Review: Tig

Tig is a documentary about a year in the life of comedian Tig Notaro. The film is currently streaming on Netflix.

I recommend the film to everyone. Not because it’s a great documentary, but because Tig Notaro is a woman to admire and respect.

Tig Notaro

The documentary looks at a year in Tig’s life in which she was diagnosed with C-diff and breast cancer, the year in which her mother died, and the year in which she learned that her dreams of being a mother might never come to fruition. Any one of those things would be devastating, and they all happened at once.

Tig is a stand-up comedian. When something happens in her life, she deals with it by adding it to her stand-up routine. The documentary begins 2 days after she received her cancer diagnosis, on the night she walked on a stage and said, “Hello. How are you? I have cancer.”

In the following year, the news of her groundbreaking performance went viral, the sound recording of that night became a best selling album called “Tig Notaro Live” (pronounced with a short i). She became famous and the darling of talk shows and interview segments.

In that year she made a decision that could have caused her cancer to recur in order to try to become a mother. In that year she also fell in love with Stephanie Allynne, an actress she met while working on In a World.

One of many interviews about Tig in the documentary is Stephanie Allynne talking about how she believed she was straight. That kept her from recognizing her feelings for Tig for a while. She seems to have it figured out now; the couple recently announced their engagement.

One year after Tig’s “I have cancer” performance, she was back on the same stage. She’d made it through a rough year and came out of it with renewed confidence and finely honed jokes about it.

There were some poignant, painfully real moments in the film. There were also moments that felt as if they were staged after the fact – reenactments, if you will. The real parts were compelling, the recreated events felt out of place. As storytelling devices, they were there for a purpose, but they still felt out of place.

The overall effect of the film is one of wonderment: at the strength of character that Tig Notaro has, at the humor she brings into her life to deal with hard times, and at her physical recovery from such difficult illnesses.

Tig Notaro is a strong, beautiful, hilarious woman. Watch the documentary.

The Trailer

In a World: A Review

In a World is terrific.

In a World poster

In a World is the from the mind of Lake Bell. She wrote it, directed it, and stars in it. Her character – Carol – wants to do voice overs. Carol is a quirky and very likable woman. Carol’s father Sam, played by real voice over artist Fred Melamed, discounts her dreams because she’s a woman and women don’t become voice over stars. In addition, her father is currently the biggest name in voice over acting, and he doesn’t like the idea of an upstart daughter being his competition.

The title comes from the voice of Don LaFontaine, the legendary voice over star who made the phrase “in a world” the famous opening of many a movie trailer. The death of this real Hollywood personality left a hole in the voice over world that several in Lake Bell’s fictional world attempt to fill.

Carol, her sister Dani (Michaela Watkins) her father and her father’s younger girlfriend Jamie (Alexandra Holden) make up a family with its unique set of issues and jealousies and support systems. The sisters are beautifully close. I enjoyed the twists in how the family dynamics played out, and especially Jamie’s surprise influence on how Sam behaved as a father.

Dani has her own storyline separate from Carol around her relationship with her husband Moe, played by Rob Corddry. Another storyline is Carol’s hunt for work and her voice recording work in a studio run by a guy named Louis, played by relative newcomer Demetri Martin. (Louis is a romantic interest, too.) Other characters in the recording studio are played by Stephanie Allynne, who has a real knack for physical comedy, and Tig Nagaro, who gets a couple of good laughs. Ken Marino is Gustav, another of the voice over artists in the race to become the new voice to utter “in a world” in future movie trailers. Gustav uses his oily charm to seduce Carol before he realizes that she is his mentor Sam’s daughter and another aspiring voice over talent.

Eva Longoria is hilarious as Eva Longoria. Geena Davis is perfect as a crusader for women’s power in Hollywood. Cameron Diaz did an uncredited bit as an Amazon warrior.

The movie is funny with lots of opportunities to laugh, a few opportunities to wince at a character’s pain, and an ending that deserves applause. I don’t want to give you a lot of details because the ending is unusual. As I was leaving I heard several different people make positive comments, so I wasn’t the only moviegoer who was happy with the movie.

You can watch the trailer in the earlier post Where in the World is In a World?

All images ©Roadside Attractions

Where in the World is In a World?

I so wanted to go see In a World last weekend. It looks hilarious. It’s written by, directed by, and stars a woman: Lake Bell. That’s the kind of movie that makes me plunk my money down.

It opened August 9, but it is nowhere to be found in my city. What’s up with that, In a World? When do I get to see you?

Have you seen it yet? What did you think? Sound off in the comments.