Writer Gal Letter #5

Let’s Talk About Alpha Assholes And How Miss Sloane Is The Ultimate Alpha Asshole

Let’s Talk About is a series of blog posts where Writer Gal gives her (unsolicited) take on pop culture – aka books, TV series, and movies – that she shamelessly binge watches in the name of ‘research.’ SPOILERS GALORE!!!

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In December 2017, I wrote an entire book watching John Madden’s Miss Sloane in parts.

I’d seen Miss Sloane before and was blown away by the music (thank you Max Richter) and the fact that this movie was written for a woman. A woman who controlled everything and everyone from the first scene to the very last.

The bare bones of the story are thus – Washington’s most famous and most powerful lobbyist takes on the gun lobby (fun fact, the second-richest lobby in the United States of America closely followed by Tobacco and Pharma) and, in the process, gets decimated for daring to do so. The story is told in non-linear narrative form and I actually contemplated writing it down for the pure pleasure framing it would give me.

As a romance writer and a feminist, this movie should have been abhorrent to me. In a pivotal scene (fuck, all scenes are, TBH), Madeline Elizabeth Sloane says super casually, “Gender doesn’t interest me.” She doesn’t consider herself to be pro-women or a feminist and is very upfront about it.

Yet, this movie spoke to me. To the heart of me. To the brain I possess that never stops asking why.

I sincerely believe that watching this movie turned Crossing Lines, the second book in GEEKS OF CALTECH, into the strongest, most coherent, best possible version of a love story I could write in 2017 and beyond.

Miss Sloane is a study in a feminine portrayal of a character that has hitherto been the bastion of males. She is an Alpha Asshole.

The Alpha Asshole

She is contemptuous of traditional heteronormative roles and relationships eschewing them for the simple transaction of hiring a male prostitute for sex. Food is just a need that needs to be fulfilled. “It’s like going to the toilet.” Nothing more. Nothing less.

She is shamelessly egotistical and uses handshakes to drive home a point as much as she uses her manically sharp laughter. Her lipstick is red, blood red, and she applies it with the same precision as a general pinning medals on his chest. And with the same casual dismissiveness – the symbolism of the act is more important than the act itself.

Sloane uses people, ruthlessly and with full knowledge of exactly what she is doing and why she is doing it.

She is the personification of the unreliable narrator – by being completely and convincingly reliable.

Sloane doesn’t form friendships and when she is defending herself at a Senate Ethics Committee hearing, you see exactly what she wants you to see. A granite wall.

When she breaks down, over a puerile quip about the Asian Republic of Indonesia, the viewer witnesses the decline of a woman who has so far held it together through nerves, balls of steels and pharmaceutical dependency. She yells. She screams. She is articulate in both. And she is aware, every single second, of what she is doing.

The breakdown of a powerful, arrogant figure, be it in politics, sports, entertainment, is always met with a kind of voyeurism that is not surpassed in human history. People love watching people fail. This generalization is probably as pedantic and judgmental as ‘History is written by the winners’ but it is factual. International espionage has been largely successful because it was set up to ensure governments, industrial and defense military complexes failed.

Failure. Is. Interesting.

Failure allows people to rise above every single prejudice and perception that society has conferred upon them and be more. Or less. That makes it interesting.

It’s exactly why Miss Sloane works.

Breaking Down The Powerful

The breakdown of a woman who takes on the NRA single-handedly and spearheads a lobbying campaign that is one step ahead of their opponents is a thing of absolute, precise beauty.

It shows itself in the way she throws everything, including her beloved Blackberry off a conference room table and takes sobbing, trembling breaths that take a long time to control. It manifests in the way she leaks tears (leaks not cries) while kissing the escort she’s hired for human interaction for the night and then realizes she’s made herself too vulnerable.

Her breakdown is never more magnificent as when she wears her dark red lipstick one last time and brings down the ceiling of Capitol Hill and the Senate Ethics Committee crashing down on her head.

Miss Sloane is a perfectly told story. It revolves around a central character who is beautiful, dark, avenging, vengeful, perfect, broken, brittle, powerful, smart, and sly. All the characteristics that make her an Alpha Asshole.

