Tag Archives: Amy Ryan

Win Win (2011)

Win Win tells the story of Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti), a down-on-his-luck lawyer who becomes the legal guardian of one of his aging clients. However, he gets more than he expected when the client’s estranged grandson Kyle (newcomer Alex Shaffer) shows up in town as a runaway.

The idea of Paul Giamatti starring in an indie dramedy as a schlubby middle class guy is not exactly groundbreaking, but that hardly matters, because Win Win is so good. No, it may not offer anything new to the genre, but it’s a quietly funny, heartfelt tale that barely ever hits a false note.

Everyone in the cast is good. Giamatti, as always, brings the perfect combination of neuroticism and charm, while Amy Ryan shines as his tough-talking wife with a big old soft heart. To me the real standout was Bobby Canavale as Mike’s divorced, aimless high school buddy, Terry. Canavale is hilarious, and he brings energy to a film that could otherwise feel a bit too low-key. Terry’s charismatic, but he’s also a douchebag, and Canavale deftly brings out both sides in equal measure.

The story is simple and slow, but that definitely works in the film’s favour. Every character seems fully fleshed out, and as a viewer, you feel totally immersed in Mike’s world. My only complaint is with a character who doesn’t show up until part way through the film (I don’t know if revealing that character would qualify as a spoiler, but I like to err on the side of caution). Their presence seems to interrupt the flow of the story a bit, and while that’s the point, I feel like that character is painted a tad too one-dimensionally in order to move the plot along.

That said, though, Win Win, is an expertly constructed, well-acted film. When done well, I really enjoy character studies, and this is a great one. It’s kind of like Greenberg without some of the hints of pseudo-intellectual quirk, and Up in the Air without some of the glossy finesse.

8/10

10 People Who Need to Host Saturday Night Live

 

It was recently announced that Megan Fox will be the host for the premiere of the 35th season of Saturday Night Live, which will air on September 26. At first, I hated this choice, mainly because I can’t stand Megan Fox. Then I began to see that Fox has the potential to succeed as a host. If she actually goes for it, and doesn’t worry about looking stupid and doesn’t mind poking fun at herself, they could probably get some funny material out of her. And (despite her questionable level of skill) she is an actor. Actors almost always do a better hosting job than politicians, musician, or athletes (though there is at least one exception with Peyton Manning, who was probably one of the best hosts of recent SNL history), since that’s what they do. You can’t expect to send Michael Phelps in there and automatically get comedic gold. But even if Fox does a decent job hosting, it’s still a pretty safe, predictable choice on SNL’s part. They know that most people tuning in won’t even care if Fox is funny. Does anyone ever watch anything involving Megan Fox to admire her talent? So I began to think about people who I think would be edgier, funnier hosts. Last season, the show’s more successful hosts were the oddball, unexpected choices, like Jon Hamm, John Malkovich, and Neil Patrick Harris. So here are ten people who have never hosted Saturday Night Live (to the best of my knowledge), and who I think could do a great job with it.

 

1. Zach Galifianakis

His comedy style is incredibly offbeat, but I think it would be a refreshing change for a show where the biggest problem is stale writing. In my opinion, there are two kinds of hosting styles for SNL. Some hosts try to compliment the comedy of the show, and if they’re successful (think Anne Hathaway or Zach’s Hangover co-star, Bradley Cooper), they almost seem like they could be one of the cast members. But other hosts are larger than life and steal every skit that they’re in, even if they’re the straight-man. Galifianakis could be the next Christopher Walken.

 

2. Will Arnett

He’s married to the show’s most beloved recent alumnus, and he was on the already-classic Arrested Development. So why hasn’t Will Arnett hosted? He could definitely be another scene-stealer, and I could see him playing off of the rest of the cast really well. After all, he’s already done movies with most of the shows’ cast members (Hot Rod, The Brothers Solomon, The Rocker), so I think his humour would fit in well.

 

3. Anderson Cooper

So this probably seems like a weird choice for the #3 slot, but if you’ve ever seen CNN’s “Silver Fox” interviewed outside of the newsroom, you know that he’s a pretty quick guy. Brian Williams did quite a respectable hosting job a couple of years ago, and I think that Cooper could follow suit.

 

4. Zooey Deschannel

Everyone loves Zooey, and I think that her sunny, laid-back charm would do wonders on the show. She’s got a quirky kind of vibe about her, which be a change from the usual starlets that they have on the show.

 

5. Demetri Martin

Another stand-up comedian turned actor who has a quirky style about him. He’s very youthful, and I think he would work well with the rest of the cast. His oddball humour seems kind of similar to the work that the Lonely Island team is doing, so I think that he would be a great match.

 

6. Ryan Reynolds

He seems to be more along the lines of the hosts that SNL usually gets, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him hosting the show (though we might have to wait until The Green Lantern movie comes out). He’s really funny, and even in some of the so-so movies he’s been in, his charisma still shines. I think he would be a lively choice.

 

7. Joel McHale

The hilarious host of The Soup already incorporates some sketch comedy into his show, so I think he would adapt easily to SNL‘s format. He’s got a new series coming this fall (Community), and will be in the new Soderbergh flick (The Informant!) so now we just need him to bring some of his talent and wit to this venue.

 

8. Jason Segal

Almost every other big name from the Apatow clan has hosted, so I think it’s probably a matter of time until Jason Segal does, too. He’s a very funny guy, and has that “everyman” quality, which can be very funny. I think he’d be willing to do just about anything on the show.

 

9. BJ Novak

Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson have both successfully hosted the show, and I think that it’s about time that another Office cast member tries their hand. John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer would probably both be fine choices, but my pick is actually for BJ “Ryan the Temp” Novak. He’s seems like a cool guy, and he always has awesome reactions to wacky situations.

 

10. Amy Ryan

Okay, so she’s also on The Office, but I think that Amy Ryan would be great, too. Of course, she’s primarily a serious actor, but she’s just so charming as Steve Carell’s love interest, Holly. She’s quirky, but I think she’d also fit in with the style of the show.

 

So there you have it. Disagree with any of my choices? Have any of your own to add? Feel free to leave a comment!