Archive for the ‘Jonathan Dayton’ Category

The Virginia Slims

Battle of the Sexes

Directors: Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton

Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Elisabeth Shue, Alan Cumming, Bill Pullman, Eric Christian Olsen, Wallace Langham, Austin Stowell

Little Miss Sunshine and Ruby Sparks directing duo Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton take on the extremely pertinent subject of gender inequality in sports in their latest film, Battle of the Sexes, a highly entertaining cinematic recreation of a historic tennis match which took place between the brash egotist and compulsive gambler Bobby Riggs and tennis women’s superstar Billie Jean King at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas in 1973.

Oscar winner Emma Stone (La La Land) plays Billie Jean King a tennis champion at the top of her game who is married yet battling with her own sexuality as she meets the provocative Californian hairdresser Marilyn Barnett wonderfully played by Andrea Riseborough (Nocturnal Animals, Birdman).

Oscar nominee Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) plays the exuberant Bobby Riggs, the fiftyish tennis pro and self-proclaimed male chauvinist pig who is having a last gasp at his youth and decides to provoke Billie Jean King into a publicity tennis matched aptly named Battle of the Sexes. Riggs who is a sports hustler and whose lavish career is supported by his wealthy wife Priscilla Riggs superbly played against type by Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas).

Comedian Sarah Silverman stars as the outspoken Gladys Heldman who champions Billie Jean King and a collection of aspiring female tennis players to start their own female tennis match sponsored by Virginia slims cigarettes. This is in response to the chauvinism and unequal pay dispute between the women players and the exorbitant salaries that their male tennis players get which is almost ten times the amount.

The reason for this inequality, as sports commentator and organizer Jack Kramer played by Bill Pullman gives is that the tennis watching public love men’s tennis and that the male tennis players have ten times the stamina, strength and speed to sustain an exciting match unlike their less competitive female counterparts. Naturally this outdated mode of thinking has thankfully be reversed by the recent star power of such female tennis champions as Venus and Serena Williams.

Battle of the Sexes is a relevant film not only in terms of recent sexual harassment scandals which has rocked the Hollywood establishment but also in terms of LGTQ rights in sports, a controversial subject which has barely been explored in contemporary cinema.

As Billie Jean King’s husband Larry, played by Austin Stowell (Bridge of Spies), says to her lover in one poignant scene, all that sponsorship of hotel rooms, flights and TV coverage would evaporate if King came out as a lesbian. Which she eventually did in the wake of the 1970’s queer rights campaign that activists like Harvey Milk and Cleve Jones fought for so vehemently, brilliantly illustrated in the Oscar winning Gus van Sant film Milk.

Battle of the Sexes is a thoroughly entertaining film about two tennis professionals who not only stake the reputations on a publicity tennis match. Battle of the Sexes is peppered with some flamboyant supporting roles including Sarah Silverman and Alan Cumming as Cuthbert Tinling whilst held together by exemplary performances by Stone and Carell.

Battle of the Sexes gets a film rating of 8 out of 10, featuring wonderful seventies tennis costumes by Costume Designer Mary Zophres capturing the zeitgeist of the decade, adding to a thoroughly slick and entertaining sports film.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
November 2018
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  
  • Hugh Jackman Has a Message for John Krasinski, Ryan Reynolds After Twitter Roast
    Everyone loves a good Hollywood feud, even if it’s not exactly real. Hugh Jackman took the opportunity at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, where he was being honored, to take a shot at John Krasinski and Ryan Reynolds, who ganged up on him on social media over the weekend after a photo of Jackman […]
    Erin Nyren
  • SAG-AFTRA Members Ratify Television Animation Deal
    Members of SAG-AFTRA have approved a three-year successor deal on its master contract covering televised animated work with 95% of those voting in support. SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris made the announcement Monday, saying, “This was a very important negotiation for our members who work on television animation projects due to the expansive growth of streaming […]
    Dave McNary
  • Film News Roundup: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Director John M. Chu Honored by Publicists
    In today’s film news roundup, Jon M. Chu is honored by union publicists, Melissa McCarthy is honored by the Palm Springs Film Festival and the film “Ali’s Realm” gets a cast. PUBLICISTS HONOR Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu as recipient of the Motion Picture Showman of the Year Award. […]
    Dave McNary
  • Cliff Bleszinski Says He’s Not Making Any More Games
    Cliff Bleszinksi, game developer formerly of Epic Games and Boss Key Productions, stated he doesn’t plan to make another game in a Facebook post on Monday. “I really, honestly, feel over it,” he wrote. Bleszinski noted the instability of the game industry in his post, as well as the demanding schedules required of game developers. […]
    Liz Lanier
  • International Emmy Awards: U.K.’s ‘Man In an Orange Shirt,’ Israel’s ‘Nevsu,’ Spain’s ‘Money Heist’ Among Winners
    The U.K. production “Man in an Orange Shirt” won the International Emmy Award for best movie/miniseries at the 46th annual ceremony in New York. The top drama series award went to Spain’s “Money Heist.” “Heist” was produced by Vancouver Media and Atresmedia Televisión. “Man in an Orange Shirt,” produced by the U.K.’s Kudos banner, starred […]
    Cynthia Littleton
  • Article
    Over the past few years, several low-cost carriers have stepped up to offer competition and cheapest prices to customers looking to cut down their monthly bills. Tags: 2gmhass90