She wants, she takes, and damn the consequences. People are resources, nothing is above the cause. Not even her own career. Never mind the lives of someone she considers friend.

But the first and most important reasons that Miss Sloane is an Alpha Asshole is because she wants to win. Win at any and all costs. Win by beating down the opponent and use any methods to beat them. Win because losing means…

We never really come to know what losing means to Madeline Elizabeth Sloane because she doesn’t lose.

Lessons Learned

When I write a book, as I do now, as I hope to do in 2057, these are the lessons I hope I will remember from Miss Sloane, John Madden’s breathtaking direction and Richard Perrera’s screenplay. Yes. A man wrote it. The irony is precious.

  1. Narrative fallacies make a story unbearably interesting.
  2. As do punchy dialog and an unlikeable central character with very little in the way of backstory. PRESENT is as important as past. Perhaps more.
  3. Action matters. Tears leak out of your eyes versus You cry. How you present action matters.
  4. Winning is everything – but the way you define winning and what it means to you is what makes the story work.
  5. Female characters who hold all the power are inevitably made to pay for it. Maybe more so than a man. Telling their story is required.
  6. Writing Jessica Chastain as my Main Female Character would only improve everything I ever write. (She is not Dr. Naina Shah or Shiven Pal from Crossing Lines, though, so no comparison can be made.)

I am Aarti V Raman and I am a romance writer and a feminist. I do not endorse Alpha Assholes. But, goddamn, they make for amazing character studies.

And one day, if am really fortunate, I’d like to attempt a Miss Sloane.

Till next time,

Writer Gal

Feature Image: CityWeekly

GIF: Bestanimations

Trailer: YouTube/MissSloane

Writer Gal Letter #4

Let’s Talk About Why Haymitch Abernathy Is The Most Overlooked But Epic Supporting Character Ever

Let’s Talk About is a series of blog posts where Writer Gal gives her (unsolicited) take on pop culture – aka books, TV series, and movies – that she shamelessly binge watches in the name of ‘research.’ SPOILERS GALORE!!!

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Let’s face it. Every supporting character in YA fantasy books has been measured against the sheer amazeballs awesomeness that is Gandalf the Grey and Albus Wolfric Brian Percival Dumbledore (I might have got the order of the names wrong). And, yeah, the two wizards of the wizarding worlds are EPIC BADASSES – I cannot stress enough how badass they are – and seeing their heroic, adventurous journeys unfold through books and movies has been nothing less than sheer joy and cinematic sweetness.

But, I propose another name to be added to this list. One who is, in effect, the exact opposite of everything the two heroic badass motherf*%^kers stand for.

He is neither heroic nor a badass. Hell, he is actually not even that nice. But, I recently re-watched this movie series and realized how completely and utterly effective he is.

I am, of course, talking about Haymitch Abernathy from The Hunger Games trilogy. Both the guy from the books and the cooler, oh-so-lazy drunk on a bender version played by Woody Harrelson. (Side note: Somebody give the man an Oscar, pronto! He is so good in everything!)

The Drunk Mentor

Haymitch Abernathy is introduced as a mentor in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. A Victor from District 12, the *only* Victor from District 12 who has watched young men and women be led like lambs to slaughter for too many years to count.

A mentor’s job is to keep his Tributes alive. Haymitch has failed spectacularly at his job for years on end.

So, he has taken to drinking as the next best panacea to get through the nightmarish guilt of leading kids to their deaths, knowing there was nothing he could ever do to save them. He is brash, he is uncouth, he is very often drunk as he interacts with Katniss and Peeta in the first few scenes.

In his head, he has already said goodbye to these two kids before he knows their names. And being sloshed is the only way he can deal with them. The way Harrelson plays it is such a joy. Amiable, buzzed and with only a hint of everything he’s ever had to live with visible when he says, “I’d prepare myself for imminent death.”

Then…then…Katniss throws a knife at him. Right at his breakfast. And Haymitch wakes up. Well, not literally, but he sees it. The spark that turns the Girl on Fire into The Mockingjay and shakes up an entire civilization.

He is the first to see it. Katniss’s potential. The sheer anger she keeps contained which, if pointed in the right direction, could lead to great things. Maybe, even keep her alive in The Hunger Games. And that’s what he taps into, when he starts coaching her. He taunts her, unbearably, pushing at all her buttons until she wants to murder him.

