Sunday, October 22, 2017

Give 'em heck.

It's not easy being in a relationship with a woman. Especially when you're a f--king jerk.

I've been with my wife for over sixteen years, and I have done many stupid and selfish things. Nothing major, mind you, nothing to kill our relationship, just a repeated pettiness akin to death by a thousand cuts. Oh, she's not perfect either, but I know, deep down/rather obviously she's a wonderful, caring person, willing to sacrifice anything for the people she cares about. Including... Someone who's basically a f--king idiot, more or less drifting through adulthood like a giant child, occasionally charming enough to be considered...likable.

It's like, sometimes, I think we might be direct opposites of one another.

Even though I wanted to drag her to Blade Runner 2049, I knew my wife would be way more interested in writer Simon Beaufoy's Battle of the Sexes. We had caught the real-life retelling of Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs' famous tennis match on her favorite TV show, CBS Sunday Morning (did I mention she has the television viewing habits of an out of touch grandmother?), so a quick plot synopsis as we drove kid-free to the theater was very reassuring for her. A decided lack of flying space cars, a 6:30 start time and a smuggled in piece of cake (if only I were joking) essentially guaranteed one of us was going to enjoy ourselves.

About that...

While the real-life event must have been a spectacle in its day, there really isn't that much fight in Battle of the Sexes. Featuring a perfectly charming cast, an infinitely fascinating story and an early 70's setting presented in all it's awful glory, it was somewhat surprising that, for me, the whole thing didn't amount to much. Clearly/sadly, this story is as relevant as ever, but simply being timely isn't enough. A little urgency would've been nice.

Hold on, I get it, not every look back at how little progress we've made can be the knife-in-the-heart that something like Detroit [review] was, but this flick might just be too damn charming for its own good. Bobby Riggs is a f--king jerk, sure, but his relentless criticism of women (and women's tennis, specifically) doesn't feel all that offensive when he's basically a desperate, though likable, dickhead. He might seems like he's out to prove a point (that even a washed-up man is better than the best female tennis player on the planet), but it seems like he's more interested in simply being famous again. He might be making a statement, sure, but only because he needs to make a buck.

Silverman, playing Gladys Hellman, kicks all kinds of ass.
While Bobby is trying to steal the spotlight, Billie Jean King is shoplifting something entirely different (there's a Jerry MaGuire quote I'm tempted to use...). In the midst of King trying to assert herself as the number one female player in the world, and an equal draw to the men, she begins to have feelings for a hairdresser she meets on her ragtag women's tennis tour. King is (happily) married to Larry (not the suspenders guy, I checked...twice), but she soon finds herself totally enamored with Marilyn. Some of you out there will find this burgeoning relationship to something magical, but I found it entirely laughable. Billie Jean is dealing with some crazy feelings, sure, but Marilyn seems straight-up crazy. Romantic, it ain't.

Also not making you believe in rainbow-colored unicorn foals, are the Yays and Boos. We're convinced that the ten-minute segment on Sunday Morning was better than this flick. And that's saying something, because as a teacher, I hate everything about Sunday. Hell, I hate Saturday night, just because of it's proximity.

If I decided to play tennis with my father-in-law,
I'm convinced he'd wear that exact number Riggs has on.

