LeBron James is not a train wreck in ‘Trainwreck,’ critics say

18 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amy Schumer’s racy Star Wars-inspired GQ cover gets a thumbs down from fans – and LucasFilm.

James, of course, is coming to a big screen near you Friday night alongside comedians Amy Schumer and Bill Hader in Judd Apatow’s “Trainwreck.” The film centers on the awkwardly endearing love story between Schumer’s and Hader’s characters, with James playing Hader’s famous, but quirky best friend.The outspoken comedienne hasn’t held back in her shoot for the men’s magazine, not least in a cover snap in which she is seen wearing a Princess Leia-style bikini suggestively sucking C-3PO’s finger.If you’ve watched TV, read a magazine, walked around a major city, or simply been online in the last few weeks, it’s likely you’ve come across Amy Schumer at least a few dozen times.

The Emmy nominations on Thursday validated a number of raunchy and troubling performances by women in both comedy and drama – lending credence to the idea that likeability is no longer the key to success for female characters. Other snaps feature Amy – whose new movie Trainwreck is released in the US this week – sitting naked in bed with Threepio and R2-D2, as well as posing provocatively with a lightsabre. The newly minted Emmy nominee has found plenty of praise and success for her Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer, been on the cover of GQ, Entertainment Weekly, and many more, and now she’s debuting in her first lead film role with the Judd Apatow-directed Trainwreck. A warm, anarchic romantic comedy about a promiscuous journalist adrift in modern-day New York, ‘Trainwreck’ hews to the now-familiar contours of raunchy, R-rated comedy” – Ann Hornaday ★★★ “Ant-Man” (PG-13) “In the film ‘Ant-Man,’ (Paul) Rudd’s version of the obscure Marvel character — a hero first introduced in 1962 — makes for a perversely pleasurable combination of puniness and power. Here, an opening-weekend look at the rapid rise of the raunchy comedian, bringer of viral sketch videos and feminist hero If promotion is an art, Hollywood isn’t so much its genius as its pantheon of deities, the fount from which attention-grabbing springs.

Then there’s veteran Lily Tomlin, a six-time Emmy winner who pulls no punches as a feisty, sexually explicit woman in her 70s in Netflix’s new comedy Grace and Frankie. Despite his virtues, however, Hader can’t hide his shock when he learns that Schumer has slept with an enormous number of men. (He’s not sure of the exact tally, because when he asks how many, she replies, “This year?”) There are a lot of reasons that Schumer’s character might be starting to freak him out by that point in Trainwreck—her drinking, her selfishness, her aversion to nonsexual touch—but one is definitely the notion that her bedpost is too thoroughly notched.

He’s in the film’s starting lineup and, unlike the NBA Finals, he’s winning. (Although, actually, he still succeeded in that, too, considering he won the ESPY this week for “best championship performance.”) James plays a version of himself, which The Atlantic’s Christopher Orr calls, “the cleverest counter-self-portrait since Michael Cera’s coke-addled sex fiend in ‘This is the End.’ ” The film version of James pinches pennies and loves “Downton Abbey,” which is a good setup considering James is incredibly wealthy and his real-life favorite TV show is “Martin.” Indeed, the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis says, James delivers a “surprisingly limber comic presence,” a feat that seemingly surprised her as she called the NBA star’s inclusion in the cast “a heat-seeking gimmick.” But gimmick, it is not, says The Chicago Sun Times’s Richard Roeper. “James holds his own in scenes with Hader and Schumer, and that’s pretty darn impressive.” The word “impressive” also showed up in The Los Angeles Times’ Rebecca Keegan‘s review. Telling the story of Scott Lang, a man who inherits the mantle of Ant-Man from the costumed crusader’s originator, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the movie deploys its real secret weapon: wit.” – Michael O’Sullivan ★★★ “Tangerine” (R) “Bursting with unbridled humor and nervy, uncompromising brio, ‘Tangerine’ is a study in contradictions. She said, “His performance reflects impressive off-court timing and a sense of humor about his own image.” “James is charming in the part,” The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore writes.

