Archive for the ‘Bobby Canavale’ Category

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Win Win

April 24, 2011

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves.


Alison says:

While first thinking about writing this review, I was tempted to write “watching the movie Win Win is a win-win for a moviegoing audience,” but I knew such a terrible pun  (is that a pun?  I’m fuzzy on the details of what makes it a pun) would make Jessica shake her head at me and knew I couldn’t do such a thing.  I will say this movie is more proof that Fox Searchlight makes great movies.  I’m a big Paul Giamatti fan and loved watching this movie.  He’s spectacular in it.  It’s one of those movies where you’re grateful they found such a talented ensemble cast and are happy to be along for the ride.  You’ll laugh a lot and you might even cry a little too (depending on how much stone your heart is made out of – mine is 63% so no actual tears, but felt some human empathy).  Giamatti plays a struggling lawyer/wrestling coach who stumbles upon a star wrestler in the form of one of his client’s grandson who has run away from home and from his drug addict mother.

Amy Ryan (yes from The Wire, one of my favorite shows ever.  If you haven’t seen it, go watch it immediately, but be sure to start from the first episode and go in order), plays Paul Giamatti’s endearing but tough wife. Bobby Cannavale and Jeffrey Tambor are guaranteed to make you laugh, especially in their scenes together.  Alex Shaffer plays Kyle, the troubled teen, whom the movie revolves around.  This was his first movie role, and according to IMDB he was a successful high school wrestler.  He gives a shining performance, especially considering his young age and lack of experience.  The hair stylist should be given a special shout-out for giving him the terrible bleached blonde hairdo required for the character.

Thomas McCarthy was the writer/director of Win Win. He also wrote and directed such films as The Station Agent and The Visitor and according to IMDB has a story credit on Up. For me, anyone associated with Pixar gets a gold star.  This is what I would call a smaller movie (not an action film, no Brad Pitt), but it’s a great film and I promise you’ll have a good time watching it.

LA Viewers: Worth going to the theater for. Support great filmmaking!

Translation for non-LA viewers: The same goes for you.

Jessica says:

Do you ever feel like the universe is trying to send you a message?  Oprah tells us that when the universe is trying to give you a message, first it whispers and then gradually gets louder, until the universe smacks you upside the head with whatever the message is.

Well, I’m not entirely sure what plan of action the universe was trying to get me to take, but I certainly felt like I was getting a message from the universe when I saw Win Win.  It seems like it might be something about foster children or adopting kids, but I can’t imagine that the universe is telling me to take in a foster child right now.  I mean, I am single, I share an apartment with two roommates, I possess a staggering amount of student loans, and I was only able to keep my most recent houseplant alive for a year.

The day before I saw Win Win I had spent the day as an ersatz babysitter for a group of about 30 kids, about half of which were foster kids.  When these kids were turned over to my temporary care for the day, I had been warned that some of them were, “bad,” kids.  Of course, it turned out that these so-called, “bad” kids couldn’t have been more fun or well behaved.  There was a heartbreaking moment however, when I realized that one of the foster kids had been sent to me with no food for lunch (the kids’ parents/chaperones were supposed to have packed lunches for them).  I got a brief glimpse into the multiple of ways life has just crapped on this poor kid – he didn’t have someone in his life taking care of his basic needs, like making sure he has food to eat.

Anyway, my point is, that experience with that kid who didn’t have a lunch weighed on me (and continues to), so I was already primed to be a little weepy about anything involving a child’s welfare, so of course my friends and I decide to go see Win Win, a movie about a troubled kid taken in by a foster family.  I cried.  I cried a minimum of four times in that movie, but surprisingly I enjoyed it.  Even more surprisingly, I wouldn’t consider Win Win to be a downer.  It is, pardon the Hollywood cliché, a heartwarming film.  The characters are pleasantly three-dimensional and flawed.  Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan were both excellent, as always.   It’s worth a full-price ticket.