Art, what is it and who defines it?
To me, art is any hobby or form you are able to express yourself through. Whether it’s painting, creating music, making sculptures, writing poetry, or in my case; figure skating. I consider myself lucky enough that the general population sees my sport as MORE of an art form RATHER than a sport (So I guess that misconception is often in my favor when I don’t have to explain to people why figure skating is an art form. In fact, I often have to explain why figure skating IS a sport.) However, I realize that some people are not lucky as I am when it comes to their hobby and passion which they are able to express themselves through. Not ALL hobbies are considered an art form, and that’s brings us to film.
I’ll be honest that when I first read this assignment I thought to myself, “Film- an art form? Nahhhh. No way.” However, using a deeper insights I have been able to form the conclusion that film IS an art. In fact, it very well might be one of the most over looked art forms of all time.
As a used to be film critic and art form skeptic, I’ll admit that on the surface film does not appear to be an art form. You have comedies, action movies, dramas, horror, documentaries, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes it seems as if films are created for one sole purpose; for a profit. How can something created for a profit POSSIBLY be interpreted as art? Well, that’s easy. All of our other “traditional” art forms were also created for and intended to make a profit. Whether the artist sells their painting, the musician creates an album, or the writer writes a poetry book.
I think it’s important to remember that whether films are comedy, dramas, or even action, the people creating these films are absolutely in love with what they do. Every person involved in the creation of these films are absolutely passionate about creating them. Whether they are an actor, producer, etc. THAT in itself should be able to explain why film should be considered an art form. However, I’ve decided to take it a little further. Let’s talk about comedies. Again, on the surface you’d think they were only created for a profit and to make people laugh. Although I am a firm believer that in every film (comedy or not) there is a lesson or insight you can take away from it which demonstrates why film should be considered art. Just like paintings or sculptures, films have insights that we can learn from them.
Now, the film I’ve picked for this assignment is a film that on the surface seems absolutely ridiculous and absurd to be called an art form. We’ve come to the conclusion that film CAN be considered an art, but I think most people would never come to the conclusion that THIS particular film is an art form. Which is why I think it is so appropriate that I chose this film to begin with. If I am going to sway anyone’s opinion on why film should be considered an art, I figured I would choose a film that was absolutely absurd.
As you can see from the title of this blog post, I chose the new release Train Wreck starring the very popular actress, comedian, and feminist Amy Schumer. Train Wreck was released this year, and was directed by Judd Apatow (“Trainwreck.”) I’d like to begin dissecting the film with talking about Amy. In hindsight, Amy was the absolute perfect actress for this film (in a sense of why it should be considered art.) She is a comedian, unladylike, and completely unapologetic for her behavior. So in other terms, you could call her a train wreck. (“The Official Web Site of Comedian/Actor Amy Schumer.”)
You might be thinking, why would a train wreck be considered art? Well, it’s all in your perception. To me, art is any way you can express yourself, anything you are passionate about, or anything that is beautiful. You want to know what I find beautiful? Anything that defies the status quo, anything that pushes the boundaries on what society thinks is “acceptable”, and especially anything that challenges the cultural norms (and that is what this movie did for me, which is why I thought it was the most appropriate choice.) To me, anything unordinary is beautiful. Why do only things that society accepts have to be considered beautiful?
Now, let’s get more into societies expectations in relation to us as people. In order for me to be accepted by my culture, I must have bleached hair, makeup, bleached teeth, a fake tan, big boobs, a flat stomach, and the list goes on. Now, how many of us can honestly say that we live up to societies standards? I myself can say that I am nowhere near perfect as defined by our culture, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. This is why I think it’s so important that we have realistic forms of art (such as this movie) that normal people can identify with. In this film, Amy plays a lost woman who is nowhere near perfect by any stretch of the mind. She drinks too much, she’s rude, she’s unlady like, she doesn’t have manners, she’s not a size zero, etc. I’m not sure about you, but I am personally SICK and tired of seeing PERFECT women in films. You know what I’m talking about. The ones who wake up with perfect makeup and curled hair after a night on the town, the ones who are a size zero and are perfect 100% of the time. To me, that’s exhausting and it puts so much pressure on woman in general.
