Movie Review: I, Tonya (2017)

Movie Review: I, Tonya (2017)

Quote from I, Tonya by Tonya Harding: “I mean, come on!  What kind of friggin’ person bashes their friend’s knee?  Who would do that to a friend?”

The Knees are the Most Important Part of the Body

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I think most of the world knows the particulars of the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding incidents before and during the 1994 Olympics.  Fast forward to 2017 when I, Tonya was released and Nancy Kerrigan competed in Dancing with the Stars.  Now progress to 2018 where Tonya Harding (now Tonya Price) competed on Dancing with the Stars and tied so there really wasn’t a second and third place.  There’s no denying this movie didn’t bring both into the spotlight again, but when all is said and done I thought more about Tonya over the years than Nancy.  You can’t take away she was the first American woman to land a triple axel in competition.  She will always have loyal ice skating fans and maybe one or two boxing fans.  This movie is not just about the attack on Nancy (knee whacking incident).   It’s also about the treatment Tonya from her parents, important figure skating people, and various media.  You get a good picture of what she could have been had she possessed a grounded mental state and stability in her personal relationships.  It wasn’t that she used her past as a crutch to get what she wanted, but it impacted her in ways that clearly filtered into every inch of her life.  The sad part of the story is its truth, and the good part is that both skaters have gotten on with her lives.  They are both parents now, married, and while one is clearly more financially well off than the other, their friendship and rivalry will continue to go down in Olympic history.

The People Behind the Screen

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I, Tonya is what I’d call a passion project the director, Craig Gillespie, wanted to get on the screen.  The direction this movie took had all the skill and nuance needed for this kind of story.  He showed the unfortunate upbringing of Tonya and how it became the unstable platform she stood as she skated her way into young adulthood.  It’s essentially the rise and fall of Tonya Harding.  When you strip away the entertainment value and absurdity of some of the key players, the people remain real along with its aftermath.  This biopic is written by Steven Rogers for release in 2017.  The producers are Tom Ackerley, Len Blavatnik, Zanne Devine, Aviv Giladi, Craig Gillespie, Toby Hill, Vince Holden, Rosanne Korenberg, Scott Allen Morgan, Margot Robbie, Steven Rogers, Michael Sledd, Bryan Unkeless, and Kim H. Winther.  The major cast is Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson, Paul Walter Hauser, Bobby Cannavale, Bojana Novakovic, and Caitlin Carver.  It has an R for pervasive language, violence, and some sexual content/nudity with a running time of two hours.

Characters and Plot Summary

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The movie opens, present time, with interviews by the key players.  They reminisce on Tonya’s talent, mishaps, and effects.  With most stories that span a lot of time, I, Tonya cuts back and forth between the past and present.  We get a glimpse of a girl who loved her father and never received the motherly care she desired and deserved.  She eventually distanced herself from her mother, but the alternative, Jeff Gillooly, wasn’t much better.  They put their tensions aside enough to stop yelling at each other to marry.  Things were looking up for her as she was the first American woman to land the triple axel during competition.  As quickly as things improved, Tonya friends and their acquaintances sent her into a downward spiral.  Their plan to advance her status was hatched and botched, cracking the ice where everyone fell through the hole.  The key players were arrested, but Tonya was allowed to compete in Albertville based on her assertion she knew nothing about the attack, and apologized in front of the cameras.  Things went from bad to worse during competition, and when she came back she received devastating news.  It was tantamount to death, but she was given no choice to leave the skating arena.  There’s no denying she never tried to be something she wasn’t.  The movie ends with updates on those closest to Tonya during her time as an Olympic skater.  Tonya Harding, now Price, lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and son.  She has left her past behind her as we all should.

The Toe Pick was Sharp

This movie took a Switzerland approach regarding the incident.  It wasn’t preachy or sought sympathy for Tonya.  The story unfolded without any curtains to hide the ugly things.  The performances were great.  Of course, Allison Janney as Tonya’s mother was superb.  There’s a reason she won the Oscar.  Seeing Margot Robbie transform into Tonya was impressive too.  I was equally satisfied with Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly, Julianne Nicholson as Diane Rawlinson, Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn Eckhart, Bobby Cannavale as Martin Maddox, and Caitlin Carver as Nancy Kerrigan.  This movie revealed behind the scenes of skating where not everything is fair in the world. Judges can be unforgiving and fans will turn on you.  Media can be powerful and emotions will be strong.  There is one scene of Tonya in the dressing room.  Margot Robbie captured Tonya’s determination and fragility at same time, which is the essence of who Tonya was and is today.

