- May 9, 2003
Trainwreck crashes onto Blu-ray in an edition that presents the movie in high definition and includes Judd Apatow’s usual generous spread of special features. The movie itself doesn’t work and it’s about a half hour too long, but fans of writer/star Amy Schumer may enjoy two hours in her company. The story here follows a fictionalized version of Schumer as she deals with her spectacular inability to handle relationships, amid a backdrop of media and sports. The Blu-ray offers both the theatrical version of the movie and a slightly longer unrated cut with a few extra bits, along with hours of additional material. Compared to Funny People and This is 40, Trainwreck is definitely a step up. There’s a few funny moments and a genuinely warm idea somewhere in the middle of this movie, but it’s just too shapeless and too overlong to sustain itself. Judd Apatow fans will need to continue to wait to see if another Knocked Up is ever in the offing.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, English DVS 2.0, Spanish 5.1 DTS, French 5.1 DTS
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Run Time: 2 Hr. 5 Min. (Theatrical Cut) 2 Hr. 9 Min. (Unrated Cut)
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 11/10/2015
The Production Rating: 2/5
Trainwreck serves as a pretty good general introduction to the comedy stylings of Amy Schumer, who has gone big over the past couple of years with her standup routines and her online sketches. She’s known for having a fairly strong personality and a willingness to get raunchy that usually tends to be seen more in male comedians than female ones. The current movie spotlights Schumer as Amy, a magazine writer with a serious relationship aversion. The issues are laid out within the first five minutes of the movie, starting with a flashback to young Amy and her sister getting a lesson in the perils of monogamy from their father, Gordon (played by a pretty solid Colin Quinn). Within minutes of that moment, we’ve already seen Schumer as an adult establish how she deals with her personal and professional issues, and the movie is off to the races. Predictably, the movie sets her up to pair off with her latest article subject, Aaron, a nice sports doctor (played by an admirably restrained Bill Hader). And for the next two hours, we watch her struggle through a series of shenanigans involving Gordon, Aaron, and her tendency to go from making bad choices to making REALLY BAD choices. Some of this is funny material, and some of it actually works even on a dramatic level. But the whole enterprise is just too long. There’s simply no way a simple comedy like this can sustain for over two hours, and it’s unconscionable to make an audience sit that long for what could easily have been a 90 minute show. That’s the short version. We’ll get into more detail in the following paragraphs for those who are interested. For those who’ve heard enough, you can skip down to the meat and potatoes below.
SPOILERS HERE: DO NOT READ THIS PARAGRAPH UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN THE MOVIE. The basic story of Trainwreck comes from Amy Schumer’s own life. Not necessarily the relationship aversion, although that’s certainly possible. It’s the family issues that are clearly drawn from Schumer’s past. The real Amy Schumer does have a father named Gordon who cheated on her mother, and who would later suffer from multiple sclerosis. And she really does have a younger sister named Kim (played by Brie Larson in the movie) who actually participated in the movie behind the scenes. So there’s a certain reality to the basic situation presented in the movie. From that reality comes a genuinely sweet idea – the notion that Amy and her sister are spending their lives compensating for how their father essentially abandoned them when they were kids. For Kim, this has meant getting married quickly and trying to generate her own family while rejecting Gordon. For Amy, this has meant usually refusing to commit to men farther than a single night, and serially cheating on Steven, the one steady boyfriend she kind of retains for the first 15 minutes of the movie. When Amy meets Aaron, her situation changes because, as Kim points out, he’s the first guy she’s met who’s as intelligent as she is. All the other guys, especially Steven (a game John Cena) have been LOT slower than her, which has allowed her to dance rings around them without them noticing. With Aaron, she’s presented with the challenge of dealing with a smart guy who can see her for who she is. (I note that Bill Hader’s performance here is surprisingly contained – there’s only one moment in the movie where one of his trademark SNL voices comes out. He plays this role in earnest, which may be a real shock to his fans from sketch comedy.) This plot actually does give the movie a pretty solid bedrock on which to build a relationship movie – one that could even play as much as a drama as it does as a comedy. BIGGER SPOILER: And when Gordon dies of MS, the movie delivers a genuinely moving sucker punch as Amy delivers a funny but heartfelt eulogy for a man nobody admired, but was still her father.
