WANK OR WATCH | Love & Other Drugs
It is incredibly rare that the lead actress goes topless in a romantic comedy. Unless you’re Charlize Theron or another serial boob-barer, ladies tend to keep their breasts in their shirt until they are in a role that people respect so that, by extension, they will be respected for getting naked. So, while Hathaway hasn’t been one to shy away from a topless scene, what possessed her to get naked repeatedly in Love & Other Drugs?
While this is a film about a guy falling for a girl, there is far more unexpected drama in this movie than most. Jamie (Gyllenhaal) is a drup rep who, while shadowing a doctor, meets Maggie (Hathaway) who has been diagnosed with an early on-set of Parkinson’s. This is not What Happens in Vegas! It is a peculiar piece and one that encouraged me to check out the trailer because how do you sell this movie to the masses? Ultimately, they opted to include scenes from almost every sequence that doesn’t involve her condition and then two that do, all the while never actually mentioning what she has. Reason why? Parkinson’s is not a good time.
As it is, Anne Hathaway delivers a strong, compelling performance that, while not Oscar-worthy, exceeds what would be expected in a movie of this sort. Did she need to get naked? I personally do not think so, but having as much sex in the movie without nudity might have been a little strange. Her nudity offers nothing to further the plot or emphasise anything at all with regard to her condition. Sadly, this feels a little bit like a TV special with a bigger budget and better acting, but a TV special nonetheless.
My Verdict: Wank
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WANK OR WATCH | Brokeback Mountain
The second film in 2005 in which Anne Hathaway agreed to go topless is a very different proposition to the first, Havoc. Released a few months after, Brokeback Mountain had a highly and widely regarded director in Ang Lee, two leads who had just started to reach their potential in Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, a main character from a recently ended, internationally loved teen drama in Michelle Williams, and a pre-packaged marketing angle of ‘the forbidden love between two cowboys’. Hathaway is no longer the main character, but instead gets the opportunity to work in a movie that will get a wide cinematic release while also attracting the attention of the Academy and casting agents. Regardless of her performance (as long as it’s piss poor of course) this is a statement of intent for her, a declaration of the direction she wants her career to go in.
I remember, despite being twenty-one at the time, having to take a fair bit of banter-based stick from even my normally liberal friends for saying that I not only saw this in the cinema, but that I liked it. On this, my first viewing since, I would say it resonates even more. It is a little cheesy in the beginning, and there are moments that seem unrealistic to me (the moment downstairs when Jack (Gyllenhaal) first comes to visit Ennis (Ledger) seems passionate but unlikely in the circumstances), but this is all just setting up a gut-wrenching final forty minutes where Ledger really takes the movie by storm. Even beyond the story, this is a truly beautiful film and some of the photography is just insane. Seven years after seeing it I still remember the scene where Ledger confronts the two tossers at the firework display and it is shot from his feet looking up as fireworks explode in the sky behind him. On second watch, that shot slayed me even more.
Was this movie worth Hathaway getting topless for? While she plays fourth string, her performance on the phone towards the end of the movie was worth her agreeing to get topless for alone, even if her character was never quite fully realised. I love this movie and will be sure not to wait another seven years before returning to it. And, as a final thought, for those fellas who still rib their male friends for watching this, you never see a dick in focus and yet do see both Hathaway and Williams topless.
My verdict: Watch
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MUMBLESPUNK STREAMER | The Pleasure of Being Robbed
Currently available via Lovefilm
This is one of those movies that you watch and instantly have to check the internet to see if other people hated it as much as you did. Within minutes I realised that I was not alone in thinking that this is an utter waste of your time with no redeeming elements and, when it comes in at under seventy minutes, that is some achievement.
Whether it be the kleptomaniac protagonist who is an opportunist in her stealing and so ends up with very little of interest, the way that she and her friends are painted in such individualistic fashion with her ‘playing table tennis when she is shit at table tennis’ and her friend ‘having his duvet suspended above his bed by a pulley for no reason at all’, the narrative that relies on the random theft moving it forward, which unsurprisingly, doesn’t work, or the dialogue being uninteresting, stunted pointlessness, this film seems to be the work of someone with absolutely fuck all to say. In fact, I’d argue that someone who relentlessly films a family holiday to Orlando could cut their footage into something more enjoyable to a wide audience.
When you then add in the irrelevant, dreamlike ending, the learning to drive in a matter of seconds, and cops who, amongst other irresponsible shit, leave their car doors open in the street when investigating something, this becomes a film that illuminates one of the major issues with the mumblecore movement. If anyone can get hold of a camera and make a film then ambitionless, talentless, worthless crap like this can get made and that is a real shame. Do not watch unless you have seen every other film out there.
My Verdict: Streamehhhhhhhhhhh
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TVMUMBLESpunk | Girls
Coming to Sky Atlantic in September
Approaching the mid-point of the season, this episode amps up the drama as all four of our females have shit hit their respective fans. Of course, in keeping with Girls, the drama is not overly sensational instead revelling in a slightly unlikely but utterly plausible fashion. It was necessary for this to occur as, while the last episode was still entertaining, there was a lack of progression in the narrative.
Hannah gets a new job, gets massaged/touched up by her much older boss, dumps Adam over a cock-text that he sent her by mistake and then, when he seems responsive to her issues, ends up back in his arms. Jessa loses the two children she is babysitting in the park, while Shoshanna almost manages to lose her virginity until she frightens the guy off with her virginity. The biggest poop though is when Charlie and Ray are alone in the flat, find Hannah’s diary, then perform a show in front of the four girls where Charlie sings a song called ‘Hannah’s Diary’ quoting extracts about how unhappy Marnie is with him.
Aside from all of this drama, I found more interest in the episode elsewhere.
Firstly we get a bunch of side characters that we are unlikely to encounter too often that not only combat the lack of racial diversity that some people had with the show, but also add some freshness. Sometimes it works as in the case of the two colleagues that Hannah befriends who, while cartoony, add a few laughs and a different kind of voice to the pretty similar one that the leads share, but then the nannies that Jessa meets with in the park culminates in a hideously unrealistic scene where she tries to create a nannies union. Regardless, it is nice to see some new faces that you’re not expected to remember.
Secondly, we get to see more from male characters including the first occasion in the series where we get two guys interacting without a female present (correct me if I’m wrong in the comments). Ray and Charlie act exactly as blokes would do when alone in a girl’s apartment and their humour is definitely tailored to suit their gender. The same can be said of the advice given at the beginning of the episode, where you get to see the far simpler suggestion from Charlie and this again proves that the show is definitely capable of writing for guys. Hannah’s boss meanwhile adds a very interesting and real dilemma to the show where his version of sexual harassment seems innocent but isn’t quite. Finally the throwaway moment as Jessa walks away from Jeff, the father that she babysits for, and his brother and they remark on her looks. Sure it’s somewhat sexist but it is realistic and works well alongside the moment earlier in the show when Charlie remarks on Adam’s cock from the photo.
This might be my favourite episode so far, not because of the drama, comedy or anything at all like that, but more because it feels more rounded. This is the first episode that seems to be adapting to the idea of longevity and what is required to keep people entertained over the distance, and it certainly worked on me.
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