Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Win Win = Winning

Paul Giamatti. Amy Ryan. Bobby Cannavale. If this collection of names doesn't convince you to rent Win Win (*finally* available at Redbox and Netflix), then this phrase should: written and directed by Thomas McCarthy. Other McCarthy productions include The Station Agent (my favorite McCarthy--and features Tyrion Lannister!) and The Visitor (despite the Oscar nomination, still underrated). In fact, see those first, then check out Win Win, the story of an underemployed lawyer and volunteer coach for the local high school wrestling team (Giamatti) whose economic desperation leads him to cross paths with that cool, talented, damaged kid we all knew in high school, Kyle (Alex Shaffer, in what should be a star-making performance). McCarthy lives in the same neo-realist house as Jonathan Franzen, but whereas Franzen writes from the formal dining room, McCarthy directs from the more optimistic and less cynical finished basement. At a certain point, you're going to be afraid that this movie will break your heart, but that means you've handed over said heart to the movie, and Win Win takes that responsibility seriously. As my partner-in-crime pointed out, this one was only in the theatre for five seconds, but it's more than worth a watch now.

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