Tag Archive: Bradley Cooper


Oh, Joy

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

The husband really wanted to watch Joy starring Jennifer Lawrence. But it never happened.

Joy posterWhen the movie was in the movie theaters, we never got to see it. When it came out on DVD, it took us months to finally get a copy. Once I had a copy in my hands, we never sat down together to watch the movie. I have since sent it back to the library. And if my husband wasn’t going to watch it with me, I was going to take the time to watch it anyway.

You know what? He would really like this movie.

Joy is about a woman who invents a new kind of mop that you never have to touch to wring out. She designs the item after a lifetime of failed dreams. She doesn’t get to go to college, she marries a man she loves but they cannot live together. After the divorce, they are friends but she is trying to support two kids and her mother on her salary at Eastern Airlines.

Joy creatingIt is during this period of stress and frustration that Joy invents her product. She has taken enough and she is ready to movie forward. That means borrowing money from Dad’s new girlfriend, forking over some control, and having to take action when things get out of control.

While most bio pics take the “based on a true story” a little seriously, this movie takes what it wants to be true and walks away from the rest. Characters are compilation, some events happened or didn’t happen, and the director never shies away from the fact that his movie may or may not be the whole truth. There are quirky bits that feel so strange one wonders if they must be real. Those bits kept me watching.

There there is Jennifer Lawrence who gives a gung-ho performance. Her character is the glue that holds everyone together but she is not there for herself. Strange how strong women always do that. I believed Lawrence as this woman who works through her fears to create more than a mop.

Joy FamilyIts not just Jennifer who is great in this movie. Her supporting cast includes Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, Isabella Rossellini, Virginia Madsen, and Diane Ladd who make scenes crackle and spark. We watch them as strongly as we watch Lawrence. What will they do next? Even though I knew the outcome of this movie, I was rooting for Lawrence’s character to win, to shine on.

When the movie was over, with some interesting shots and some implausible action scenes, I felt great. There were times I felt as if I was watching a mob family and other times that I wondered if some of the characters could change so quickly.

This is not a kid movie although it’s one you can watch with your teenagers despite there being some tiny bits of language. No, this is a movie to watch with friends or the spouse, because we all know a Joy, we all know someone who has an idea that could go far. When the movie is done, you want to talk about it, you want to dissect it down, find out what is true and what is not.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

This Sunday, our family will be watching the Oscars. My son states that some day he will be an actor and should watch it while I love the celebration of it all.

Most of the time Oscar movies are known for being serious and thought -provoking. These movies are imbued with social commentaries on the American lifestyle.

One of the few exceptions I can think of is Shakespeare In Love which was a dizzying romp about a love affair Shakespeare might have had. Plus I loved the performance within a performance aspect of the movie.

If Oscar movies are filled with deeper meanings, is it fair to say that other movies are not? Considering that a variety of horror movies are having a say about something why not some of these far out comedies?

 This past week, the husband and I watched The Hangover and he began noticing little commentaries all over the place. He pointed out the Chinese guy saying “fat guy falling is funny. Is only funny because it is a fat guy.”

While my husband contends that this is Asian humor, I would say that we have been laughing at fat guys in the movies ever since Fatty Arbuckle during the Silent Movie era. Slap stick is funny. And we laugh whenever someone gets hurt. Isn’t that the true appeal of Funniest Home Videos?

Another interesting commentary is about domestic violence. In this case, the victim is a guy who has a very suspicious significant other. They are not married but she constantly checks his credit card records and gets angry when he does not answer her calls. Plus she is displaying this very classic abuser behavior after having an affair of her own. The guy justifies his partner’s behavior by brushing it off or making light of the affair.

When the denouement occurs at the end of the movie, we are happy and cheering for the guy. Would we be doing the same for a woman?  That theme seems ripe for digging into and exploring.

More than anything, The Hangover is a total guy movie. The events are things that might happen to guys who are in Vegas and ingest more alcohol and drugs than they should. Even the father-in-law brushes off the groom being late to the wedding by saying ‘that’s Vegas.’ We excuse some terrible behavior because it all happened in Vegas. No where else would kidnapping a tiger that belongs to a celebrity be ok.

These men are allowed to be kids on this trip because otherwise they are professionals with serious relationships and/or families. Professionals who may or may not be happy in their life. Does their unhappiness condone this behavior? That is something I would like to think about.

By the way, I would not suggest The Hangover for the younger set. It is a firm “R” rating and should be treated as such.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know your family’s recent selection by dropping a line to momgoestothemovies@sbcglobal.net. You can also ‘friend’ me on Facebook.