But he gets her. He understands that Katniss is not a nice person. You cannot be nice and still win at The Hunger Games. Their telepathy is actually way more believable than Edward reading Bella’s mind at times, TBH.

Their telepathy is proved later on in the arena when he starts to encourage the romance between Katniss and Peeta and that one sarcastic note with the soup that says, You call that a kiss? He could have made the sponsors send them medicines for Peeta but he fanned the star-crossed lovers’ romance, until IT became the reason to watch the games, not little kids killing each other for the amusement of an autocratic government.

A small pause here for the off-scene camaraderie between Peeta and Haymitch.

If Haymitch understands Katniss and her prickly, offensive exterior than he is equally appreciative of Peeta’s good guy heart. Not that Peeta isn’t manipulative on his own (admitting to a crush on the girl he is supposed to kill is nothing short of genius) but, with Peeta guiding Haymitch and vice versa, they are like the devil and the angel sitting on Katniss’s shoulder. Except, they agree with each other over everything!

When the happy couple wins the bloody Hunger Games, Haymitch isn’t happy. He is even more worried than before.

The Ally

And this becomes apparent in Catching Fire when he slides back to his drunk ways and spends the year leading up to the next Games in a drunken stupor. Both aided and despaired by Katniss and Peeta.

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But, never more does Haymitch’s role become clear than when he shakes some sense into Katniss in Catching Fire. At the very start of the Victory Tour, Katniss and Peeta make a very unwise, public announcement and a poor old man ends up paying the price for it. Haymitch is the one who snaps Katniss out of her hysteria and infuriates her into thinking clearly.

He understands the enemy they are up against. Knows there is no way out for any of them. Not then. And, once again, it is Haymitch who makes the hard choice and gets the surly, devastated Katniss on board the plan of keeping the two of them alive.

For me, Katniss and Peeta were always some kind of a doomed love triangle with Gale.

But, now, upon re-watching the series, I realized that Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch are like three parts of a conscience – the decency, the slyness, and the ruthless. Each emerging when required to do what needs doing.

The Strategist

This fact became clearer by the end of Catching Fire when Haymitch was revealed to be in the very thick of the rebellion shaking up the Capitol, with friends in high places aka District 13.

But, he has his softer moments too. Like, when he promises to volunteer in Peeta’s place and vows to Katniss that he’d be the one they’d save this year. Not her. Like, he hugs her so tight after she witnesses the execution of the old man in District 7 after yelling at her. Or when he admits to Katniss that she is the only real friend he has in District 13.

Haymitch isn’t there for a fair bit of Mockingjay as Katniss deals with the severe shocks she’s been dealt so far. Peeta’s gone. So’s District 12. District 13 is real. Haymitch was part of a plot to rescue her, as the symbol of some revolution and so left Peeta behind. It is this fact, she can’t live with when she almost kills him at the end of Catching Fire.

The book never establishes Haymitch’s presence while the movie explains it as him ‘drying off in a facility a mile away from District 13’s underground bunker.’

But, when The Mockingjay is ready to become the face of the revolution, it is, once again Haymitch who strategizes the best way to use her. Let her act natural. Let her be. Don’t give her words. Make her fight.

It works, almost too well, when the Capitol bombs the hospital in the District she’d just visited. Of course, that’s just one of several bombings in the concluding book of the trilogy and so egregious, so to speak.

I mentioned Haymitch and Katniss’ telepathy before. And the best, most spectacular example of this is at the very end. When Haymitch throws in his lot with Katniss about holding a symbolic Hunger Games with the Capitol’s children as Tributes to satisfy the rebels.

And he is the only one who understands, why Katniss kills President Coin instead of executing Snow like she is supposed to.

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He gets her, in the most basic of ways. And he approves of her, much like he loves Peeta, in his own fashion, for being the best among them all.

I could write a few more pages on why Haymitch Abernathy is so freaking awesome but I’ll end it here for today.

Till next time.

Xx,

Writer Gal

PS: Who is YOUR Favorite Hunger Games character and why?

