Battle of the Sexes

The phrase “battle of the sexes” always feels cringey nowadays, and it has for years. There was a board game with that name recently, and it is just one that is based on poor stereotypes and no one should really ever want to play. And yeah, that is the point of the phrase. To talk about the differences between the most common genders and fuel masculine and feminine behaviors.

But the movie Battle of the Sexes is beyond all of that. First of all, the title is given due to the real event that announcers decided to call it at the time. So they are just highlighting history here, not their fault.

And second, it is a sports film that is also about gender equality and sameness, not stereotypical differences. This is the clincher here, this is why I want to see the movie.

Battle
Maybe the actors involved was another important factor, but don’t tell them. They have big egos.

In the early 1970’s, Billy Jean King (Emma Stone) was on top of the female tennis players world. She was the first female player to ever each $100,000 in a year from prizes, and people really made a big deal about it. Things were on the up and up for the women’s movement too! Except when it came time to sign a new contract with her fellow ladies for the main American tournament. The prize support for the women’s players was significantly lower than the men players, despite sharing the same arenas, drawing the same crowds and all of that. So they decided to just up and leave. They started the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), had Virginia Slim cigarettes as their sponsor, and now had funding to play for real money!

This pissed off a lot of people. But King and a lot of her fellow players were riding high. King also started a relationship with her hairdressed (Andrea Riseborough) while on tour with a husband (Austin Stowell) at home!

This story is also about Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), an older retired tennis pro who used to be number 1. He is a bit of a dick and likes to parade around like a fool to earn money. And he is a gambler. At the lowest points of his life, he decides to challenge Margarat Court (Jessica McNamee) to a tennis match, really playing up the male chauvinist angle. It seems like he is around just to ruin the modern women’s rights movement! The prize amount gets even bigger when he is finally able to challenge King, and it becomes one of the biggest spectacles of the decade, where apparently the question would be settled by the end of who is greater, man or woman.

Also starring Sarah Silverman, Natalie Morales, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Eric Christian Olsen, Fred Armisen, Martha MacIsaac, and John C. McGinley.

Love
Courting in this film holds two different definitions.

Battle of the Sexes is one of those movie trailers you will see and you just know you will have a good time during the film. It is a period piece, so we get to see people we recognize fondly looking, from our current standards, ridiculous. Always a plus.

Stone and Carell have been in films together before, namely Crazy, Stupid, Love, where they played daughter and father, and now they get to play pseudo rivals! Because the reality of this situation is they are not, at all, in any way, real rivals. They would never play each other in a tournament, they both were not at their primes at the same time, they only played the one game together. But their lives are now forever entwined in history due to this moment, this festival, this, well, publicity stunt.

Because in all reality, it seems like it was just all about the money. King may have had other reasons for agreeing to the game (women’s rights in sports and all), but all the people pulling the strings from behind the scenes just wanted to get rich. The events of this film are almost unbelievable, this is a time when reality if it was written as a screenplay would be lauded as ridiculous. But hey, what’s the point of life if not to get really ridiculous every once in awhile?

I like that this story told much more than the game. A lot of the film is NOT tennis, but about tennis players. Finding out about King’s husband and other relationships felt realistic and sad. Riggs himself was in a sad state in his life and he wasn’t even a bad guy, he just played it up for publicity. And in all honesty, I didn’t know who won going into the movie, so I am glad I never looked it up. It is interesting that the game was held in Houston though, in the now defunct Astrodome.

That last sentence is meant to appeal to the locals.

3 out of 4

Celeste & Jesse Forever

Celeste & Jesse Forever is a movie that I am pretty sure I heard about…once… maybe, and then never again. So imagine my surprise when I see it and say sure. I mean, a lot of those Rudd-esque actors have been in lesser movies they made themself recently. I loved Jeff Who Lives At Home, not even sure why. THIS COULD BE MY NEXT JEFF.

Couple
WELL? WHICH ONE OF YOU WILL BE MY NEW JEFF?

Neither.

Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are the best of friends. They play dumb penis games. But they are DIVORCED! AND STILL FINE WITH EACH OTHER. Saying they will still just be friends is never what actually happens. But I guess it is for them?

Well their friends (Ari Graynor, Eric Christian Olsen) are tired of it. They are basically married, without it. They demand more room, damn it. Jesse is a slacker/artist, not finding a stable job, potentially too childish. Celeste is a hard working woman. She can’t put up with his shit anymore.

So they decide to actually try to be apart. Celeste tries to date other men, who all have flaws (not to mention her own). And Jesse has a girlfriend (Rebecca Dayan). Pregnant. Who he wants to marry. Huh. Who’s childish now, bitch!?

Also featuring a hobbit as a friend.

Hobbit
Guess which one?

Celeste & Jesse Forever is written by…Rashida Jones herself! Her first foray into writing, so I also assume this movie was her idea which explains why she is the main character.

The script is complicated, characters have layers, people change throughout the movie. Everything you’d want in a good drama. But…but…I didn’t care?

I guess its a hard way to describe it. But despite the details, I just didn’t care about the characters or story. Realistic, sure. But entertaining? Not really for me.

