Monday, March 05, 2018

3 Billboards Had Great Acting, But Boy Are There a Lot of Things You Need to Ignore

I believe that this year's Oscar Best Picture nominees were a pretty poor hand to pick from, but probably the superior acting of "3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri" should have given it the nod.  I do believe "The Shape of Water" was the worst of the 5 pictures I saw.  So that win sucked.  But it is hard for me to get too upset about 3 Billboard's loss when it was littered with mistakes and poor choices.  Now, some are small, but as a whole, if you are going to win Best Picture, maybe you want to fix up even a few of these?  By way of example and not limitation:

(Spoilers - do not read if you want to see the picture - this will ruin your film).

1) If we assume that the town is super corrupt, wouldn’t they just tear down her billboards every day or get someone who would do it at night?  Right?  They can keep a person in jail without bail for a petty misdemeanor, but they cannot find a stooge to tear down the billboards twice?

2) If we assume that Sheriff Woody (not his name, but Woody Harrelson plays him - how about that Toy Story tribute?) at heart really doesn’t mind the billboards (as we find out when he secretly pays the $5,000 in cash to keep them up) then why doesn’t he just go to his deputies and tell them not to harass the Mom or billboard owner Red?  I mean, the Sheriff must know that they are harassing the Mom and Red – that is why the black lady is in his jail and why the $5,000 the mom paid is not being honored.  Right?  The Sheriff is a dying man with little money and two small kids – save yourself the $5,000. 

3) We are in rural Missouri – it is a shitty town that is small that it has a road that “no one” drives on (which is the reasons billboards are so cheap and no one will see them).  It has a zoo?  The 19 year old girl character worked at a zoo.  If the county has like 6,000 people, how does it sustain a zoo?  Duluth, MN has a 100,000 population like 500,000 visitors a year, it struggles to maintain a zoo.  What animals are in a rural Missouri zoo?  What can they afford?  A large dog?

4)  When this same 19 year old girl gets fired from the zoo, she goes and works at a business that gives pony rides to the disabled…in Ebbing, Missouri.   Are these disabled folks bussed in?  I mean, it seems awfully unusual that the, what, 100 disabled people in the county(?) would have an entire business dedicated to helping them.

##3 and 4 are obviously plot devices to create jokes.  They are ludicrous.  Certainly someone could have created plausible jobs for the 19 year old to have that would have resulted in jokes.

5) The Dad comes to the Mom’s house to bitch at her.  There is not one sign that he is going to be violent.  The son expresses no concern about the dad.  All of a sudden the divorced dad chokes the mom and threatens to punch her?  Then the son grabs a butcher knife and threatens to slit his Dad’s throat.  This very concerning life and death situation is broken up by the 19 year old saying she has to pee – it is a joke.  So…….domestic violence that may end in death?  Hilarious.

(I have heard it explained that this is a "black comedy" so such jokes, and the "people of color abuser" joke are OK.  Are they?  Is the point of the movie solely that what we are seeing on screen has happened?  If so, doesn't  the film lose a lot of its supposed power?  That the mom was tough and brave and fighting the system to get justice?  If domestic violence possibly resulting in death and racial assaults by police are funny gag setups, where exactly is the movie going?)

6) The investigation of the firebombing is ridiculous.  “Why are you here?”  Drove here after our date.  “OK, huh, I will look elsewhere then."   That was the best alibi we could get? 

(One theme of the movie appears to be that no one in this town ever gets held responsible for anything they have done.)

7) The difference between the amount of daylight in scenes is crazy.  There is the whole “it is broad daylight when I throw the guy out the window and then it is 8AM”  and there is also the “I am calling you about going to kill the Idaho guy” scene where the bad cop is in a pitch dark house where it is like 2-3 AM.  The mom is out checking her plants by her billboards and the sun is coming up over the mountains.  He is calling from 3AM and she receives the call a few miles away at 7-8AM her time.  Which, I guess, is pretty cool if you can do it. 

