A Silver Lining of Expectations

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More often than not, my high expectations for films are not met with an equal level of satisfaction. This past Saturday I attended a screening of Silver Linings Playbook and a Q&A with the Writer/Director David O. Russell. As you are probably well aware, the film has received tons of praise from film critics and fans alike. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are expected to receive Oscar nominations, and the screenplay is being regarded as a real contender at this year’s ceremonies. As a result, my expectations were through the roof.

For months I have avoided seeing the film, a tactic I have done for anticipated films for years. The way I see it, if I avoid them for long enough, and wait out all of the excitement, I will be less upset when the film turns out not to be too good.  It took me 3 months to watch The Amazing Spider-Man, which I hated, 2 months to watch Ted, which I was just disappointed with, and a solid month and a half to watch Pixar’s latest film, Brave. And while I can’t say for certain if it helped, I want to believe that by actually avoiding the fanfare at the time, I was less annoyed that they never matched my expectations.  I didn’t  have to rock back and forth in my seat deciding whether to walk out of the theater, nor did I have to deal with the Emma and Andrew fanatics screaming every time they appeared together on screen. Instead, I was able to watch the films in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by my roommates who really don’t have much of an opinion on entertainment news, and when the films stunk, I easily escaped to a bowl of cereal and sports conversation without much time to think about them But when I heard the Q&A was also being offered, coupled with the fact that it has already been out for a month, I decided to ignore my method, and attend the screening in theater.

I have to say fans…The film utterly, and absolutely…

Rocked!

For the first time, in what feels like forever, my expectations were matched. Bradley Cooper was sensational. Jennifer Lawrence, my God that girl can act. And Chris Tucker and Jackie Weaver, wow, I was not expecting that at all. The dialogue was incredible and unforgiving, the slightly hurried editing, which was borderline erratic, actually worked to perfection, and overall the film was superb. I laughed, I cried, I was worried, I was excited, and I was just in joy. Not since seeing The Dark Knight midnight screening have I left a film more satisfied. The film, dare I say, might’ve single handedly changed my mind on how I look at anticipated films.

In fact, the only disappointing part of the experience was the Q&A, in which the director never showed up. Instead the crowds of pleased fans were left with Shea Whigham (who plays Bradley Cooper’s brother in the film), Paul Herman (‘Beansie’ from the Sopranos), and two producers who clearly had no desire to be there. Sure it was nice to hear that Jennifer Lawrence had actually skype-auditioned last minute for the part, and that Robert De Niro pushed himself to tears in one scene to make it look perfect, but overall, the questions and the answers couldn’t live up to the film.

So while my next plan might be to avoid Q&A’s, I won’t let something as small as that ruin my new perspective on film. I have The Impossible and Zero Dark Thirty to catch up on today, Les Miserables and Django Unchained tomorrow, and in a few weeks I have Gangster Squad. Wish me luck as I take the step into the land of expectations and hope for your sake that the films live up to their hype. Otherwise be ready to deal with a man audibly muttering curse words next to you throughout the film. Merry Christmas, have a great a new year and Excelsior!!

Today’s poll

Which cast member from Silver Linings Playbook is your favorite?

Bradley Cooper

Jennifer Lawrence

Robert De Niro

Chris Tucker

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