Hooray, website based on my opinions on things!

But seriously, I think this movie is lacking something and its hard to describe. But the acting is nice, the story is a good idea. It just needs more. Maybe next time Rashida.

2 out of 4.

Fired Up!

For some reason, I thought Fired Up! came out around 2005 or something. Maybe all the times I thought I saw that it was on tv, was really just commercials for it. I guess.

Either way, a chee-

Oh fuck, I was confusing it with Stick It! My bad.

Yeah, I guess I just had no idea when this movie came out at all. Huh. Oh well, yay cheerleading movies.

Teen sex
Which also happen to be very similar to teen sex comedies, if it wasn’t for the PG-13 rating.

But first Eric Christian Olsen is 35 years old, and 32 when this movie came out. What the hell man. Stop playing high school students. One of his more famous roles as a high school student was in Not Another Teen Movie, 11 years ago, when he was 24. I know they usually get 20 somethings, but damn man. Get out of the high school funk.

Him and Nicholas D’Agosto (only 29 when the movie came out) are successful football players at school. And after this upcoming summer, they will be seniors (yeahh not even seniors!). They are not looking forward to football camp, 2 weeks in El Paso, Texas, after it was changed from Miami. They also like finding vulnerable women and one night standing them. That too. But hey, as long as no one gets hurt.

But once they find out about Cheerleading camp, a 3 week fest with over 300 women they will never meet again in their life, they plan to fake join the cheerleading squad to bang the weeks away. After two weeks, they will leave them and go to the post football camp house party, and all will be wonderful. Thanks to the help of Poppy (Juliette Goglia), the younger sister mobster like character, they convince the cheer captain Sarah Roemer to let them join, even though she is certain they only want to do it to bang chicks. They could use guys on their team, especially ones who can flip and shit.

In the two weeks they succeed at their goal, but also D’Agostino falls for Roemer. Too bad she has an ultra douchy boyfriend (David Walton). Eric has made it his goal to bang one of the instructors, Danneel Ackles, who is married to the first male cheerleader to ever make it to Nationals, John Michael Higgins, camp headmaster.

Obvious plot points are obvious. They want to help them beat the evil Panthers squad who are jerks, they get the womens, they stay on as cheerleaders instead of football players. It also has Margo Harshman as a potentially insane cheerleader, and I haven’t seen her in anything since Even Stevens.

Cast
It’s amazing how the main cast members on the team tend to stand together, and never talk to the other team members.

While watching this movie, I can’t say I was surprised by any direction the plot went. Very straight forward and obvious movie.

But damn it, it was funny. Maybe because it was PG-13 and couldn’t have “naked women” being the selling point of the movie, they were left to resort to humor to try and make it decent, and I think it worked. If I had the ability to retain movie quotes like I used too, I’d be quoting a lot of this everywhere I go.

Obviously its not the greatest movie ever made, but it gets the job done.

3 out of 4.

The Thing

The Thing! Because prequels or sequels that share an identical name to the the movie they are supposed to be connected with is apparently okay. The reason I hated that movie was because as far as I knew, it wasn’t billed as a sequel, but a remake. But then it was actually a sequel. Fuck that.

The Thing has taken a different approach. I new the whole time this thing was a prequel of the 1982 movie. Great. No false hopes then!

thing thing
Here is a non descriptive picture of the movie.

Movie opens up in the arctic. Norwegian people are being Norwegian, it is 1982, and they are looking for a signal / spacecraft thing. But they die I guess. It is also assumed that you have seen that other Thing, so all the mystery and stuff is thrown out of the window in this movie. The viewers know. So fuck it. They turn that into a slasher flick kind of thing.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is brought to the arctic as a paleontologist or something. Why? Because Ulrich Thomsen found a life form, and for some reason picked her, damn it. Tissue samples, something new! Shit pops out and scares the shit out of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

Oh well, lets all look for it! People end up dying, no one knows what is going on. Through like a couple of random clues, and some science, Mary pulls a Jeff Goldbloom out of her ass and figures out that “that thing!” can infect people and replicate the cells, and imitate a human or whatever perfectly. It wants to spread the disease, so it will infect others, but you know, while not trying to die itself.

Also involved are Eric Christian Olsen, who is actually wearing a shirt and playing a “scientist”, and Joel Edgerton, who is some sort of helicopter pilot.

Flame
Yes! Kill it with fire! Burn! Burn! Burn!

Here’s a fun fact. I never saw the 1982 movie. But I might. Yes, might. I might do it mostly because of this movie. But you know, I don’t like scary shit. But we will see. Apparently a lot of people who like the 1982 movie don’t like this version, because they are way different. Well, if it gets the “original” more exposure, then well done.

Despite the mostly cardboard characters (like Norwegian 1 and 2 and 3), I thought the CGI was kind of weak. I also mentioned the plot was kind of bad, especially in figuring out how the thing works. Just ridiculous. I feel ridiculous even typing that.

But even though I didn’t see the original or get any of their clues, I appreciate the hard work that went in to try and make it a real prequel. Lot of set up for the 1982 movie, and that was nice. The ending to this one was kind of meh though.

2 out of 4.