Posts Tagged ‘Grove’

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: The Wrestler

January 28, 2009

Two Blondes review movies and ramble a lot about themselves:

JESSICA SAYS:

Normally, if you said to me, “Jessica, do you want to go see that new Mickey Rourke movie about professional wrestlers,” I would politely decline and then reevaluate why we are friends. That was until I saw the preview for The Wrestler before The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I was intrigued. It actually looked good. Really good. Guess what? It totally is good.
Nine 1/2 Weeks was the only Mickey Rourke movie I had seen before now and I had never seen a Darren Aronofsky film. I know, I should totally see Pi and Requiem for a Dream and I want to, I just haven’t made it around to them yet (especially Requiem for a Dream; it stars my pretend boyfriend, Jordan Catalano…ahem, I mean Jared Leto. He’s so pretty.). What I did know about Mickey Rourke was, and I don’t know how to say this politely, but…OK, forget polite, the freak show that was his face after too much or just really bad plastic surgery.  But hey, I still enjoy Kathy Griffin even with somewhat distracting plastic surgery. I loved that Aronofsky made the decision to follow Rourke from behind for the first few minutes of the film. It had the combined effect of letting you get into the story without the distraction of Rourke’s face, while at the same time building tension for it’s arrival. mickey-rourke-ba1

The fact that I really enjoyed this movie is all the more remarkable when you consider that I abhor professional wrestling. My grandpa and my cousin, David, used to watch it when I was a kid and it scared the bejeezus out of me. Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage, Jake the Snake, and of course, Hulk Hogan. I would try to watch with them, but I just couldn’t stand it. Even though I knew it was ‘fake,’ I found nothing enjoyable about watching a man hit another man with a folding chair. You don’t have to have any opinion on the WWF to appreciate this film.

Marisa Tomei is great. I never saw My Cousin Vinny, but I know there have always been rumblings that she didn’t deserve her Oscar for it. She deserves any accolades she gets for this part. Not to mention that every inch of her body is on full display in The Wrestler and she looks damn good. It’s fair to say that her performance is naked in every sense of the word, which is a pretty remarkable thing to watch.

I was really moved by this movie. If broke my heart a little, so if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, this is not the film. I won’t give away the specifics of the ending, but I will say I was pleased with it. Not everything is tied up with a little bow for you. For a change, an American film gives the audience’s intelligence the benefit of the doubt. Thank you.

I recommend seeing this film as soon as possible. Mom, if you’re reading, be warned that there are squirm-inducing injuries in this film–think staple gun. *Shiver*

ALISON SAYS:

It took me a while to finally sit down and write my review for The Wrestler. 45% of that may be contributed to procrastination and a new fascination with Hulu.com (yes, I know I’m behind the times, but I had an old computer up until recently that didn’t work well with Hulu). Anyway, my point is besides the 45% procrastination, there was also the 55% (is that math right?) that had to do with wanting to do this film justice and being able to put into words how I felt watching this film. The word “wrecked” comes to mind.
I never thought I’d be so moved by a film about a guy who spends his time in tanning booths and lycra, especially one starring Mickey Rourke. But that is why Darren Aronofsky is a genius (not that I’m not a genius, but on the genius scale, I would put Aronofsky just a tad higher). And that is also why I am saddened that Aronofsky wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for Best Directing. I haven’t seen The Reader or Milk yet, and of the other films in that category that I have seen, they were excellent movies and directors who proved why they’re at the top of their game. But nothing comes close to the surprising (some might say shocking) performance that Aronofsky got out of Mickey Rourke. I can’t imagine any other film feeling as real and heartbreaking as this one does. Aronofsky is a master at this, as can be seen in Requiem For A Dream, an amazing film.

leapThe Wrestler is gritty. It seems like a cliché word to use, but it fits. The graininess of the footage and the close-ups of Rourke’s surgery-ravaged face. Every bleak detail of Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson’s life broke my heart. There’s something about a over the hill, tanned, strangely chiseled man with bleached hair putting in a hearing aid or wearing bifocals that wrenched at my heart like nothing I’ve ever felt in a film before. Mickey Rourke deserves every accolade coming his way. I only hope he learns from the tragedy of the character he plays in The Wrestler, and uses some of that wisdom to deal with his rebirth as a movie star. Praise must also be heaped on Marisa Tomei. It took guts and fearlessness to play that role. I’m not just talking about being almost nude in the film. Tomei shows she is an Oscar worthy actress, along with still having an amazing body.

Sidenote: I found it interesting the script was written by Robert D. Spiegel, former Editor in Chief of The Onion, of which I am a big fan. I was also surprised he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay.

Personal note: I used to watch wrestling on TV with my dad as a kid. Maybe that’s why I was so moved at seeing what some of my childhood entertainers may have turned into.