On one hand, this day-in-the-life of transgender sex workers in Los Angeles plunges viewers into one of the city’s scruffiest, most sordid subcultures. Though her career has been on a steady rise since Comedy Central plucked her from the other also-rans of Last Comic Standing, it wasn’t even a year ago that Schumer still just a solid comedy second-liner, namesake of reasonably successful sketch show with occasional bouts of virality, probably not even the most famous or think-pieced of that surprisingly robust stratum. You’re seeing a deepening of the female character across the board.” Uzo Aduba knows something about that, as the woman who plays the deeply damaged Crazy Eyes in Netflix female prison saga Orange Is The New Black and last year won the Emmy for best guest actress in a comedy. It’s only natural to wonder about a partner’s sexual history and how it might stack up to yours. (Slate has in fact exploited this curiosity with its popular “What’s Your Number?” calculator.) But just speaking anecdotally, I have never heard from a friend, nor have I heard of any other straight man, whose relationship suffered a crisis when the girlfriend’s too-high number came to light.

Amy instead is content with a string of one-night stands, dates with less than wholesome characters, but that changes after she’s assigned a story by her editor (Tilda Swinton). That assessment just seems churlish in light of the last three months: starting with a well-earned MTV Movie Awards hosting slot, and an even more well-deserved Peabody, Schumer has become one of those expectionally rare comedians on whom almost everyone has (or should have) an opinion, a staple runner of the next-day “you have to see Amy Schumer take on [blank]” content treadmill; her current status is somewhere between mouthy magazine cover star and feminist philosopher queen. She was nominated again on Thursday, this time in the drama supporting actress category. “What I feel when I watch our show is that a collection of different types of people can actually be engaging to audiences, if the story is true and if it’s honest,” Aduba said. She’s profiling a sports physician (Bill Hader), but the assignment quickly transforms into something, much to Amy’s surprise, that could possibly lead to a more long-term connection.

In a Hollywood long filled with laments over the lack of good parts for women, television gets higher marks than film for pushing the boundaries for females. “We had a meaningful increase in the number of women nominated in director and writing categories, a terrific amount of diversity in front of the camera, and in storytelling,” said Bruce Rosenblum, Television Academy chairman and CEO. In fairness, though, they’re really only subtle evolutions from undercurrents she’s been playing in since the show’s beginning, albeit to smaller audiences. As it happens, Schumer was also nominated for directing and writing her feminist satire, a no-holds-barred takedown of her ditzy, selfish, promiscuous self. “I wasn’t surprised given the amount of acclaim,” said Cynthia Littleton, managing editor of television for Variety. “That woman just has momentum on momentum.” But beyond the film’s central question of Amy’s romance, there’s a few larger ones that loom over the film: Is Trainwreck another example of Schumer’s sharp, culturally relevant comedy, or does it fall prey to the trappings of the romantic comedies it seems built to criticize? Among the sketches that landed her on the viral watch list were “Last F–kable Day,” which eviscerated the end of actresses’s erotic desirability with a celebrity-laden celebration of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s “last f–kable day,” and the episode-length parody “Twelve Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer,” featuring character actors including Paul Giamatti and Jeff Goldblum debating whether she is hot enough for Hollywood.

A 32-year-old, who has been with his wife for 12 years, named 20. (Maybe he’d been overly influenced by the unfortunate 2011 Anna Faris vehicle What’s Your Number?, wherein 20 is also viewed as the brick wall separating the free spirits from the lost causes.) But three other guys mentioned 100, before each of them backpedaled. “If there’s a number like a hundred, I would want to be like, Well, you better go get tested for STDs,” the 26-year-old said. Both clever and profane, they’re nevertheless different mostly because of the star power Schumer is now able to draw into her orbit — she’s said both of those things (in mildly less ambitious ways) in the 20 episodes before, too. Holmes.’ But in their place we get something more memorable: a lonely old man bedeviled by regrets and preoccupied with his legacy.” – Stephanie Merry ★★½ “A Poem Is a Naked Person” (Unrated) “I like Russell’s music, but I learned absolutely nothing about him.

Given the fitful ascendance of feminism among youth and in the respectable quarters of the Internet, it’s not even really a matter of people being willing to listen, as being suddenly aware of what she’s been saying. The 36-year-old said, “There are guys in these movies who say, ‘I thought she was a sweet girl, but then she’d been with 100 guys!’ That doesn’t mean she’s not a sweet girl.” Another 32-year-old, who is engaged to his partner of three years, likewise isn’t fazed by 100. “If you’ve had 100 perfectly healthy and safe one-night stands, then go nuts,” he said.

