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.

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.

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

The Loved Ones

Again, with the random Redbox rentals, I usually try to find something that might give me a good review. Shitty movies can lead to great reviews, so picking things I’ve never heard of can be amazing. That is what happened with 1313 Cougar Cult. But with The Loved Ones, it looked like a random prom based horror. Could be hilarious accidentally. Not to mention it is foreign. Australia? Heck yes.

Oh Princess
I mean, she is cute I guess. Kind of creepy with the power tool.

Prom is a wonderful time for everyone, except maybe those who don’t get dates. Take Lola (Robin McLeavy), she is a nice girl, but a bit lonely. She tries to ask out Brent (Xavier Samuel), but he turns her down. Not for any malicious reason, but because he has a girlfriend Holly (Victoria Thaine). Makes sense, no harm no fowl.

Well, unless you are Lola. She isn’t a fan of that. When Brent is on a self hike in Australia, he finds himself knocked out, and yes, awakening in a house, tied to a chair. Oh joy! Oh hey, he is in a tuxedo now, and Lola is there, in a dress. What in the hell?

Looks like he is indeed going to prom with Lola, and her crazy family, but prom is now going to be inside. Her dad (John Brumpton) is there to help with the festivities, and grandma to be all weirdly lobotomized and awkward. Can Brent escape from the date from hell, before he get tortured to death in this hell house?

It is important to note that not everyone has a bad prom night. His good friend Jamie (Richard Wilson) asks out a hot goth chick Mia (Jessica McNamee) and has the time of his life. She has a missing brother too. Interesting indeed.

This is what you get for not cheating on your long term serious girlfriend.

I know what you are thinking. This film is stupid. Well, thankfully I am here to tell you that it is much better than the plot makes it see.

It is kind of a torture porn, featuring one guy, but some serious fucked shit ends up happening, including that power drill, and a few attempts at escape. But really it is an interesting and kind of unique stuff happens. The ending basically blew my mind, when the secrets of the family and her past issues came to fruition.

But it is also easy to feel uncomfortable during this movie. Lot of screaming, and slow pain. The best pain? Not sure.

I wouldn’t call this a scary horror, jut uncomfortable. But there are also some comedic elements thrown in to break the tension at important points. I will put this under the win column for random foreign Red Box films.

3 out of 4.

The Vow

Why the hell is Channing Tatum in so many Romance based movies?

A guy who’s face that screams out “Big dumb strong man” doesn’t seem to be romance movie material. Or at least once every awhile. But damn. I feel like that is 2/3 of his movies.

In The Vow, not only is he the main male lead, he is kind of the only romantic character in the movie. So weird.

You can tell, because there are no pictures of anyone else out in the rain.

The movie begins with Tatum and Rachel McAdams, driving at night with lots of snow. Aw, they are married. How sweet. Rachel has to leave, so she unbuckles, but before getting out of that car, she gets her kiss on. And then a truck slams into the back of their car, and she goes out the window.

What the heck!

Yeah it sucks. Then she gets into a coma, and well, some amnesia happens. She forgets the last few years of her life, but not everything. Definitely everything involving her husband. What does she remember?

Going to law school, being close to her parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange), and being engaged to someone else. What?! Her old fiance, Scott Speedman, whom she left to move to the city and find her own way.

Tatum has a hard enough time providing evidence that she ever even loved him (in the form of a voice mail and their wedding video (and their vows!)). He is all weird and different, and she doesn’t like the idea of living with a stranger. She also finds it odd that he doesn’t seem to know her family well. What if he is just an intense stalker and going to kill her?

What she doesn’t know is why she ever left her home, her rich life style, law school, and fiance, to move to the city, become a sculptor, and you know, fall in love with Tatum and stuff. None of her family feel like bringing it up either, not even her sister , Jessica McNamee, who is also about to get married.

Will she ever remember her past? Or will she be all, whatever.

The vow
There is an amnesia clause in vows, right?

So, somehow this ended up being a decent romance movie. I’d imagine losing someone you loved (and who loved you back) would suck, especially if it was via amnesia. Especially if she used to be an entirely different person, who also was kind of a bitch. Understandably, at least. No one likes not knowing anyone around them.

This is based off of a real couple, and even given a factoid based off what happened at the end. The ending to the movie? Well, I thought it was kind of a let down. I guess they wanted to go away from a more obvious turn of events so we wouldn’t guess what happens. But still. Eh.

But the beginning, starting with the accident, and flash backs to when they met and their marriage? That was all very cute. But Tatum’s character is a total dumbass, who does a few things that are quite horrible in the movie, and that was also annoying to watch.

And then again? Some other things were not. Sooo….Yeah.

2 out of 4.