A Few Flowers for Tonya

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I recommend this to anyone who wants to watch a quality movie with a good story and great acting.  I, Tonya is for adults because children don’t have the attention span for it.  You watch this to reminisce about the early to mid-1990s or get more of an idea of what this story was all about for those not old enough or even born yet.  Wherever you put Tonya’s level of guilt or lack thereof, the movie is pure entertainment.   I’m a sucker for biopics because sometimes ‘real life’ is better than fiction.  I also like when movies give a follow-up as to where the people involved are today.  Jeff Gillooly changed his last name to Stone and lives in Clackamas, Oregon with his wife and two children.  Shane Stant lives in California and owns a business called Greenlit13.  Derrick Smith lives in Montana and is pretty removed from the public.  Shawn Eckhart changed his last name to Griffiths and died in Beaverton, Oregon in 2007.  LaVona Golden lives in Washington.  Tonya Harding, now Price, lives in Washington with her husband and son.

Pisaries Creator Rating

I, Tonya gets four fingers and one thumb at 100%

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Trailer by Movieclip Trailers
One Sheet by LuckyChap Entertainment/Clubhouse Pictures/Al Film

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The Woody Show in 2018

I wish this show went nonstop, but they gotta sleep too!

 

 

Another Bumper Sticker in LA

The things you see in LA traffic are bumper stickers and personalized license plates.   I think a part of me is going to miss this when I move, but probably not although I’m curious what will come of the U.S. election in November.

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Forbes Quote

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June Random Information

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Trifecta #17

After about a month’s hiatus, I’m back to my blog.  Well, sort of, so to speak.  I still need to cut back my time the rest of the year due to my move this month across state lines.  It’s absorbed a lot of my time and the hard part hasn’t even started.  Wish me luck next week because that is when I start the official move.  I’m starting the trifecta again, but will probably do it once a month instead of each week to try to reach my others life goals: the main one being my rewrite.  Without further commentary on my life, here is everything related to Maryland.  I’ve never been there and doubt I ever will, but again the whole East Coast is foreign to me.  The farthest I’ve been is North Carolina and Florida, but I consider that more part of the South.  Maybe someday and just not now.

Image to Scare the Children

The snallygaster in all its mythological glory that likes to eat things.

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Bird is the Word

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Video of Kids that are Nerds

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Writing Quotes

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

-Sylvia Plath-

“When writing a novel, a write should create living people; people, not characters.  A character is a caricature.”

-Ernest Hemingway-

“Words are sacred.  They deserve respect.  If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”

-Tom Stoppard-

“Every writer I know has trouble writing.”

-Joseph Heller-

“When you become a writer, your heart and mind become divided between your many selves.”

-Unknown-

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Pisaries Creator Update #2

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I admit it’s hard to stay away from something you’re familiar with including FB and WP.  I went less on FB this month and didn’t even touch WP until now.  I would love to say I’m further along on my rewrite, but, at least, I’ve made progress.  My partner says a sentence is better than none.  You know what I say to that?  I should’ve done more.  While I wished to be done with this within a span of two months, that probably won’t happen as I’m still working on a page nowhere near the end.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a slow ass writer.  But, it’s going to be a better story for it.  I hope. 

I was going to wait another month to see where I was in my rewrite, but what the hell, you only live once, right?  I didn’t want to leave everyone hanging.  Who doesn’t like to read about another writer’s bullshit?  Throughout the month, I took breaks researching into publishing: self, small, large, the odds, etc.  What a daunting task and thought.  I guess that is why you take one step at a time.   The other day I thought of me not living anymore.  I wouldn’t be able to write.  I wouldn’t be able to read.  And the best one yet, I wouldn’t be able to watch Netflix or Hulu.  I have no ambition to live forever even if it was a possibility, but it’s a weird concept either way.  I should incorporate this into a future short story.   

I’ve renamed my working title of my book as my partner said it sounded like a drug rehab book.  I thought of a cover idea and who should be responsible for doing it.  Again, things my partner said to think about when I’ve actually written it the best I can.  Anyway, you go with the flow and do what you want (to an extent).  I can only hope all these sweat, tears, and occasional fist pounding makes the second book I write/rewrite a lot easier.  The pounding of the keys only stops when I’m really, really tired.

The other reason I’m writing is to say I changed my theme and plan to blog as much as I can without compromising and procrastinating with my rewrite.  I’m moving to another state next month, which adds more onto my plate, but it needs to be done.  On that note, I hope you are all having a good time and getting some much needed rest.

