Silver Lining BS


Went to see Silver Lining Playbook last night and was surprised when, a little less than halfway through, it became a movie about a dance contest combined with a potentially ruinous bet on a Philadelphia Eagles football game. When the dance element was introduced, Dan turned to me and said, "Is this really happening? Are they really going to go through with a dance off?"

The movie devolved swiftly there, especially when we got the dance practice montage and the difficult jump moment ala Dirty Dancing. Lots of shouting in the movie, and lots or repetitive scenes of the dad (Robert de Niro) begging the son to stay and watch a game with him. Then another implausible scene where the crazy love interest rattles off the scores of all the Philly games along with the dates she's spent with Bradley Cooper, all out of nowhere and all meant to be this triumphant moment of confrontation that instead felt totally contrived--like, why would she just happen to know all those dates and their relationship to sports games when she's not (1). an idiot savant; (2). at all a sports fan? Lots of people liked this movie though, probably because it wasn't, on the surface, a typical film about family dysfunction b.c Bradley Cooper had serious bipolar issues (that he dealt with by taking up jogging in a garbage bag just like Rocky; thereby putting forth the argument that one can overcome mental illness through force of will, homogenized milk, and daily exercise) and the Jennifer Lawrence character was grieving from the death of her husband (another odd and not very satisfying moment that was supposed to resonate and instead fell flat: when JL tells BC how her cop husband died; she says he got hit by a car after going to the King of Prussia mall to buy her something from Victoria's Secret; they "found the box for me still in the front seat of his car." Good job with product placement at a supposedly pivotal moment in the movie and good job having his mode of death be an act of fate, so that it effectively reveals nothing about him or her).

The other thing that was odd was that none of the dramatic moments seemed to have any consequence. For example, there was a scene at a tailgate where BC, in defending his therapist who happens to also show up at the game with his face half-painted (what a crazy coincidence!), ends up punching a bunch of people, and instead of going back to jail or back to the nuthouse, he just gets delivered home and nothing comes of it. And then of course, we have the final moment of the movie, where JL thinks BC is going to end up with his ex-wife and so she runs away and he chases after her and catches her at the last second and hands her a note he's conveniently brought with him that says he loves her and they kiss, and no one dies, no one gets mugged, no one even breaks a heel. What started out as slightly promising instead becomes a typical ro-co that's not actually very romantic or very funny.

Anyway, what this  tells me is that I need to get serious about my writing--if this kind of nonsense gets made and praised, there's hope for all of us who hear alarm bells when montage sequences appear showing two characters in leotards.

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