Posts Tagged ‘adminsitration’

Film: “Results”

June 9, 2015

Kevin Corrigan and Cobie Smulders in “Results”

The romantic triangle form has served film comedy for a long time, and there are some notable ones, such as The Philadelphia Story or, a personal favorite, James Brooks’ Broadcast News. This film, written and directed by Andrew Bujalski, is one in what’s identified as the “mumblecore” genre. While it has pleasures to offer, it’s still (sorry) kind of a letdown.

The chief pleasure is Kevin Corrigan, who just may be the comic genius the NYTimes critic has already dubbed him. He plays Danny, a pudgy, shlubby transplanted New Yorker in Austin who shows up at a local gym to get “in shape”, which means, he explains, being able to “take a punch”. The gym owner is Trevor, a demonically ambitious transplant from Australia played by Guy Pearce. The female part of the triangle, Kat, is the top trainer at the gym, who is assigned Danny as a client. Danny seems to have more money than he knows what to do with, and most of it goes towards things – like pizza, wide-screen TV and weed – that have nothing to do with “getting in shape”. As played by Cobie Smulders, Kat is, at first, even more zealous about physical fitness and getting the best “results” for her clients than Trevor.

But then, she never had a client like Danny. Corrigan pretty much owns the first hour of the film, and each tantalizing revelation of the depth of Danny’s ineptitude makes for some delightful comedy, especially his interplay with Kat, who, quite to her amazement, becomes as attracted to him as he is to her.

I wish I could say the comic fizz kept bubbling but, after a sudden shift in story and tone, what had been a refreshing cocktail becomes a flat Foster’s. Specifically, Bujalski decides to take Danny out of the triangle altogether, devoting the rest of the film to Trevor and Kat. Part of the problem is Pearce, who is simply no megawatt charmer like Redford or Clooney, or his fellow Australian Paul Hogan. Phenomenally muscled, he seems far less strained and pained lifting weights than by having to kiss his co-star. Smulders, on the other hand, is someone to watch. Bringing to mind the young Catherine Keener, in her indie-queen days, she is fresh, game and sexy. Her character’s late conversion is not credible, but that’s probably beyond what any other actress could do.

But the real story here is Kevin Corrigan, and he’s the reason I recommend the film. Danny’s obliviousness is so total, it’s almost sinister. He’s not proud of his faults, but he’s blind to the one that gets him into the most trouble: misunderstanding other people. Corrigan’s line delivery and expression are beyond quirky, falling into downright weird. Think Jack Black crossed with Peter Sellers at his looniest. And Bujalski knows that part of the fun is how uncomfortably the other characters struggle so as not to offend this rich, but impossible misfit.

A final word: this is the most un-Texas Texas film I’ve ever seen. Nobody has a western accent, there’s no horses and the only person who says he has a gun (not shown) is from New York. The characters are positively dripping with SoCal insouciance, and leave puddles. Stupefying!


Does Warren Buffett Think President Obama is Toast?

November 19, 2010

  The billionaire Warren Buffett wrote an opinion piece for the NYTimes Op-Ed this week, and it was a jaw-dropper.  Basically, he was just thanking “Uncle Sam” for coming through on the financial crisis, which averted disaster. Now we have calmer seas in these still-troubled waters, but at least the Ship is finding its safe course, and we are not dashed on the rocks of a new Depression.

  He wanted the American people to know how grateful he was to the government, which he referred to in familiar, avuncular terms.  He then went on to mention a few of the prominent people who weathered the storm that began in September, 2008.  Several names were mentioned, including Ben Bernanke, but he also doffed his cap to George W. Bush, who directed the recovery, and got the entire crew to work together.

  So what’s wrong with that?  Nothing, as far as it goes.  But we are now nearing Thanksgiving, 2010!  It seems that his gratitude is reserved for the leader who left the ship before the storm even hit us.  He is writing from the perspective of a survivor, like the rest of us.  But why doesn’t he mention our current leader, who was steering the ship through the worst of the storm?  After all, Buffett is feeling a sense of relief today.  If he was only thankful for the government’s role for what it did in 2008, why is he waiting until now to express it? 

  Perhaps the reason is that he didn’t feel confident enough about the recovery until now.  But if so, it stands to reason that the current Captain is just as responsible for that feeling of confidence as the last one.

   But he doesn’t even get mentioned by name.  Even though Buffett has praised Obama in the past, he doesn’t even say the word “President” this time. Very strange.

  Nevertheless, I don’t think it’s an oversight on Buffett’s part.  He seems to be saying that Obama’s leadership was not an important factor in getting us to where we are today.  Rather, it is the policies that were initiated at the end of the previous administration that are the reason for his thanks.  And also, by inference, he is dismissing the policies of the current administration, as well as Obama’s leadership, as pretty much irrelevant to the recovery.

  Finally, and most significantly, he is saying something about the future.  If Buffett is praising the policies of the previous administration, as well as its leadership, he implies his wish for a return to those policies.  And also, since Buffett is known to be very deliberate and cautious in his public statements, his omission of Obama’s name shows that he doesn’t even feel he is risking anything by offending him.  After all, the guy’s not going to be around for more than two years.

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