where guys are wrapping their legs around each other and grunting.

Telling me that I'm ignorant for looking at wrestling and seeing sex, is no more productive than telling a chid that he's ignorant when he looks at a cloud and sees an elephant. Yes, we all know it's really a cloud, but that doesn't mean it can't be shaped like an elephant.

Monique said...

In response to your second comment, I'm honestly not that interested in using the correct terms for the purpose of this blog. If I did use them, I would just make fun of them anyway. My goals are to explain a movie, without giving it away, so that the right audience finds it, and to infuse humor into that process. The thing about humor though is sometimes it rubs people the wrong way. But usually only when the subcategory attacked has no sense of humor. What have I learned from this post? Wrestlers: a very serious bunch. Oh well.

seriousdingus said...

"Telling me that I'm ignorant for looking at wrestling and seeing sex, is no more productive than telling a chid that he's ignorant when he looks at a cloud and sees an elephant. Yes, we all know it's really a cloud, but that doesn't mean it can't be shaped like an elephant."

Yes I would say that a child would be ignorant for this, however the difference is is that they don't usually know any better where as you are an adult.


"My goals are to explain a movie, without giving it away, so that the right audience finds it, and to infuse humor into that process."

Explaining the movie by saying wrestling looks gay and homosexual? This has nothing to do with explaining the movie. This just seems to be what in your eyes was "uncomfortable" to watch.

"They're in leotards and their weenies are sticking out,"

This just sounds like something a child would say.

"so that the right audience finds it, and to infuse humor into that process."

Right audience? Really? What audience are you intending to find this funny? Wrestlers? People who like sports movies? People who like movies? I think the rest of the review was well constructed but your last comment would probably drive readers away from your other reviews.

This is like writing a review about "The Blind Side" and then making obscene comments about football. You know people who play football are going to read reviews about the movie. They won't appreciate these comments and I think readers will see these comments as a sign of the reviewer not being very professional towards writing reviews.

Readers expect a certain "professionalism" when it comes to movie reviews. Sure, it can have humor and say how bad of a movie it is, etc, it's a blog go ahead. But slamming the sport itself when you know nothing about it? This has nothing to do with the movie itself.

Monique said...

A child is not ignorant... he is imaginative. I'm sorry that you hate imagination.

In regards to your fear that I would offend an athlete, I would say to you... You know who else reads my reviews? People who make movies! They are the ones who should be offended. They are real people, too. And yet, you seem to think it's okay for me to slam them. Just not you (or other athletes). My real point though is that if I had to worry about who I was offending every time I had an opinion about anything I would be boring and nobody would read me at all.

What I have here is a called a "voice." If you don't like it, you don't have to read it. I can't control you and I don't want to. I think I'm hilarious and so do my loyal readers (whom I love, btw). They get it, you don't. That's fine.

Meanwhile, I've made some great humor-infused points in our discussion, but your responses show that you're not listening to what I'm saying, you're just trying to find new things to argue about, so I'm done. Please come again.

P.S. Thank you for the compliment on the rest of the review. :-)

seriousdingus said...

Slamming the people who make the movies? You're critiquing their ability as a director, or writer, editor, etc, which is different than slamming.

You're saying something completely different about wrestling however. You're not critiquing wrestling, you're showing disrespect for it and what goes into this great sport.

I chose to read the review because I'm planning on going to see the film and I wanted to read reviews about it. But when you spew obscenities about a sport that has meant so much to me and thousands, if not millions of other people all over the word, of course I'm going to defend the sport.

P.S.-Watching gay sex makes you open minded, I guess it makes you open minded about gay sex and homosexuals. But you can't say that watching gay sex makes you open minded about everything (in this instance wrestling).

Monique said...

Hey seriousdingus,

I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings about your sport. As I've already mentioned in comments to other people, I don't have anything against wrestling. I was just making a joke, which I don't find obscene at all, and I do still find funny. Still, sorry if you're hurt, that wasn't my intention. Just trying to illicit laughter and not take myself or my reviews too seriously.

All that said, I definitely think you should see this movie. You will love it. it shows a ton of respect for wrestling, and fans of the sport will get a lot more from it than just what the story itself has to offer.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the film after you have seen it.



seriousdingus said...

It was a joke in poor taste then...and I'll leave it at that.

ArtsBeatLA said...

These ppl need to lighten up. Srsly.