Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

femfatale,female,feminism,feminist,fight,movement-8736bed24c128f6ce450693f50716e90_h                                                                 “Give me back my Midol!!!”

Fight Club is a Feminist film.
Hear me out. These are not my words, but of another feminist. Apparently, because the real thing the men in Fight Club rile against is the established patriarchal order, it is in fact, a feminist film (for dude-bros).
“Huh”, said I.
Bob, (testicle-less though he may be) is clearly very in touch with his emotions, and this is not seen as a bad thing, but surely that alone does not make it a ‘feminist’ film. In the same way the overt flirtation the film has with the homoerotic aspects of male sexuality does not really make it pro-LBGT, right?
(Okay so that was a crap joke…in the same way that 300 was TOTALLY not homoerotic).

film-300_005                                                        Soak in the manliness!

Even as I enjoyed the nuances of the film’s dichotomy, the way the sole female character was treated by the males in the film always troubled me.
They clearly resented being “a generation raised by women”.
Fight Club itself is exclusionary to women (as a combat instructor, that’s some serious — no sarcasmBULLSHIT right there).
Further, the male ‘protagonists’ state that they, “don’t think another woman is what [they] need”.

300: Rise of an Empire Eva Green as Artemisia             Everything Eva Green touches, no matter how shitty, turns into Gold. No discussion.

Fight Club is usually seen as a schizophrenic thriller — a single tear-drop away from an MRA manifesto — especially since for the majority of the film, the main character fixates on openly hating the sole female lead of the movie (while simultaneously sexually fixating on her).
However, misogynistic as the male characters may be, the point of the film clearly illustrates the hatred/obsession with women as the focal point of the film; and when you think about it, that is some surprisingly honest shit from such a popular piece of cinema.
That view alone, intentional or not, makes this a film worth taking a second look at — difficult though it may be to wade through the sexism — in order to see the misguided angst of the men under the patriarchal system they, themselves erected from their own twisted and confused, perspective.

I leave you with a kiss:

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I’m not going to whine about how they abandoned cannon and continuity. Instead, I am going to whine (briefly) about how much I fucking hate casual action films in general and how disgusting it is to see a cerebral series made into yet another shoot em up–tits in your face–gratuitous action flick. I loath the type of shit films that get released for the general popcorn munching masses. Mostly because those films aren’t trying to target anyone like me and therefore I feel lonely and left out. *sob*

In my very isolated opinion, when one decides to make a film, one should first ask whether it should be made at all. Why are you making it? What is it you’re trying to accomplish? What story are you trying to tell? All I see when I watch these films is money-grubbing and lens flares.

Highlights of the movies
“Stop exploding, you cowards!”

Money is your reason? FINE. I don’t blame you. I blame the people who pay to see your garbage. Just don’t expect me (a self-respecting, sentient, bipedal humanoid) to bend over and enjoy it.

I don’t care how flashy (literally) or fast-paced or explodey the films are. Nor do I care about how many ass-shots the random new useless female character had. And I certainly don’t give a flying fuck about who the films themselves were made by. If I’m going to judge people by their work, I will judge them on a case by case basis. This case? FUCK J.J. Abrams.

Oh, and fuck you other-trekkies. You can’t just say ‘its a good movie but a bad star trek film’. It doesn’t work that way. Its either good at what it is or it isn’t any good at all. (it isn’t).
Look, I get it: the originals are dated. They needed to reach new markets.
So instead of reviving ST with a sense of dignity and a story about social commentary that ST is famous for, they shit on any and all military or diplomatic ideals, make it a brainless action movie, and fill the cast with professional teenager-lookalikes. Somehow this makes me think of Tiny Toons — its the same characters just painted for a much younger, much dumber audience (not that the Toons were particularly clever to begin with).
The whole thing feels like a prepubescent boy’s wet dream. “Fuck the rules, cultural differences, societal issues, gender boundaries, racial tensions, and discipline — give the keys to the starship to the brash idiot. Oh and throw in a good measure of anti-logic and gaping plot holes.”

Then again, to be fair, I was never a Kirk fan.

Set a course for SEXAH
“You win again, gravity!”

Oh yeah. The plot holes. Look, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief in so far as the universe I’m entering is demanding…the aliens and the star fleet and the spaceships. But when you break your own fucking logic every godsdamned movie, its just BAD WRITING. Its called pulling a Deux Ex Machina out of your ass. STOP IT!
I’m not going to list all these plot holes, frankly because others have done it Already and Better.