Feature Image: Screener TV

GIF: Gifer

Image: FemaleFirst UK

 

 

 

 

 

A Tale Of Four Millennial Women

What we talk about when we talk about being loved and loving ourselves and mostly other people in 2016. Ok, what I talk about, TBH.

This is not a political post or a social issue post. It’s not even a movie review even though I am writing about movies and the Millennial women in them.

It could be termed as a pontificating rant but that’s ok, because sometimes, you just have to…just have to rant to express everything your heart is feeling *cue single tear rolling down eye as I break the fourth wall and connect with y’all, my dear readers*

Let’s start with the nerdiest woman in the piece.

Her name is Vee Delmonico and she appears in NERVE – she is 18 going on 40, a high school senior living in Staten Island and an aspiring photographer who dreams of going to art school. She is a big nerdy nerd almost directly lifted from Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me (complete with skinny jeans and sweatshirts) and crushing hard on the high school jock who doesn’t know she really exists.

Vee is all of us who were invisible, unnoticed and picked on back in high school who were just waiting to get out and do something amazing, something extraordinary with the rest of our lives. Because all of life cannot be high school, right?

Well, Vee gets a chance when she becomes a player in a real life Dare Or Dare Higher game NERVE and goes on a series of escalating dares with the totally yummy, totally strange Ian starting from kissing him, alienating her two best friends, and ending with driving blindfolded through midtown Manhattan and later on a full-on shootout in the final showdown.

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When Vee’s best friend tells her to leave the hunky guy who got her into this ugly predicament, Vee very calmly answers, “I got myself into this mess. And I’ll get myself out.” In short, Vee changes her personality a little at a time, grows up and ya know what? Gets the hunky guy.

Next, we meet Amy Mitchell from BAD MOMS.

She is 32, an overworked mom of two pre-teens living in a privileged, predominantly white neighborhood in suburban America. She also has a part-time Millennial job selling pretentious branded coffee to supermarkets, airlines and hotels and a boss who could be her younger brother. He is also a douchebag, which may or not be because he is younger but definitely contributes to the shitty time Amy is having in her life.

Amy’s biggest fear in life is that she is a bad mom because she can’t do enough things for her kids while holding down a part-time job that requires fulltime work hours. Then there is the cheating husband, the entitled white dude who takes two meetings and a nap and calls it a full day.

Amy’s barely holding it together when she realizes that the biggest bully in her life is not the husband, the kids or even the douchebag boss. It’s the PTA and the coterie of Mean Girl Stepford Moms who head it and who expect all other mothers to be as perfect and Stepfordy as them (baked goods shall not have wheat, milk, yeast, sugar, nuts, among other no-nos).

Mission: Impossible.

Amy decides to take the bull by the proverbial horns (or boobs as the case may be) and becomes PTA president, bringing about a culture of Bad Moms who are trying their level best to raise good, kind kids instead of perfect robots who go to Harvard.

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Amy tells her eleven year old son, “I need you to do your homework so you don’t grow up to be an entitled white dude who expects the whole world to be handed to him in a silver platter. So you understand you have to WORK for things and not rely on your parents for everything.”

In short, Amy makes peace with who she is when she decides to not do everything and be everything to everyone, especially her children.

AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL’S Alizeh Khan steps up to the plate next.

She is twenty-something, wealthy in a ‘raees way’ and thinks nothing of charging a strange trip with a semi-stranger to daddy’s account – but only one room because it’s out of her budget. Alizeh has no discernible job which is understandable because ‘raees,’ and I wish we were all as lucky but her life choices are as bizarre as her clothes choices. She befriends a total stranger (again, making out with a total stranger is PC given what happens next), proceeds to judge everything about him from his bank account to his choice of girlfriend, talks in Bollyverse and considers herself to be almost unbearably cool.

In fact, she is so cool, so very CHILLED that we can think she is the original ice-maiden. Unfeeling and uncaring about anything except friendship, because it is safe.

Totally relatable because who hasn’t experienced such heartbreak that your body stops being and you become a living monument to dreams that were. Unfortunately, life teaches us to dream new dreams (scalable is the business term to be used) and we move on. But not Alizeh. She ping pongs between an incredibly hot DJ ex and an aspiring singer bestie over the course of the years. And, in between, she contracts cancer (no disrespect to the disease or its victims/survivors).

