The Battle of the Sexes (2017)
Although I did not live during the time that this film is supposed to have taken place, I knew a little bit about the battle of the sexes. OK, all I really knew was that men and women played tennis against each other in the 1970s to prove which sex was better at sports. I did not know any specifics. I knew nothing.
The movie is a true story about how the best women’s tennis player, Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and former men’s tennis champion, Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) come to play an exhibition tennis match against each other for the battle of the sexes in 1973.
The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Andrea Riseborough, Bill Pullman, Natalie Morales, Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Eric Christian Olsen, Fred Armisen, Jessica McNamee, Austin Stowell, Wallace Langham, Lewis Pullman (son of Bill Pullman), and James Mackay.
The movie was written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.
The Battle of the Sexes was very formulaic and predictable. However, it was a true story that I was truly unfamiliar with. An exhibition tennis match suddenly becomes a fight for equal pay and equal rights. It is a feel-good film about working to right a wrong in society. The movie is an exploration in sexism and surprisingly, sexuality.
This would have been a great time to experience in American History. To witness this symbolic tennis match (even just on TV), would’ve been witnessing an important time for women’s rights.
The movie does a good job showing just how slanted peoples’ views of men and women were back in the 1970s. Even though lots of people believe that we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to equals rights for all, this film is definitely a big reminder that we have come a long way.
Emma Stone and Steve Carell were superb pitted against each other (as they were together in Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011). The costume design in the movie was excellent. Stone and Carell looked very much like the people they were portraying. So much so, that it was a little scary. The 1970s was recreated very artistically down to every detail.
The movie had a nice recipe of goofy humor, and serious drama. Like many sports films, it was quite predictable. It is a formula that we have seen 100 times and it doesn’t get old. We still enjoy watching the underdog. It’s a David and Goliath story. Danielle and Goliath, if you will.
I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
The Natural (1984)
The Way, Way Back (2013)
Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell both have the ability to be really funny and that is why I thought that The Way, Way Back could be hilarious. If both of those guys are in the same movie together than it is bound to make you laugh right?
The movie is about Duncan, a timid 14-year-old boy (Liam James) who is dragged along on a summer vacation with his mother (Toni Collette), her jerk of a boyfriend (Steve Carell), and her boyfriend’s daughter (Zoe Levin). In order to escape the awkwardness, Duncan ventures off on his own to a nearby water park where he befriends Owen (Sam Rockwell) the manager, and gets a summer job.
The film did not have a very promising start, and I was worried that it was not going to get any better. It was a stale dysfunctional drama until Sam Rockwell made his appearance and saved the day, and the movie. Rockwell turned the film into a “dramedy” and made it worth watching. The film literally went from awful to entertaining as if Rockwell had just flipped a switch.
Unfortunately, Carell’s character was not funny at all. Carell is usually pretty excellent when he is in a comedic role, but when his character is all drama, he is hardly likable.
The movie was a good story of how uncomfortable life can be sometimes with a divorced parent who is dating again. Maybe being a child of divorced parents myself, I related to the movie a little bit more than others might. When you are a kid who is stuck dealing with a boyfriend or girlfriend of one of your parents whom you just don’t like or get along with, it is nice to be able to escape with your friends for support. I was fortunate enough to be able to do that many times during my childhood. That is what this movie is about and that is what this movie does a good job depicting.
It’s not the funniest movie in the world and it’s not the greatest, but it is a touching story that should make you laugh.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
If you liked The Way, Way Back, then you will most likely enjoy:
Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) are both magicians and longtime friends. The duo has had a popular show together in Las Vegas for years. But now, a street performer (Jim Carrey) is beginning to steal their thunder with his crazy magical stunts that he is pulling off throughout the city. Wonderstone and Marvelton must try to come up with fresh new material in order to try so save their show and their friendship.
I have to say, I expected more from this movie. It was in fact good for a few laughs, but that was about it. A lot of the humor was a little too dry and tacky. Many of the jokes fell short and the story was pretty predictable.
Carrey’s character was by far the funniest. His goofiness made the movie worth watching, although he was not in enough of the film.
Gandolfini played his part well in one of his final films. He will be missed.
Arkin was excellent. His character seemed genuine.
Buscemi could have been funnier.
Wilde’s character needed more screen time and Garrett should have had a bigger role.
The magic depicted in the movie was fun to watch, but the humor was very inconsistent.