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Pisaries Creator Update

There comes a point in time when you find yourself spread in too many directions.  I have now reached this point.  Since I began this blog over a year ago, it was a way to express my creativity and put all my interests into one spot.  I found myself thinking and spending too much of my time on my blog instead of putting focus on my rewrite and writing in general of my novel ideas these past couple of months.  I’ve passed by many writing deadlines, and each time I find myself not happy with myself.  For this reason, I am stepping away from my blog for the month of May to focus on solely on my writing.  When I come back in June or even maybe July (after I make my move), I’m going to make some changes regarding content on my blog so I don’t feel so pressured to update all my interests as much as possible.  Let’s just say I’m narrowing down the playing field. I thank those who have followed me, and while I’m going away for a bit, I hope you return soon because I eventually will. Wishing everyone the best of luck this upcoming month.

Pisaries Creator

Artist of the Month: Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin

Born: June 7, 1848 in Paris, France

Died: May 8, 1903 in Atuona, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

“No one is good; no one is evil; everyone is both, in the same way and in different ways. It is so small a thing, the life of a man, and yet there is time to do great things, fragments of the common task.”

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Paul Gauguin, 1891
Oviri figure on Gauguin's grave in Atuona.
Oviri figure on Gauguin’s grave in Atuona

Paul Gauguin is best known as a French painter and wasn’t appreciated until after his death. In fact, he was talented in many art forms: painter, sculptor, print maker, ceramist, wood-carver, drawer, and was also a writer. Born to liberal parents in Paris, his childhood was fairly normal, but illegitimacy ran on his mother’s side. His father died when he was an infant and shortly lived in Peru with his mother and sister before being forced to return to Paris. It is here Gauguin grew into a young adult, joining the French army and later becoming a successful stockbroker and businessman. He tried his hand at selling tarps, but this was not successful. His lack of providing for his family ultimately helped end his marriage. It was when the stock market crashed in 1882 that he took painting seriously, and never let up until he was physically unable to do it.

The Artist's Mother, 1889
The Artist’s Mother, 1889
Gauguin's maternal grandmother, Flora Tristan (1803–1844) in 1838
Gauguin’s maternal grandmother, Flora Tristan, 1838
Women Bathing, 1885
Winter Landscape, 1879
Winter Landscape, 1879
Still-Life with Fruit and Lemons (c. 1880)
Still-Life with Fruit and Lemons, 1880
Still Life with Profile of Laval, 1886,
Still Life with Profile of Laval, 1886
Bord de Mer II, 1887
Bord de Mer II, 1887
Martinique Landscape 1887
Martinque Landscape, 1887
Four Breton Women, 1886
Four Breton Women, 1886
Among the Mangoes (La Cueillette des Fruits), 1887,
Among the Mangoes (La Cueillette des Fruits), 1887

Gauguin is probably second most remembered for his stay in Tahiti and how it influenced him and vice versa. Part of the reason for him traveling there was to get away from European civilization and spent considerable time in Papeete. He again was broke with health issues, and returned to France. It was during this time he had a falling out with Paul Durand-Ruel and Ambroise Vollard, both art dealers. Gauguin was miserly with his money and selfish in his actions and never saw Europe or his children again when he left for Tahiti in 1895. He survived from art sales and support from friends, later becoming a newspaper editor until 1901. This didn’t mean some of his artwork wasn’t sold in Paris. Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? sold for 2,500 francs (about $10,000 in year 2000 US dollars) in 1901. With a steady flow of income, he was able to make Marquesas Island his home.

Vahine no te tiare (Woman with a Flower), 1891
Vahine no te tiare (Woman with a Flower), 1891
The Midday Nap (1894)
The Midday Nap, 1894
Te aa no areois (The Seed of the Areoi), 1892
Te aa no areois (The Seed of the Areoi), 1892
Nave nave moe (Sacred spring, sweet dreams), 1894
Nave nave moe (Sacred spring, sweet dreams), 1894
maternity 1899
Maternity, 1899
Christ in the Garden of Olives (Gauguin's self-portrait) 1889,
Christ in the Garden of Olives (Gauguin’s self-portrait), 1889
Annah the Javanese, (1893),
Annah the Javanese, 1893
Arii Matamoe (The Royal End) (1892)
Arii Matamoe (The Royal End), 1892
Nave nave moe (Sacred spring, sweet dreams), 1894
Nave nave moe (Sacred spring, sweet dreams), 1894
maternity 1899
Maternity, 1899