8) The Sheriff is PISSED that he is bothered during his Eastern dinner with his little kids.  Easter twilight in Kansas City is around 8PM.  It is pitch dark in Sheriff Woody’s house.  So it is like 9PM.  When he is making his little kids eat dinner?    Why?  He is pushing 60, so why does he have a hot 30 year old English wife in the middle of Hicksville, USA?  Maybe because he likes having dinner at 9PM and that appealed to her?  Maybe they have high tea every day?  Who knows?

##7 and 8 are just simply lazy and sloppy directing, which is probably why the director failed to even garner a nomination for Best Director.

9) The black woman is arrested for having two marijuana cigarettes – let’s ignore that Sheriff Woody is supposedly secretly favorable to the Mom and the black lady is her boss being harassed to get back at the Mom.  She is held without bail because…per the script…..she had one prior crime?  That isn’t why you get held without bail; she OWNS A BUSINESS IN THE TOWN!  Where is she going to flee to avoid her eventual $1,000 fine?  Then she has a hearing some days later and gets released “because they filled out the police report wrong.”  I am not sure what legal scholar wrote that, but wouldn’t it have been easier just to say “illegal search”?  I mean, it is a throwaway line that isn't followed up on.  Why not just use a vague and well-recognized actual constitutional defense?
10) How well staffed is this town's police department?  I mean, towns are routinely cutting staff nationwide and allowing the county sheriff to take over.  It is called (per the view from the firebombing) the Ebbing Police Department, so it is the town's department.  Why would the State of Missouri send someone to take it over when the sheriff died?  But let's say it doubles as the County Sheriff's department. and it has some sort of deal with the state.  OK, so why are these guys always at the station and not out patrolling the county?  Why?  And if they had a cop who managed to find a black guy or woman in rural Missouri and managed to beat them up, why is he still on the force?  They aren't a union force - we know that because the bad cop gets immediately fired without notice or a hearing. 

11) Why not shoot it in Missouri?  I mean, the movie is about Missouri.  Why shoot it in North Carolina.  I guess because no one knows what Missouri looks like?  If you call it Missouri in the title, use it.

I will stop there.  Believe it or not - I still like it, but boy does it have a ton of issues.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Monica Lewinsky? A #Metoo Hero? Come on.

Monica Lewinsky grew up in an affluent family in one of the nicer neighborhoods of Los Angeles.  Her father was a doctor, and her mother was an author.

It is rumored that when she turned 19, Monica began having an affair with one of her former high school teachers, who was married. The affair lasted 5 years.  When Monica used her favored upbringing and family connections to become an intern at the White House,  she met Bill Clinton.  She was 22.

The "courtship" between her and the President, per the Starr Report, was a short one.  During a government shutdown, she brought him some pizza.  He told her something like "boy you look hot, how can you wear such a tight skirt?"  At which point she lifted her jacket to display her thong underwear.  This touching "meet cute" started a lengthy fling in which he would kiss and fondle her and tell her he couldn't have intercourse.  She would try to get him to have intercourse, and, always failing at that, would perform fellatio on him and use her hand on him, and, on one occasion, allowed him to insert a cigar into her.

During this time, Lewinsky and Clinton differ on how much he "loved" her.  He did give her, I seem to recall, Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" as a gift, along with varied small items/keepsakes.  He testified/stated that he never loved her.  Monica testified/stated that he did.

Interestingly, since this was 100% irrelevant to the Starr Report - the issue of whether he "loved" her - the only reason for the Starr Report to go so in-depth into the issue was that the Starr Report was a "hit piece" on Clinton and was designed, in part, to make Hillary Clinton SUPER upset.  There are repeated mentions of "while Monica was blowing Big Bubba, The First Lady was in Ireland/India/visiting the homeless."  Again, Starr had confirmed that the affair took place, there was absolutely 0 reason to ask where the First lady was - it was a shot at her.

ANYway, Lewinsky was seemingly insatiable for Bill Clinton.  She would perform oral sex on him in the hall, in any side room they could find, under his desk, etc.  (Another anecdote Starr pulled out of her was that the President asked her to blow him while he was on the phone with a Congressman on official business.  She did so.)

