Thursday, January 04, 2018

I, TONYA -- My review

I, TONYA was about a winter Olympic hopeful who starts a poker game.  Oh wait, that was yesterday.  I, TONYA was about a winter Olympic hopeful who can't help putting her foot in her mouth with her skate on.  

Let’s say it right up front. Allison Janney STEALS this movie. Margot Robbie should have someone clonk her knee. Not that Margot wasn’t terrific (and had good balance) but Allison as her chain-smoking mom crushed it every time she opened her world-weary caustic mouth. The sense I got was that Allison Janney was having the time of her life. And when she dropped out for large stretches the movie suffered. Cruella DePlorable.

If there’s a takeaway from this film it’s that Tonya Harding led a tough life and didn’t deserve to be as vilified as she was. And white trash is ignorant and violent.

This is a highly stylized dark satire that was mostly entertaining but suffered from repetition. There have to be no less than eight scenes of Tonya’s cretin boyfriend beating the crap out of her (and over the same argument). We get it. As much ice as they needed for the rink they needed for her face. I also wasn’t too keen on Sebastian Stan as her boyfriend/husband, Bluto. You need someone scarier. Where’s the young Eric Roberts?

We could be looking at Oscar nominations for Robbie & Janney. Director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Steven Rogers really put you in the world of figure skating and morons. Watching Robbie (and her skating double – good CGI) go through her routines was thrilling.

Kudos also to the soundtrack, which featured some very cool classic rock tunes. The only song missing was “If I Had a Hammer.”

I recommend I, TONYA.

UPDATE:  A future post got posted accidentally.  So I took it down and it will appear in the future when it's supposed to. 


30 comments :

Peter said...

Margot Robbie is a goddess! I'll watch her in anything. Cannot wait to see this.

By the way, still eagerly anticipating your verdict on THE LAST JEDI!

Steve said...

I don't think enough people watched the first season of Masters of Sex but Allison Janney did a tremendous job once again. Worth seeking out.

Phil said...


Ken,

My first ever Friday questions, hope you will answer :)

You have worked on Simpsons.

1. How was it working with voice actors? I mean it would be really fascinating to work with Hank Azaria - Duffman, Chief Wiggum, Skinner, Chamlers, Moe, Disco Stu.... The way they go about their work of changing voices. Please share your experience.

2. What do you think Simpsons - Family Guy crossover?

Ted said...


Well, this weekend we will know if she wins or not?

Any predictions Ken? Though you wont see Golden Globes. But predictions.....

Rudy Casillas said...

Thanks... I laughed out loud (while at work) at the Hammer joke.

Terrence Moss said...

Sebastian Stan hit it right out of the park for me. A scarier take on the character would have made him less of a hapless tool with good but foolhardy intentions. And a young Eric Roberts wouldn't have been able to sell the character's ultimate remorse as convincingly.

Stan should also be getting some Oscar attention.

Anonymous said...

Did Allison Janney skate? Because she could rock it. She can sing, dance, and steal any production she's in. You can probably tell I LOVE her- she's a national treasure. Glad to see you agree.

Unknown said...

Tonya must be happy. My life sucks so much, it made an Oscar nominated movie!

Jake said...


The awards season shenanigans have begun.

Janney has got the GG nomination for her work and she is gonna wear black as part of the planned anti-harassment protest this weekend.

Also, Olivia Munn who is one among various Brett Ratner’s sexual harassment accusers, has been made the host of 2018 Critics’ Choice Awards. And she got this gig because she is an accuser.

I simply fail to understand what sort of women's empowerment is this, making a victim a host. What, she is gonna host or keep talking about herself?

http://www.nujournal.com/uncategorized/2018/01/04/people-in-the-news-387/

Jeff Maxwell said...

I saw an interview with Allison Janney where she expressed concern about the little bird on her shoulder possibly stealing the scene. Having stolen most of the movie herself, she needn't have worried.

Margot Robbie was terrific and did great job for the film and for Tanya. I, too, tired of seeing her beaten up, but I thought the actor being less than scary looking made him even more awful. Not all creeps look like creeps. The real Gillooly was kind of a weenie.

Sheila said...


Friday Question:

I have been reading articles on how writers write a script and send it to all studios and have a bidding war for it by the end of the day or week.

Have you and your partner ever done that? Set a deadline for the executives to give an answer or have them bid against one another?

Stubblejumpers Cafe said...

Thanks for the headsup re beatings. I cant stomach such scenes and may skip the movie because of them, tho normally i'll watch Janney in anything. -Kate

Peter said...

