Thursday, March 6, 2014

But she couldn't stop babbling about her life.

We all have problems. If you're sitting there thinking, Well, I don't have any problems - that's your problem. You're clueless. That said, it's not about how much shit you're dealing with, or severity they are in the grand scheme of things (because, who's to say?), it's all about how you let them affect you and how you decide to handle them. Don't think, by any means, I'm one of those guys who takes charge and immediately addresses anything weighing me down - far from it (I'm a fan of duck and cover). The only advantage I have? I'm one of the guys. Meaning? I'm not a woman. At least I have that going for me.

As someone who has a wife, a daughter, a sister and of course, a mother, please don't read that as sexist. I've been just been around enough women to know that the same qualities that make them interesting, caring, nurturing and compassionate are also the same things that can make their world fall in on itself. Case in point? Jasmine.

From iconic writer/director Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine painfully tells the story of a woman in the midst (or wake) of a nervous breakdown. Hauntingly brought to life by the luminous Cate Balchett (in an Oscar-winning role), Jasmine is a woman who after seemingly had everything, has completely bottomed out. Or, it would appear that way, until she routinely digs herself an even deeper hole.

Having been forced out of her picturesque upscale life in NYC, Jasmine has turned to the only person on the planet capable of tolerating her, her likable younger sister Ginger (played by the lovely Sally Hawkins). Despite living in the shadow of Jasmine (and her better genes), Ginger does her best to keep her drowning sister afloat. You would think she should really appreciate this. You would think.

Is it okay to loathe someone who, due to a variety of quirks, deficiencies, and mental problems, has become borderline insufferable? I hope it is. Because the more time I spent with Jasmine, my pity and sympathy turned to indifference and rage. Maybe she can't help being a joyless bitch, but I had a hard time cutting her slack. Yes, that seems heartless and cruel, but she was so ungrateful, so petty it made me care less and less about her as the film went on (I probably should have been doing the opposite). But her worst offense? The way she speaks to people. Her constant but casual venom undercut her failing mental stability. I felt bad, sure, but not really. 

Hopefully, my room in Hell has a DVD player.

Even if I if I didn't like Jasmine, um, at all, this was yet another compelling and entertaining film from the prolific Woody Allen. As easy and breezy and enjoyable as Midnight in Paris [review] was, Blue Jasmine was the direct opposite. Sure it's a tough watch and a bit if a grind, but that doesn't mean it's not good.

Legitimately not good, are the Yays and Boos. Like Jasmine, these two are impossible to be around. No, it's true. I mean...they don't exist.


  • Guys, Max Casella is in this. Max Casella! I was so excited I wanted to do Mrs. H.
  • Speaking of fantastic throwbacks, can we all put our f--king hands together for Andrew Dice Clay? Bravo, good sir. Bra-f--king-vo.
  • Now entering the random faceless character Hall of Fame? Dennis Rakabuto. If only I needed a fake ID right now.
  • Let me be serious(ish) for a second, but I can't even think of a time when New York City has looked so beautiful. I thought Paris glowed last time, but my goodness, the Big Apple looks like it was created with a water brush.
  • Then blind date/setup with Eddie and Chili was pretty funny. Of all people to pull something like that on, I'm fairly certain Jasmine (er, Jeanette) isn't one of them.
  • I really enjoyed how we got to take turns seeing the high-life of her past with the shitstorm of her present. Even better? That each reality was the opposite in Jasmine's mind. Very cool.
  • Sally Hawkins. She was so sweet in this film. I gotta track some more stuff down, asrap. I mean, asap.
  • Augie bumping into Jasmine and Dwight at the jewelry store. Other than the fact that it is indeed the smallest of worlds, that scene was hilariously awful. I shudder just thinking about it.
  • And finally, Ms. Blanchett. It truly is a credit to her skills and beauty that this movie is even watchable. She manages to humanize a real mess of a person. An excellent person. And yes, I want to watch movies where women are the main characters. I do. The world is round. Indeed.
  • Redbox only carries this on DVD? What the shit, guys? A brother can't see the steady decline of an upper class woman in HD? 
  • Raylene. You home wrecker. See also: every other woman Hal knew.
  • Speaking of Hal, I'm not going to Boo Alec Baldwin, no. I'm just going to Boo the fact that he gets to play a phony rich asshole to perfection. Again.
  • While we're discussing awful men, let me give a big f--k off to Dentist Guy. Jeez. I don't give a shit if you are wearing more colorful neckties, bro, how about we do more root canals, and less date raping? Just an idea, doc.
  • How long can Jasmine go without popping a pill? Two minutes? Maybe three?
  • Why are kids in movies either overly annoying or impossibly cute? Ginger's kids are one of these, and it ain't cute.
  • I hate when you know people aren't listening, but for whatever reason, you just keep talking. Jasmine is pretty much the master of this infuriating art.
  • Al. I wanted to love you. I really, really did. 
  • Edison's medicine. Not cool.
  • And finally, is it me, or does this film suggest that we're all awful people. I mean, there may not be a truly redeeming character in this film. As I've said, we've all got problems, sure. But I believe some of are still good despite that. Well, at least I am. And you. I mean, you're the best.
Okay, kids. I gotta go. After watching the celebrated story of an irrational women for 98 minutes, I think I need to do something totally unrelated. In fact, today is my wife's birthday.

