LeBron James Floored Judd Apatow And Bill Hader With His Improv Skills

16 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amy Schumer reveals she sent lewd sex text from Katie Couric’s cell phone to news vet’s husband John Molner (and luckily she saw the funny side).

When appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday evening, the 34-year-old actress admitted she played a prank on Katie Couric, 58, when the star left her cell phone on a dinner table at the Glamour Women Of The Year Awards in June. ‘She left her phone open to texts from [her husband John Molner]. Yet women too often are relegated to playing cheerful love objects in romantic comedies, which, beneath all the sex and profane hilarity and drinking and drugging, is what “Trainwreck” is.

Here, Schumer, playing a woman who boozes and has sex and misbehaves on her own terms, gets what’s traditionally the male role in this kind of film, and with the help of Judd Apatow’s direction, she kills it. LeBron James’ renown as a basketball player is, in effect, its own studio-audience situation: When we’re watching him “act” – as we are in the Judd Apatow-directed, Amy Schumer-penned Trainwreck, opening Friday – we’re doing it with the added weight of his on-court fame, and a healthy dose of our feelings about him as such. But Schumer, who wrote the film, has given us someone to root for, who, at least at the exhilarating start, is as much blue-mouthed antihero as heroine. Grown-up Amy has taken this to heart; she has a kind of, sort of meathead boyfriend-type person (John Cena, an exceedingly good sport), but she sleeps around whenever she likes.

Since Jordan, since Kareem in Airplane!, probably since some Neanderthal who could put a spear through a giant elk’s eye at 100 paces made a so-so cave painting, there’s a been a tacit demand for people who excel in sports to branch out into entertainment. He and the girls chat outside with a lightning storm approaching as he teaches them to repeat his mantra, “monogamy is a lie.” Twenty years later, Amy’s younger but more mature sister Kimberly (Brie Larson) has a good husband, a loving son and a beautiful home. The Jordan comparison is the most apt for James: Not only has his on-court career been freighted with the burden of living up to Jordan’s, but rumors of James’ possible involvement in a Space Jam sequel only amped our expectations for him to be an all-singing, all-dancing brand in the mold of the Mighty MJ.

One supposes that, with all the meaningless sex and relentless drinking, something is missing in Amy’s life; one supposes that, this being a romantic comedy, that thing is love. Echoing her chauvinist father, Amy has the gall to scoff, throwing Kim’s blessings into question, always imagining intimacy’s stagnant conclusions. Kobe Bryant might eerily mirror Jordan’s brand of basketball, but his attempts to expand his appeal with guest spots on Hang Time or rap albums fell flat, and so he settled into his role as unfeeling basketball cyborg. Amy’s closest proxy to a long-term relationship is bulky bodybuilder Steven (wrestling star John Cena), spouting meathead bedroom talk that resembles a sales pitch for protein bars.

Amy, a magazine writer, is assigned to profile him, even though she doesn’t like sports. (An unrecognizable Tilda Swinton has a blast as Amy’s coldly calculating editor.) Amy is horrified that Aaron not only likes her, but is a genuinely good person who is interested in more than what she looks for in a man. His early series of ads featuring The LeBrons split him into four characters – rather matter-of-factly named Wise, Business, Kid and Athlete – in an oddly prescient nod to the multiple roles that are demanded of superstar athletes.

This is so embarrassing.” They’re newly married, I guess. “Should I go talk to him?” Like, I don’t know, Katie Couric!’ relayed Amy. ‘Like, we were just seeing who could eat more bread, you know? An aside: The film does a good job with journalism ethics, especially an explanation of how “off the record” really works (you have to agree to it up front).

The weird part is that after starting life as essentially a normal-looking cartoon, it morphed into something that looked like a Sims machinima: Did that make it funny? James’ “family” was also featured prominently in the (so-so) opening monologue to his (so-far) only stint hosting Saturday Night Live in 2007, but he fared much better on the show in a “Read to Achieve” sketch, where he plays Jason Sudeikis one-on-one, and in a mostly wordless performance as a Solid Gold dancer: That sketch in particular also showed James discovering the key to comedic success: Self-awareness. One of its greatest highlights is a beyond-brilliant performance by LeBron James playing himself, which would earn him an MVP award in any championship comedy team. He was not only acknowledging his public image – the bruising basketball star – he was turning it on its ear, playing it up for laughs (Dwight Howard is incapable of doing this).

Of course, following the imbroglio of “The Decision,” James tamped down the levity a bit, maybe with a sense that any attempt at self-deprecation was going to come off as disingenuous or compensatory. Apatow rivals Steven Spielberg as a devotee of the overabundance of heart. (Both were children of broken marriages and have said this colored their view, once they had control of the way stories end.) What’s nice is how smart the film is.