Rather than toning down [Schumer’s] prickly persona to conform to the studio cookie cutter, she stays true to what makes her laugh.” “Trainwreck isn’t so radical that it subverts the formulaically feel-good ending implied in its setup. One wonders what someone who has never heard of the guy — who last year released a new album, ‘Life Journey,’ one day before his 72nd birthday — would make of the film, which is defiantly, even, at times, obnoxiously, obtuse. Still, there is some kind of victory even in this, that Schumer can remain unadulterated and still attract the most powerful spotlights — particularly since her ideas are so intimately tied into her comedy, given really almost no cover, other than being quite funny. Plenty of stars these days are happy to beat a feminist drum in interviews and at award shows, but relatively few, even among other comedians, are wrestling with it in such direct, contemporary ways in their actual work. But Schumer gives their raunchy rom-com enough of her signature spikiness to prevent it from ever feeling predictable.” “What’s energizing and exciting about Amy, especially when compared with the sexless cuties populating rom-coms, in which female pleasure is often expressed through shopping, is that her erotic appetites aren’t problems that she needs to narratively solve and vanquish.

From picking apart the subtle art of automatically deflecting compliments to unabashedly (and, to a degree, exaggeratedly) discussing her sex life with proud abandon, nearly everything she says on her show and on stage openly addresses how women live now, and how often they explicitly and implicitly get the s–t end of the stick, still. She likes sex, thanks, as an early montage of her shuffling through various men nicely illustrates.” “In scenes like the argument with Hader’s Aaron — and even more so a stirring funeral eulogy she delivers — Schumer also reveals surprising range, displaying a true vulnerability that explains the tossed barbs and empty bottles. Similarly, Match.com sent me results from their annual Singles in America survey that found that out of 2,478 men asked, 1,871—75.5 percent—said they’d be comfortable dating someone who’s had more sexual partners than themselves.

His subtle, often wordless reactions perfectly punctuate scenes such as when sports-hating Amy claims her favorite team is the Orlando Blooms.” “The movie boasts the best title of any comedy this summer. Not only has the coverage of Schumer mercifully resisted most hints of the “why aren’t there more funny women” canard — even as former Disney CEOs have kept this nonsense up — but at virtually no point has it been assumed that Schumer speaks for all or even most women: she’s possibly the first woman to be de-facto treated like she has a point of view, not the point of view.

Because that means sexual experience; there’s no shorthand I have to go through.” Ultimately, rather than their partner’s capital-N Number, the guys I spoke to said qualitative aspects of their partners’ pasts were more troublesome than anything quantitative. For two of the guys, both of whom described their girlfriends’ previous numbers as high, learning specifics about their girlfriends’ exes bothered them much more than the numbers.

Even her allies are not afraid to pick apart her messages, not worried that by pointing out perceived flaws they risk blotting out a higher idea, nor lulled into contentment by the mere blessed presence of someone, anyone saying one particular thing that needs saying, whatever else they’re overlooking. Some of that is just the increasing prevalence of a diverse array of voices in niche areas, but no doubt a degree of the confidence comes from the fact you can also find a degree of this diversity in the mainstream, too. The 36-year-old agreed. “[He was] the best lover you’ve ever had, but he treated you like shit, so you think he’s an asshole, but really, aw, if he was just a nicer guy, then it’d all be great—that’s like, the worst conversation to have,” he said. “By the time I was in my late 20s, I wouldn’t ask. But she is just enough of a train wreck to be unpleasant, selfish and obnoxious.” “What makes the movie feel sharp and new is that Schumer acknowledges the self-loathing, the self-sabotage, that can roil the psyche of even a bright, sexually powerful woman in a society that mostly values supermodels.

She just plays her observations for comedy, sometimes rueful, more often outrageous, while knowing the sadness will leak through on its own.” “And while the picture is occasionally very funny — because when she lets loose, Schumer does have a fantastic, loosey-goosey wiliness — it also feels carefully constructed to make its points, chief among them that men can get away with all kinds of bad or crazy behavior that women can’t.” “With films such as Funny People and This Is 40, Apatow has toyed with finding the right blend of the serious and the hilarious and finally hits it here. As much as that’s a societal shift, Schumer has done her part, too, whether that’s drawing in the likes of Fey, Louis-Dreyfus and Patricia Arquette for that “f–kable” sketch, surrounding herself with other women writers (most notably co-executive producer Jessi Klein) or giving showcases to voices like Tig Notaro (in an earlier season) or Bridget Everett (whose cabaret parody closed the most recent one). The 32-year-old said his wife only has a couple of men in her past, which makes it easier for him to let go of anxiety about where he falls in her sexual rankings. “My gut reaction would be self-consciousness about if I was the biggest or the best, or if she was happy with me, or if the guy before me was better than I was,” he said. Whether you end up liking Amy or not, you feel for her on her journey, and that’s a testament to the director/star chemistry.” “Schumer has never had anything like a leading film role, but self-revealing stand-up and a TV series have limbered her up for the job.