  • Outside of the girl sitting next to my wife, I was easily the second youngest person in the room. Wait, this is a Yay?
  • Elisabeth Shue. Even though we're both much older than we first met during the Karate Kid, she still makes me want to wax off.
  • Marilyn: Would you like me to give you...a little trim? I ALMOST SPIT OUT MY DRINK.
  • Man, an athletic tour sponsored by Virginia Slims? Ah, the '70s. I love you so.
  • I really dug the way the ladies on the tour basically did it all. No, not that like, silly goose. They, like, sold tickets, did promotions, in addition to playing kickass tennis. It has a certain small-business vibe that resonated with me.
  • So...uh...that make out scene? Um...that was...moving.
  • As much of a failure as Bobby was, he scooped that baby up like a champion.
  • Those gay dudes ruled. Alan Cumming always kicks ass, but here? He's even better as Cuthbert Tinling, some sort of stylist or something?? (I wasn't clear on how these dudes were always being tight as it was)
  • Larry. This dude is quite possibly, the most understanding and patient man on the face of the planet. ("Larry is a champ!" - my wife, 'whispering')
  • And finally, even though this one didn't move the needle, the performances from the leads really are quite fantastic. Stone is perfect as Billie Jean King, perfectly capturing her determined naivety, if that's a thing. And Carell? I know he's not going to win it here, but can we just get this guy the f--king Oscar already? Please? 
I'm not going to mention my father-in-law in this situation.
You know, other than not mentioning him.
  • I'm all for being the (second) youngest person in the room, but when you walk into a theater and everyone has Steve Martin's hair start to question how you spend an evening without your (grand)kids.
  • Win a tournament? Twelve grand for men. Fifteen for women!! Fifteen...hundred. Oh.
  • I still think sex addiction sounds rad, but gambling addiction? I bet that's horrible.
  • So, the message isn't too subtle, you know? Like, we get it. Men are f--king selfish pricks. This ain't news.
  • One of the ladies proposed a sex-strike. Um, excuse me? This doesn't look like Chi-Raq [review], thank f--king Christ.
  • When I have my first lesbian encounter, I hope to spend the night in an adjacent twin bed to my secret sha----- well, hello there.
  • What the f--k was with Bobby's older son? Are we supposed to give a f--k about this kid?
  • I'm not a huge fan of speaking ill of the President, but goddamn is Bill Pullman a real prick in this movie.
  • Honestly, I hated Marilyn. Any of the other ladies on tour would have been preferable to this sketchy chick. Like, just keep holding those ice cream cones, lady. See where it gets you.
  • Fred Armisen shows up for a minute as some pill-pushing a-hole. I like Fred, but whoever the f--k he was playing? Screw that clown.
  • ProTip: If you're gonna talk shit about someone in the locker room, check to see if anyone's taking a piss first.
  • What was with that Usher Guy? Seriously. Did that actor win a contest or something? I didn't buy him working at a professional tennis match, no sir. I mean, where would he find the time, what with all the luring children into his van that everything about him suggests.
  • The big match was pretty cool. Even when THAT'S NOT STEVE CARELL playing tennis. 
  • And finally, my wife and I had a very nice time then night when we saw this one. Oh, I would go on to absolutely f--king ruin it a day later, but more on that later. Plain and simple...I f--ked up. And if she ever reads this (she won't), let me just say that I'm sorry. Again.
Even if we've foolishly thought we've made any real level of progress, just look around and see if things have changed. Go ahead. I'll wait.

The sexes have been battling forever, and I'm thinking that's likely always going to be the case. I get that you ladies aren't giving up in the fight for equality, and I'd never suggest that you should. But, uh, just remember...

...we're pretty f--king stupid (most of the time).


  1. Too bad this wasn't better. The actual story is really fascinating, so I'm still curious about it and will see it at some point. And, this...

    "I still think sex addiction sounds rad, but gambling addiction? I bet that's horrible."

    Very well (and slyly) played, sir.

    1. It seems like a lot of the critics liked it...but I thought it was lacking something. Maybe the real story wasn't dire either, but it all seems low stakes. That said...the performances are still worth the watch.

      You know how I roll.

  2. You gonna do a review on Big World! Big Adventures!?

    1. I'll ask Sir Toppham Hatt if he thinks I should or not.

  3. I thought about going to see this in theaters but I figured I should wait. If you felt this way about it, I imagine I will to.

    1. Absolutely no rush.

      My head wasn't totally in the game (I really wanted to see Blade Runner), but still. I wasn't all that impressed.

  4. I really wanna see it but even from the trailer that lover chick looked sketchy. Also it's startling what Riseborough did to herself. She used to be pale and have black hair and now...just google her from TiFF premiere. Jesus!

    1. WHAT. THE. F--K. I googled the shit out of that chick and my f--king brain is melting. Was she that hot chick from Oblivion? And look at some of these other pictures? BUT NOW? WHAT IS HAPPENING.

      *breathes into paper bag*

      Okay, okay. Okay. Uh....this movie is...something. I don't know. Just...*what are those pictures?*

    2. Yeah she was in Oblivion. She looked like she could be sisters with Eva Green now she looks like Tilda Swinton after she fell asleep on tanning bed or something. Just horrific.

      I was excited for that The Crow reboot thingy because she was supposed to be the villain and Jason is supposed to play the protagonist but now I think she may be too scary as the villain.

    3. Holy Hell. She was easily my favorite part of Oblivion. So sexy!

      Oh goodness, the Swinton-tanning bed look is spot on. And frightening. Maybe she's from the Upside Down?

      Hmmm...your boy is the new Crow? Is this really happening? Pencil me in for that.

    4. Well in September it was reported that Sony is gonna do it now. I feel like I should go on that set and make sure nothing horrible like on the set of first one happened and protect Jason at all cost.

    5. Please do. I haven't even seen most of this dude's work, but I'm all for you protecting him. But it's not a accident I'm worried about.

      It's that chick.

    6. Seriously, she is frightening now. You should check out his work, most of it is so insane and/or ridiculous you'll probably love it

    7. I'm in for whatever that weird one is. The Bad People...or whatever the shit it's called. Just gotta manage to stay the Hell awake for anything outside of a movie theater.