Other painters during that time, Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne, initially helped him further his artistic vision. He moved to Copenhagen with his family, but it wasn’t what he had hoped. He returned to Paris in 1885, took low-end jobs, and held contempt for Georges Seurat (known for pointillism) and unfriended Pissarro. He found new energy at Pont-Aven, an artist’s colony, in Brittany, France in 1886. He found new friendships in Émile Bernard, Charles Laval, and Émile Schuffenecker. It was here he became disinterested in Impressionism and found vigor in folk art and Japanese print work. He experimented in other painting styles during this time. His visit to Panama in 1887 was the introduction to non-European women in his paintings and affinity for them in relationships. He continued having strained relationships with artists and this time it was the brothers, Vincent and Theo van Gogh. Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir had no problem expressing their distaste for his work. On the opposite side, he found a lifelong friend in Edgar Degas.

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Gauguin playing a harmonium at Alphonse Mucha’s studio at rue de la Grande-Chaumière, Paris, 1895
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Maruru (Offerings of Gratitude), 1894
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Paul Gauguin, Alfons Mucha, Luděk Marold, and Annah the Javanese at Mucha’s studio, 1893
The Universe is Created (L'Univers est créé), from the Noa Noa suite, 1893–94
The Universe is Created (L’Univers est créé), from the Noa Noa suite, 1893–94

Gauguin is probably second most remembered for his stay in Tahiti and how it influenced him and vice versa. Part of the reason for him traveling there was to get away from European civilization and spent considerable time in Papeete. He again was broke with health issues, and returned to France. It was during this time he had a falling out with Paul Durand-Ruel and Ambroise Vollard, both art dealers. Gauguin was miserly with his money and selfish in his actions and never saw Europe or his children again when he left for Tahiti in 1895. He survived from art sales and support from friends, later becoming a newspaper editor until 1901. This didn’t mean some of his artwork wasn’t sold in Paris. Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? sold for 2,500 francs (about $10,000 in year 2000 US dollars) in 1901. With a steady flow of income, he was able to make Marquesas Island his home.

Where Do We Come From What Are We Where Are We Going, 1897
Where Do We Come From What Are We Where Are We Going, 1897
Le Sorcier d'Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in a Red Cape), 1902,
Le Sorcier d’Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in a Red Cape), 1902
Two Women (1901 or 1902)
Two Women (1901 or 1902)
Still life with Exotic Birds, 1902,
Still life with Exotic Birds, 1902
Riders on the Beach, 1902
Riders on the Beach, 1902
Landscape with a Pig and a Horse (Hiva Oa), 1903
Landscape with a Pig and a Horse (Hiva Oa), 1903

He had a love and hate relationship the church. He sided with them in some respects, but felt the institution was hypocritical when it came to sexual matters. He had no shortage of being revengeful, and fought against what he felt were injustices done to him whether it come from his family, institutions, or military. His health had deteriorated, mainly his legs and heart, and wasn’t able to paint. He engaged in writing and wrote his autobiography, although choppy, and letters to his friends. It was a review of his life. He died on May 8, 1903. All but three of his children outlived him. He had five children with Mette: Émile, Aline, Clovis, Jean René, and Paul Rollon. He had three children from two different women: Germaine Huais, Émile Marae a Tai, and a daughter that died in infancy. He had one daughter with a fourteen year old girl, Vaeoho, who left him shortly before giving birth.

Jules Agostini's 1896 photograph of Gauguin's house in Punaauia.
Jules Agostini’s photograph of Gauguin’s house in Punaauia, 1896
Père Paillard (Father Lechery), 1902
Père Paillard (Father Lechery), 1902
Paul Gauguin, 1894, Oviri (Sauvage), partially glazed stoneware
Paul Gauguin, 1894, Oviri (Sauvage), partially glazed stoneware
Paul Gauguin, 1893–95, Objet décoratif carré avec dieux tahitiens, terre cuite, rehauts peints
Paul Gauguin, 1893–95, Objet décoratif carré avec dieux tahitiens, terre cuite, rehauts peints

There is no doubt that Gauguin left a mark in many places, some good and some bad. HE was an artist, father, and husband who struggled throughout much of his life. I would say he was his own worst critic and enemy. He loved women and wasn’t afraid of it. His works sell in the millions and Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) sold for 210 million in 2014.

Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry), 1892,
Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry), 1892

“Don’t copy nature too literally. Art is an abstraction. Derive it from nature as you dream in nature’s presence, and think more about the act of creation than the outcome.”

Pictures/Information by Wikipedia

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