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Alizeh’s parents are nowhere in the picture even when they probably get the chemo bills and she is like totally COOL with it. For her, her bestestest friend is her only ‘khandaan,’ the only family she wants or needs as she dies. And she treats him like complete shit.

Alizeh says of the name tattooed on her hand, like it’s a beautiful, fucked up reminder of her past – “Yeh naam meri tabaahi hai.” Continuing in the same vein, “Pyaar mein junoon hai, dosti mein sukoon hai.” And lastly, in blatant defiance of the friend who manhandled her two seconds ago, “Kya mera pyar pyar nahi agar tum mere aashiq nahi?”

In short, Alizeh is the new age Millennial who has been there, done that, smoked the dope and decided long ago to check out of feelings because it’s too damn HARD. Or so I, as a viewer, assume because there is zero explanation/defense/justification given for the way she behaves and acts.

Lastly, but the fairest of them all is ADHM’s Sabaa.

A forty-something glamazon with impeccable makeup and even more inexplicable Urdu expressions that took me a fair amount of time to decipher and laugh over. She is a poetess with one fat book out and is able to live from the proceeds of said book in splendor in Vienna. Her house is a reflection of the breathtaking beauty she is.

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Sabaa handles fulsome compliments and strangers blubbering over her with equanimity. And is unapologetic about wanting to be alone, completely alone and being the object of a man’s desire, because affection is too damn hard. Sabaa has an ex-husband who poetically explains why she’s the only thing he has ever loved in his life and she is not fucking required to BE, for him to love her even though when she WAS there he probably cheated on her and messed her up so badly, she is scared to commit again. While she stands there stupefied watching this strange version of a male peeing contest occurring at an art gallery.

And because Sabaa is at least trying to be an adult she gets out of a toxic rebound relationship once she realizes things are getting out of her control. Sabaa says, “Mohabaat karna humare bas mein nahi. Par us mohabbat ka kya karna hai woh hamare bas mein hai.”

In short, Sabaa learns from her previous relationship with the philandering husband and decides to let go of the young stud who has been keeping her company while singing unchecked through the streets of Vienna (I think there are laws that prohibit this sorta thing in Europe. I could be wrong.)

The thing the tale is about

NERVE, while not the world’s greatest movie has an amazing tech-synth soundtrack and hits perfectly on the nerve of a generation of adolescents who live and die on their cell phones and pretend that being adventurous online is the same as being alive in real life with all its problems and pitfalls.

BAD MOMS made me appreciate my own mom so much more than I already do. To raise a child to have good values and to be a decent human being and not so entitled in a world that teaches material success is everything is admirable. Again, not award-worthy but the message is unmistakable.

Then we come to AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL. The movie that has resonated with Millennials in India and abroad because …because WHY?

Bollywood self-referencing, check. People roaming around aimless and clueless and having vague aspirations, check. People falling in and out of love and bed with turbo speed, check. Poking fun at olde world Bollywood, check. And not giving a shit as to what collateral damage they were causing with their behavior, double triple check.

I would like to pause for just a moment here and reiterate – A movie is telling us, just like real life, that it’s ok to fuck with people and not give a damn what we do to them. A movie that is made by a filmmaker who is known for being inspirational, aspirational, and INFLUENCING every person who knows what Bollywood stands for.

I don’t blame Karan Johar for making this movie. I truly don’t – apparently he loved someone a lot and they just wanted to be friends with him and he never got over it. And that is fine. It is. It sucks but such is life and you make lemonade if you can from the rest of the lemons handed you. Karan Johar had the means, medium, and time to sit and go through this cathartic journey the rest of us never got to go through.

But so much is troubling about the movie …so much that made me unbearably sad to think that THIS… THIS is what the average Millennial in India has become.

ADHM treats themes like love, friendship and non-linear relationships with casual indifference. The characters treat each other and themselves with damaging apathy all in the name of cool. It perpetuates an idea of true love and true friendship that did not resonate with me. (I say me because there are people who are enchanted by the idea of people hurting each other in the name of feelings!)

