Silver Linings Playbook

I spent a lot of time at the movie theater this weekend. I work at one now and get to see movies for free! Friday and Saturday I was tearing tickets and working with all things popcorn, sweeping it, “slinging” it during busy concession times, and then scrubbing the maker at the end of the night.

Today I ate some while watching “Silver Linings Playbook” with my sis, and did I mention it was free? 
Okay, down to business. With all the buzz about SLP it has been on the top of my list of films to see. It was hard to pick just one, but with the Golden Globes a couple of a weeks away and the Oscars not far behind, I will focus on the films with nominations.
Bradley Cooper, co-starring with Jennifer Lawrence, has nods already for acting that I am sure will carry on to the Oscars. Lawrence, as young widow Tiffany, also is nominated for a best actress Golden Globe. 
The David O. Russell (“The Fighter”) project is also in the running for best picture and screenplay. 
Cooper steps up his acting as Pat Solatano, a school teacher recovering from a betrayal in his marriage and resulting fight with his wife’s lover that sent him on a court-ordered trip to a mental hospital. 
His father is Pat Sr. (Robert DeNiro) and balancing-act mother is Dolores (Jacki Weaver). 
Lawrence’s character is thrown in the mix pretty early in the film after Dolores works out a way for Pat to be released from the hospital and live at their home in Philadelphia again. 
It’s a relatively simple plot, but with complex characters. David O. Russell throws the viewer right into the story and it’s (unnecessarily, I think) fast-moving. 
Because of that and the shift in focus from the Solatano’s family dynamic to sports to romance to Pat’s struggles with his past, I sometimes couldn’t tell what genre the film is supposed to be in. 
It’s not a drama for the most part and Zach Baron on Grantland described it as a “romantic comedy.”
He also says it’s a sports movie, but not really a sports movie. At least it wasn’t another “Moneyball.”
Baron’s statement below put together the missing pieces I needed and made me feel a little bit better about not quite “getting” the film’s messages:

“The ways in which Pat, in his pitiable mix of out-of-control rage and deranged optimism, is a product of his struggling underdog city and the maddening football franchise that it hosts will probably be obvious to most readers of this site and lost on a solid percentage of non-sports fans who go see the movie. You have to know Philly, know the Eagles to really get it, how each of these characters is simultaneously badly scarred and up for more punishment. Silver Linings Playbook is a few different movies at once, but one of those movies is about the complicated interplay between a city’s sports teams and a city’s citizens, the way that over time the two start resembling one another.”

I can see how the average viewer may miss some of the Philadelphia references and connections to the plot, unless they read about the film or the novel in advance, but it’s good to know I wasn’t the only one who saw several movies in one. 
Overall, I enjoyed the scenes where everything and everyone slowed down a bit. Tiffany and Pat had the most heart-to-hearts, and Pat Sr. comes in the mix there too. Chris Tucker, as Pat’s buddy from the hospital, was a key sidekick character. DeNiro and Weaver had good chemistry on-screen and their acting was the most polished. 
Cooper will get there as long as he continues to choose his roles wisely.
I haven’t seen enough of the other award contenders to say if I think “Silver Linings Playbook” is the best movie of the year, but it should be on the list. I also feel like it would be exciting for Cooper and the film to win in their categories now because they may be underdogs when the popularity contest Oscars are on in February.
Next up: “Django Unchained.”
Happy New Year!!!!!


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