In any event - one MIGHT suggest that a woman who at 19 had dated a married teacher and who at 22 was throwing herself at a married man PERHAPS might be somewhat to blame for whatever "scandal" occurred thereafter.  How such a person gets lumped into a group of women, who, for example, had to lock and barricade their hotel room doors or flee out the patio to avoid being raped is, basically, anyone's guess.  What is even more concerning is that the group that is fighting sexual abuse and abusers (#metoo) so willingly wants to make Lewinsky part of their cause. Why?  "We should have been there to stand up for you!"  For what?   She was a rich girl who had an interest in married men.  She knew exactly what she was doing.  One might even go so far as to state that what she was doing was............WRONG.........AND SHE KNEW IT WAS WRONG.  You are having sex with a married man who has a kid. He is the President of the United States - maybe someone might find out?

I have lived 54 years come April.  I have done a lot of things that I am not proud of.  I have failed to do a number of things where I am not proud of my inaction.  Fortunately for me, I am a pretty insignificant guy.  I have lived my life outside of the limelight, so all of my transgressions do not create enough interest for anyone to care.  But if, say Scarlett Johansson became President and she was married and I started having sex with her, I think I might understand that I was in the wrong and that when people found out that I might not be cast in such a good light.

Now suppose that as part of my ScarJo love I obtained some of her DNA and kept it at home in my closet...for a couple years  Imagine that.  Ewwww.  I mean, Jesus, supposedly I love this person and want things to go well for them, and for me.  Yet I keep an incriminating piece of evidence against them for.............what purpose?  What possible purpose?  I mean, is it the equivalent of an old love note?  An old movie stub?  Do I think to myself, "well, I spent $100 on those pants but I can never wash them because......................what?  Because it is all I have of her?  Creepy.  Or........because I just need to know it was all real?  Yeeeeeeee........

No one could possibly believe the official story ("I just put it in the closet and forgot about it")
because when asked by Starr about proof she immediately recalls the stained dress!!  if the dress was just tucked into the closet and forgotten, it certainly would not have been brought to mind when the query about "proof" was raised.  It would have............been forgotten.  So, one might suggest that the only reason for me to keep ScarJo's DNA is......I want to blackmail her in the future.  One might suggest -- that if I am down on my luck at some future point,  that maybe having President ScarJo's DNA as a tool would possibly lead her to, say, get me a decent government job.  One might say.

So, is this really where the #metoo movement wants to end up?  That there are zero consequences for women who aggressively pursue and engage in sex acts with older men?  That it is the men who are to blame?  That the only thing a 22 year old woman can do when an old chunky guy says "Damn, that is a short skirt, baby, are you wearing underwear!?!?" is start a torrid affair with him?  Cuz I am not OK with that.  As I said, I have done a ton of wrong things.  I never once looked back and said, "Geez, that night I did X, WTF didn't the person I did it with stop me?  Where is society to help me???"  Never once. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Timberwolves at the All-Star Break

At the All-Star Break  --

What the Wolves are good at:

1) Playing Games -- 61 games, most in the league

2) 2 Point shots -- 4th best overall % for all FG, 8th in 2Pt %

3) Assisting - 6th

4) Scoring Points - 4th, also 3rd in Offensive Rating

5) Steals - 2nd most steals, allowed the 2nd least.

6)  Turning the ball over -- we never do (4th best) and our opponents always do (we force the most)

7) Free Throws -- shoot the second most, make the most, shoot the third best percentage.

8) Free throw "defense" - allow the 10th least, opponents shoot the 23rd best %.

What the Wolves are "just OK" at

9) Rebounding - we are 14th, opponents are 9th

10) Blocks - we are 19th, opponents ate 15th.

What The Wolves Suck At.

ANYTHING to do with actual defense

11) FG% allowed - next to worst

12) 3 Point Defense -- allow the most attempts, the second most makes and the 8th best %

13) 2 point defense - last in 2 point % defense

14) Assists allowed -- second most allowed.

15) Points allowed -- next to worst, also 26th in Defensive Rating

Unusual Style of Play

Despite having many athletic players they can rely upon for offense, the Wolves have play at the 8th slowest pace of play in the league.

Despite being the absolute worst defenders versus the two-point shot (allow almost 54%) the Wolves still outscore their opponents from two-point range....and by a LOT:

Wolves' Total Points -- 6694 -- 4,054 points on 2s, 1446 points on 3s and 1194 points on FTs

Wolves' Opponents -- 6515 -- 3568 on 2s, 2019 on 3s, 928 points on FTs.

