Jumanji directed by Jake Kasdan/ I, Tonya directed by Craig Gillespe
It has been a rough week for me. Monday my boss called me in for a 90 day review and told me he was not impressed with my experience and not happy with my work. If things didn't improve soon I was going to be fired. There was a knot in my stomach after that. The next day I sold a bunch. Then Wednesday only 1. I wasn't happy with the job either, and the boss' hands off - figure it out yourself, call the supportline and stop bothering me, I'm leaving early again, training style.
I am an auditory learner and I need to hear other people say things out loud in order to pick up the right way to do things, and even when I have a decent idea of how to do something I sometimes need to ask a question out loud, or at least say something out loud, just to get my gears turning. Preferably to a human being, and sometimes I even need to make a joke about something to relate to it enough to remember it. And I also like confirmation, like when I complete something, I like a sound or a screen that says "change completed". People who design software for insurance don't give a fuck about that, or they didn't in the 1980s when they designed their system software. And these cheap corporate fuckers won't update their shit. We're talking DOS.
Some people (like most of the people in the line of work I'm trying to support myself doing) are numbers people, people who enjoy filling out forms. People who can look at a spreadsheet or an archaic 1980's computer screen filled with abbreviations and numbers, blue text on a black screen, absorb all the info quickly and navigate it perfectly, while some customer talks about nonsense in their earpiece. This is their concept of being smart. "IQ". Asking how to do something out loud, to them is the essence of weakness and being dumb. But how high an IQ could you expect a person to have if they haven't figured out how to get a better less soul crushing cubicle job?
I had never been fired from any job in my life until I started selling insurance. Getting fired from this job would make it four times in the last four years. One of those jobs, my previous job to this one, lasted more than 2 years. The boss from that previous job told me he didn't think I was cut out for insurance. I agree with that on one level. I don't think I am cut out to sell insurance for people who don't appreciate me.
But what I will not agree with is that I am somehow stupid or a bad salesman. No boss' lame abstract assessment is going to convince me of it. I know I am neither of those things. but still those ideas were rattling around in my mind, making me upset, and I had a knot in my stomach since that meeting on Monday. My skin broke out in a few pimples, most likely from stress.
I vastly prefer quitting to getting fired.
Wednesday after work I went to see Jumanji.
Jumanji was dope!
What are movies for? Well they have various purposes. Escapist entertainment is high among those purposes. This movie went up against Star Wars episode 8 in its second weekend and started kicking ass at the box office immediately. It had a fun trailer. Its the reboot of The 90's Robin Williams movie which I remember as not as bad as Flubber or other fare of that type. A magical board game that comes to life. I remember Tigers. And that I thought it was a family friendly version of the 80's movie House and House 2. Ok so I don't remember all that much of the original Jumanji. You don't need to.
Jumanji is a board game that comes alive. That's the concept. I wanted to see what kind of movie can go up against Star Wars and stay atop the box office the way this one did. That was the hook for me. That and I like Jack Black.
This time around, the board game Jumanji becomes a Playstation era video game that comes alive. Instead of a family its 4 teens in detention. Obviously the twist on the concept is taken from the Breakfast Club. Depending on your point of view you could say the characters present nothing new and border on cliche, or you could say they are clearly defined characters and are easy to understand, but shorthand character types are a necessity in this movie because the teens are only in it for a few minutes to set up their characters before they get pulled into the game and are then played by The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and a redhead who I didn't recognise immediately but was in Dr Who and played Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy. She's got "It" and so do the teen actors who set up the characters in real life. as well as Nick Jonas. There is a lot of talent here in the actors who are not yet household name actors and though its weird to say, I can tell, this movie is going to be like Diner or American Graffiti where you will watch it in twenty years and say "Look how young!" and I found it refreshing.
Anyway, a legit fun adventure movie plays out, and while the characters are simple and definable rather than complex, its perfect here. The things that happen on the adventure cause the characters to grow and change in a way that makes sense!
The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and the Redhead (Karen Gillard) do their thing, are very funny and shine for an hour and a half. Bobby Cannavale plays a bizarre villain, more on him later, he adds to it in a notable way.
