Thursday, January 24, 2013

I was trying to be romantic.

Long before we were married, my wife was just another pretty girl that I obsessed over. I met her at a party for a mutual friend, and then began to strategize how I could see more of her. This gameplanning, had become a seemingly semi-annual tradition since high school, as I would systematically figure out how I could accidentally bump into her as frequently as possible. If you knew how much casual conversation I would go through for the one bit of pertinent information, you would probably think I was nuts. But, that's what love is, right? Batshit insanity, at least early on. I mean, what normal person would spend hours in a McDonald's parking lot (because that's where they got the best cell-phone reception) registering for classes for someone else, before registering for their own? I mean, not me of course, 'cause that shit's crazy.  

Though, then I could know exactly what classes I needed to register for..[maniacal laugh].

In my silly, um, fictional anecdote, everybody involved was rather normal and relatively sane. But in Silver Linings Playbook, that's not the case. David O. Russell's film tells the story of Pat, a fairly regular guy who has just been discharged from a mental health facility. See, Pat came home one day to find his wife in the shower with another man. Pat, probably a little unstable to begin with, lost his mind and beat the Hell out of this guy. Shockingly, his wife didn't approve of such a loving grand gesture, and she now has a restraining order against him. Pat has been away for eight months, and has likely spent every minute of that time, like a young blogger you might know, plotting how to get the girl (back, I suppose). In his head, it's going to work out just fine. He just needs to stay focused and positive.

Unfortunately, Pat's life is filled with distractions, a few of which could fall into the negative category. First up, is his family. His dad is an incredibly superstitious bastard, whose life revolves around the Philadelphia Eagles (poor bastard). Next up, is Tiffany. Tiffany is a recently widowed sister-of-a-friend, who eventually commits to helping Pat get his wife back. She's not completely selfless (or sane), as she insists that Pat help her enter a dance contest her late husband was supposed to be a part of. Seems fair enough. Well, last but not least, is Pat himself. Pat's completely selfish, obsessed with the inevitability of getting his wife back. He has no time for such things as grace and kindness, let alone common decency when he speaks. These things interfere with his plan. Pat is committed to one thing and one thing only: getting the girl.

It's actually a very simple story, it's just populated with complicated (read: f--ked) characters. As routinely frustrating as Pat's decisions and behavior can be, there's a refreshing amount of honesty to every move he makes. The rub however, is we know that no matter how hard he tries, his wife isn't coming back. And even if she would, it gets to a point where we don't want her to anyway. I mean, Pat's busting his ass to get his cheating wife back. First, he's an Eagles fan, and now this?

After crying themselves to sleep on Sunday after the Patriot's loss to the Ravens, the Yays and Boos have decided they won't watch ESPN for the next three weeks. I guess they found their silver lining, too.

  • I think the only thing better than a subdued Chris Tucker, is a subdued, hair-obsessed, remote-holding, dancing Chris Tucker.
  • I loved when the lady at the school blows him off out of pure dread, and Pat takes the whole encounter as a victory. So great.
  • Even though dinner was a setup, I really enjoyed the bonding over prescribed drugs, and the origin of the term OK. This is one of the few times Pat isn't putting his foot directly into his mouth.
  • I wish I still lived at home, so I could routinely barge into my parents room when anything was bothering me. I will apologize on behalf of Ernest Hemingway. Although my complaints wouldn't be so eloquent. More along the lines of my Sega Genesis froze again.
  • Good Lord, the scene where Pat elbows his mom in the face. I covered my face in the utter cringe-worthiness of this whole scene, but I laughed my ass off when that damn high school kid showed up again. De Niro's line to the kid was f--king hysterical.
  • Next time I'm at a diner with a woman that is not my wife, I'm totally ordering Raisin Bran. You know, so everyone knows this is just business. But if she counters with tea, I'll know I'm screwed. Both ways.
  • When he read the letter, I was honestly heartbroken.
  • The origin of hand-holding. I thought you were doing it.
  • As much, I'd like to keep it classy, Tiffany's dance attire, both in training and in competition, was mesmerizing. As emotional as some of those scenes were, I will admit to a level of distraction at times. Or, as my friend put it: It's hard to cry when you have a boner.  Fine, he's more of an acquaintance, really.
  • Even if the movie, didn't completely wow me like it did many of you, the last ten minutes were perfect. I almost wept like a little girl during De Niro's dance floor speech, but Pat's letter narration was perfect. 
  • I thought that only guys meticulously planned their lives around girls they are in love with. I was wrong, apparently. 
  • And finally, though I get no originality points, obviously, the cast is absolutely perfect. The conviction in Cooper's eyes alone could get him the Oscar. Jennifer Lawrence nails the wavering confidence of Tiffany. And De Niro? Well, he's f--king De Niro. Again. 
  • Okay, I'm not a medical professional or anything, but playing his trigger song in the lobby? Hmm...
  • If that wasn't enough, when your doctor openly admits that DeShean Jackson is the man, clearly you need a second opinion.
  • Speaking of...Eagles fans. Quite possibly the worst group of people on the planet. 
  • Eleven people! Everyone in the office! Even the women? This is only a Boo because I wasn't a temp there. Oh, right. And it's sad.
  • My God, I think there were at least a half a dozen times that I wanted to punch Pat in his handsome face for saying something stupid and or hurtful, or both.
  • And finally, as I eluded to, I really liked this movie. I wanted to love it. Maybe this Boo is directed at me, the joyless prick.
I love the idea that there really is someone out there for everyone, even if you're a bit of a mess and a little unstable. Once, before we were dating, I actually, legitimately, happened to run into my future wife at the grocery store. As I hadn't planned this chance encounter, I was at a loss for what to say. She told me she was going to a costume party that night. She then said flippantly, you should come.