So every game the Wolves are

1) Outscored on threes by 9.3 points
2) Ahead on 2s by 8 points
3) Overcome that deficit by scoring 4.4 more points at the line. 

21 games to go.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Updated Top 10 in Career Points+Rebounds+Assists

10.  Dirk Nowitzki - 45,744

9.  Tim Duncan -- 45,812

8.  Elvin Hayes -- 45,990

7.   Kevin Garnett -- 46,178

6.  LeBron James -- 46,199

5.  Kobe Bryant -- 46,996

4.  Moses Malone -- 49,350 (includes ABA stats)

3.  Karl Malone -- 57,144

2.  Wilt Chamberlain -- 59,986

1.   Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- 61,487 (only guy in top 50 in career points, rebounds and assists)

Friday, February 09, 2018

What In The World is the Matter With John Moody?

Fox News executive John Moody wrote this bizarre piece complaining that the Washington Post had made too much of the fact that the Olympic team is more diverse than in the past.  Moody deems this approach to be replacing "Higher, Faster Stronger" with "Darker, Gayer, Different.'

First, to observe that there are more of a certain type of person involved in the Olympics than before does not state any sort of agenda.  "Hey, there are a lot more Asian programmers than in 1990!"  This is just a factual observation.  So what?  Even if I said, "Hey, look at all of the good white players emerging in basketball!  I like that because I am white!" is that really a reason to get angry?  That something is happening that I think is good?  Moody appears to be angry because black people and gay people are succeeding.  More precisely, that they are succeeding and that some people are happy about that.  Why should this concern him at all?

The only concern you should have about whether people you don't like (here blacks, Hispanics, gays) are succeeding is if they are not being judged upon their merit.  I see no evidence that American Olympians are not judged upon their merits.  I mean, we have tryouts and stuff.  There is no country in the world who cares more about Olympic medals than we do.  I doubt we are sending the second string to keep people happy.

What Moody's true agenda seems to be is that he does not care for black people or Hispanics or gays.  He is an executive at Fox News, so that almost goes without saying.  (Imagine, if you look at this piece by Moody, how ANGRY the management at Fox News must have been to be ruled by a dark-skinned guy for 8 years!!). 

But certainly there is some way to state this anti-gay and racist agenda in print while attempting to follow some sort of logic.  Here are some segments of his article:

1.    For the current USOC, a dream team should look more like the general population. So, while uncomfortable, the question probably needs to be asked: were our Olympians selected because they’re the best at what they do, or because they’re the best publicity for our current obsession with having one each from Column A, B and C?

OK, you asked the question.  They are Olympians.  They were selected b/c they were the best.  Not at all uncomfortable.  If you are going to ask your question, you have at least 200 examples of Olympians, do some research, find 1-2-3 straight white folks who were screwed.  If you are not willing to do that - shut up.  I mean, this is like me at age 23 standing in a Raleigh, NC bar and screaming out, "I have to ask you women - what the fuck is wrong with you that you don't want to get up on THIS!?!?!  Is it because all of you are lesbians!?!?" 

2.  Some breakthroughs in American sports were historic, none more so than Jackie Robinson’s in baseball. But Robinson didn’t make the Majors because he was black. His legendary career occurred in an age of outright racial discrimination, because he was better at the game than almost everyone around him.

I am really not sure what history of Jackie Robinson Moody has read.  But Jackie was selected somewhat for his baseball ability and somewhat for his educational pedigree and somewhat for the fact that he was going to be able to "take it."  It wasn't like he was the Wilt Chamberlain of baseball and was going to come in and hit .450 with 65 home runs so everyone said "OK, we have to let him play."  His signing was an extremely political move by Branch Rickey.

3.  As my Fox News colleague Ed Henry wrote in his excellent book, “42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story,” Robinson was not a kvetcher. “Don’t complain, work harder,” was his approach to the game, and the game of life.

I have read several bios of Robinson - he hated the discrimination and was often very, very angry and didn't think he could withstand the abuse.  He just knew no one would care to listen to him.