LA Viewers: Go see it now! It’s worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight for.

Translation for non-LA natives: This a film worth seeing in the theaters.

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Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

October 18, 2008

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves:

Note: Our review may have some similar sentiments, but we swear we wrote them separately. Great minds think alike sometimes…

ALISON SAYS:

I haven’t loved a cast this much in a long time. First off, I love Michael Cera. Not in a creepy way. I’ve never gone looking for where he might live in Los Angeles and stood outside wondering if he’d walk out, see me and find me as charmingly awkward as I find him. Really, I haven’t. But I have watched DVD’s of Arrested Development and been amused for hours. Clark and Michael has distracted me from doing work many a time. I may have even considered writing a non-creepy and comedic love ballad to express my thanks for there being a boy-man like Michael Cera both on the big and small screen.

Second, there’s Kat Dennings. Can we just talk about talented and beautiful this actress is? Angelina, we have a real contender for “best lips in Hollywood” now that Kat Dennings is on the scene. And Kat is beautiful in a way that’s real and not just good make-up. She was the perfect slightly insecure, but knows who she is teenage girl. Here’s two quotes I read on IMDB from Kat: “There’s nothing else I would rather do, unless there was a profession that involved cuddling bunny rabbits and kittens all day for money.” “I’ve basically made a career out of my imagination.” How cute is she?!

Then we also have Ari Graynor with her portrayal of the drunk best friend, Caroline. I wanted to stand up and applaud her hilarious, spot-on portrayal of what drunk teenage girls act like. She was able to be charming at the same time as being obnoxious. Then I also loved the boys who played Nick’s gay friends. They were funny and sweet, and never felt like a stereotypical portrayal of the gay best friend.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist felt very real to me. Possibly the realest (is that a word?) movie about teenagers I’ve ever seen. Some past teenage movies (like Juno) left me feeling manipulated and like someone was just trying to sound “cool.” Nick and Norah just felt real and left me happy, amused and charmed. It reminded me of being young, insecure and trying to figure out love. And made me somewhat nostalgic for the days of kissing boys in the streets of New York just when the sun is coming up, or being seventeen and asking a boy if “he’s interested” and being so scared of rejection. It’s a movie that leaves you with that attitude of life being full of infinite possibilities, not to mention lots of great music.

LA Viewers: Worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight. Yes, I realize what’s going on with the economy, that’s why being entertained is so important right now.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Unless you’re dead inside or hate young love, go see this movie right away.

P.S. The director’s first film Raising Victor Vargas is worth getting on Netflix. A grittier, lower budget look at young love.


JESSICA SAYS:

I like to consider myself to be somewhat of a master when it comes to the mix CD–incidentally, I still feel the urge to call it a mix-tape. ‘Mix CD’ doesn’t have the same ring to it. As of today, my iTunes library has 5,238 songs in it, which is 343 days worth of music, so there is a lot to pull from. There is an art to a good mix. One song needs to lead to the next and you certainly never put back-to-back songs by the same artist. That’s the antithesis of the mix.

So, I was already into this movie, simply from the title. A title that is also, admittedly, a bit clunky. Although this irritates me about other people, I am also someone who is annoyed when my new, favorite, quirky, little band that no one has heard of becomes big, e.g. Vampire Weekend. I have been known to grumble when a song I like is featured on Gossip Girl, or the like. This movie is full of bands to whom this has already happened, or they are dangerously close to it happening. To my point, Vampire Weekend is on the soundtrack.

Two minutes into the movie, watching Michael Cera leave a squirm-inducing voicemail to his ex-girlfriend, and I knew I was going to like it. As we were leaving the movie, I realized what was so familiar and likable about it–it felt just like a John Hughes movie. Instead of Chicago suburbanites, they were New York. Instead of finding the meaning of life at the end of a rollicking day that included singing on a Von Stuben Day float in a parade, they passed through a gay Christmas musical review. And of course, instead of cassette tapes, there were mix CDs.

For full disclosure here, I wrote my Master’s thesis on John Hughes movies. I chose them because I figured if I was going to spend that amount of time reading about and watching something, I had better like them. Plus, I had already seen them each at least five times. As much as I loved Jake Ryan by the end of Sixteen Candles (OK, who are we kidding, I still do love him.), I think I love Michael Cera more. He’s just so funny and sweet and adorable.

So yeah, I really liked this movie. My one criticism would be there were parts that dragged a little bit, but on the whole I really liked it. If there were a competition for best bee-stung lips, Kat Dennings could give Angelina a run for her money. As someone who has had friends that were carbon copies of Caroline, the attention needy intoxicated friend, I can attest that Ari Graynor was perfect in the part.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is worth the full Friday night price. I especially recommend this if you ever had a crush on Jake Ryan, Ferris Bueller, etc.