You like these movies? You think they’re ‘fun’? Great. Have your fun. I’m all for brainless euphoria.
Wait, nevermind. I think they’re the same old tired shit bereft of interesting villains, relatable heroes, ‘free’ of the logic of their own universes and are therefore unwatchable, uninteresting, counter-creative trash. Such are the worlds you pay to see.

HOOAH
Die for your country? Of course! Basic burial rights? Maaaaaaaaaaaybe.

I’ve written about the religious discrimination that Pagans face in mass-media outlets of the United States before.
Pagans do not worship the devil, but peacefully praise varying aspects of nature and humanity in reverence of faiths that far outdate more modern, monotheistic, patriarchal religions that were conversely born of vast histories of violence. The USA military only very recently allowed fallen soldiers of a Pagan affiliation to bare a pentacle (a pentagram with a circle around it) on their tombstones. Pagans, in all their various faiths (Wicca, Asartu, and Druidism among others), make up roughly 2% of the United States’ population. Being true religions, with histories of extensive and brutal genocide done unto them by followers of the other more pervasive faiths,  it is therefore somewhat baffling to me that they are relegated to the same niche in modern entertainment as werewolves and vampires (who, aside from some unfortunate cases of porphyric haemophilia or very widespread body hair) are most certainly not historically repressed groups.

There have been quite a few ‘evil witch’ movies in recent years, and I’d like to discuss them just a tad.

Wicked Fun
Beauty = Good, Ugly = Evil. Got it.

There’s a new Oz movie out now. Its REALLY “deep”. But thats already two fragmented sentences, so enough about the reboot or prequel or whatever it is, I want to talk about the original. Sort of.

In the book ‘Wicked’, the official sequel of Wizard of Oz, the ‘Wicked Witch of the West’ was born with a terrible deformity (including a horrible allergy to the most common substance on earth) for which she was shunned and abused merely by misfortune of looking different from the other characters. Meanwhile, Glenda the ‘Good’ Witch (Whitey McHonkyKlan) laughed in Elphaba’s face (Wicked Witch of the West’s non-slave name) after her sister was killed by a falling house. Hilarity ensued as residents of Oz gleefully celebrated the horrible death, singing, dancing, and declaring it a national holiday.
Glena asks the occupant of the house if she is a ‘good’ witch or a ‘bad’ witch.

Dorothy, in possession of the sensitivity of a three year old child, responds that she can’t be a witch because witches are ‘old and ugly.’ Glinda, in possession of the logic of an Alzheimer’s patient points out that ‘only evil witches are ugly’. (And remember only bad people are disabled)” –

Glenda then steals the shoes off Elphaba’s sister’s still-warm corpse, and quickly topped that act of in-your-face body-looting by way of hiring a gullible kid (simple-minded Dorothy) to assassinate Elphaba herself (however, not before prema-magicing the shoes that are Elphaba’s rightful inheritance on the poor child). Glenda further endangers Dorothy by telling her to leave Munchkinland (the only place where Elphaba has no power) to see a charlatan wizard instead of simply telling her how to heel-click her way home.
But the devious level of fucks-not-given of the characters isn’t the issue. Nor is it the author’s pointed allegories of racism in a story (that my twisted mind sees as) full of murder and revenge. The problem is the unquestioning, blind acceptance of the audience when taking Glenda’s chirpy side of the story…which is basically just ‘look, her skin is dark, laugh at her then kill her with allergy overdose!’
Thus, instead of the usual ‘burn the witch for her suggested evil’ trope, we have ‘melt the innocent deformed woman’ as the celebrated result.
And so evil dolled up as goodly triumphs once more.

But what about other films?

More witch evilness
A whole new article is required to delve into the fucknuttery of Disney’s many creations.

Well there’s the usual, like Hocus Pocus with three evil (but silly) witches go about sucking the souls from children. The Craft where three evil  (but angsty) witches go about causing a general ruckus but this time one witch is ‘good’ and fights them (actually like this movie). There is the new Hansel and Gretle: Witch Hunters, where the main antagonists are three evil (but dumb) witches who’s plan is snacking on childrens, but this time TWO good witches try to stop them…(although it should be mentioned that unlike in The Craft, being a witch AND the alignment of said witch is not a choice but an accident of birth, meaning the countless hundreds of ‘bad’ witches slaughtered in-movie goes from disturbing to genocid-y very quickly if you think about it — DON’T THINK ABOUT IT!!). There’s also Season of the Witch, which intriguingly enough starts out sort of mournfully showing the execution of some accused witches by the hands of the Church in the Medieval Ages (when this actually happened to innocent people)…..but then demonstrates the Church was TOTALLY right to kill those bitches by the thousands because they ARE possessed by the devil!… and so is the rest of the movie! Whoo! Go Church! Our saviors! What would we ever do without you?