4.  Jeremy Lin, who played basketball at Harvard before joining the New York Knicks, did not become a media hero – remember “Linsanity?” – due to his Chinese heritage, but because he almost single-handedly turned around the struggling Knicks in 2012, and had fans delirious over his graceful shots and calm under pressure.

Jeremy Lin was great in Mike D'Antoni's system for 19 games (he played 35 total).  He was an above average player for a team that was barely above .500.  Headlines at the time included "AmAsian!"   Floyd Mayweather stated that he was popular only because....he was Asian.  When Lin played in opposing arenas, many Asian fans would attend their first NBA games.  When Lin had a bad game, ESPN's on-line headline?  "Chink in the Armor."  A GREAT deal of Jeremy Lin's notoriety came because he was Asian.

5.  Back in 1993, when, it seems, America still had a sense of humor, the movie “Cool Runnings” portrayed a Jamaican bobsled team whose members willed themselves to compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics. Why was their feat noteworthy? Um … no snow in Jamaica, not racial prejudice.

First, it is really weird that the head of a NEWS organization (I know, but it is in the name) would rely upon a comedy movie for his understanding of the Jamaican Bobsled team.  This is like me talking about Milan's 1954 state title and starting with, "Like they showed in Hoosiers, Barbara Hershey really didn't care for the coach at first...." 

Second, if you are going to reference a John Candy movie, at least watch the movie.  One theme of the movie was that the International Bobsled Committee didn't like the Jamaicans BECAUSE THEY WERE DIFFERENT and BECAUSE THEY WERE BLACK. 

British Official:  We must also be concerned about the potential for embarrassment.
Irv: Oh, pardon me. I didn't realize that four black guys in a bobsled could make you blush.

6.  Insisting that sports bow to political correctness by assigning teams quotas for race, religion or sexuality is like saying that professional basketball goals will be worth four points if achieved by a minority in that sport – white guys, for instance –  instead of the two or three points awarded to black players, who make up 81 percent of the NBA. Any plans to fix that disparity? Didn’t think so.

In one of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons, Lisa invents a grammar-correcting robot named Linguo who eventually blows up because the gangsters use such awful grammar.  If Lisa has a bad-logic-correcting robot, it would explode upon hearing this paragraph.

a) No one has ever insisted what he is suggesting - he has no evidence that they are - what he is basically saying here is "yeah, we love fags, give them all the spots, even if they cannot ski or skate, yeah!"  Um, no one is saying that.  No one is "insisting" it.  No one has imposed any such quota. 

b)  Moving on - let's assume someone was suggesting this idea ("Hooray for minorities and fuck everyone else!  No more white people in the Olympics!").  That is like saying that "professional basketball goals" for white guys should count 4 points (How old is this frigging guy?  100?  who uses the term "goals"?  It is basket.  If you are going to use the statistical nerdish term, you still cannot use "goals" it is then "field goals" (to differentiate from free throws)).

Wow.  OK - primary problem - it is nowhere near the same. The supposed agenda of "assigning team quotas" would not achieve anything at all similar to awarding white players 4 points.  It just logically is not the same.   White people are like 60% of the playing age population. To be the same, white players would need to be assigned 60% of the roster spots regardless of talent, not given some bizarre scoring advantage.  Is Moody suggesting that Asian figure skaters now start with 20-50 extra points in their long program at the pre-Olympic events?  See THAT would be an equivalent problem.

"Any plans to fix that disparity?  Didn't think so."  Where is he going here??  He is angry that he has a professional sports league that isn't mostly white.  So this needs to be "fixed"?  Why would that be? 
Is he concerned about fixing the NHL? 

Finally, what no one seems to want to address here is WHY the Winter Olympic teams are getting less super-boring-white.  In the past 12 years or so, the Winter Olympics have tried to piggyback off the X games and get weirder.  They want to make more money.  So now we have like 12 snowboarding and extreme snowboarding events.  We used to have 0.  We now have moguls and aerials and other crap designed to get younger people to watch sports they'd like to watch.  I went to the X Games.  I thought it would be the dregs of society watching - it was young affluent people in the crowd.  The folks participating were generally not from that social strata, but certainly any advertiser had to be VERY excited to see the 19-34 years olds with disposable income.  Anyway - if the scramble for ratings and money had resulted in a "Darker, Gayer, Different" demo, that is likely to continue, much to Mr. Moody's chagrin.


Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Why I Loved "I, Tonya."

Last year, for the first time, I saw the musical "Wicked."  "Wicked" is basically the tale of "The Wizard of Oz" told from the wicked witch's perspective, with the facts re-done or re-imagined so that the story portrays the witch favorably.  It is a very entertaining story, and it asks you to assume that the facts of The Wizard of Oz are incorrect and/or distorted.

"I, Tonya," similarly, tells the story of one of history's villains - Tonya Harding - based upon interviews with the people on her side of the equation.  The movie does NOT ask you to agree that the facts are as stated by the Tonya-side folks, but, instead, acknowledges that those facts may be biased and that they are even (obviously) internally inconsistent.  Yet, dear audience member, imagine if these were the facts and then ask yourself whether you believe that these people deserve what they get/got (and whether, even if you condemn them all still, whether you can understand why they acted as they did).

"I, Tonya" works on a variety of levels:

1) It works as a historical re-enactment.    Having lived through the whole thing (I was physically at Tonya's 1991 championship performance in Minneapolis), I was amazed at the tremendous detail in the recollection of what occurred.  Tonya's ugly outfits, awful makeup, crimped-looking hair, her workout clothes, her snarky reactions and facial expressions.  I have seen hours and hours of that actual footage.  The duplication is fantastic.

There are certain scenes where I was transported to the world of lower-middle-class things in the 1970s-80s-90s.  The one phone in the house with the long cord; the fake saloon doors, the wood paneling, the crappy microwave where Tonya heats her food toward the end, it is all there, and it is all something I actually experienced in my own home growing up.  (It is worth noting here one similarity of "I, Tonya" to "Napoleon Dynamite" - if you grew up lower-middle-class outside the city and you lived in an old house, the stuff you had was generally 10-20 years behind what the rich folks had.  So, when you say "Well, geez, in 1994 there were touch-tone or pulse phones" you are missing the point.  There were also old rotary phones, and the phone company would charge you $300 a year to put in a separate phone jack.  So "my people" always kept the old rotary phone and had the super long cord.)

One IMDb commenter gave "I, Tonya" a 5/10 because he viewed the plot to injure Nancy Kerrigan as over the top and ridiculous.  Dude, it actually happened.  These morons registered at hotels in their own name and used their own credit cards.  Shawn Eckhardt told people he ran a company called something like the "Universal Bodyguarding Agency" despite the fact that he never had such a business and he had no paying clients.  This weird shit happened.  These things actually occurred.

2) It Works In the Manner of "Whiplash" or Andre Agassi's Autobiography

Both the movie "Whiplash" and Andre Agassi's "Open:  An Autobigraphy" look into the issue of what sort of person creates a champion in others.  In "Whiplash" we see the cruel, foul-mouthed teacher who (it is implied at least) causes at least one student to commit suicide and is ultimately fired.  At the end he is, again, remarkably cruel, but, it seems, (possibly?) redeemed by the fact that his pupil perhaps has found greatness to some degree....maybe?  Agassi was raised by an obsessed father who demanded he hit thousands of tennis balls a day, who used to throw his second place trophies in the trash and who used to hustle tennis games between his pre-pubescent son and people like an aged Jim Brown.  Agassi constantly states his hatred for the game of tennis.  Yet Agassi became once of the 20 best tennis players of all-time.  Would that have been possible with a normal upbringing?

Tonya Harding, it is said here, loved skating from before she was age 3.  Her mother was a cruel, foul-mouthed drunk who emotionally and physically abused Tonya, virtually every day.  She attends her daughter's first ever date and asks her date if he and Tonya have fucked yet.  She drives her daughter forward with the statement that her daughter is a nothing - a piece of crap trailer trash girl whom everyone looks down upon.  (Side note - there is a parallel here to "The Last Jedi" where Kylo Ren taunts Rey with the information that Rey is a nothing, her parents were nothing, and she has no part to play in such a grand story.  Rey, it is implied, already knows this to be true, and, as a result, it is the cruelest of taunts.).

