“Joy”

“Joy” seems to be a crowd-pleaser of a movie. Having been released a couple of weeks ago, the theater is full. The promise of elevating one’s economic class or of hearing the story of a successful sales pitch or just laughing at a family that reminds one of one’s own must be the draw. We first see a black and white soap opera where characters named Bartholomew, Jared and Clarinda vie for their desires. We understand that a grandmother called Mimi(Diane Ladd) will be our narrator, and that she will tell her granddaughter ‘s own story~ a soap  in itself.

The film is well cast. Jennifer Lawrence plays Joy (Mangano is never mentioned,and we don’t know how true to life the actual screenplay is), but our protagonist is the doer who doesn’t need a prince and who still reigns as a very successful inventor and designer of a self-wringing mop. Robert DeNiro plays her clueless father and Isabelle Rossellini almost steals the show as Trudy, his current girl friend. Bradley Cooper teams up with Lawrence,again,as he did in “Silver Linings Playbook” in 2012. His smile a little brighter; his sincerity not so much.

The first half has many “laugh out loud moments”. Joy’s unrolled toilet tissue divides her ex-husband (Edgar Ramirez) of two years and her father’s basement bedrooms. They are both living with her, her mother, her daughter and her grandmother. Her mother (Virginia Madsen) spends all her waking hours whining and watching “the stories”. One of my favorite lines occurred when a plumbing problem disrupted her screen viewing. Joy’s wry sympathy takes the form of ” No tv~ very scary for you,mom.”

There are some creative screenplay and camera elements like close-up silhouettes, dream sequences, and a winter sail. This may be story writer Annie Mumolo’s. The “four questions of financial worthiness” keep watching 300 feet of continual cotton loops looping more interesting. For those who watch QVC ( Quality Value Convenience), HSN (Home Shopping Network )or “Shark Tank”, you will be right at home. Joy makes some stupid mistakes, recoups, persists, and remembers where she came from to mentor others after she succeeds. The end is a tad too congratulatory and repetitive. We know she is an American winner, and that many aspire to her dreams. David O. Russell, director and also script writer, loves the underdog. Enjoyable,but long.

“Inside Out”

My favorite line in the Pixar-Disney Animated Studio’s new summer release is the off-hand lament : “Facts and opinions look so similar.” This remark should not be surprising since five core emotions rage on screen: Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Sadness. Abstract thought is waiting in the wings as the inner workings of a child’s developing mind is awash in these emotions characterized and animated in colors and duties. Another favorite tossed off truism is “Emotions can’t quit, genius!”

This inventive film uses French fry forests,a bag of yellow joy balls, a Brazilian helicopter pilot,caramel corn curls and flowing ice-skating sequences to entrance and delight. Emotional intelligence has never been so teachable. Emotions work together. It is evident that psychologists were consulted as the mind’s interior workings are illustrated in the development of baby Riley. The storyboard takes us to Riley’s eleventh year as she deals with a cross-country move from Minnesota to San Francisco. Her “train of thought” is a train. Her personality aspects are “islands”,for instance,Goofball Island and Honesty Island. Memories go “long term” during sleep. We stack memories and have to work on keeping them with us as “core memories”. Memories fade to the “dump” when we don’t take care of them. The “mind library” is made concrete. And in terms of technology,one wants Joy to be in control of our “console”.

Core emotions tussle. Anger yells “the foot is down”,and imagination as an amalgam of animals is named Bing Bong. He has adorable heart-shaped nostrils and saves Joy with a Radio-Flyer rocket transport. The co-directors Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen are also the writers and they keep the voices of Amy Poehler (Joy) and Diane Ladd (Riley’s mother) especially strong.

The labyrinthine mazes in getting back to headquarters were hard to “find the fun” in,just like in real circumstances, but the suggestion that we “could cry until we can’t breathe” was presented as a silly option. The fact was stated and shown that Sadness is needed to return to Joy. As we grow our “console” expands and we even incur a “curse word library”.

No cursing will be done in viewing this sweet celebration of our emotional workings. Take a youngster and find that talking about feelings need not be a subconscious fear. I am certain that a sequel is in the offing. The pin-ball like gaming and the air transport tubes may have a drone or two added as those brain fragmentations and incidents of déjà vu present themselves.