Just imagine literally any other historic group being dehumanized in this fashion for entertainment value. Imagine, if you will, Nazis being commercially portrayed as saviors of humanity because they ‘saved’ us from the Jews. Or the same for the Klan or slavers in regards to African-Americans. Sounds like hyperbole? Sounds extreme? Sounds like you haven’t heard of The Eternal Jew or Birth of a Nation or archives upon archives of others because the only thing that keeps this type of bullshit out of our movie theaters and by extension our (mainstream) cultures, is that enough people give a fuck to boycott it. Apparently those who identify with witchcraft got passed over for that moderate decency. Thats too bad, because people sure do enjoy an awful lot of their holidays.

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*I will strive to keep the spoilers to an absolute minimum

WDSMPI RALPH STANDEE NO.2.vc6

_________”I’m bad and thats good. I will never be good and thats not bad. There is no one I’d rather be but me.

This is a movie about video games created by Disney and it is ASTOUNDINGLY well done. It is an animated film that takes itself seriously while preforming delightful comedy and surprisingly, at times even manages to pluck at the old heartstrings. I went to see this with my little sister and while she couldn’t stop laughing I couldn’t stop grinning–we both thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic movie and tribute to video game fans everywhere. But its not all in-jokes–though there are many hilarious and much-appreciated references, one does not need to be a video game expert to appreciate this film.
I am not going to spoil the plot or go into too much detail about the movie itself, I’m sure other more qualified critics can do a better job of summarizing this tail of rebellion and self-acceptance. Instead I will focus on the feminist aspects of this film, and more specifically the four major characters and critique them for the well-constructed heroes that they are.
In the beginning we see gender roles being challenged almost immediately but in the most casual, subtle ways. Such as two boys playing a ‘girly’ racing game and a girl playing a ‘manly’ shoot ’em up game. Its not just a role reversal though because the girl later wonders over to the racing game and wants to play that too, so it is having your cake and eating it too. Now, on to the characters:
RALPH
wreck-it-ralph-ralph

I actually don’t have too much to say about the main character. He is a fun protagonist to watch. Ralph strives for acceptance and as a result rebels against his own nature or ‘programming’. He is a ‘bad guy’ who wants to do good, mostly for the sake of the recognition of his peers who shun him. As he goes along, Ralph usually ends up fudging things up and causing more harm then good. He is saved by the little girl he made friends with and then hurt earlier in the show. This is a REFRESHING exit from Disney’s usual damsel in distress scenario. Ralph is ultimately possessed by a need for redemption and simultaneously seeks self-acceptance.


VANELLOPE

The_Rotoscopers_-_Wreck-It_Ralph_-_Vanellope_von_Schweetz
This little dynamo is a ‘glitch’, basically meaning she has abilities outside the norm and is therefore even more of an outcast from her society (game) than Ralph is. She is spunky, energetic, somewhat annoying, and is generally a lovable brat, challenging the status quo just like her big brute friend Ralph. Unlike Ralph, she has no interest in being a hero, but rather wants to be a racer–a part of her community. She does not so much care about acceptance so much as achieving her potential. Vanellope is an invigorating on-screen character with a delightfully twisted side. At one point she sheds the confines of society (a dress) and remain herself, while teasing those who used to torment her.

FELIX
1735WIR_VideoGame_Felix_Pose

Felix is a typical goody two-shoes kind of guy. While his powers are undoubtedly useful and his official role is ‘the hero’, he is in this role-reversal story, a support character. Felix is the epitome of a submissive personality, bouncing his own existence off of the presence of others. He fixes what Ralph breaks, is the hero for the people of his community and pines after and is a (at one time literal) punching bag for the domineering woman he has a crush on. His interaction with that woman is of particular interest and is the point where his character shines through the best. Unlike his friends on this list, he IS the status quo, yet simultaneously serves as a catalyst for the progress of others. He has no real conflict or fault to overcome, which is unfortunate as he could potentially have had more depth, (perhaps if they had taken the time to illustrate the pressures of everyone expecting him to succeed or how it can be lonely on the top too) instead they compare the worst time of his life to any old day that Ralph has, thereby making him little more then a good-natured hanger-on. Instead of redemption, fulfillment or self-love, Felix instead strives to uplift others and make everyone around him happy.

