Date Movie Talk: 'Silver Linings Playbook'
In the end, “Silver Linings Playbook” is, well, hilarious, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting. Lets face it: we’re all crazy. We all have our idiosyncrasies, obsessions, skeletons in the closet, shameful memories, and regrettable choices. These issues can be paralyzing, preventing us from reaching out to make a connection with someone who may just be, if not the cure, the salve, for what ails you. It’s rare a movie tackles such serious subject matter without a smidge of heavy handedness, unintended camp, or actions that ring in-authentic to the characters in the film. You may not notice it at first, but “Silver Linings Playbook” is a great movie, regardless of the company you may or may not keep.
If you’re bringing a girl you’re fixing to romance to this movie - make sure she’s interested in *you*. There’s nothing worse than taking a girl to the kind of movie that makes your mind wander to the lost romances of your life, and finding out your date still isn’t quite over her breakup from Tommy who works at the Starbucks. Thankfully, if she digs you, there is a lot to be sappy over in this movie. On more than one occasion you’ll very likely hear sniffles and “awww”s from the audience during the movie’s tender moments, that are like music to the romantic’s ears. Take note of when your date makes these noises, and try to use them to your advantage for strategic hand-holding and arm-around-shouldering - certainly the key to any successful movie-date. Similarly, you’ll be able to gauge your potential mate’s penchant for intelligent movie-going by her engagement. While compelling, funny, human, and enthralling, “Silver Linings Playbook” isn’t very exciting. If you look over to find the harsh white glow of a cell-phone, you may want to bail out on any potential relationship.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is ultimately a great first date movie for a few reasons. It’s touching, romantic, celebrates love and family - and it’s sexy too. While certainly more than eye candy, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are incredibly attractive people, and certain scenes in the flick feature palpable romantic chemistry that may very well get your libedo beating faster than the drums in a White Stripes song.
While I’m not a doctor or even in a relationship, I worry if perhaps that if viewed in the wrong light, this movie could be potentially damaging for mid-to-long-term couples and married folks. Especially if there has ever been infidelity or a tendency for bursts of anger or violence on the part of either mate. “Silver Linings Playbook” hammers home the fact that we’re all crazy, and that love can and will conquer all, if not most. The problem is that while the movie is very natural and believable, watching it with someone who you know to be unfaithful could rend an incredibly painful experience for both parties.
Also, often times relationships that are emotionally abusive find themselves in a situation kind of similar to what “Silver Linings Playbook” presents toward the end of the film. Bradley Cooper’s Pat is violent, and crazy, and is ultimately saved, in a sense, by Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany. That whole “We’re both crazy, baby” kind of mentality is what allows an insecure gal to stay with her boyfriend through his semi-regular fits of anger that may very well land the family cat in the E.R. - and if taken in the wrong light could reinforce a person’s commitment to making a poisoned relationship work.
But, if you’re happy and married, or headed down that road, well, you can’t do much better than “Silver Linings” Playbook. While sexy, it’s not deliberately misogynistic, and there aren’t really any shots or sequences in the film that exist solely to show off the sexy bods of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence - which some movies are wont to do, and there’s enough comedy, romance, humor, and sports talk to satisfy even the most cynical of men.
There’s a lot you can talk about coming out of “Silver Linings Playbook” the first topic which may very well be “That got nominated for a bunch of Oscars?”. It’s true, “Silver Lining’s Playbook” is up for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. As mentioned above, the movie has a habit of making it look easy, to the point where you may not even realize how great the movie really is. Really very few films are capable of balancing the subject matter of obsession, mental illness, competitive dance, romance, family, and self-betterment in a way that doesn’t come off ham-handed or just simply awful. A single wrong turn would have derailed the entire shebang, and if you want an example, give “Friends With Benefits” a watch and watch the entire film come crashing to a screeching halt upon the introduction of a sub-plot involving Alzheimer's disease.
If you’re looking to impress your date with your knowledge of the cinema-scape, David O. Russell is probably one the best Directors to read up on - and talk about. He’s notoriously difficult to work with. You could mention how the guy got into a fist fight with George Clooney on the set of “Three Kings”, or about the viral video that features an tirade of epic proportions toward Lily Tomlin on the set of “I Guys, also be prepared to talk about “Hunger Games.” Sorry fellas, there’s no way you’re getting out of it. If you haven’t seen it, “Hunger Games” is a movie about a bunch of teenagers who compete in a brutal fight to the death in order to win fabulous cash and prizes. It’s actually pretty awesome - though I think girls are in it for the empowerment, love triangle, and crazy futuristic fashion (Psh, wearing real burning flames after Labor Day? That’s so 2029). While the movie featuring Jennifer Lawrence was middling at best, there were highlights, and if you want to sound like a movie buff, talk about how great Stanley Tucci was in the flick and that you think Josh Hutcherson was an insufferable cad.
Girls, get ready to talk about “The Hangover” and get ready for drunken college stories from your date. Bradley Cooper made a name for himself in both “The Hangover” and “The Hangover Part II”, and while you completely forget it’s the same guy during the course of “Silver Linings Playbook” inevitably some time after you leave the theater, your beau (or potential beau) will talk about how “Epic” those movies are and very likely relate them to some surely exaggerated debauchery from his own life. A key thing to look out for here is that you very much want to hear him say that the first one was better than the second - this is a universally accepted truth. If not, well, you may have yourself a man with bland tastes.
If you and your date thoroughly enjoyed “Silver Linings Playbook” and you’re looking for another movie to watch, but don’t feel like diving into David O. Russell’s back catalog, “Bridesmaids” pairs delightfully well with “Silver Linings Playbook”. Both films, while on appearing on the surface to be romantic comedies, are quite a bit deeper than you’d initially give them credit for. “Bridesmaids” trends closer to being a flat-out farcical comedy, but both films subtextually fixate on accountability and taking responsibility in their own slightly slanted ways. “Silver Linings Playbook” takes a messier approach; by the end no one is “cured”, and surely the ghosts of past transgressions will haunt the characters even after the happy ending. “Bridesmaids” seems to have a weird AA undercurrent going throughout the film, with Kristen Wiig’s character being a self-blaming not-quite-sad-sack throughout the film until she learns to respect herself and take responsibility for her life and actions - Salvation is only for those who help themselves, and such.
But the main reason for watching “Bridesmaids” after “Silver Linings Playbook” is that the one-two punch of Cooper and Lawrence’s chemistry and Kristen Wiig and Chris O’Dowd’s adorable courtship is simply too authentically romantic to resist. If you and your date make it all the way through both movies, and no-ones made a first move, either play two-person “Spin The Bottle” or call the whole thing off because the sparks simply aren’t there.
There's a lot to pull from "Silver Linings Playbook" and if you feel like talking about the movie and seeing where the conversation could take you, there's obviously quite a lot you can discuss, or expect to discuss as you can see above. But like good movies, good dates can sometimes wash over you, a cavalcade of sights and smells and sounds and moments that form together into a distinct mood, and leave an impression on your psyche that's everlasting. If that's the case, I hope I helped.
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