Amy Schumer’s first time out as a writer is a runaway success. The numbers are in and thanks to IMDB we have the budget listed as 35 million dollars. All things considered in this major motion picture world we live in, Trainwreck would fit into the independent film category. Today’s average movie budgets start in the 60 million range and migrate north. They also generate something that could be argued as both benefit and detractor. Big money films draw big money actors that could serve the film well. Most often however, many would say to recognizable a star takes the audience out of the magic. Schumer’s movie took it down a notch and let some actors we wouldn’t normally see shine. Naturally LeBron James, Marisa Tomei, and Daniel Radcliffe are expensive and interestingly used yet they gave way to the ensemble.
There is no greater surprise in a cinematic adventure then unexpectedly enjoying the performance of an unusual actor. My highlight was the uncharacteristically deep performance of Colin Quinn. He like Amy is known for standup comedy and beer-belly movie roles yet, when prompted he seized his chance. While sitting in the theater certainly more than a few fans were taken aback by his ability to make you care. His crotchety portrayal of an aging drunkard of a father provided a line by which the film as a whole finely walked. Whenever the levity reached its natural peak it was all the more satisfying knowing it was being grounded in humility. Certainly not all credit goes to Colin. John Cena made a short but memorably large cameo. Apart from his…”part”, John was a funny and sympathetic character. Moreover, the chameleon known only as Tilda Swinton was perfect. She played the ice queen of a boss magnificently. Then again she has had experience with that role.
No film review is complete without mention of the stars. Bill Hader made for a great leading man. He reportedly lost twenty pounds for the role and look lean, mean, and leading man-ish. Hader delivers a emotion with noticeably toned down humor. The film is a comedy yet it was noticeable that frequent funny man Bill Hader had a distinct direction in which to drive his character. He leaves no doubt that the once not ready for primetime player (that’s SNL cast member for you heathens out there who don’t know) is made for center stage work. His counterpart and the mother of this flick Amy Schumer will obviously be around a while. Naturally, it helps to have a director like Judd Apatow who shares your vision but, direction, is it is no substitute for good writing. A director can’t make a bad script/story good they can only make it partially watchable. Amy’s talent hits the mark like several other first time writers we like at Glued to the Screen aka Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater. Smith of Clerks fame and Linklater the mind behind Slacker burst onto the Indi-scene out of nowhere with their respective hits.
Granted Amy has been around for a few years but I would hardly refer to her as a household name. After Trainwreck, she will be known as a genius and more importantly a good storyteller. That is what makes this business great. When someone can tell you a story that invokes a response be it mental, emotional, or even physical the job has been well done and the audience well served. This flick tells a great story.
The only thing this move shares with its namesake is that we can’t look away.
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