Overall, the comedy superstar talent in this film was somehow neglected. If the filmmakers had made proper use of the talent that they had to work with, this movie could have been one that you laugh out loud until you cry throughout the entire film. Instead the laughs were sporadic and the movie was just a step above mediocre.
I rate this movie a 6 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
The Way, Way Back (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)
A dysfunctional “dramedy” that takes place over summer break.
This movie looks appealing to me because it’s a comedy with Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell. I am a big fan of both of those actors and I think it will be funny to see them both in the same movie together.
The film is directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.
I’m not sure that I’ll rush out to the theatre to see this one, but it definitely looks like it would be worth renting at least.
The film is set to release on 7/5/13.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
Crazy, Stupid, Love. is one of the better “dramadies” that I have seen in a while.
Sweet-talking ladies man Jacob (Ryan Gosling) takes newly, almost single Cal (Steve Carell) under his wing and tries to help him get back out into the dating scene. This sets off a dysfunctional chain reaction in both of their lives and hilarity ensues along with craziness, stupidity, and love.
The film has just the right blend of laughs and drama. It may go a little overboard in one direction or the other at times, but that just helps to capitalize on the subject matter and keep the film exciting.
Carell does better when more comedy is involved and Gosling is more of a serious actor. Both actors’ styles complemented each other very well and I think that working together enabled them each to go a little bit out of their comfort zones as to what is usually the norm for them. Gosling pulled off being funny and Carell managed to get serious. Carell has proved that serious doesn’t usually work for him (i.e. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)), but it did in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Gosling didn’t become a comedian by any means. He has always managed to be pretty witty and clever, but he added funny to the mix.
The movie also has strong female characters played by Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, and Marisa Tomei. Each woman was able to bring a level of wholesomeness to their roles with a touch of quirkiness. This complemented the film quite well and helped to make it a bit unpredictable.
Josh Groban proved that he should stick to singing and leave the acting to the actors.
If you are looking for a good date movie (whether you are married or not), look no further than Crazy, Stupid, Love. It is humorous and touching at the same time. It is not a “chick flick.” It is a film that both men and women will enjoy.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you liked Crazy, Stupid, Love., then you will probably enjoy:
Review of: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)
It is actually kind of a shame that this is the first review that I am going to post on my blog because the movie was really, quite utterly, less than mediocre. I am not going to bother with a spoiler alert, because I would not want you to waste your time watching this movie in the first place. Read the review. It will save you money and time, that is, if you were thinking about watching this movie in the first place.
The 40-year-old Virgin (2005) meets Armageddon (1998) except there is no comedy and no action. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is about a man (Steve Carell) who works as an insurance salesman in order to be prepared for the worst. He and his wife find out that the worst is actually on its way in the form of a 70-mile-wide asteroid on a collision course with the earth. The asteroid is set to end their world as they know it in 3 weeks time.
His wife immediately leaves him upon hearing the news. He is left with a job that no longer has any meaning. He has no family because his Mother has passed away and his Father ran out on them when he was a kid and he has no siblings. He detaches himself from his self-destructive friends.
Rules do not really seem to apply to anyone anymore because of the world’s impending doom. Everything around him turns to anarchy. His apartment building is set on fire and he is forced to leave.
Along the way, the man joins together with a much younger woman (Keira Knightley) neighbor whom he has never met before even though the two live in the same building.
They venture out into the now insane world, in order to find the man’s high school sweetheart. They fall in love along the way. She gets in touch with her family and he reconciles with his father.
He puts her in his Father’s plane in the middle of the night while she is sleeping and has his Father fly her home to her family.
He goes back to their apartment building and listens to her records in her apartment while waiting for the world to end. After a little while she returns to find him there and the two lie in bed and talk as the world ends.
I am a big Steve Carell’s comedy and even though this movie is not a comedy, I expected it to have a few laughs. I did not laugh once during the entire movie. Many scenes were on the verge of being funny, but they didn’t quite make it there.
The chemistry between Steve Carell and Keira Knightley’s characters did not really exist until almost the end of the movie. Knightley played her part well, but the story and writing left her with very little to work with.
The movie was very slow to the point of boredom. It started to pickup a little bit towards the end of the movie, but then it ended.
I think that Steve Carell should stick to comedies because that is definitely what he is good at. He was cast way against type in this role and it did not suit him.
I give this movie a solid 2 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Run.
I’m glad that I watched this on DVD because I would have been thoroughly disappointed if I had seen it in the Theatre.