None of this is an endpoint of any kind — however blind Schumer might be on race, for instance, the people who write her cheques remain significantly blinder — but it is at least encouraging that even someone in the highest gears of the Hollywood publicity machine can still have her voice emerge; it’s even more encouraging that the voice is rightly situated as one of many, however loud it might be for the moment. If she doesn’t have quite the range of some other nascent stars Apatow has worked with, her writing makes up for it, and she’s comfortable enough with the director’s trademark improvisation that Trainwreck plays as if it were fully scripted.” “The film is full of terrific sequences, moments and notions—you don’t care if it feels hit or miss when there are many more hits than misses. But as their relationship progressed, it started to bother him—which in itself bothers him. “I don’t know if I’m too sensitive or it’s something that happens when you get more attached to someone,” he said. “Suddenly you start feeling more jealous about things from the past.” This was maybe the most intriguing theme running through my conversations. But then Amy’s life gets to be no laughing matter, the tone turns tentative, the jokes turn sour, the momentum slows and the previously irrepressible energy feels false.

The filmmakers try to regain their footing with storytelling strategies that include a fantasy device notable only for its leaden execution, and a grotesquely overproduced climax. Afterwards, she watches the tape of the show and is mortified by her performance. “It was kind of like there was nowhere to go but up,” she later said.

But the problem proves insoluble, because the love affair between Amy and Aaron has itself been a fantasy from the start; in the end it can’t withstand serious scrutiny. “ “Though a movie like Trainwreck sounds filthy enough, it cleans itself up as it goes along—setting off at a rough lick, yet soon displaying signs of moral decency. As in previous Apatow films, the temptations of togetherness eventually drown the siren call of the boudoir. “ “Amy Schumer makes you laugh till it hurts. In the lead role and as screenwriter — with director Judd Apatow expertly harnessing her energy, not taming it — Schumer is a whole summer of comic fireworks wrapped in one ballsy package.

Ellen DeGeneres takes notice of the emerging comedian and invites her onto her show. “She saw (Last Comic Standing) and she brought my name up, which is like, that just made my life,” Schumer said at the time. “That feels like the best thing that’s happened so far.” On the comedy club circuit, Schumer moves up from opening for comics like Jim Norton to headlining. She’s selected by John Oliver to perform a set on John Oliver’s Stand Up Special alongside some people named Marc Maron, Maria Bamford and Hannibal Buress. Referring to his co-star Ryan Dunn, who was killed in a drunk driving accident, she says: “I am — no joke — sorry for the loss of your friend Ryan Dunn. But now, he like, expects me to go to his graduation.” Schumer is back for another Comedy Central roast, this time going after Roseanne Barr. “Roseanne, you have the voice of a parakeet and the face of a much fatter parakeet.

No detail of her sex and dating life is off limits, including telling a prudish bridal party: “One time, I let a cab driver finger me.” The cab driver has yet to confirm the story. The double entendre of the title helps to signal its core raunchy feminism, as does its very first sketch, a send-up of infamous porn video Two Girls, One Cup. The team comes up with an idea for a sketch in which an actress’s sexual desirability has a literal expiration date, but producers can’t find any stars willing to play along. The season begins with a sketch commenting on objectification of women in showbiz where a focus group of men discusses what they think of Schumer and her TV show.

She tells a story of a disappointing sexual encounter that taught her to be her own fairy godmother, concluding: “I am a woman with thoughts and questions and s–t-to say. In a post called “Apatow’s Funny-Chubby Community Has New Member,” film and TV critic Jeff Wells criticizes the director for casting the “unattractive” Schumer. End of conversation.” Schumer, a fan of the Bachelorette, appears on the show to coach the contestant in stand-up comedy to woo bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe.

Schumer accepts the Trailblazer Award at the Glamour UK’s Women of the Year Awards, giving a gracious, disjointed speech, most memorable for the line, “I’m probably like 160 pounds right now and I can catch a dick whenever I want — like, that’s the truth. Schumer confirms she turned down Comedy Central’s offer to host The Daily Show, saying, “picturing being in a building and knowing what I was going to do for five years — I love not knowing.

And I apologize if I did.” Schumer graces the glossy cover of Glamour’s August issue with a headline “Bow Down, It’s Amy.” In the cover story, Schumer sums up her aspirations as a feminist icon saying, “I want to make women laugh.

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