SERGEANT CALHOUN

Wreck-It-Ralph-Jane-Lynch
She is the ‘tough chick’ character on a quest to destroy the evil alien bugs of her world. Calhoun is single-minded in her mission to keep the bugs (literal viruses) from spreading to the other games. Though totally capable and without a doubt the most badass of the group, she seems to desire some reciprocation–someone she can count on. Calhoun, like Vanellope, are their own characters. Reflecting on the film it feels like Ralph and Felix are no more or less important then their female counterparts. This is a story about the dames as well as the dudes and no character feels overshadowed. Calhoun’s ending in particular made me laugh almost to the point of tears.

*MASSIVE SPOILERS!*

*MASSIVE SPOILERS!*

*MASSIVE SPOILERS!*

*MASSIVE SPOILERS!*

*MASSIVE SPOILERS!*

*MASSIVE SPOILERS!*

Calhoun marries Felix. Wearing a dress just like she always wanted (unlike Vanellope, who is in her own right the BEST Disney Princess to date).

This film is cute and touching and succeeds in creating not just strong female characters, but compelling ones as well. The ladies of this game world manage to grow (level?) and keep their individualism intact. That rarity in cinema alone is worth all the praises this movie deserves in spades.

MOVIE REVIEW: Predators

Posted: September 26, 2012 in Movies
Tags: , , , ,

The scope? Oh its mostly just there to support my cheek.

I liked the old Predator movie with Schwarzenegger. It was quite novel. An intelligent alien with mostly alien motivations hunting the best of humanity’s own ‘hunters’. It was suspenseful and appealed to me far more than some overpowered jerk hunting screaming, helpless teens (as per most every horror movie).
It was entertaining and I was able to empathize with both hero and villain to a point. At least, I could understand where the villain was coming from.

In Predators (what I consider the official sequel) we see Adrian Brody as the grim, practical black ops man, Danny Trejo as a Los Zetas Mexican cartel enforcer, (genuine Russian!) Oleg Taktarov as a SPETZNAZ soldier (something that I praise in cinema — a lack of authenticity leads to terrible attempts at the language. I’m glaring at you Hunt for Red October), Alice Braga as an Israeli Defense Force sniper, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali as an RUF (Revolutionary United Front) militant, Walton Goggins as the violent racist convict, Topher Grace as ‘a doctor’, Louis Ozawa Chanchien as a Yakuza  mobster and Laurence Fishburne as Airborne Cavalry……..along with a few already-dead-when-we-got-there US SF and Ranger folks, which I guess they omitted from the on-screen action due to the last movie being almost exclusively about them but still left their remains in for posterity.

In other words it is the sort of broad collection of earth’s killers that you could see an alien who doesn’t quite understand our society view as a valid choice for opponents. Basically: get one from everywhere. The same sort of solution I can see myself making if I was to interact with a foreign environment and made to collect samples. It makes sense, in that ‘outside perspective’ sort of way and adds to the authenticity to the aliens’ motivations.

Other highlights include: SPOILERS!

I believe the expression is: ‘Jolly well Fucked’.

We get to see a great deal more of the Predators’ societal hierarchy which is very interesting to someone who follows the stories (as I do). Its done well, I think.
I like the traps the Predators set and the Russian goes out with a glorious BANG, bringing down what seems to be the random brute of the alien hunter trio.
Oh and there is an extremely epic and much-appreciated Yakuza samurai vs ‘stealthy scout’ alien sword-fight in a gentle field of tall grass.

From a feminist perspective, I greatly enjoyed seeing the female IDF soldier picked among the worlds best fighters (played by the ever lovely Alice Braga), but while I’m pretty sure she got the most dialogue, it was the strong and silent guy that ultimately led the pack and played the main protagonist. Thats…okay, I suppose.
Still, she is just one woman among eight human dudes making this a sausage-fest, or as I like to call it: a brodeo. She plays a predictably compassionate but ultimately ‘strong female’ role. I don’t mind that she is the ‘softie’ of the group. She is certainly not the most manipulative or physically weak. What she is, however is emotionally kind–which isn’t so much a fault as an expected characteristic — the sort of person that cares about the cohesion of the group. She is a textbook military ‘leader’ (like one would expect of a ROTC graduate). That is admirable and allows for some femininity without compromising her reliability. Thats nice.