To think that this is what constituted for true love in this movie– couched in terms of stalking, throwing tantrums, inexplicable tears, casual sex and putting self before love…where friendship meant taking the other person for granted to such an extent you don’t tell them you’re dying.

Where people talk but no one really TALKS…and fuck no, no one listens. Is this what we Millennials do? Are we so obsessed with social media and having a good time and not really loving ourselves…ARE WE SO FUCKED UP we cannot differentiate between what passes for good love and good ol’ puppy love masquerading as something grownups might/might not do?

When did we all decide that it was OK to just coast? To just drift and not have any purpose in life, when did being an entitled white/brown/any colour dude become a thing? Why did I not get the memo? When did heartbreak boil down to throwing things around and losing all semblance and nuance of self-respect and sensibility?

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You are justified in thinking I am 30 going on 99 because I don’t get it. But the sad thing is. I do get it. Treating people carelessly, concealing heartbreak in glib comments and being obsessed with pop culture, wanting everything and nothing at the same time and having no clue what life is going to do to me tomorrow. I get it. And it’s awful. I am awful.

I guess this is why I aspire to be more a Bad Mom or A Nerve Girl or even Sabaa of the drownable eyes and laughable poetry.

It’s because I know, there is a part of me that is Alizeh. Alone and drowning in my aloneness, wanting but not really wanting a way out. Ayn Rand said, “The only thing I need to learn how to bear is happiness.” And that’s who I’d like to become, slowly, gradually, day by day.

Till next time.

Xx

Writer Gal

Author’s note: Thank you Omair Tarique of Scribbled Stories for allowing me to use one of your posts for this one. I just think, it really resonates with what I am trying to say about life and love and dealing with things because we should try and be better people. 

MOVIE REVIEW: TRAINWRECK (2015)

(Spoilers Ahead)

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There is a wonderfully poignant scene right towards the end of Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck where Amy Townsend who finally looks old enough to be in her late 20s, admits to her younger, much more with it sister, “I am broken.” And it gets you, right in the heart where all your (not-so) secret vulnerabilities and insecurities live. God knows, it got me.

Hello y’all, welcome to my first review on this site. I don’t often review movies because I enjoy them too much and it seems pointless to opinionate on anything just because I have a soapbox to do it from. But, Trainwreck, Trainwreck deserves talking about. Not because it redefines the way romantic comedies will be treated in the years to come or because it is funny and warm and heartbreaking and just so fucking GOOD, and of course, it is….but because like Chef, it touched me. My heart. And I would like to talk about why.

The story in a nutshell is this: Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) is an almost-alcoholic, talented writer working at S’Nuff, a GQ-Cosmo parody of a Manhattan magazine run by a nearly unrecognizable Style Goddess Tilda Swinton whose latest assignment turns out to be Dr Aaron Connors, a Sports doctor who casually counts LeBron James as his best friend. Yes, it’s that kind of a movie, y’all so suck it up.

The premise sounds like anything Kate Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Mark Ruffalo and Matthew McConaughey have done in the early-mid 2000s (not counting Ghosts of Girlfriends Past which was 2011), but here’s where TW takes the genre and turns it on its silly, bubblegum head.

Amy is the screw up.

She casually sleeps with everything that moves, and sometimes doesn’t even that after she gets what she wants, like every male lead at the beginning of a romantic comedy movie. She has a dysfunctional relationship with her womanizing father (Colin Quinn) and her harrowed but utterly normal sister (Brie Larson) whom she disdains every opportunity she gets. She has the requisite nice boyfriend, a delightful John Cena flexing his comedic muscles as well as a toned hot BOD (oh my GOSH) who dreams of having Screwup Amy as the Queen of his Crossfit Kingdom. Her friend is fellow SNL alumni Vanessa Bayer who works at S’Nuff and casually takes Amy’s Exec editor job without much remorse and they still remain friends, like every bro-relationship that ever existed.

Amy is so much like a guy that she doesn’t even like to spend the night at a man’s place once she’s Wham Bammed them.

Aaron on the other hand, played by a man who I have LOVED ever since I first saw him on SNL, the incomparable Bill Hader, is just himself. He is a good guy. He does Doctors without Borders and dunks a basketball on LeBron James (a feat which even he recognizes shouldn’t be possible in the physical universe) and generally behaves like an actual person instead of the jerk with a heart of gold who is fixed by the love of a good woman. He is a NICE GUY, not without his flaws, of course (he wears tightey whities, YUCK!) but not the smooth as Lagavulin Romantic Hero that we have come to expect from this genre.

