Saturday, February 22, 2014

In which Tryph didn't really like American Hustle

Every year I do a cannonball run through all the Oscar Noms.

It's a habit I picked up a while ago... I'll rent, download and watch as many of the movies nominated as humanly possible.  Most years I manage to hit at least 80% of them... it's gotten harder since the Academy started nominating anything that had a halfway decent plot or acting... but that's a whole different rant.

So this year I've barely scratched the surface of the list... which I'm including right here.  The two italicized ones are the ones I've watched.

American Hustle
The Wolf of Wall Street
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years a Slave

This year, I decided I'm going to write a quick review about all the movies I watch, so come Oscar time, everyone will be prepared for my rage (Anyone remember what happened when Hurt Locker won?)

First up: American Hustle.

You'd think a film with a stellar cast, and a director with a few great flicks under his belt that you'd have a great contender for this years top honours.

Well, if you thought that, you'd be dead wrong.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the soundtrack, the cinematography, the costumes and the performances were pretty tight... I just didn't enjoy what felt like an excessive focus on quirk.  It ended up feeling forced and made it next to impossible to connect with any of the characters.

Let me elaborate a little.

Have you watched Silver Linings Playbook?  It's a very cute RomCom that appealed even to the jaded and heartless like myself.  There were moments that I connected to the characters and fell in love with them falling in love because they were JUST AS MESSED UP as I am.

Which is to say quirky, or Woody Allen like in it's execution.

For a Romcom, that's perfectly acceptable.
For a Crime Drama?  That's just bullshit.

There was a complete lack of sincerity to how the characters acted, whether it be the over the top monologues or how they interacted with one another.  Nothing they said or did was believable.

I get that it's a film that is supposed to leave you guessing about who's screwing over who, but lets be honest for a second here.  You need to CARE about someone to CARE if they're getting screwed over.

In this film you had the Con Artists (Christian Bale, Amy Adams), the feds (Bradley Cooper, Louis C.K.), the mark (Jeremy Renner) and the estranged and fucked up wife (Jennifer Lawerence).

The only character you end up giving even the slightest damn about?  Louis C.K.  And why?  Because his was the only honest preformance in the entire film.

Irving Rosenfeld - He's a man who's trying to make a lazy and quick buck.  He's mister get rich quick, and wants to rape the American Dream.  You're introduced to him in the film through a montage of him whining about how he wants to be more than his father ever achieved.  It isn't easy to care about someone so self righteously lazy.

Sydney Prosser - You really only get snippits into her mindset, and why she does what she does.  I feel like I might like her better if she decided to cheat people out of their money for love... sadly I didn't get that.  All I got from this character was that she was a selfish and self indulgent fake Brit.  There was so much potential, but very little to like in the end.

Richie DiMaso - The fed.  He's the guy that you want to root for, but he's a slimy little eel looking for his big shot to show off how great he is.  He's the kind of guy who misses the bigger picture, because he's so focused on how he'll look when the photo is taken.  He's easily a mark, and just begging to be taken advantage of.

Stoddard Thorsen - The other fed.  Easily the only character I honestly gave a crap about.  Sadly he didn't have enough screen time, as the story didn't seem to need or want for a truly sincere character who wanted a greater good for anyone other than himself.  It's unfortunate, I quite liked this role.

Mayor Carmine Polito - The mark, someone you expect to want to either dislike or really like depending on your point of view.  You honestly don't get enough of him to really get a read or care about him.  I could take or leave him, but I feel like it's integral that you care.  I was confused about what I was supposed to feel for this guy by the end of the film.

That's the bulk of the cast, save for the wife, Rosalyn as portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, who I feel like was only included because she's a giant name right now.  Any and all of the scenes that she was involved in just felt strained and weird.  They did very little to move the story along, and when it did, it felt like a deliberate plot device.  I didn't understand why we felt the need to actually and actively include the cuckolded wife.  

So you have these characters in a crime drama that seems to feel like the intent is to be character driven, ala Reservoir Dogs, and yet it just falls flat in the end.  Too much effort seemed to be expended making the characters seem quirkier than they actually were to compensate for a story that didn't have a lot of substance to keep it afloat.

Anyhow, if I was asked to rank this film out of 5... I'd likely give it maybe a 2, because I've seen worse, but it's not one I think anyone should go out of their way to see.  If it wins the Oscar... you might see this little Canadian Dork explode.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In which Tryph is an Introvert

Yup, I've blogged this before, and I'll likely have to blog it again because people just keep not getting it.

