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Each of these people gets a chance to state their peace, and they’re joined by an eccentric supporting cast of caricatures that includes Jeff’s supremely dumb best friend (Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn Eckhardt), Tonya’s very presentable skating coach (Julianne Nicholson as Diane Rawlinson), and the former “Hard Copy” reporter who helped turn Tanya’s story into a national pile-on (Bobby Cannavale, whose hair alone helps to cement the movie’s comedic tone).It’s a bold move for Steven Rogers to start off by making fun of his subjects, and at times it feels too much like shooting fish in a barrel, but the movie soon begins to complicate and challenge its privileged understanding of these bonafide Americans.
At least, that’s what she witnessed with her son Andy.And that was her ex-boyfriend, Jeff Gillooly, hired an associate to bash in Nancy Kerrigan’s knee in an attempt to prevent Kerrigan from competing in the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.(Kerrigan recovered and won the silver medal.) As a song, “Tonya Harding” sounds more like a cheeky but sincere lullaby than anything else, with Stevens softly crooning lines like, “Well this world is a bitch, girl / Don’t end up in a ditch, girl” over a quiet synth track.“In the face of outrage and defeat, Tonya bolstered shameless resolve and succeeded again and again with all manners of re-invention and self-determination,” Stevens writes.“Tonya shines bright in the pantheon of American history simply because she never stopped trying her hardest.She fought classism, sexism, physical abuse and public rebuke to become an incomparable American legend.” As a songwriter, Stevens seems drawn to misunderstood and complicated figures, particularly those who’ve attained a legendary status in American culture.
(One of his best songs is “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.,” about a notorious serial killer.) Harding was a controversial figure, a working-class girl in homemade costumes who didn’t fit into the wealthy, prim-and-proper mold of the figure skating world.
Remembered for her highly contested role in attacking rival figure skater Nancy Kerrigan (when she’s remembered at all), Harding was one of the greatest villains the ’90s ever produced, up there with O. Simpson, the T-1000, and the guy who invented Crystal Pepsi.
She was the perfect punchline for a country that always needs someone to laugh at; a country that hinges on the idea of upward mobility but would rather punch down than pull up. Played by an almost unrecognizable Allison Janney, La Vona is part showbiz mom and part dictator.
He originally wrote the song for .) “I admit, early drafts of this song contained more than a few puns, punch lines and light-hearted jabs — sex tapes and celebrity boxing make for an entertaining narrative arc,” Stevens writes.
“But the more I edited, and the more I meditated, and the more I considered the wholeness of the person of Tonya Harding, I began to feel a conviction to write something with dignity and grace, to pull back the ridiculous tabloid fodder and take stock of the real story of this strange and magnificent America hero.” That’s the goal of, too — and for fans of the skater as well as women who refuse to play by the rules, it’s about time.
And on December 5, singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens released an ode to Harding, his “shining American star.” “Tonya, you were the brightest / Yeah you rose from the ashes / And survived all the crashes / Wiping the blood from your white tights,” Stevens sings.