When the adventure is complete the movie incites the audience to say the title of the movie. Its fun, and it reminded me of that part in Peter Pan (if you believe in fairies clap your hands). Now, you are either the type of person who claps at that part of the movie, or not.
I'm happy to say even in an empty movie theater. I yelled it out. Like I said, Sometimes I need to say things out loud for a sense of completion. Thank goodness its a fun word to say.
I walked out of the theater feeling somewhat better. The pit in my stomach came back, probably on the ride home. But for two hours I was outside of that feeling, so the movie did its job. It was a good time. What it did, that Star Wars did not, was give you the feeling of a small group of young people finding out what they were about, and becoming friends. It's simple, but a very strong storytelling trope to rely on. I think its weird that the Star Wars team Disney put together doesn't get that. Its what Star Wars and Disney were built on. I guess its easy to literally read Joseph Campbell's hero's journey and miss that very compelling part of it. That's a big part of what people want to see, at least I do. I noticed it.
The next morning I went in to work, I got called into the boss' office and got fired.
That sucked. I hate getting fired. But at least that particular pit of dread in my stomach disappeared. Sure there would be a new stress ball coming. It's a relief to not have to keep trying to prove your worth to someone who doesn't understand or appreciate your strengths and efforts. Don't get me wrong I'm still totally screwed, I do feel the rug pulled out from under me.
Oh yeah, something I have only told a few close friends is that I passed my real estate test a couple weeks ago. I had already started scheduling interviews to change jobs and fields. But, now my hand is forced. This change was going to happen. Its just now my employment transition is something I have to react and adapt to rather than plan out. Who knows if getting fired is for the best or not? I am hoping it is.
I went home and ate a salami and cheese sandwich, canceled my Netflix renewal, took a nap and tried to plot out my next move.
I figure I need a flexible gig economy job to keep me afloat while I get started with real estate/doing insurance as an independent. Uber.
Friday morning, 420. I got down to a used car lot try to finance an Uber car. The guy I spoke to on the phone wasn't there. The junior car salesman handed me the key I put my foot on the brake, hit the start button, and the 2010 prius with 225.000 miles didn't start. He jumped it, and said "someone must have left something on this is a perfectly good car, no problems with it". The ad said the starter battery was just replaced a month ago. I went to starbucks and came back after it ran for 30 mins. Turned it off and again it wouldn't start. I just looked at the dude and was like I'm not buying this car. Morning wasted. It was 420. It was Friday, I had just got fired. I figured I soon would be too.
I thought I would check out the used car lot near the dollar theater. They didn't have shit I could afford. I guess I will have to figure out something else.
I went and saw I, Tonya.
I, Tonya was excellent. I loved how it used multiple perspectives. As a story it was a blistering attack on the concept of truth in media, it addressed domestic violence, female power, power in general and almost a dissection of what a farce is, its very of the moment, but in some places really not. I guess you could criticise it for not nailing a tone, or not spelling out that it knows what type of movie it wants to be. I like that its open to interpretation so, that didn't bother me. In fact it fit the story.
And its a great story. Margot Robbie proved once and for all that she could act, and gave an amazing performance and Alison Janney deserved an oscar, it was fucking great. You could probably rent it, its an actor's movie, and a very good one at that. I would watch it again just for Alison Janney's performance, it was that weird and good.
Bobby Cannavale was in both Jumanji and I. Tonya, so you could say I had myself a mini Cannavale-palooza.Two bizarre performances. One as a videogame villain with bugs crawling on his face and into his ears. A scary Villain. and in I, Tonia for some reason he is in brownface. I think he is anyway. Unless he tans really really easily and deeply, That's brownface. He plays a media guy. I don't know why he is so tan. Is brownface for no discernable reason ok now? I didn't hear any media outrage about it. Bobby Cannavale is a character actor I highly enjoy. He made both movies better, mainly by not being bad in them. Seems like he's in every movie, so I hereby declare him the new Gene Hackman!
Later I had a good time smoking recreationally and playing dominoes with friends, good friends and they know who they are. and I got home safe. woo!