MORE SPOILERS: Of course, this is not a drama – it’s a Judd Apatow comedy. And there is a really good comic idea running through the movie, which plays to Apatow’s strengths as a comedy director. Throughout his career, he’s been good with challenging audience expectations – usually combining story ideas or even audiences themselves. (Knocked Up is a great example, as it cross-pollinates a male gross-out movie with a women’s relationship movie, with surprising dexterity.) The game here is a more thoughtful one. Essentially, this movie reverses the normal roles in a relationship movie. The movie is played as we would normally see it from the male perspective for Boy Meets Girl. We all know the formula – Boy Meets Girl, Boy Falls For Girl, Girl’s Friends Don’t Trust Boy, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Gets Girl Back, and then Renee Zellwegger tells him “You had me at hello.” All good. But with Trainwreck, the roles are deliberately reversed. For this movie, we’re looking at a Girl Meets Boy movie, with Amy Schumer taking on all the behaviors and perspectives of the typical male. Which is why Hader’s portrayal of Aaron has to be this restrained – he’s playing the more passive role here. Things get funnier when the story gets extrapolated out to Aaron’s friends – including the notion of having LeBron James play himself as Aaron’s buddy who doesn’t approve of Amy and doesn’t trust her at first. The movie even gives us a very funny scene where LeBron seriously stares down Amy and demands to know what her intentions are “with my man”. So far, all good.
EVEN MORE SPOILERS: And yet the movie never seems to find itself. It just rambles on aimlessly, until the audience has had more than enough. This has been an ongoing problem with Judd Apatow’s films, in that he shoots an unbelievable amount of footage and then tries to edit his way down to the actual movie – and for the last three movies, he’s still had another 30-40 minutes to go at the time he stopped. Between that, and the endless below-the-belt sexual humor from Schumer, the movie simply grates after a short time. There are moments where things pick up, and there’s even an inspired sight gag or two – a particularly great one at the very end – but it’s a long slog to get there. There simply isn’t enough story to sustain this length. I’ll add that a good chunk of the humor along the way comes from meanness – usually from Tilda Swinton’s nasty editor character – which is meant to be funny but frankly comes across as too sharp to be amusing.
Trainwreck has been released simultaneously on Blu-ray and standard definition as of November 10th. The Blu-ray has everything from the standard DVD, and adds high definition picture and sound, along with a lot of exclusive bonus material. Most of this material, as usual for an Apatow production, consists of deleted or alternate scenes, as well as the obligatory gag reels and line-o-ramas. A full commentary is included with Apatow, Schumer and her sister.
I should note that two versions of the film are available on the Blu-ray and on the DVD. One is the theatrical version, rated R. The other is an unrated extended version, running four minutes longer and containing various bits deemed to be a bit too much for the initial release. (As an example, there’s a scene where the sisters are going through their father’s snow globes, identified for various cities around the world. The unrated version includes a shot of one globe labelled “Auschwitz” – something that Apatow felt wouldn’t go over well in the theater but could be included in a longer cut at home.) The overall feeling of watching the longer cut is that it’s just another four minutes to get through to get to the end. Unless you’re really interested and invested in the movie, it’s best to stay with the theatrical cut.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
Trainwreck is presented in a 1080p AVC 2.40:1 transfer (@ an average 30 mbps) that shows off the fact that this movie was shot on 35mm film, an unfortunate rarity today. Heavier grain is intentionally visible in the opening flashback scene (shot during an actual thunderstorm – something that really should NOT be done, frankly.) There’s a very healthy variety of flesh tones and environments, all of which come across quite nicely in this transfer.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
Trainwreck is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix in English (@ an average 3.7 mbps, going up to 4.4 mbps in the bigger scenes), as well as standard DTS 5.1 mixes in Spanish and French, and an English DVS track. Most of the sound lives in the front channels, but there’s some good use of surrounds and the subwoofer any time the music or the environment permits it. (Whenever we’re in a sports arena or a club, things perk up in a big way.) The score by Jon Brion tends to just live in the surrounds and is surprisingly unremarkable from the composer who previously brought us the music for Magnolia nearly 20 years ago. I also have to wonder about the notion of a DVS track for a movie like this. I mean, how do you describe some of these scenes?
Special Features Rating: 4/5
The Blu-Ray presentation of Trainwreck comes packed with materials, including a commentary, deleted and alternate scenes, the full presentation of the inset movie-within-the-movie, a 90 minute featurette about the making of the film, and a lot more past that. If anything, the Blu-ray is nearly as over-packed with materials as the movie itself is over-packed with footage.
