Friday, September 4, 2015
Mini-Review - "Trainwreck" (2015)
Fun fact about myself: I'm an avid sports fan. I love all of my local Washington state teams, including all the Seattle sports teams like the Mariners and Seahawks, and when I have nothing better to do I'll watch SportsCenter and see the highlights of sports from about the country. I go to as many baseball games as I can, and attend as many Eastern Washington University Eagles football games when I can find the time.
I choose to write about movies over sports because I feel like I can describe and critique a film more passionately than I can football and baseball. It isn't that there is nothing to discuss with sports, thousands of sports journalists and radio talk show hosts would strongly disagree with that, but that film is a language that I better understand.
But one thing I've always done is keep my worlds of sports and cinema separate from each other. For simple reasons - they have nothing to do with each other. Sports and movies are vastly different forms of entertainment that have very little in common. Sports films are a different story, as they are more about underdogs overcoming impossible odds, while using a particular sport as little more than a backdrop.
However, "Trainwreck" is rare instance where film and sports collide, without using any sport movie tropes, and it feels natural. Sports are not there to make the actions of our heroes seem grand or worthy of a massive audience, but because sports play a massive part in these characters lives, whether they know it or not. From Bill Hader's character interacting with all sorts of sports figures, including Amar'e Stoudemire, Tony Romo and LeBron James, to Amy Schumer's sex-crazed lifestyle that leads her into a relationship with WWE wrestler John Cena.
No matter how crazy and dramatic the story gets in "Trainwreck," sports always seem to be around the corner.
I adored Bill Hader's character throughout this film. Always considering the feelings of others, while not being in the sports therapy business simply for easy access to front-row tickets. There's a scene where Bill interacts with a group of guys that only seem interested in getting seats to the Knicks or Yankees game, and not being his friend. He even admits that before he got his job, he didn't care about sports.
Bill doesn't see all of this as a stepping stone to see the greatest athletes of our time, but to help others be the greatest they can be. It also helps that he has a great sense of humor about it all, especially when failing miserably to play basketball against LeBron James.
If there is any problem with "Trainwreck," it is that many scenes go on far longer than they need to, and most of the drama with Amy Schumer and her father feels tacked on and does not amount to much by the end of the film. Most of those plot threads are resolved by the end of the second act, which made me think the film was over, only to find out there was another 40 minutes left. This film will have you checking your watch a couple of times.
I will remember "Trainwreck" for Bill Hader's performance and being able to combine sports, comedy and cinema into a near seamless blend where everything felt natural. It never felt like the athletes were more than cameos, but extensions of the world to show the scope of how sports have touched this world. While it is long, most of the jokes work and the drama with Amy Schumer and Bill Hader is far from intolerable. I respect "Trainwreck" for making sports look great in cinema without being cliché.
Final Grade: B