Not only that, but this film does have great insights and life lessons to be taken from it. This is why I believe films are such a genius form of art. On the surface they seem to only be created for a laugh or profit, but they are much deeper than that. The lessons that you can learn from this movie are that you do not need to be perfect to find your perfect significant other, if you are lost you can find yourself, if you are afraid of love you can break through that and learn to trust people again, not all men are the same, love is worth it, etc. I think movies that seem to be created only for slapstick humor but actually have great life lessons are absolutely an art form.
This film was absolutely successful and I think think that’s due to a few reasons. 1) The actors were realistic and normal ordinary people were able to identify with it, 2) There’s no denying that this movie was also created for the humor aspect and was intended to make people laugh using slapstick humor, and 2) The insights I described above about love and life in general.
The screenplay was also written by Amy (which I thought was pretty interesting, and is a huge reason why it’s such a comedic and enjoyable film to watch) and is another reason why NORMAL ordinary people are able to identify with it. Obviously, the film had a great story line and in the end had some life lessons to be taken from it, but I have to be honest and admit that I also really enjoyed the humor. I think this film definitely went places that other films are too scared to go (pushing the boundaries) and used humor that could be seen as offensive, but was absolutely hilarious.
An example of a scene in the film that was intended to take you to a different place in time (like the future or the past) was the first scene in the movie. The film begins in an older neighborhood, older clothes that are no longer in style (which demonstrates that the scene takes place in the past), with two little girls sitting on a car parked in front of their house. Their father is talking to them and teaching them that “monogamy isn’t realistic.” It also seems as if they used some type of filter for this scene to make it appear older (not perfect quality, looks noisy, dull colors, etc.) We are mostly able to differentiate between films that were created recently and films that were created in the past due to the quality of the film, which is why they chose to lessen the quality of the scene because it adds to the “believably” factor that the scene is from the past. The lighting and costumes (older clothes from a different generation) are the special effects that I noticed from this film. Since it’s not an action movie there wasn’t any slow motion, explosions, car crashes, etc.
Directly after this scene from the past you see Amy all grown up hooking up with a guy (which appears not to be her first rodeo due to her language, how comfortable she is, etc.) which shows her expressing her “monogamy isn’t realistic” views that her dad taught her. Her crazy sex hair and running mascara also add to the “train wreck” factor when she drinks. One of the settings of the film which seems to be a reoccurring setting was the apartments of men she hooked up with. An example would be when she woke up in some guys apartment in Staten Island, when she hooks up with the guy at the beginning of the movie and pretends to be asleep to avoid him, or when she hooks up with a gay guy, etc. They are technically all different places, but at the same time are the same type of setting. My reaction to the setting is that they all perfectly demonstrate how she views monogamy, how she feels lost, she drinks too much, and that she’s scared of love.
The soundtrack was not original. However, there were many popular songs and one song used in particular that was used a bunch of different times. In the film, Amy is a writer for a magazine and is writing an article about a sports medicine doctor who treats and preforms surgeries on very famous athletes. Amy was surprised to discover that the doctor (her love interest) always preforms surgery listening to “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel. She makes fun of him for it throughout the movie but eventually uses the song to apologize to him in the end for being so scared to make a commitment to him.
An example of a sound that was used to enhance the believably of a scene would be when Amy punches one of her coworkers. Obviously, she didn’t really punch him. The sound effects were added to create a believably factor. I’m not sure if this is true or not, but I heard that the way they create those type of sounds is by taking a piece of celery and knocking it against a paper being held in the air.
An actor that is not one of the main characters is the hobo that lives outside of Amy’s apartment complex. People who play small and insignificant characters such as hobos demonstrate that they don’t act to be rich or famous, but because they truly love what they are doing and because they are passionate about film. The hobo was able to lighten a few scenes and add some humor into the film.
“The Official Web Site of Comedian/Actor Amy Schumer.” The Official Web Site of Comedian/Actor Amy Schumer. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2015. <amyschumer.com>.
“Trainwreck.” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2015. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3152624/>.
“‘Trainwreck’ Film Review – CNN.com.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2015. <http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/17/entertainment/trainwreck-review-thr-feat/index.html>