I'm hoping Ken will go back on his decision not to review the Golden Globes. I'm sure even he's curious to see how spectacularly and hilariously awful Oprah's speech will be. My money is on her mentioning everything from #MeToo, Martin Luther King and the future of America to global conflicts, a future presidential run, Jesus, and the state of mankind.

MikeKPa. said...

Janney is like a chameleon. She can go from drama (West Wing) to comedy (Mom) to drama (I, Tonya). Underrated actress (I know she's won awards, but still underrated). I found this entry on her bio that was interesting, given her role in this film.

Janney previously had dreams to become an Olympic figure skater but that dream was cut short when, at age 17, she ran through a sliding glass window

Rick said...

I think you're wrong not to watch the Golden Globes so we can read what I'm sure would be your hilarious review of Oprah's speech. It's obviously important to all of your readers, so I think you should do it.

MikeN said...

Margot is too attractive to play Tonya.

Kosmo13 said...

Some of my enthusiasm for Allison Janney was diminished by "LOST." Zzzzz

Janet said...


I can't understand this Brett Ratner - Olivia Munn story at all. One accuses, the other says consensual sex.

And now the accused has been kicked out of movie projects. The accuser gets to host awards shows. Hollywood is weird and confusing to outsiders like me.

Jon said...

Gotta say, Ken, there has been a very noticeable increase lately in obsessive posts about certain celebrities and certain movies by some, um, unusual people. I mean, I think it's great that they're allowing the patients in the dayroom access to computers, but maybe they need to be supervised a little more closely while they're using them.

Max said...

That wouldn't be fair for Ken to review Oprah because we have been waiting a hell of a lot longer for him to rip Nolan a new one over Dunkirk than you have been waiting for him to do Oprah. Us first.

Max-The Dunkirk Review Guy said...


The above Max is not me.

I am an old reader who first asked for Dunkirk review (along with Diane D).

But here it seems some trolls are using my name for asking about Oprah's speech, and for that they are using my name to talk about Nolan and Dunkirk.

Pathetic!!! Use your real name cowards.


Max-The Dunkirk Review Guy.

Max-The Dunkirk Review Guy said...


Also to add, I agree with Jon. Some people are too sick and obsessed with certain celebrities and turning this into trash section. Again and again talking of Oprah.

Andrew said...

Does anyone else think that the actresses (and actors!) dressing up in all black for the Golden Globes is utterly pretentious?

It's like wearing a colored ribbon for the latest cause de jure. "Who? Who does not want to wear the ribbon?!" Now it becomes "Who? Who is wearing a white dress? Don't you care?"

Ken Levine said...

I'm not going to review the Golden Globes. Period. I'm not going to watch the Golden Globes. I don't care what Oprah says. I don't care what any of them say.

I may or may not review DUNKIRK. Sorry, but it's just not high on my list. Please stop requesting I do. If and when I do I will post it.

And I'm going to start being a little more restrictive on the comments to eliminate some of the star and people bashing that has been going on lately.

Thank you for understanding.

James said...

Off-topic but feel like saying: my water heater is a POS and once again I'm blowing out the dust and relighting the pilot. But before I strike the match, I make sure I have my cellphone handy and my face mask on. I'm the type who won't wear protective stuff unless I'm forced; but in this case, it's because I saw a M*A*S*H episode where Hawkeye had a heater blow up in his face while he was re-lighting it.

Buttermilk Sky said...

An Allison Janney movie you may not be aware of -- THE IMPOSTERS written and directed by (and starring) Stanley Tucci. Check it out.

Mike said...

@James: If your pilot light keeps going out, it's often the thermocouple needs replacing.

Terrence Moss said...

and i fail to understand why you're referring to Janney's planned statement as "shenanigans" or reducing Munn's selection as host of the CC's to her being an accuser.

Pat Reeder said...

Since our house is filled with 13 rescued parrots and cockatoos, it was seeing a trailer clip of the little bird on Alison Janney's shoulder that convinced us to pay to see this movie (message to Hollywood: if you want to sell tickets, put more parrots in movies). And I'm glad we did. This was a really good film with terrific performances by Robbie and Janney, and it actually made me feel bad about all the Tonya Harding jokes I had to write when it was happening. It also made me wish I'd written even nastier jokes about Jeff Gillooly. And I'm glad you mentioned the soundtrack. I'm still trying to get Hot Chocolate's "Everyone's A Winner" out of my head.




Anonymous said...

Coincidently, your comment that, "...white trash is ignorant and violent." pretty much sums up my reaction to "The Florida Project".