A Little Story About “Joy”

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I saw this trailer and thought I wanted to see it because Jennifer Lawrence is awesome and she looked like she was playing a badass. I mentioned to my mother that we should see this on Christmas and she said, “Oh yes! We’ve met Joy several times. She’s the one who gave dad your guitar!”

Remember this guitar? The one that Billie Joe Armstrong signed all those years ago? I knew it had been a freebie that my dad had been given, but I had no idea by whom. Turns out Joy Mangano rented warehouse space from the company that my parents have worked at for decades. She also apparently lives in a massive estate two towns over from us. 

Back to the movie: I liked it. It left out things like the fact that she went to my alma matter: Pace. And they cut out one of her children. D’oh. The movie starts when she’s a child and building things and then fast fowards to her meeting her husband, having more kids than she should have, and working at an airport. So much for those dreams. After getting her hands cut up on some glass while mopping up wine, she invents the Miracle Mop and we go from there.

I liked the movie a lot. Mangano was a badass who handled mafia men without blinking. Jennifer Lawrence did a great job, too, as did Bradley Cooper for the most part. Despite how the previews make this look like a Silver Linings Playbook Part 2, it’s very much not at all. 

Matt and I went to see The Elephant Man last night starring Bradley Cooper, and more importantly (to me), Patricia Clarkson. It just got fantastic reviews when it opened on Sunday and I was excited. I’m not a fan of Bradley Cooper because he always plays some slimy grease ball in whatever movie he’s in so I had low expectations. Patricia Clarkson, however, always plays fun, amazingly eccentric characters in movies and I love her.

The Elephant Man was funny at times, but mostly sad and depressing. About a man with severe deformities in the late 1800’s, his life is not easy and he’s kept at arms length most of his life until he’s abandoned and is taken to a doctor’s doorstep. 

Maybe it was my low expectations, but I think Cooper just poured his heart and soul into his performance he was phenomenal. He really blew myself, and everyone around me, away. His physicality and the emotion he portrayed with such few words was mind blowing. He was really great.

Patricia Clarkson was also wonderful, but that’s to be expected. She played an actress who is hired by the doctor to socialize with him, and she becomes entranced with his charm and intelligence. Alessandro Nivola, who played the doctor, was outstanding also.

This is a very parsed down version of The Elephant Man (which is normally 3 acts but in this case it’s 2 hours including the intermission), but it’s still very moving. If you want to find out whether or not Cooper can act onstage, go check this production out.