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Monday, November 26, 2012 | The Corne¬ Daily Sun | 11

Silver Linings Playbook Is a Golden Romance BY JASON GOLDBERG Sun Staff Writer

The romantic-comedy formula is simple. Insert hot actor, then insert hot actress. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl. Have the uptight woman work at a top P.R. firm! The man swears he’ll never fall in love! Even throw less attractive best friends who will provide comic relief and maybe they’ll fall in love, too! With such a simple equation, Hollywood can reproduce the same repeatedly, making dollar after dollar for the same Katherine Heigl/Kate Hudson tripe. But can the film industry break away from these conventions for an honest, true tale of comical love? David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook is the response we have been waiting for. After a recent breakdown involving his now ex-wife, Patrick Solitano (Bradley Cooper) has spent eight months in a mental facility and is finally moving home with his family in Philadelphia. His mother, Dolores (Jacki Weaver), tries her best to help her bipolar son, all while dealing with her obsessive-compulsive husband Patrick Sr.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY

(Robert De Niro). While attempting to hand, the role could have been reduced to a reunite with his ex-wife, Patrick meets stereotypical pixie-manic dream girl, but Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a bombshell Lawrence’s command of the role adds depth widow with no filter and a probable mental and sadness to Tiffany. Proving herself to be disorder. Tiffany promises to help Patrick possibly the most skilled actress of her genreunite with his ex-wife as long as he agrees eration, Lawrence is a sure-thing come to perform in a dance competition with her Oscar nomination day. on Christmas Day. Russell, straight off his Oscar-nominated What could have been a conventional The Fighter, proves once again to be a maspaint-by-numter of storybers romantic telling. He Silver Linings Playbook comedy is eleapproaches vated by the the various Directed by David O. Russell superb cast mental disFeaturing Bradley Cooper, and the delieases that each Jennifer Lawrence cate hand of character posdirector David sesses with O. Russell. Bradley Cooper is the best he respect and intimacy, so as to not let us view has ever been, never over-the-top or unreal- their psychoses as insignificant or purely istic as the delusional Patrick. Robert De comical. Indeed, some meticulous Niro gives one of his finest performances in sequences, like when Patrick Sr. performs years and the Australian Jacki Weaver is his “handkerchief ” ritual before the Eagles quite authentic as a Philadelphian mother. game or when Patrick Jr. breaks down hearHowever, the true standout is Jennifer ing a song that isn’t actually playing, are a Lawrence as loose-cannon Tiffany. The bit difficult to watch, but they bring us Winter’s Bone and Hunger Games starlet much closer to the characters. Russell allows steals every scene she is in, dominating the the film to rise above its romantic-comedy screen like a hurricane. In any other actress’ counterparts by providing some true com-

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mentary of human nature and its afflictions. Based on the eponymous book by Matthew Quick, the script, written by Russell, always manages to stay fresh, sharp and realistic. The turbulent characters speak over each other in rapid-fire, and the conversations are memorable, hysterical and sometimes deeply profound and moving. The film only falls into mediocrity during the final 10 minutes, when Russell chooses to resort to romantic-comedy tropes to resolve his story. The film does such a great job at avoiding the stereotypical twists and turns, so the final moments feel like a bit of a letdown. Nonetheless, the story is definitely what you might classify as “feel-good” and should be a welcome addition to the slate of holiday films. Though its playful trailers and television spots suggest a flimsy Hollywood rom-com, Silver Linings Playbook is truly a winning tale of the love between two misfits. Hollywood, take note: Romantic comedies can be quite good. Jason Goldberg is is a junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He can be reached at jgoldberg@cornellsun.com.

