Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is releasing the now Academy Award-winning bio-drama, I, TONYA on Tuesday, March 13. Fresh Fiction has some Blu-ray copies to give away. Information on how to get yours is below, along with information on the release.
The rules are simple: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and full mailing address (Note: U.S. addresses only and no PO boxes). Title your email subject: “Fresh Fiction I, TONYA Giveaway.” In the body of email, tell us about the worst injury you sustained. The giveaway is active now until next Tuesday, Mar. 13 at noon, central time.
Just in case you don’t know who Tonya Harding is, or forgot (because it’s been over 20 years since her name appeared in the tabloids), she was the shamed figure skater whose desperate need to succeed got the best of her in the ’90s. In short, Harding gained great infamy outside her sport for her role in the knee-bashing attack on her rival, Nancy Kerrigan.
I, TONYA is not a traditional biopic. You may have learned this from its cutting-edge trailer, where it captures a tone that resembles what many might imagine a Deadpool or Martin Scorsese movie would look like if it took place on the ice. It has a mockumentary style that often breaks the fourth wall to converse with its audience.
Screenwriter Steven Rogers (Love the Coopers) and director Craig Gillespie (THE FINEST HOURS) include the expected rise-and-fall story of Harding (played with fierce determination by Margot Robbie), but they also splice in direct-to-camera interviews to add a greater emotional and comical depth.
Take for instance one moment when we see Harding being thrown against the wall by her husband, Jeff Gillooly (a mustached Sebastian Stan of CAPTAIN AMERICA fame), while Robbie narrates, “He was the only boy I ever loved. The only catch was, he beat the living hell out of me.” We then cut to an older Gillooly being interviewed, when he states, “I never hit her.” (“I did naht!,” as Tommy Wiseau would say.)
Gillespie and Rogers are obviously keen on the idea of truth being a matter of perspective. They even have Harding say a line like, “There’s no such thing as truth. Everyone has his or her own truth.” The filmmakers could have easily told the story strictly from Harding’s point of view — and for the most part, they do, because this is her story — but the film plays around with different angles to raise the stakes and have the film figuratively skate outside the box.
Robbie and the filmmakers paint Harding as a sympathetic character, and some may question why that is, given what happens by the end of the film. The truth, or what we can assume is the truth, is she suffered physical and psychological abuse from the people who mattered most in her life, primarily her mother (a cold-as-ice Allison Janney). Harding becomes a victim of circumstance. She’s extremely talented, but held back by her unconventional upbringing and the outside factors that were beyond her control.
I, TONYA is by no means perfect. Its overwhelmingly kinetic energy and constant wall-breaking can irritate at times. However, it still manages to land a few triple axels of its own by being a highly entertaining biopic with captivating performances.
BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY™:
- Deleted Scenes
- All Sixes: The Perfect Performances of I, Tonya
- Irony Free, Totally True: The Story Behind I, Tonya
- Working with Director Craig Gillespie
- The Visual Effects of I, Tonya
- VFX: Anatomy of the Triple Axel
- Feature Commentary with Director Craig Gillespie
- Theatrical Trailers
I, TONYA releases on Blu-ray on Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2018.