Tags: movies

fairy tale

Girls are stupid and so are their movies

I'll admit, when I see a man's name attached to a review for a movie geared to women, I roll my eyes. More often than not, that's enough to get me to pass it over. I've found that more often than not, when a man is reviewing a movie aimed at a female audience, his comments essentially sum up to "this is a movie for chicks, and I am not one. Since it didn't cater to my tastes, it's not a good movie. Now let us turn our attention to the current schlocky action movie..." No, not every romantic comedy is a masterpiece, but they should be judged fairly. I often wonder why more newspapers don't have women reviewing movies, actually. It would save us from reviews like Ebert's take on Red Riding Hood, in which he says:

Of the classics of world literature crying out to be filmed as a sexual fantasy for teenage girls, surely "Red Riding Hood" is far down on the list. Here's a movie that cross-pollinates the "Twilight" formula with a werewolf and adds a girl who always wears a red hooded cape, although I don't recall her doing any riding. It's easy to imagine a story conference in which they said: Hey! Let's switch the vampires with a werewolf and recycle the theme of a virgin attracted to a handsome but dangerous hunk, only let's get two hunks!

What this inspiration fails to account for is that while a young woman might toy with the notion of a vampire boyfriend, she might not want to mate with a wolf. Although she might think it was, like, cool to live in the woods in Oregon, she might not want to live in the Black Forest hundreds of years ago because, like, can you text from there?

When I read this, I was outraged on several levels. Not only are the comments misogynistic, but he's presuming to speak for women without doing so much as a google search, so I guess we can add lazy on top of that. Red Riding Hood is full of sexual fantasies for women, as the huge number of erotic novels would tell you. And yeah, werewolves are sexy, as anyone with even a passing knowledge of contemporary fantasy can tell you. And let's not even get into the part where "no girl would want to be in the woods." Ugh, so much rage.

Yeah, this review pretty much encouraged me to see the movie just to be contrary. And you know what? I actually kind of liked it. It wasn't a perfect movie, but it wasn't as pandering as certain white male reviewers would have you believe.

2011 in Fandom

I did this Year in Fandom meme last year, and it was really fun, so I decided to bring it back this year. And, well, I thought it might be interesting to see the evolution of my fangirliness.

Your main fandom of the year?
Yeah, it'll be Doctor Who again this year. I'm pretty sure it's the only thing I've followed with any regularity in 2011, and while I have my gripes, there were some good times in there, too.

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jazz hands!

Moulin Rouge

A couple of weeks ago, I rambled on about The Craft, a movie which I think has some great elements and was almost a really solid movie... y'know, if it weren't for a few sloppy shortcuts and nitpicky things I find problematic. Today I'd like to do the same thing with Moulin Rouge.

I know, this is riskier. People love this movie with an obsessive ferocity that has nothing to do with teenage nostalgia. Still, I have thoughts and lj pretty much exists to grant me the narcissistic illusion that spouting said thoughts is worthwhile, so here we go.

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lol 2

Sucker for wit

Every Friday night at our house is movie night. The husband goes out for his night of geekery with the guys, and so the kids and I snuggle in to watch movies all evening. The weather is reasonable enough we're not afraid to walk to the movie rental place a few blocks away, which we did today and everyone got to pick a movie (ok, except for the baby). The kids get really excited about movie night, especially when it means they get to rent something shiny and new, and it's become an important tradition to them. It's full of cute.

On our way back from the kids' section, way at the back of the store, we passed by the new releases, and Easy A caught my eye. I'd seen trailers for it, and they'd looked promising, so I thought "sure, why not?" and added it to the pile. I figured I could watch it after the kids went to bed.

Most of the critics I've read on the subject weren't so keen on the movie. There's a lot of love for Emma Stone (who was indeed wonderful) but that's generally about as far as the praise goes. Which is a shame, because this is a clever, funny movie. The dialogue is witty, the script has some wonderful genre-savvy moments, and there's just enough ridiculous in there to change the pace every so often. There are a number of literary references, although at its heart it's a modern-day retelling of The Scarlet Letter in teen comedy guise. I'm a sucker for smart and funny (this goes for men as well as movies; unrelated, but while we're dishing...) and so I really enjoyed Easy A.

Which made me wonder yet again why so many of the movies and tv shows I love aren't well received by critics. Once upon a time I wondered if it was a reflection of my taste (or lack thereof) that an awful lot of my favourites were panned, but I've come to the conclusion it has a lot to do with the fact that I'm not a middle-aged white guy. I have my guilty pleasures like anyone else (yes, I am fully aware League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a terrible movie and I don't care) but in general I think I just am not drawn to the same things as a middle-aged white dude. And nor should I be.

Then again, it's entirely possible I am a freak who enjoys wordplay and quick dialogue a little too much.

Lost in Austen

The other day I caught the miniseries Lost in Austen, one of those "Austen fan gets literally sucked into the story" retellings. I'd heard mixed reviews, so when it showed up on netflix instant streaming, I figured I'd give it a shot.

The verdict? Not a fan. I mean, ok, you know going in you're basically getting this wish fulfillment fanfic. That's the whole premise. But the thing is, to get the wish fulfillment part, they had to take several characters so far out of character I started to wonder what the point was. If you have to change someone to make the wish come true, it's not really "true," is it?

I'm down with Elizabeth Bennett switching places with modern girl Amanda. There was the usual fish-out-of-water humour and awkwardness, and some really interesting ideas going on. I particularly liked the idea of trying to redeem Wickham, in the vein of "he's not bad, just misunderstood." I'm not sure I bought into it, but I do like the idea, since he's probably the most hated of Jane Austen's "villains." (I am all over the quotation marks today, apparently.) Also, Bingley's sister Caroline being gay was pretty hilarious.

To add extra conflict, though, the writers decided to mess with Jane and Bingley. Which is fine on its own, but to do so they took an awful lot of liberties. Jane ends up married to Mr. Collins (!) which results in Bingley turning into a depressed alcoholic (!!). Somehow, this turns into Bingley running off with Lydia (!!!). While it's made very clear nothing happens between the two of them, let's face it, this act would be enough to ruin her forever, and they'd both know this. More than that, he'd be forced to marry her to save appearances, regardless of their feelings for each other, but instead Mr. Bennett decides to fight Bingley and winds up with quite a serious head wound. Um, yeah.

It should be noted that while I enjoy Austen's work, I'm not hardcore or obsessive, and I do have a sense of humour about it, as I imagine the woman herself would. But when when the only resemblance your characters have to the originals is that they share the same name, well, I think there's something horribly wrong with your fanfic.

The Girl With the Gratuitous and Horrifying Violence (with extra squick!)

On Friday nights, I usually watch a movie with the older two kids. Since we're in the process of boxing things up to move, all our videos are out of commission for the time being, so I asked the husband to pick up a movie on his way home from work. They had some sort of 3-for-1 deal going on, so in addition to the kids' movie he'd been sent for, he figured he'd get one of the weird movies he likes and something that I might watch late at night when I'm up with the baby. He got me the Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

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