However, in the end she (the IDF soldier) has to be rescued by the male hero due to her overwhelming sense of camaraderie and kindness. Not a physical failure mind you (which I find a slight improvement over the usual fare) but simply because she was a decent (if slightly illogical) person. And while she is disabled it is the hero that does the fighting with the head badguy. And although she returns the favor of saving him with a last-second gunshot, it is ultimately still the male hero that lands the killing blow.
Disappointing.
It would have almost been better if the female protagonist had just died of her wounds at the end. It would have made it less sappy.
Still, while there is a slight romantic undertone to Braga and Brody’s interaction in the end, it is not terribly overt and is mostly speculative (plus they were too fucked up to make out at the end anyway)–so points for not shooting for a total cliche.

One thing that is a greatly redeeming feature, is that the ‘serial killer’ of the group isn’t up against frightened teenage children running around a dorm or lake-house. The serial killer is up against competent people. This is absurdly rewarding for me, because I have a serious problem finding the token ‘horror movie’ compelling when I can’t metaspacially occupy the hero or even relate to their actions. So while in those movies the hero(s) spend half a movie running around like frightened morons and get picked off one by one —
I. Am. Bored.
With this movie, the badguys are compellingly intelligent (in their way) and so are the heroes (in their own way). Therefore when the human serial killer character tries his usual shit, the hero’s actions are something I can internally smile at and say “Well done!”
“Way to not be a stupid shit.”
“I am going to go and write a positive review for this film!”

This movie stars Morpheus as Morpheus being Morpheus

Other critics seem to dislike this film due in large part to some bizarre, puritan fealty to previous works. A fealty that I all too often share. Allow me to extrapolate:

I have, on more than one occasion, griped at the evils of both remakes and unnecessary sequels. In fact, it is safe to say that is a movie pet peeve of mine. Now, perhaps my not seeing the original movie before this has something to do with the ‘why’ of me not being in that camp this time around. And it may well be hypocritical of me to judge them when (as I have just said) I also jump down the throats of remakes/sequels.

Than again; No. No its not hypocritical. It is one thing to judge something great made a-new with a critical eye, it is another level of pedantic altogether to disregard that work based solely on puritan sentiment. The difference, in other words, is that while I share an inherent distaste for remakes/sequels, I–unlike these critics–was not blind to the merits of this remake in its own right as a movie unto itself. (Don’t worry, critics. Nobody is perfect. Except me. Especially me. Seriously: Me!)

Okay, first things I did not like.
The Con: Good guys repeatedly thumb back the hammer and clear their weapons’ chambers for no damn reason (as action flicks are wont to do despite all logic prevailing to the contrary). This kind of miffs (is that a word? Miffs?) the harsh, realistic, yet action movie-ish badassness the film tries to set with all its emphasis on tactical movement. Speaking of tactical movement: its the badguys in the tactical gear, moving tactically, with tactical weapons and being utterly tactically inept.
(Spoilers, obviously)

The bad guys are inept. Big shock, right? But its not so much the aim that I am talking about (they dispose of disposable characters with Borg-like efficiency *holds breath for the reference applause*). I mean the actual tactical movement of these ‘tactical teams’ the bad guys utilize. Now, I’m not going to quote a military background and then rail about how realism is not a pervasive element in today’s modern cinematic vision, but if you are going to try and make the audience ‘wow!’ at how cool the badguys are with all their nifty gear, than how about delivering on a little bit of competence along with the use of that gear, you know?

The good guys are out numbered, short on weaponry and surrounded, but at least they are in a fortified position. So it is totally believable that the attackers are going to lose people. But that is where the benefit of having a TRUCK LOAD of goons comes in handy. Like every villain before them, the baddies come at the heroes in ones or ‘tactical twoes’…which is RETARDED and besides thinning their own ranks only serves to give the defenders some much needed weaponry.

But hey, at least the badguys don’t miss very often and by the grace of all the gods on Olympus they refrain from monologuing too and just headshot the good guys. YES! Thank you! Way to set a henchman example! A+! (okay minus for the attacking one at a time thing).