I am an introvert.

What this means, in short, is that I find people/talking to people exhausting on every single level.

So I work in a call center.  My job involves talking to people on the phone for 8.5 hours a day (less breaks and shit).  To me, a shift like this is the emotional and mental equivalent of running a marathon.

It's exhausting.

Imagine this for a moment.  You've just run a marathon.  You're exhausted, but glad it's done.  You're looking forward to a chance to rest and relax... but then you get asked to run another marathon right after.

Think you could do it?

That's what it's like sometimes when I'm asked to do something after work.  It feels like I'm going from one giant feat of strength to another.   It was easier when I was on a day shift.  I could get home, have some food and have that bit of a break before going back out again.  But on this shift, more often than not it's right after I'm done work, so I can't even catch my breath.

I'll still do it (ie go out) when it's important.  And if it's a slow day I'm more likely to be able to without feeling overwhelmed.  But I just wish people understood that I'm an introvert.  People exhaust me, and it's nothing personal.  Sometimes I need my quiet time alone before I can get back out there and face the world.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

In which Tryph addresses her status quo

I spent a lot of years in an abusive relationship.

I wasn't beaten physically, but that doesn't mean I wasn't scarred by the abuse.  I don't want to rehash all the details, but the point I wanted to bring up is compliments.

For years, most compliments were given in a back handed "caress the cheek before you slap it" manner.  I'm sure we've all encountered comments like that before, so you know what I mean.  The ubiquitous "Wow, that dress doesn't make you look as fat" kind of comment.

Anyhow, that's what I'm used to.  That's what I expect.   When my boyfriend now says to me "you're gorgeous" I still sometimes wait for the sting of a slap.  When my boyfriend looks at my body, clothed or otherwise, I look for the criticism and disgust in his eyes.

I have never seen it.  

I am beginning to think that I'll never see it, and that maybe my status quo isn't reality.

This is scary.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In which Tryph addresses the second point

The second comment that this principal made was "modest is hottest"

I honestly don't have a problem with this statement.  I suspect that the people who freaked out about this comment are adding unintended context to what he was trying to say here.

First of all, lets address the fact that he's a grown ass man.  If he's a principal, he's likely got a good 40 years or so on these teenagers.  I think we can all agree that when you have a generational gap that large that when the older side tries to 'relate' or use language that they think will reach the kids... well they're going to fail miserably.

What I hear, as a woman who's likely in the middle ground of the generational gap here, is that "you don't need to display your flesh to feel good about yourself".

It's honestly a sentiment that I appreciate and agree with whole heartedly.  We live in an age where hemlines grow shorter, and fabric is more sheer... an age where sexuality is front and center and on display in terms of clothing and flesh.  I find it offensive to see the things that young girls and women wear these days.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't feel good about yourself dressed however you want... honestly your body is your own and you should do what makes you happy, I just like the concept of teaching young people (during their formative years) that it's OKAY to not be nearly naked.  That you can be just as (or in my opinion) hot/sexy/cute/pretty/etc when your body is covered modestly.

I think it's a good message, when  you stop adding negative connotations to it.  Modest is pretty damned hot in my opinion.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

In which tryph does what this blog was intended to do....

Rants

So, at some point in recent history a principal made some remarks regarding the dresscode for the school he works at.  There were two that were hilighted in a negative fashion, and I'll address each in a separate post.  The first in this pair of posts is "boys will be boys"

This turn of phrase really pisses me off a lot.

First let me say that I fully accept that men and women are wired differently.  Testosterone and estrogen do some very different things to people.  Testosterone does tend to regulate aggression, and on average boys and men do have higher amounts of it in their bloodstream especially during puberty.  So yes, one could posit to say that boys tend towards being more aggressive than girls and/or older men.

But here's the thing boys and girls.  Here's a key element that we all seem to be missing here.

We're humans.  All of us... humans.  We are capable of rational thought.  We are capable of reason.  We decide, and make choices.  We are not all slaves to the chemicals in our brains and our bodies.

In short, we aren't animals.

To say "boys will be boys" is to say that boys aren't better than animals, that they are no longer capable of rational thought or governing their own actions.  Lets be honest, if that's the case boys should then be confined to cages.

We wouldn't allow Lions, tigers and cobras to roam our city streets and interact with our children, would we?  No, we confine them to zoos (or their own natural habitat) and if they escape, more often than not they're put down.

So why is it okay for a boy (or man) to act like an animal and just get a free pass?