I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

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bainbridgezu
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#26 Post by bainbridgezu » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:44 am



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Brian C
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#28 Post by Brian C » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:14 am

I agree with a lot of what mfunk is saying in this thread. It's an interesting enough story on its own terms that it carries the movie, but the material here is way too ambitious for a hack like Gillespie to pull off. Mostly I just thought that was a movie wanting to have it both ways, trying to scold the audience for treating the story like a joke while at the same time desperately wanting to be in on the joke. It's a film of a tabloid mindset, and not, as the filmmakers seem to think, about a tabloid mindset. Mostly it just seemed disingenuous.

I'll also agree with mfunk's observation that Robbie does as good as possible here given the fundamentally flawed nature of her casting. Still, it's hard not to look at her and say, "oh look, it's Margot Robbie in a bad wig." She not only doesn't look like Harding, she doesn't even look like a real person; she looks like a character in an SNL sketch. It's bizarre to think of her actually being nominated for awards because at the end of the day she's simply not convincing for even a moment, but still and all, it definitely shows that she has real skill as an actor, and that's not something I particularly remember thinking before (although I guess I've only actually seen her in The Wolf of Wall Street).

Honestly, I thought the best acting in the film was Sebastian Stan as Gillooly.

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thirtyframesasecond
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#29 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:56 am

I quite liked Z for Zachariah, in which Robbie was very much de-glammed.

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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#30 Post by jindianajonz » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:10 pm

Brian C wrote:She not only doesn't look like Harding, she doesn't even look like a real person; she looks like a character in an SNL sketch.
I thought she fittingly looked like one of those skewed dramatic reenactments that were common in the early 90's (Think "Homer S: Portrait of an Ass Grabber" from the Homer Badman episode of Simpsons.)

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domino harvey
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#31 Post by domino harvey » Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:22 pm

I loved this, and was gratified if surprised to see it pop up on a few other forum member Top 10s considering no one’s running in here to defend the film from some pretty unfair criticisms. I’m six films deep into the movies that did get nominated or win Best Picture this year and this is easily better than all of them put together— what a shame it couldn’t make it across the finish line into that tenth spot. I haven’t seen anything else Gillespie has directed, but nothing here merits being labeled a “hack” or in some way deficient as a director. Like some other recent biopics, I think many of you are not going into this and greeting it on the level it’s pitched at.

The film posits a theory of Harding’s ascension and downfall that is outwardly linked to her self-perceived role of systemic outsider. She was the “badboy” of figure skating, dancing to ZZ Top and the Jurassic Park theme (not reproduced here even though Universal ended up distro-ing this one for Neon) and wearing gaudy self-crafted outfits (and her professional ones were not much better— shades of Allen’s perspective on the tastes of the lower classes in Small Time Crooks). This may be true, and perhaps she never did have a fair shake. But the film embodies the white trash “It’s everyone’s fault but mine” ethos to a T. Everyone here passes the buck, denies and deflects, absconds from responsibility and refutes reminiscences from other players even within their flashbacks— beautifully summed up at the end of the unfairly maligned domestic abuse montage with Robbie turning to the audience and declaring, “That’s bullshit, I didn’t do this” immediately after we see her doing it. The film hammers this home again and again. Players are sympathetic and awful, sometimes simultaneously. Why read this as apologia when it gives us complexity of character and shows the unreliability of narrators, even those as visible as these. I don’t think the film is sincere in its message of Harding blaming “us,” the laughing audience, as being willing co-abusers, but rather hitting home once more how Harding perceives her own situation and how this says a lot about her and the various class systems she’s within. It is not necessary to ask if she’s right or wrong or even sincere. It is about blame.

For those with the Blu-ray, I highly recommend checking out the deleted scenes, as one of my favorite instances of this theme ended up on the cutting room floor, maybe because it was just too outrageous, even for this film— though the punchline definitely garnered the biggest laugh of the whole endeavor from me:
SpoilerShow
When Harding posits that Nancy Kerrigan was seen conversing with Harding’s husband (and therefore potentially suspect in her own attack) and claims an eyewitness expert saw it all, ending with the reveal? Hilarious, and completely absurd. I assume it was only cut because to leave it in would tip a bit too far against Harding.
Complaints that Robbie or Janney give broad performances aren’t wrong, but this isn’t a detriment to this film or its aims. Literally every main player is so convoluted in their various mechanations towards and with each other that the colorful exaggerations of everyone only helps to bolster the unreliability of everything we see. That the same comic touch is often applied to situations and scenarios which do not lend themselves to comedy should be a cue to look deeper, not complain that the film is cheapening these elements.