My 2012 in Television

012 was a weird year in television. It had everything from highly anticipated let-downs like The Newsroom to not-so-highly anticipated successes like Married to Jonas (so entertaining, you guys. Don’t judge). While I don’t have too high hopes for many of the new shows of this year (I have hope that The Mindy Project will get better), 2012 has proved wonderful for returning programs such as Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Downton Abbey, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead. Confession: I am ashamed I do not regularly watch any of these shows, except Mad Men. However, many television drama connoisseurs tell me that each is well worth your time, if you are into that sort of thing. However, I do watch pretty much everything else. My rationale for this is that I don’t have the attention span for most hour-long dramas, whereas the half-hour comedy is the perfect length of time for procrastination. (It’s a really flimsy excuse, I know. I promise I will at least watch Breaking Bad over winter break and maybe Game of Thrones. Expect a column or two about that in January). But, the following are my top five favorite 2012 television shows (number six is probably Louie in case you were wondering). They each are unlike anything else on air right now or ever, and each demonstrate the power of real characters and original ideas. 1. Mad Men: Season Five, which premiered in March, was the best yet. I think that the show is finally reaching the point of its existence. By that, I mean that I have a feeling that ultimately the show is about showing the tumult of the 1960s. The first four seasons are about the characters, and almost look and feel as though they could take place in the 1950s. But now, with the show set in 1966 and 1967, the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement are in full swing and actually affect the characters. Don has a new assistant, Dawn, who is African American, and Peggy realizes that she has hit the glass ceiling at Sterling-Cooper-DraperPrice. Joan’s episode “The Other Woman” could have been a whole movie just by itself. My grandmother agrees, and

she is a very tough lady to please, especially when it comes to television. 2. Girls: “I don’t even want a boyfriend. I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I’m the best person in the world, and wants to have sex with only me.” That is just one of the most memorable quotes from HBO’s Girls, which premiered in April of this year. Lena Dunham’s brainchild has been described as similar to Sex and the City, but about younger, spoiled, broke, 20-somethings living a not-so-glamorous life in Brooklyn. Girls surprised and delighted me. It’s refreshing and hilarious. Season One was filled with wonderful lines like the one quoted above, and characters who, while you would never want to be compared to any one of them, are still scarily relatable. 3. The League: I do not know the first thing about football, but somehow I still find The League to be tremendously entertaining. It’s about a group of friends’ fantasy football team, but really the football doesn’t matter that much. The cast includes phenomenal comedians like Nick Kroll, as well as Mark Duplass and Paul Scheer. A large part of The League is improvised; this might be the reason why I think it has a much faster pace than most other comedies on TV right now. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, even for those of you not like me who laughs out loud for anything. 4. Veep: Another HBO success of 2012 was Veep, a West Wing-esque (but not Carrot Top really at all) sharp comedy Confessions about what it is like to hold the second most powerful position in the country — that of Vice President. The VP, Selina Meyer, is played by the legend, Seinfeld’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and the cast also features Arrested Development’s Tony Hale (Buster). Meyer finds that her job really does not have all that much power. She and her staff have to maneuver themselves through the bureaucratic mess of Washington, D.C., filled with backstabbing politicians and career obsessed interns fighting their way

Julia Moser

PHOTOS COURTESY OF 20TH TELEVISION AND WEINER BROTHERS

to the top. Dreyfus, in an Emmy award-winning performance, shines (and curses a lot more than one would expect of a Vice President). 5. Parks and Recreation: Once upon a time, NBC Thursdays were a magical night with back-to-back laughs. But, with The Office in shambles, the absence of Community and the slow decline of 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation is the one beacon of hope. Every season of this show outshines the last, and the end of Season Four and what we’ve seen so far of Season Five have been nothing short of amazing. Michael Schur and Greg Daniels, the creators of The Office, took their mockumentary style to local government, but instead of Michael Scott, Daniels and Schur invented Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson (played by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, respectively). These characters may be a little eccentric, but they are lovable and unbelievably amusing to watch. I care about Leslie, Ron, Ann, Tom, Ben, even Jerry, and I hope that I get to continue watching them for many years to come.

Julia Moser is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at jmoser@cornellsun.com. Carrot Top Confessions runs alternate Mondays this semester.

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