365 Movies By Day Reviews of Movies I Watch that I Feel Like Writing About


Trainwreck (2015)

I'd say that there is a pretty darn good chance that Trainwreck will go down as the funniest movie of 2015. There doesn't appear to be a ton of comedies this year and the one that I was most excited for (Vacation) looks like it's going to be a dud. Usually the great comedies of the year are released before September 1st. I have no evidence that backs up this claim, but it it seems like the really good movies that are reserved for the later portions of the year are the Oscar contenders. It doesn't mean that there aren't comedies that are released in October, November, and December, but it seems like, more often than not, these are average. I guess what I am implying here is that the funniest movies of the year have probably already been released and that Trainwreck seems to be the funniest of that group. I often make mention on my movie blog of the year 2010 which, I believe, is the best movie year in my lifetime. However, there wasn't that one hilarious comedy that you remember from that year. For me, the funniest movie that year was Get Him to the Greek, but that movie really had nothing on Trainwreck. Had it been released in 2010, Trainwreck would have made the year that much better.

I will be the first to say that I had no idea who Amy Schumer (Price Check, Misery Loves Company) was prior to this film. And to be honest, I still don't. I imagine I will in the future, but right now my Schumer knowledge starts and ends with Trainwreck. But even if she does nothing from this point forward, I'll remember her for not only delivering a quality performance in this movie, but also for writing a pretty darn funny screenplay. While I felt that some of the jokes were way too forced and would have been more effective with a little ad-libbing along the way, I still felt that this was a cool and original movie and succeeded because of its acting and directing for sure, but also for its story itself. This was actually the first movie that Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, This is 40) has directed but not written. And I felt it was noticeable. Schumer has a knack for this, but I felt like some of the jokes should have been field tested and then turned down. 90% of the humor was great, but the stuff that was supposed to be funny that wasn't funny (for example the Alex Rodriguez joke) felt a little uncomfortable because of how unfunny they were. However, don't guy the wrong idea that the movie was cheesy because it wasn't. These awkward moments were in the minority. Also, with comedy movies I don't feel like you can spoil a whole lot. With that said, you may want to stop reading here if you haven't seen the movie since I will be providing a few details.

Schumer stars as Amy, a feature writer for a men's magazine called S'nuff. Her boss Dianna (Tilda Swinton - Snowpiercer, We Need to Talk About Kevin) is ruthless boss who cares about nothing more than the bottom line. She's got a couple of crude male co-workers along with Nikki (Vanessa Bayer - Despicable Me 2, television's Saturday Night Live) who is also one of her best friends. Though she knows absolutely nothing about sports, she has been assigned to research an article about Aaron Conners (Bill Hader - The Skeleton Twins, Adventureland), a sports doctor who is doing some cutting edge surgeries to help athletes extend their careers. Among the athletes who have very, very strong guest performances are John Cena, Amare Stoudemire, and, the best of the bunch, THE Lebron James. Amy, who despises sport, is assigned the article even though it was pitched by a co-worker. Again, this is just Dianna being Dianna.

Things are okay with Amy at work. She's not at a company she's overly excited to be working at, but it affords her a lifestyle that she's happy with. Plus, despite her feelings towards the firm she works for, there is room for advancement there. Outside of work though, Amy is...well...a bit of trainwreck. She has a boyfriend Steven (WWE's John Cena) who is the one athlete in this movie who does not pay himself, but rather a version of himself. He's head over heals for her, but she has random encounters with men she just met all the time. Her one rule is to not stay overnight. She's a girl who likes to have fun. When Steven finds out, she doesn't really apologize, but instead breaks up with him. She has a sister named Kim (Brie Larson - Rampart, 21 Jump Street) who has the life that Amy wishes that she wanted. Kim has a husband and a step-son. Amy does her best to pretend that she liked both males, but really I think she just wishes that she wished that she could like them. People her age are growing up and Amy isn't. She's content with her life, but I think deep down inside she wishes she was more like everyone.

The story is really the romance that develops between Amy and Dr. Conners. The two become close while she is interviewing him for her story and, while he's not her normal type, she has fun with him and finds herself falling for him. Have we seen this before a hundred times? Absolutely. But the jokes are fresh. The payoff at the end is probably what most of us would expect it to be, but that doesn't mean that it's not a lot of fun to get there. The movie is relevant in today's world for a lot of 20 and 30 somethings. We're just trying to find happiness in a complicated world where values that we were grown up to be aren't necessarily true. Like any couple, Amy and Aaron disagree, fight, make-up, fight again, break up, etc., etc., etc. And like any couple that believes the relationship could be worth it, they both fight to make it work. Could the same story be told as a drama? Of course it could. But THAT's a story we've seen thousands of times and I think it's really hard to convey that same story in a meaningful and relevant way. The humor is what makes this movie work. And, of course, that should be the case considering this movie is a comedy.

Schumer is terrific as is Hader. Colin Quinn (television's Saturday Night Live, television's Last Comic Standing) embraces his role as Amy and Kim's aging father. He crushes the first scene of the movie (it's a flashback) and is a consistent source of humor throughout the film. Famous basketball player Amare Stoudemire is also great in the film. He plays himself and is one of Aaron's patients who has is scheduled to go under the knife. But it's Lebron James who steals the scenes in this movie. In terms of being a polished actor, he's not quite there. But Lebron is personable and he is funny. He plays one of Aaron's patients and one of his good friends. The pals play one on one basketball, text each other, and coach each other up. This is much more than a cameo for Lebron. He's in a good 10-15 scenes and he's great (even at times where you can tell he's trying a little too hard) in all of them. The movie didn't succeed because of him, but it did make it even more enjoyable. His Q Score just went through the roof because of this movie. And I thought it was great that he was able to continue to show how important Cleveland was to him in this movie, just like he does in real life.

In short, Trainwreck is not one of the 15-20 best comedies I've ever seen, but it is on that next tier. And I do believe next January when we look at all of the movies of 2015, this will be the comedy of the year. I definitely recommend it though it's definitely not necessary to see this one in the theater.

Plot 9/10
Character Development 8.5/10
Character Chemistry 8.5/10
Acting 8.5/10
Screenplay 8/10
Directing  8/10
Cinematography 8/10
Sound 8.5/10 (Music was a big part of this movie, but outside of Billy Joel's Uptown Girl, it wasn't as memorable as I expected it to be)
Hook and Reel 9/10 (I LOVE when comedies have a first scene that is absolutely hilarious. Ones that come to mind are American Pie and There's Something About Mary)
Universal Relevance 9.5/10 (We're all looking for love in one way or the other...we all have self-doubt in one way or the other)

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