So what happens when these two opposites meet? Everything that is expected. She is attracted, he is attracted; they start dating. And falling in love. They go to movies, watch boats at Central Park and even make Amy sick by how cute they are. And they make Amy scared that she’ll do something to mess it up, which is such a NORMAL reaction for a screwup that I was surprised to see it being acknowledged on film.

Amy knows she isn’t good enough for him. She knows her father is a cheating, lying bastard of a man. She knows her sister has it very good (a house in the burbs, a stepkid and another on the way) and a man who loves her for what she is, even when he doesn’t understand her. And she waits for the other shoe to fall.

Which, it does, when she picks her job over an important awards function that he wants her to be a part of and it leads to the inevitable meltdown which leads to the inevitable breakup, which leads to the inevitable self-actualization and inevitable grand gesture HEA. All par for the course for a romantic comedy, and that is what Trainwreck is.

But, the thing that sets TW apart, again, is Amy. Amy is messed up. The woman who has everything and makes no apologies for it, is the confused, hurting, disappointed, cynical woman who cannot handle a mature relationship. And Aaron is the decent guy. Not Prince Charming, nor Sir Galahad who wants to fix her, but Just THE DECENT GUY (I seriously cannot stress this enough).

Aaron is not incredibly handsome, nor is he overly smooth but you can see his earnestness and his heart when he looks at Amy and tells her, almost helplessly, “I am in love with you. I am crazy about you.” And I will admit it, I was so envious of an on-screen character for that one moment, because every woman wants a man who doesn’t know why he needs a woman but needs her anyway.

The jokes are funny because the jokes aren’t set up as gags. It is unbelievable to have LeBron James interrogate Amy about her intentions toward his best pal, Aaron, but it is exactly what best friends do. They look out for each other. There are a couple heartrending moments, one of which I already mentioned at the beginning of this review and the funeral scene straight up had me weeping, which is extremely unexpected in a romantic comedy.

It is different because a woman wrote a romantic movie about how women, real, fucked up, damaged women behave in love and sometimes cock it up with perfectly good guys. Yes, it’s a romance so obviously she dresses up as a cheerleader and promises to spread joy in the future but GOD, to have a woman acknowledge that we have sex, we think about sex, we enjoy it as much as men and to have LeBron James say “make love” instead of “banging or screwing or nailing”…. Well, you get the picture, don’t you?

Judd Apatow, who is best-known for his sleazeball comedies (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, This is 40) gets out of his lead actors’ way and just lets the story unfold and the result is a romance you don’t mind watching on repeat.

Yes, its overly long (just like this review), could have definitely done without that Client Intervention scene, Ames, but you know what, I am absolutely OK with it. Absolutely OK. Just Like I know you are, with Aaron.

And, even more importantly, he is with you.

For someone who hasn’t written any romance for a whole year because of how fucked up, damaged and unloved she felt on the inside, Trainwreck, Judd Apatow and Amy Schumer held up a mirror and told me, “It’s ok to be messed up. You’ll find a decent guy too who’ll be absolutely OK with you. God knows, if I can, so can you.” And you know what? It’s what every woman should really want.

A Decent Man who is absolutely OK with you. Not Prince Charming or Sir Galahad, because in this day and age, we rescue ourselves, y’all. We just need a gentle reminder from someone who is absolutely OK with us that we can.

Xx

Writer Gal

Image Credit: Net7Art

My 2 Favorite Things Right Now

Mashup1

Hey y’all

Happiness is having the opportunity to see two of your favorite things at the same moment. At this precise moment, those are

1.The irresistible Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt from my new fave TV Show Parks & Recreation

2.This AWE-INSPIRING quote from one of my new, favorite movies – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty!

Ergo, I present to you MASHUP! Or, as I like to call, #pressedtogether

Hope y’all love, like, share and comment about your favorite things too. And if it’s the same as mine, maybe I’ll create the next #pressedtogether

Happy rest of the week

Xx

Writer Gal