Tag Archives: Jenny Slate

The Polka King

Jill and I feel we didn’t cover douche-y men enough last week. God knows those middle-aged white boys need as much attention as possible or else they’ll just fade away – and we can’t have that.

So here we are in True Story land, learning what we can about the real life Polka King and his nefarious ways.

Keeping is saxxy

The Polka King (2017)

Local Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan develops a plan to get rich that shocks his fans and lands him in jail.

Starring: Jack Black • Jenny Slate • Jason Schwartzman

*Minor spoilers*

Jan Lewan (Jack Black) fronts a popular local Polka band in Pennsylvania. Happily married to former-beauty queen Marla (Jenny Slate), he is something of an entrepreneur who also runs his own gift shop.

Things are looking good for the band, so much so that when Jan decides to add a dancing bear (not a real one) to the act, his clarinetist Mickey (Jason Schwartzman) decides to quit. Jan, ever the charmer, is able to talk Mickey round and promises there are good times on the horizon.

Sadly, he’s not quite as skillful in sweet-talking his mother-in-law Barb (Jacki Weaver), who’s constantly gunning for him and his life choices. (And is the best character in the film).

*Clink clink* bitches

When Jan is approached by an elderly couple who wish to invest in the band’s future, he takes their money without much persuasion. He then accepts thousands in further deposits, promising mammoth returns to his investors. Alas, the state authorities soon get wind of this scheme and tell him in no uncertain terms that what he’s doing is highly illegal. He’s given three days to pay back the cash and forget the whole crazy idea.

Which of course he does immediately and the film ends there.

NOT.

Instead he tells the state investigator that he’s quit – and promptly sets up a new scam. Meanwhile, business just keeps getting better and better for the Lewans as Jan starts a travel business giving European tours.

He manages to secure a private audience for his vacationers with the Pope – much to his own surprise – but Mickey begins to see the strings when he realises quite a lot of what Jan says is made up. Jan again keeps him on side by agreeing to let him change his name to “Mickey Pizzazz”.

You better WERK, Marla

Jan then gets the idea that getting Marla back on the pageant scene will be great for business – and even though she does a mediocre job, surprisingly she walks away with the trophy.

When it becomes clear that something about her success is amiss, the whole operation comes tumbling down around Jan’s ears. His investors no longer trust him and don’t want to be part of the ensuing scandal surrounding the couple.

Then the truth about his criminal activity gets out and there’s only one place for Jan to go now… and it’s not back to the Vatican.

“What did you just say about my braces?”

I found this film really boring. I didn’t care about Jan or even about the people he was conning. Jan has no remorse about what he’s done and even though I think for the most part his victims are just highly naive, his pride in being a part of the American Dream is irritating. We could all be as successful if we were willing to rip off old ladies. Still I guess you could argue it’s his charisma, nerve and talent that got him there in the first place. Hmm.

Jenny Slate is someone who never fails to impress in my eyes but she’s not given much to work with. Only Barb really does it for me as she focuses on proving that Jan is the wrong ‘un she’s always thought he was.

There’s nothing wrong with the performances or the story, it just failed to get me interested. Still, at least it’s not Peppermint (which is 2019’s Blog Collab mantra).

⭐⭐out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What does my girl think of this one? Would she give it all her savings or report it to the law? Find out here.

Obvious Child (Film) Review

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The final installment in our Films about How Fucking Hard It Is to be an Adult series and this is a good one to go out on, I feel. It’s pretty topical too when you consider all the Repeal the 8th stuff going on right now (it’s obviously been ongoing).

I’ve seen this before a couple of times and wasn’t disappointed when Jill chose it to view this week. Our originally scheduled film fell by the wayside due to my reluctance to pay for it (though it’s a good ‘un so there’s little doubt we’ll come back to it in good time).

Sooooo, without further ado, and a fair share of *Spoilers* too:

Obvious Child (2014)

Director & Writer: Gillian Robespierre
Stars: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffman

IMDB Synopsis: A twenty-something comedienne’s unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront the realities of independent womanhood for the first time.

My Review:

Donna Stern (Slate) is a stand up comic with medium success (some nights are better than others, put it that way). Recently dumped (by her boyfriend in the Trainspotting-esque toilet in da club for one of her friends no less), she’s a hot mess. Lucky she has an outlet for all her rage and misery right?

One night, drunk and in charge of the mic, Donna goes in on her ex on stage. At the bar, she catches the eye of Max (Lacy) who (luckily?) misses her set. The two share a spark (mutual street peeing and an accidental fart), and one thing leads to another – they bang, Donna leaves in the morning – and that my friends is that.

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“I love the smell of Pumpkin Spice Latte in the morning…”

Except it isn’t is it, because this is an 84 minute film (the perfect length if you ask me) and we have to go somewhere with the characters. Might as well eh? A few weeks later Donna discovers she is preggo. Scheduling an abortion at Planned Parenthood, she has the option of two dates: her mother’s birthday or Valentine’s Day. The latter wins out.

Before she even has a chance to think about telling Max, or even if she has to (her best friend Nellie doesn’t see why she would), he tracks her down at the bookshop she works in. Things are awkward. They take an even odder turn when Max turns up at Donna’s mother’s house while she’s there to return a book he borrowed (he’s a former student of her mum).

The two end up having lunch and although Donna plans to tell him about the termination, he says something that prompts her to keep quiet. There’s more awkwardness between our two new friends as they establish what they are to one another, Donna goes home/to bed with someone else, and all that crap that comes with getting to know someone (“Getting to know all about yooooo!”).

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“Nice scarf, loser!” “Likewise!”

Along the way, Donna confides all her woes to her mother, Nancy (Polly Draper) who comforts her and then admits that she too had an abortion before Donna was conceived.

This is ultimately an unconventional love story of sorts, so that’s not the end of our lovers. Donna makes a mistake then reaches out to Max to try and fix it. She ends up fucking up even harder when he finds out about her pregnancy and impending abortion when he shows up to see her comedy set. Ooops.

Questions:

Is there a way back from this? Can Donna and Max start afresh with this ‘baggage’ already behind them?

I’d recommend you check it out for yourselves to answer these questions. It’s worth it, I promise.

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When life give you boxes…

My Thoughts:

I like this movie. It’s unapologetic of course for it’s subject matter but it’s the way in which it’s handled that I appreciate. It has a maturity about it and although our main protagonist is a flake who’s likeability factor fluctuates, she’s ultimately true to herself and that’s interesting to watch.

It raises interesting conversation about Women’s Rights, autonomy over their own bodies and whether a one night stand has the right to know any of this if you don’t want him too. It delivers all sorts of perspectives and opinions, and it’s got a great cast.

Gaby Hoffman, Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy have all appeared in Lena Dunham‘s Girls at some point in their careers and I suppose you could liken the feel of Obvious Child to that hyper-real style of film-making.

I love the Mother/Daughter stuff and I like the way it ends, it’s sweet and heart-warming. I also respect the notion that a journey like this would likely change a person, and it’s entirely possible that would be for the better. There’s also no question throughout this, as there so often is in films/shows that feature abortion that there will be a termination at the end, and I think that’s so important. It happens.

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The foundation of any great relationship

My Rating: 4/5. Pretty solid. I like it.

How did Wifey feel about this one? Did it IMPREGNATE her with joy or… not? Find out here.