But again, imagine Tonya Harding's parents are nice and kind and they don't care whether she skates or not.  She takes her immense talent then and what?  Skates on weekends with her kids?  She was the #1 figure skater in the world for parts of 1991-93.  When her mom says "I gave you a gift," the audience laughs.  But did she? 

3) The movie works as a story of Being Poor and Being Lower Middle Class

When Allison Janney won the Best Supporting Actress award at the Golden Globes, this theme was the primary thrust of her speech.  "I, Tonya" is a story about growing up poor and/or lower middle class and making the best of what you had while people who were your "betters" look down upon you.

My family had 5 kids, and my dad worked making about $30,000 a year.  My mom stayed home.  We were not poor, but we were not wealthy.  We had hand-me-down clothes, and we wore the $5 cheap jeans from the cheapest store.  (The scene where Jeff buys Eskimo Pies and Tonya wants Dove Bars hits awfully close to home.)  We had the same red snowsuits until we absolutely did not fit into them.  Coats and warm clothes were purchased a couple sizes too big.  Again, we were not poor.  But when my sister had boyfriends come over for the first time, they'd often remark that "Well, when I heard you lived in a farm house I assumed that it was like a big 4,000 square foot house.  This.....isn't."  Yeah, fuck you asshole.  It is our house.

Now imagine that you are Tonya Harding - even poorer than I, your mom has had 4 husbands, your dad left her and you begged him to take you (he wouldn't).  You now are in a world where the typical competitor is from a VERY wealthy family, as are most of the judges who control your fate.  Wealthy people from the city and the suburbs look down horribly on people of this sort.  We know nothing, we aren't good at anything, we are a frigging joke.  And we often deserve these taunts due to our behavior.  But man, I can tell you that when it is happening directly TO YOU, you don't engage in much self-reflection.  You generally engage in a lot of pain.

There is a lot of pain in Tonya Harding's life.  A LOT of physical and emotional pain.  And, at least it appears in the movie, NO ONE attempts to help her very much.  She must have met numerous people better off than she was over the years.  It appears that they enjoyed preventing her success and laughing at her station in life.  But no one shines as a bright light who simply sits down and says "I've got $5,000 for a costume - here, have it." or even "Let's sit down and work on your makeup together." 

4) The Movie Is an Excellent Character Study of Various People

From the crazy mom to Jeff Gillooly to Shawn Eckhardt to Tonya Harding, we see scenes which give us insight into that person's way of living.  Gillooly's physical abuse increases as Tonya's success grows.  This is not atypical if you have ever heard the classic line from a violent person of, "You think you're better than me?"  Eckhardt is everyone's lower-class, hanger-on friend who eats potato chips in the back of his car with his shirt off while regaling you with stories of great things that happened only in his mind.  Again - I have experienced that scene personally in my life.  The mom is really not all that different from my mom.  There are degrees of craziness and abuse, of course, but I can hear my mom's voice in a couple lines VERY loud and clear:  1) "You throw yourself into the air like you are the lightest thing ever, which I can tell you Tonya never was..." and 2) "I like your hair pulled back like that.  It makes you look young."  (Reply - "Mom, I am 23!").

Tonya's repeated interview mantra of "Like I am to blame for that..." and "I SUPPOSE that is MY fault" are the words of someone who is NEVER to blame for anything that occurs.  If you review her actual real-life interviews, a few things about her self-perception come across 1) she is blameless; 2) she is horribly misunderstood (and unfairly so); and 3) anything that happened to her is always inflated to a crisis - so if a skate blade has to be refigured, it cost her a title; if a skate lace breaks, she is in danger of never walking again.  This leads one, of course, to question anything she says.  Her delivery is so poor, and her words so self-serving, that you struggle to believe a word she says.  This, again, is why the filmmakers decided to start the film with the understanding that everything might be biased and internally inconsistent, but there is a story to be told here, and if that story is true, or some of it, maybe we shouldn't have so easily believed the other tale that we were told for 23 years.

Great movie.  I hope it wins an Oscar.