That's unrelated. Promise.

(I'm kidding, honey. Happy 35th!)


  1. I didn't really care for this one either. Blanchett was great in her role, but I almost think this film would've been better had someone other than Woody Allen directed it. I think a darker tone would've suited it better.

    1. Man, if it had been darker, it might have been unwatchable. Has Allen ever wrote anything he didn't direct?

  2. Happy Birthday to your wife! Hope you guys had a good celebration.

    I really liked this one, considering how From Rome with Love was a poop, I had a feeling given the good movie, bad movie routine it's time for this Allen's flick to be far from disaster. I felt bad for Jasmine all the way, she kinda fell into a trap as a young girl and her luxurious ways seeped through her skin to the point she didn't know how to live differently. It's good that she had her pride but her lack of gratitude was the worst thing about her personality. If she was kinder to her sister I'm sure she could lure some rich dude to take her in and help her out soon. Blanchett really did wonders here, it's my favorite performance out of 2013 films.

    1. We did, thanks! I totally surprised her (the ol' left for work, then totally came back with flowers and such).

      Anyway, to more pressing matters. Jasmine may have fallen into that trap, but she did so willingly, right? She was so clueless despite everyone else in the world knowing her husband's (professional and) personal dickery, I had a hard time sympathizing with her. I'm with you, though, in at least she was kind of tough on the rebound, and didn't really allow herself to be walked all over. But, she was so thankless it choked away the few decent things about her.

      An excellent performance, though I think this is only the second of the five nominated that I've seen (and I liked Bullock more...likely because she was more...likable, if that makes sense).

    2. Well yeah she did fall into that but she was really young when she married the guy. Then he just threw gifts at her and kinda made her addicted to this ridiculous style of living. And given how fragile she was - people don't fall into nervous breakdowns as easily as she did and as deeply normally - she kinda overstayed the welcome in that fantasy.

      She should have finished college, that's what I always say to people - hey, at least you're gonna have that piece of paper if you stick around.

    3. Yeah, but I guess at the time, it's who needs college when I can just decorate all of my houses, er, something. And yeah, she totally overstayed her welcome in fantasy land, and just about everywhere else, too.

  3. This was, for me, lesser Allen...but Blanchett was brilliant! As always, your yays and boos are spot on awesomeness!

    1. Yeah. They are pretty awesome, huh?

      Just kidding. I thought it was better than lesser Allen, but I've only seen about 8 of his films. And I think he's made [calculator noises]...6,000 films.

  4. I don't think you're meant to feel THAT bad about Jasmine's situation. I didn't really. Sure, I feel bad when anyone is cheated on but she clearly had some money goggles on that was preventing her from paying attention to the shit storm going on in her life. From the first scene on the plane, the movie did a great job making her seem insufferable. The only thing making me feel bad for her is the humanity Blanchett's performance has! She was truly incredible. I too shudder thinking about the scene outside the jewelry store... you know it's coming but it's so awkward.

    1. Okay, so we're in total agreement, I think, but does that make both of us jerks? I mean, this lady has totally suffered a mental breakdown, right? She's losing it...or has lost it...and we're calling her insufferable? That seems ruthless.

      Blanchett was truly perfect for the role. I couldn't imagine anyone else playing Jasmine.

      I wanted to crawl under my couch. Buuuuttt....she was swindling Dwight, so she kind of deserved it.

  5. Happy late birthday to your wife, that lucky woman ;)

    I don't think it makes us awful people that we hate the shit out of Jasmine. At least I hope so, since I did, very much so, and what you said--"I felt bad, sure, but not really" is what I felt, too. Or actually, it isn't. I just hated that woman and honestly, even Blanchett's performance almost didn't save the movie since I hated her so much.

    1. I'll let her know you said that.

      Wow. You's a cold ass mofo. Jasmine was an emotional basketcase and probably even schizophrenic and you're all I hate this bitch. A level of heartlessness I can respect.