My first encounter with Amy Schumer came about two years ago. We were introduced by my father. I was on a break from school, where we only watched internet TV, and my dad told me he'd seen commercials for a new show he thought I’d like: Inside Amy Schumer. At this point I had discovered my love of screenwriting. I was gearing up to shoot my first short film and my parents had pretty much accepted the struggle and financial hell would be (currently is) my future (my life) as a starving artist. They accepted me for who I am and the kind of comedy that I strive to make: full of unapologetically in your face moments, uncomfortable real-life situations, and, ideally, many opportunities for me to eat on camera while not wearing pants. Thus my dad realized, only from a commercial or two, that Amy was someone I needed to watch.
This past Saturday, my dear friend Mike Zolovich and I went to see Trainwreck. We laughed voraciously for 90% of the film, fell head-over-heels for Bill Hader, and left full of that buzzing excitement that overtakes theatre kids when they experience good art. As we left, Mike explained his surprise at the movie's raunch-factor. He was totally unfamiliar with Schumer’s comedy and had expected Bridesmaids-style humor. After all, so many of the funny women we love tend to make work with a unified tone. (We're regular attendants at the altars of Fey, Poehler, Kaling, and Wiig, #bowdownbitches). Schumer’s brand of comedy is different, which has resulted in reviewers losing their minds across the board.
At this point we all understand the whole Hollywood-Boys-Club thing. We also understand that countless female writers, directors, and actresses are proving that kind of male domination to be a bunch of bullshit. We live in a world where it’s still newsworthy for a woman to write a box office smash that isn’t classified as a “chick movie.” And now here’s Trainwreck, written by a badass chick whose sense of humor is anything but lady-like. This film is just as raunchy as Superbad or any Rogen/Franco collaboration. Its cringeworthy-sexual-encounters can hold their own against those of any film in Netflix’s “Late Night Comedy” category. But I think we’re beyond being surprised that a woman’s script can swing that way, aren’t we?
The most amazing thing about Trainwreck isn’t that it fits this genre, it’s that it fucking destroys it. Yes, it is raunchy as hell, full of moments that make your insides recoil with empathetic pain, but it ALSO makes you have all of the emotions. Literally all of them. I wanted to hug the shit out of John Cena. My insides melted when Amy cried over her nephew’s Minecraft drawing. And that funeral speech? That was real-world beautiful. No so-called Late Night Comedy has ever gotten me that close to tears.
This review isn’t about gender equality. Schumer just stepped into a genre that has been carved out by men, a boy’s club within the boys club, and did it better than I've ever seen it done. There’s equality and then there’s superiority. The fact that this superior party happens to also be a powerful lady is just icing on the cake.
Thanks for the inspiration, Amy. I’ll think of you next time I’m in front of the camera holding a bag of wine, sporting smeared makeup, and, probably, without pants.