IT WAS THE FIRST time I was invited to such an event and it would be my last. I was invited to an ice skating birthday party many years ago. The party was being held at an indoor ice skating rink that had a party room that my friend’s parents decorated with balloons and signs. I had never gone ice skating before so I was excited to try it out. After lacing up the skates, on wobbly legs I made my way to the rink, grabbing any solid object for balance on my way. Stepping on the ice I remained at the side with my hand on the short wall that surrounded the rink. I had seen ice skaters on TV and thought it was easy to stand on a thin steel blade but I was wrong. Every time I let go of the wall and tried to skate I fell down. I do not think I ever made it around the rink once without my skates slipping out from underneath me, either falling face first on the ice or on my backside. THOUGH THERE WAS STILL time to skate before we were having cake, I got off the ice and sat on a bench where there was carpeting. I would not say I was sad, maybe frustrated; since there were people on the ice who made it look effortless. There were a few individuals who would skate face forward then suddenly do a hop so they could skate going backwards. I still remember one girl who was given a wide space around her because she was doing these incredible fast spins, where she simply looked like a blur or did spinning jumps in the air that captivated me. These few people almost looked like the skaters I would watch at the Olympics and other ice skating competitions. Sitting there looking at my discarded skates, I wondered if it was possible to get a second blade on each boot. I just felt if I had more blades to balance on I could make my way around the rink. And do you know what the funny part is to this story? I remember seeing Tonya Harding on television when she did something that no other female skater had done before and no one I saw at that rink was like her. FROM A YOUNG AGE Tonya, played by Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad, The Wolf of Wall Street), stood out from the other ice skaters; her mother LaVona Golden, played by Allison Janney (Hairspray, The Hours), stood out even more. Based on true events this film festival winning, biographical drama has to be seen to be believed. Allison was totally outrageous in the role and I see award nominations piling up for her. Margot was a perfect fit for this character; it was a smart choice on her part that will make her even more bankable as they say. With Sebastian Stan (Captain America franchise, The Covenant) as Jeff Gillooly, Paul Walter Hauser (Kingdom-TV, Super Troopers 2) as Shawn and Julianne Nicholson (Black Mass, August: Osage County) as Diane Rawlinson; I cannot remember how long it has been since I sat in a movie theater laughing out loud. The script beautifully blended outrageous moments with tragic undertones. The story when it happened was so bizarre to begin with, I enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes stuff in this movie even if it was not true. One thing I knew for certain was the judgmental views officials had about Tonya. No matter which way one chooses to view Tonya in this picture, the fact remains she did something astounding. You will have to decide what it was she did.
3 ½ stars
There are some individuals who have been fortunate to extend beyond their 15 minutes of fame, though not always for the best reasons. I not only believe everyone should get their 15 minutes but I feel many people do not even realize they already used part of their time. A person who performs an act of kindness, such as giving up their seat in a crowded train car to someone else or helping an individual with directions to a particular spot, achieve a bit of that fame in someone’s eyes. Before I say what I am going to say next, I want to first state that I feel everyone has the right to work as long as they are able and have the desire. However, I have seen some people who may be better off if they had stopped at an earlier time, especially when it comes to celebrities. There have been film stars who wind up hawking a company’s products or go on the lecture circuit and I am okay with these career changes. But when I see a celebrity trying to maintain their past “glory” by turning themselves into a caricature of their former self just to make a dollar or stay in the public eye, I have to wonder if they really need the attention and money. Since I have been reviewing movies I have seen some actors, even Oscar nominated ones that were doing work that was absolutely beneath them. Did they really need the money? When I was an extra on a movie set there was an actor in the cast that some of us were surprised he agreed to be in the film; it was a silly role for him. He was such a jerk during the filming, one had to wonder if he always acted that way or was he upset that he had to do this type of work now. It is similar to the main character in this dramatic comedy. TO receive an inheritance bronze medal winner Hope, played by Melissa Rauch (Are You Here, The Big Bang Theory-TV), had to coach an up and coming gymnast; a job she felt was beneath her. This film festival nominee had a story that was relatable to viewers; who hasn’t done work they did not like? I could say it for my experience with this picture because I had to sit through this movie listening to crude, offensive remarks in a ridiculous story. With Sebastian Stan (The Martian, Black Swan) as Lance and Gary Cole (In the Line of Fire, Pineapple Express) as Stan, I sat in my seat trying to figure out what attracted the movie studio to okay this film project. The humor was not funny to me except for maybe a couple of instances and if this truly wanted to be a satire I did not see it as such. This may have been partially a story about extending one’s fame but the outcome in my opinion deserves to take back some of that used time.
1 ½ stars