If Darkest Hour showed us as riff on how the public interpretation of a famous figure is correct and worth bolstering and exploiting at all costs, I, Tonya says the exact opposite: What we all think is wrong, but what is proposed is so unlikely that no definitive “truth” is likely to be arrived upon. I, Tonya is a biopic that kids and indulges its central figure, takes her side in some areas and offers healthy skepticism in others. I mean, what else are we supposed to do with a movie that gives us Bobby Cannavale doing an uncredited Jerry Penacoli impression despite Penacoli not working for Hard Copy during the Harding years— other than give a side eye and just go with it for the greater good because why not?

--Also, gimme a fucking breaksville on calling out the soundtrack here. Like half of the songs used are far from the usual suspects of classic rock revival soundtrack programmers (and those are still well-utilized), and when’s the last time you heard “Little Girl Bad” or “the Passenger” blaring out?

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knives
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#32 Post by knives » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:13 pm

domino harvey wrote: I haven’t seen anything else Gillespie has directed, but nothing here merits being labeled a “hack” or in some way deficient as a director. Like some other recent biopics, I think many of you are not going into this and greeting it on the level it’s pitched at.
Some of his work has been hacky, but at the very least his first, Lars and the Real Girl, is a pretty good film. Given your liking of the Polish brothers I wouldn't be surprised if you liked it.

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dustybooks
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#33 Post by dustybooks » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:20 am

I agree with domino on this one, but would also add that Janney's portrayal didn't actually seem broad to me; I can see how it would play that way, but because I know and have recently had to deal with a very similar person who's an equally abusive-neglectful parent, her performance wasn't just pitched perfectly and all too believably for me but actually haunted me (and my wife), not the response to this film I expected from what I remembered of the events depicted.

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Lost Highway
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#34 Post by Lost Highway » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:52 am

I liked Gillespie's Fright Night remake, one of the very few horror remakes which I preferred over the original.

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Luke M
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#35 Post by Luke M » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:03 am

This and The Florida Project were the best movies of 2017.

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Roscoe
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#36 Post by Roscoe » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:31 am

I guess it would have cost too much to re-create Harding's skate to the score from JURASSIC PARK, music rights-wise.

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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#37 Post by Dr Amicus » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:30 am

I got to see this at the cinema the other night with Mrs Amicus and we both enjoyed it enormously (maybe a little overlong, but not excessively so) - enhanced by a bizarre commentary coming from a few rows behind us. During the first interview segment, when Harding is saying people have strong opinions on her, an (elderly? female?) voice shouted out "Bitch" - and continued to make occasional comments throughout the film. At first I did wonder if this part of the film soundtrack, but the sound system at the local cinema just isn't that good...

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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#38 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:18 pm

This Twitter user made this useful flow chart in response to their viewing of I, Tonya:

Image

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domino harvey
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#39 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:44 pm

Goodfellas wishes it was I, Tonya

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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#40 Post by aox » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:49 pm

Finally saw this last night and couldn't have been more surprised. I thought in a lackluster year, this was better than most of the films nominated for Best Picture. This is a topic/history that I don't really care about, and it came up in a recent thread this week about how biopics are weak and not very fresh: this was different. I cared about the topic suddenly and I liked the structure and tone of the film. It was refreshing to see the biopic not 'play it straight'. It was self-deprecating and humorous without belittling the story it chose to portray, and as a result, it elicited an amount of pathos I wasn't expecting. Great film.


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domino harvey
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#42 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:36 pm

He desperately tries to make the misguided and ignorant case that Tonya became a great skater because she was abused.
Uh, citation needed

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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#43 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:43 pm

domino harvey wrote:Goodfellas wishes it was I, Tonya
Image

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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#44 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:15 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
domino harvey wrote:Goodfellas wishes it was I, Tonya
Image
Uh, yeah, citation needed

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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#45 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:26 pm

Sorry, I forgot no one is allowed to move the camera quickly or have a lot of edits anymore without someone trotting out the ol' "But Goodfellas" routine. So insightful.

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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#46 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:28 pm

If they do it well there's typically not a problem

*for the purposes of getting the last word, logs off the forum, doesn't return for several months*

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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#47 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:29 pm

Quick, everyone delete their avatars while he's gone!

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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#48 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:43 pm

domino harvey wrote:Sorry, I forgot no one is allowed to move the camera quickly or have a lot of edits anymore without someone trotting out the ol' "But Goodfellas" routine. So insightful.
Oh, I’m 100% on board with calling out lazy “but ‘classic film X’ did it first” criticism, but it’s another thing altogether to drop a take that hot with no explanation or even punctuation. Do you have a well-known takedown of Goodfellas on here somewhere that I missed?

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domino harvey
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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#49 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:47 pm

I've consistently not been a fan for as long as I've posted here, though I don't know if I've ever gone to great lengths to express why. Pesci's good in it, but that's about the extent of any praise I'd throw its way

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Re: I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017)

#50 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:52 pm

"Goodfellas had heart, but I, Tonya had a baton in the leg"

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