Trainwreck (2015)


I don’t normally go for comedies. They are almost always disappointing, But something about the combination of Judd Apatow, Bill Hader, and the seemingly more realistic representation of a modern day 20-something woman appealed to me. Trainwreck is directed by Apatow and written by suddenly super popular comedian Amy Schumer.
I’ve met Trainwrecks. Some of my best friends are Trainwrecks. I myself am not one, but I found the story of a commitment phobic young woman still relatable. I really enjoyed the small moments in the film, where the characters are talking about random stuff instead of anything that progresses the plot. Amy is funny in a way that manages to appeal to both men and women. She also turns out to be a pretty good actress, handling both the funny scenes as well as the more emotional ones.

Please go away Lebron, that's enough.
Please go away Lebron, that’s enough.

I laughed until I almost cried at the John Cena moments. He was hilarious and had good comedic timing. Tilda Swinton is great, but severely under utilized. The other big cameo, Lebron James, was nowhere near as successful for me. It was quite evident that Lebron is not an actor. And his scenes seemed to drag on and on (that Cleveland scene was not funny nor was the useless ‘intervention’). Bill Hader did well, but I was disappointed with him more so because of the script. He is a very funny guy, but in this film he has nothing to do. I know it’s Amy’s movie, but more from him would have made it funnier.

What I really didn’t like about the film was the message it seemed to impart. The message is that women are supposed to get married and have kids and if they don’t they are weird. Which seems strangely divergent from a lot of Amy’s jokes. Amy (it’s quite convenient that her character in the film shares her name) often makes fun of her sister and her perfect family life. But by the end of the film, when Amy changes her ways and becomes a cheerleader for Aaron (Bill Hader) it becomes obvious that motherhood/marriage is the only acceptable path for a woman. My boyfriend said the cheerleader scene is supposed to be about Amy proving she can take risks in order to be with Aaron. And this is true, but I don’t like the implication that because Amy wasn’t focused on pleasing a man and being a mother before that somehow she was a failure and broken. Amy seemed to have it pretty good, a good job and doing whatever she wanted. I think it’s good that the character grows and matures, but I think it is for the wrong reasons.
Trainwreck is better than most comedies, but it’s far from perfect. Trainwreck gets 7 John Cena asses out of 10.

Vanilla Sky (2001)


“I’ll see you in another life when we are both cats.”
I was watching this silly show, Celebrity Style Story, the other day and the focus of the episode was Tom Cruise. The commentators are pretty shallow on these kinds of shows, but when one of them said that Vanilla Sky seriously sucked I was extremely shocked and angry. What an asshole!! How dare he say such a thing?! Vanilla Sky is amazing! Then I went and googled the ratings for Vanilla Sky and found I was in the minority. On IMDB the film has a rating of 6.9 and on Rotten Tomatoes a measly 41%.
So what gives? I was first recommended this movie by a cab driver one day. The driver gave a somewhat spoilery synopsis of the film and it sounded extremely convoluted, but hey, I love Tom Cruise so when I saw the DVD cheap at a pawn shop I grabbed it.

Clever Bob Dylan reference!
Clever Bob Dylan reference!

And I love the movie, a lot. It is based on a Spanish film, Abre Los Ojos. Cameron Crowe directs and adapted the screenplay for the English version. Tom Cruise plays David Aames, a young, vain, rich man that seems to have it all. That is until one of his lovers turns his whole world upside down.
There is something about this film that appeals to me on a deeply emotional level. It is hard to pin point why exactly. Part of it is that I relate to David quite a bit. I’m not rich like him, nor am I as confident. But I can relate to the hubris of youth somewhat. David feels invincible, nothing can touch him. Early on in the film he and his friend, Brian, nearly get hit by a truck. But they make a narrow escape. David laughs with glee, as he never really felt all that threatened to begin with. He’s young, good looking he has his whole life ahead of him.

But David is brought down by his own ego and whimsical attitude. Yes, it is the accident caused by his lover, Julie (Cameron Diaz) that in a lot of ways ruins his life. But this act is only a symptom of David’s own selfish actions. He treated Julie carelessly and didn’t care about the effect his frivolous actions had on her. But the accident is also a result of his sense of immortality, of never having anything go wrong. David falls in love with Sofia (Penelope Cruz) at first sight. He vows to change his ways and be a better person in order to be worthy of her love. But then Julie shows up, offering herself to him. Even though David is in love with Sofia he feels he can have his cake and eat it too. Why not have one last romp with Julie? Sofia will never know. Well it is that selfishness and ignorance that changes David’s whole life.

I find this film to be quite deep and it is able to convey a very strong message without being too preachy. It is an emotional film brought to life by some incredible acting, particularly Tom and Penelope. No wonder they started dating after filming this, the chemistry between them is great. Their scenes together are very touching and intense.
The film looks great, I love the use of bright colors. I also enjoy the foreshadowing that happens early on as well as some of the visual metaphors. I really like the structure of the film as well, which I think is probably what turns other people off the most. Vanilla Sky is sort of a dream within a dream kind of film which can feel like a cheap twist in a lot of films. But I think it really works here and simply strengthens the message of the film, it isn’t done to get a cheap shock out of the audience. I also really enjoy the pop culture references, particularly near the end of the film. The soundtrack is also phenomenal, anything that uses Bob Dylan gets an A+ in my book.

Some dark humor.
Some dark humor.

Simply put, I love Vanilla Sky because of the emotional impact it has on me every time I watch it. I’ve never felt so emotional about a film, nor have I been able to relate to one the way I do Vanilla Sky. It stays with you for a long time after watching it and it really makes you question how you behave in your own relationships. Vanilla Sky is also very creative and there is no other movie like it. I think it is extremely underrated and it is some of Cameron Crowe’s and Tom Cruise’s best work. Maybe I’m crazy, but I give Vanilla Sky 9.5/10


Please feel free to give your opinion of Vanilla Sky, whether you love it or hate it. I would love to hear your take on it.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)


I was bored the other night and this film was literally the first thing to pop up on Netflix. So I thought I’d give it a try although I was pretty sure I would not like it. I have never seen any of Wes Anderson’s films. His films look pretentious and weird and … I still feel the same way after seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel. But, I did like the movie more than I thought I would.
The most enjoyable aspect of the movie for me was all the cameos from great character actors. Each time I saw someone new I got a thrill. Tom Wilkinson! Jude Law!
Jude Law was great in his brief role. But I absolutely hated the way he narrated some of his scenes with “he said,” “then I said,” It just pissed me off. I’m watching a movie, not listening to someone read out a book.
The humor in this movie is just too weird for me. Most of the time I didn’t even giggle (and I usually laugh at everything). Although there was one moment I absolutely loved.


Oh God I laughed and laughed. So funny.


I also thought Adrien Brody was great, he is such a talented actor who isn’t in nearly enough movies. Vampire Alien Queen Tilda Swinton was also great in her brief role.
I don’t understand why everyone else seems to think this movie is so great. The humor mixed with such violence and darkness…it really put me off. There are some fine performances from the actors, but The Grand Budapest Hotel is too bizarre for me to really enjoy. 6/10.