Less than an hour later I had put on a ripped shirt and denim shorts, painted my entire body green and dyed my hair. I was the (not so) Incredible Hulk.

Maybe she knew I was going to be there. Maybe she had done a little reconnaissance?
Nevermind. That's just crazy.


  1. I am surprised that you loved the last ten minutes of the movie. I didn't like the last ten minutes of it. The rest of the movie, I identified with, because I'm looney tunes. Meeting a person that is as damaged as yourself is not the best thing. It could have been worse for Pat and Tiffany.

    1. I was rooting for Pat. The final ten minutes was the longest stretch where Pat didn't screw everything up, inadvertently or not. And as much as I love it when a movie ends on a down note, sometimes nothing beats a happy ending.

  2. I really enjoyed this movie too. I dug its zany tone and off-the-cuff style of filmmaking. But I agree, a few of the characters could've used a good slapping around at times. And yeah, the notion that there's someone for everyone is a pleasant one indeed.

    1. I haven't seen them all, but Russell's films are always scatterbrained in the way they are shot. It makes everything more casual and inviting, even when the shit is hitting the fan.

      That idea of 'someone for everyone' is incredibly cliche, but I think here it was handled honestly and realistically.

  3. Good review M. This movie was great for me to see, and I was so happy that it was filmed right around my area. Made me feel closer to home and almost like I could connect more with the characters than I ever expected.

    1. Yeah Dan, I live in PA too, and I used to live in King of Prussia. So, while it's not quite in my backyard, there was definitely that same thing going on here.

      But, no offense, but Philly sports fans are generally the most bitter a-holes I've ever been around. I wished they would have been from Boston. 'Cause their fans are classy and respectful, naturally.

  4. Great review! I'm so glad you enjoyed the film - I also only liked it when i saw it the first time, but upon seeing it again I loved it. That whole scene with De Niro chasing the kid and then yelling at him was so hilarious! I agree about Cooper's eyes - he was so convincing in this performance and it's really his acting that sold the romance story arc for me.

    1. You know, the more I write about it, the more I like it. I will definitely see it again, probably at home with my wife. When the kids are asleep.

      Kids. With an s. Goodness.

      Anyway, Cooper completely won me over. I was quietly in the guy's camp for awhile, but now I'm recruiting others.

  5. The fact that the characters needed a little slapping doesn't make the movie any less perfect for me. Love your headline too, I was trying to be romantic. Perhaps my favourite quote from the movie.

    1. Easily my favorite line, in my favorite moment. I'm too cynical for the typical romantic movie grand gesture, but the fact that Pat, despite his best intentions, tortured Tiffany in a way? Perfect.

  6. "Eleven people! Everyone in the office!" When the guy asked, at that point, "can I ask you a question?" my husband whispered "Were some of them women??" He totally predicted that line, and he seemed to think he deserved kudos for knowing how dudes think. I found that totally awesome ... or disturbing. I haven't decided which. ;-) Like you, he probably wished he were temping in that office ... ahem ... maybe I shouldn't go there. :-D

    Awesome review! I really liked this movie, and ... YES ... it was great to see DeNiro in a good role for the first time in ages. And I, too, love the message that "really is someone out there for everyone, even if you're a bit of a mess and a little unstable."

    1. Yes! I loved when Tiffany called him on it, too. Pointing out that he loved hearing all the dirty details.

      Like your husband, I probably would've called it too, but if I whispered it to the random guy next to me, he probably would've slugged me.

      Thanks! I really like the idea that we all do crazy shit when we're in love, even when we're in love with someone who's crazy. The whole bi-polar angle that's been getting so much attention didn't even phase me. I think in a relationship, we probably all are.