The following materials are presented in high definition on the Blu-ray. If they are also available on the DVD, they would obviously be presented in standard definition there:
Feature Commentary with Judd Apatow, Amy Schumer and Kim Caramele (AVAILABLE BOTH DVD & BLU-RAY) (AVAILABLE ON BOTH VERSIONS OF THE MOVIE) – This scene-specific commentary finds Apatow watching the movie with Schumer and her sister, who served as an associate producer on the movie. They note that their viewing is happening before the theatrical opening, so there’s a little apprehension on their part as to whether the movie will do well or bomb. (It actually did okay – particularly considering it’s an R-rated female-centered comedy, a distinction that threw box office analysts for a loop.) It’s clear that the commentary is actually for the unrated cut, but edited down as necessary for the theatrical cut. Most of the discussion tends to be reactions to what is happening onscreen, but there are occasional gems between Schumer and her sister.
Deleted Scenes (45:44 Total, 17 Scenes Total, 1080p) (ALL BUT 2 SCENES EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – Seventeen deleted scenes are presented here, mostly consisting of additional comedy riffs or moments that were deemed unnecessary. Nearly all of this is simply additional flavoring that would only have padded the movie out farther. One odd scene features Ryan Phillipe in a cameo as he visits the magazine office where Amy works and makes a bizarre pass at her. Another scene would have offered a bookending coda to the movie (with Schumer narrating where her life is now), and it’s certainly interesting, but again, unnecessary. Most of the scenes run about 2 minutes, with some running a little longer. Two of the earlier scenes are included on both the DVD and on the Blu-ray, but the other 15 are exclusive to the Blu-ray.
Extended/Alternate Scenes (44:06 Total, 12 Scenes Total, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – Here are 12 longer or alternate versions of scenes that continue to exist in the released movie. As with the deleted scenes, this is pretty much a lot of extra funny sauce that would just have padded out the running time to a more agonizing length. (One has to wonder how long the initial assembly of the movie ran – from what I can see, it may well have run up to 3 ½ hours!)
Secrets of the Wu (2:21, 1080p) (AVAILABLE BOTH ON DVD & BLU-RAY) – This is actually a very funny clip, shot on the set. It’s ostensibly a walk-and-talk at the assisted living home featured in the movie, between Clifford Smith (Method Man from Wu-Tang Clan) and a 99 year old Norman Lloyd. They’re having an in-depth discussion about the Wu-Tang Clan and Old Dirty Bastard. Of course, they’re also both out of their characters from the movie, but it’s such a silly moment that it’s a pleasure to see this. At 99 years old (and now at 100!), Norman Lloyd has not lost his chops at all. Given that the two men’s characters argue back and forth during their scenes in the actual movie, this moment is a nice counterpoint.
The Dogwalker (4:09 Total, 2 Parts, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – Here’s all the footage assembled for the REALLY BAD black and white indie movie that Amy watches in a theater and months later at home in Trainwreck. It’s actually a commentary on low budget relationship movies, here presenting Daniel Radcliffe as an angry bitter man walking a giant posse of dogs through New York City. He encounters Marisa Tomei, who is looking for a man who can, well, walk her dog. It really doesn’t get any subtler than that, does it. The idea gets points for having Radcliffe wear a belt with multiple leash clips on it, thus allowing him to be dragged down the sidewalk by no less than 10 pups. And smoking, of course. Everyone smokes in black and white indie movies.
Gag Reel (12:42 Total, 2 Parts, 1080p) (PART 1 AVAILABLE BOTH ON DVD & BLU-RAY, PART 2 EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – Over 12 ½ minutes of gag reel footage is included here, usually featuring moments where Amy Schumer or Bill Hader start giggling and the scene at hand implodes. This is a LOT of gag reel footage, but it’s split into two parts. The first part, running around 6:37, is included on both the DVD and Blu-ray editions. The second part, with the other 6 minutes, is exclusive to Blu-ray.