Aaron is thinly drawn, but when he tells Amy with a pained-looking deadpan that he’s got genuine boyfriend feelings for her, the story grows poignant. It plays effectively off of both James’ decision to pursue the glamor of Miami in 2010 and the semi-provincial rah-rah-ing he did in announcing his return to Cleveland.

Yet — and this doubtless has something to do with Apatow — although she’s known for flamethrower truth-telling, here there is an underlying sweetness. The two other best bits are a running gag that he’s a cheapskate in spite of his wealth and when he twice tries to liken Conners’ relationship troubles to his own playing career, to which Conners replies that neither of those things are anything like his life. On a Meta level, the latter joke cuts interestingly at the way fans and followers of sports often try to link their own struggles to the ritualistic, highly structured hurdles that teams have to conquer in a season. They cope in conflict with their father’s decline as he faces a long, serious illness Not a lot of people throw themselves headfirst into a project like this. “Trainwreck” is a lesson on taking a profile too deep. Apatow’s breakout hits “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” had a similar recipe, but the happy ending of “Trainwreck” is out of harmony.

To that end, when LeBron is onscreen in Trainwreck, the film takes the opportunity to skewer some of our notions about pro athletes, and it’s largely successful – one ill-fitting scene with cameos from Chris Evert, Marv Albert and Matthew Broderick aside. The first half of the movie spends a decent amount of time getting us to invest in the relationship between Conners and James, but, as is typical for any rom-com, once the initial trepidation between Conners and Amy Townsend (Schumer) is overcome, something needs to get in the way in order for them to form a lasting relationship. When it was over, I felt I was leaving the theater with all sorts of unresolved ideas tacked and taped to my head. “Trainwreck” is not a catastrophe, but no triumph, either. The player who needs the surgery, though, is not LeBron James, which would have kept the story tight, contained and resonating back on itself in a classically balanced way.

Don’t give up hope just yet, Cleveland. 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. Several blocks from where the filmmaker lived in West Hollywood, at the intersection of Highland Ave and Santa Monica Blvd, there’s a corner that is, in his words, “known for its drama and its chaos.” That’s where the neighborhood’s transgender sex workers hung out, and for weeks, he and his cowriter Chris Bergoch had been trying to ingratiate themselves.

Her best friend, Alexandra (played by Taylor), accidentally lets it slip that Sin-Dee’s boyfriend/pimp, Chester (The Wire’s James Ransone), has hooked up with a new girl. Given that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, our heroine takes off in search of her romantic competition and her two-timing beau; Alexandra, meanwhile, is preparing for a singing slot at a local cabaret that might be her big break.

Along with an Armenian cab driver who’s smitten by the ladies, everyone spends their day running around the city, finally converging at a late-night doughnut shop for one blowout confrontation. And most importantly, Mya was the one who set down the ground rules. “She said, ‘There are two things you have to promise me, Sean,'” he recalls. ” ‘You have to show what it’s really like out there — how hard it is, especially for trans-women of color who are forced to resort to prostitution for a living, because there’s nothing else for us. If we wouldn’t laugh at this, then what’s the point?'” For Baker, the chance to simply follow these two women around as they interacted with each other and any passerbys who happened to wander into their sphere was like a DIY director’s dream come true. “Mya and Kiki have been friends for years, so they have a rapport,” he says. “But it’s beyond that: They finish each others’ sentences. I kept telling Sean, ‘Until you make this whole thing and get it into Sundance and get this movie in theaters, I do not believe you!'” “Honestly, I just thought it would be a regular project,” Taylor adds. “I had no idea it would sort of turn into something a lot bigger than what I figured.

You’d be sitting there muttering ‘Can you just hurry the fuck up so we can shoot?'” Rodriguez remembers being impressed by one situation where things started to get volatile with someone who’d wandered in to the shop and Baker just kept his cool, trying to nail the take. “The man deserved some sort of award for filming in there at 3 a.m. — a gold-plated bulletproof vest or something!” “Let’s just say there were a few times when we maybe didn’t inform the general public that we were shooting a scene, and leave it at that,” Baker says, recalling a filmed-on-the-sly fight sequence on a bus that inadvertently attracted way more outside attention than planned. But in the end, he says was whatever risk they ran was more than worth it; the idea was to give people an idea of who these women are and what their daily reality is like. And considering the rapturous reception the film received at its Sundance premiere last January and the interest its actresses have attracted — both were singled out in The New York Times’ recent breakthrough performances feature; Taylor has already finished shooting a role in another film — Baker feels like he accomplished exactly what he set out to do. “I hadn’t even heard of Laverne Cox when we started filming this,” he says, “and now we’re at this moment where transgender rights are finally being discussed in a meaningful way.

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