Line-o-Rama (8:11 Total, 2 Parts, 1080p) (AVAILABLE, BOTH ON DVD & BLU-RAY) – The usual Line-o-Rama feature from Judd Apatow is present here. The basic idea is that most funny lines in these movies come from a bunch of riffs. So Amy Schumer will start ad-libbing potential intros or insults, and they’ll just keep filming until they’ve exhausted the possibilities. And then Apatow will cut in the one he likes best. (This is another way these movies wind up shooting an unbelievable amount of film, and how the initial cuts wind up so long). The Line-o-Rama here includes riffs from several cast members, including some great stuff that got cut out of Colin Quinn’s opening “Doll” monologue. This material is actually presented in two parts. The first part runs about 5 ½ minutes and covers most of what anyone would want to see. The second part features scenes with John Cena as Steven, and thus is called Steven-o-Rama. Here we get all the various possibilities of insults running back and forth between Steven and his antagonist in a movie theater, most of which go to a fairly strange sexual place.
Directing Athletes: A Blood Sport (9:54, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – This is a mock featurette, along the same lines as the co-directing clip with Bennett Miller included on the discs for Knocked Up. In this one, we are meant to believe that Apatow is a “tough love” director of athletes, rounding on LeBron James and Tony Romo and castigating them in front of the crew. Because we all know that this of course happened all the time on the set... Sadly, this bit doesn’t end with Apatow getting punched out as happened with the Miller material from before…
Behind the Scenes: (1:28:40, 11 parts, 480p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – This is collectively a full behind-the-scenes documentary running about 90 minutes, built from 11 parts. The first of which, and the longest, deals with Amy Schumer and the genesis of the show. After that, things get more specific. There’s some great material with Norman Lloyd, including Apatow and the rest of the cast giving Lloyd every opportunity to tell every story he can about his long life and career. Of course, Apatow can’t resist also asking Lloyd if he’s funnier than Hitchcock or Kubrick. This documentary is presented in standard definition.
Trainwreck Comedy Tour via Funny or Die (1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – This is a series of video clips of the standup comedy tour done in support of the movie and Funny or Die. Several members of the cast (including Amy Schumer, Mike Birbiglia, Colin Quinn and others) and Judd Apatow went on this short tour, each going up to do a short set as part of a group evening. There are multiple segments, mostly taking place in different cities:
Boston (2:22) – The first segment covers the Boston leg of the tour.
Toronto (21:43) – This segment goes on a bit longer, covering the Toronto leg.
Judd & Colin in Toronto (5:34) – This is a Q&A with Judd Apatow and Colin Quinn, conducted while they were in Toronto for that leg of the tour.
Chicago (3:53) – This segment covers some fun that happened at the Chicago show. Mike Birbiglia saw that an 18 year old fan had put a copy of Apatow’s new book Sick in the Head on the stage to be autographed. So Birbiglia signed it himself, tossed it offstage, and had some fun dissing Apatow. Apatow then came out with the book, having signed it himself, and then pulled Birbiglia back out onstage for a taste of his own medicine.
Seattle (5:14) – This segment covers the Seattle leg.
Los Angeles (4:46) – For this segment, the group has arrived back in Los Angeles, I believe completing the tour.
Sirius XM Town Hall for Trainwreck (53:12, Audio Only) – This is the audio of an hourlong Q&A held about the movie and concert tour, as initially broadcast on satellite radio.
Red Band Trailer (3:03, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – The R-rated theatrical trailer for the movie is included here, complete with nudity and colorful metaphors.
DVD Copy – A second disc is included in the package, holding the standard DVD of the movie. It contains both versions of the movie presented in standard definition in an anamorphic 2.40:1 picture with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound in English, Spanish and French (448 kbps) as well as the English DVS track. Only a few of the special features are included. You get the commentary for both versions, two of the deleted scenes, the first part of the gag reel, the Line-o-Rama, and the brief Secrets of the Wu clip.
Digital Copy – Instructions are included in the packaging for downloading a digital copy of the movie to your laptop or portable device.
Subtitles are available for the film and the special features, in English, Spanish and French. A full chapter menu is available for the film.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5
Trainwreck continues Judd Apatow’s pattern of assembling large-scale piles of raw comedy footage in the hopes of finding the sculpture within it. This one has a few pluses – mainly the inventive approach of reversing male and female roles, and the heartfelt nature of some of the material. But it’s still nearly 30 minutes too long and the length is a killer. The Blu-ray edition gives the movie a nice presentation in high definition picture and sound, and Apatow provides his usually generous array of bonus materials. Fans of Apatow and of Amy Schumer may enjoy this as a rental. More casual fans may not make it all the way through.
Reviewed By: Kevin EK
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