The Pro:
Again, no monologuing badguys and reasonable hit-miss ratio (by Hollywood badguy standards anyway). Thats impressive!
The throwaway characters are actually fleshed to a degree that makes them ‘real’ and therefore memorable.
The acting of the cast is most excellent.
And finally, the best thing:
The female characters are actually competent. I, a dominant male, tend to find action films boring to the extreme when they come tethered to the trope of the helpless/idiot female protagonist tag-along. This movie has no (absolutely ZERO) weak female characters–conventional or other ways.
(Major Spoilers)
One would suppose the sexually inclined, fire-arm trained cop secretary would be the token fem badass of the group, but no. In fact there are two more of much more prominent note. The first (and less surprising than the latter) is the allegedly falsely imprisoned lady of many talents: she can effectively shoot a tommy gun and hotwire a car under stressful conditions. Great! The second is a cowardly and physically inept psychologist who stifles more than overcomes her (reasonable) fear of being murdered and stares the badguys defiantly in the face before he coldly executes her.
The fact that she died only adds to her strength as a character and the depth of this movie as a piece of good cinema–one does not expect the overt love-interest (indeed, only real love interest) to be killed midway through the film. It is not so much a shock value effect as it is an effective attempt at jarring realism (from an action movie!). Also, this is good from a feminist perspective because she is a strong person unto herself and not just a thing put there to be ‘saved’. She is not a token ‘tough chick’ yet can still die and/or be heroic just as surely as her male counterparts. Thats PROGRESS folks!

Conclusion: It is a wholesome movie, thoroughly appealing to the refined pallet looking for a solid action movie. Also, it has MORPHEUS!


I know you’re gay and all, but I bet I can TOTALLY fix that!

Okay, I was never a big Kevin Smith fan. I like Dagma. I dig the fem-god thing. Thats…about it.

Conversely, I liked Ben Affleck’s Daredevil. And it wasn’t anything to do with Jennifer Gardner who I can take or leave as an actress.
So thats out there now.
(just like, real quick before we get into this: I was never a Daredevil fan, which is probably why I didn’t have issue with it like fanboys of the comics did in the same way that I loooooooooathed everything to do with the three Spiderman films because I love Spidey comics–2012 reboot rocks!)

Back to the point: Certain people running in certain groups adore this film. These groups being:

A. Kevin Smith fans who love hockey AND potheads simultaneously (my father was a Sovet-era Olympic hockey-player and I lived in Amsterdam for a few months..but I really wouldn’t call myself a fan of either despite having many a-pothead friend. So thats all out there now too. Suck it!)

B. Indie Film buffs who just can’t get enough of low-budget bullshit. Seriously, the only reason someone should watch Clerks (in my humble opinion) is because they are an aspiring director and they need to do research on low-budget flims. Thats…really about it.
Btw: I fucking LOVE Hard Candy, and that shit had all of like four actors in it (little red riding hood and the wolf with additional cast being a coffeeshop guy who sold the wolf a coffeeshop t-shirt at the beginning and the wolf’s ex-girlfriend who arrived at the end, both of whom only got like one line) all while being filmed in the director’s own house. That movie is forever in my top ten not because it had a low budget and a skeleton crew cast, but because it was a fantastic fucking movie.
If you haven’t seen it, WATCH ‘HARD CANDY‘!

and
C. People who feel they are ultra liberal on the whole gay rights movement and really want other people to know it.

There is nothing I can or should do about group A. If you love everthing Kevin Smith, go to it but PLEASE don’t pretend like this film also relates in some way to group C. Group C and somewhat group B are the folks I want to talk to.

Upon starting this film I was cautiously optimistic. I recognized the faces and it seemed to be heading into a cool direction (finally, the fucking guy doesn’t get to sleep with the girl!)

Okay, pause. I need to address that. I am really. Like, REALLY tired of seeing the dude save every plot, every day. Its OKAY for a guy to be the hero. But for the hero to do ALL the saving while tugging a hapless actress along is just insulting to every sensibility I a Straight, Slavic, Male have. I just finished watching the casual action film ‘Lockout’. Guy Pearce’s character is amusing and the production quality is pretty damn solid, but its just another tired damsel in distress film. LITERALLY the whole point of the movie is to save some dipshit president’s daughter from a loony-bin of rapists. Its not like there aren’t dozens of opportunities for her to return the favor and actually do something competent. Instead she looks pretty and disheveled leaving it to the wise-cracking jackass hero-man to save her over…and over…and over again. That is both aggregating to watch and fucking sexist as hell. Its like Mario if Peach didn’t also have the ability to fly and summon hellfire (didn’t know that did you!?)
Sure there are a few exceptions, like (maybe?) in Wanted were Angelina Jolie is a badass (yet highly irrational) assassin. (have you read the comics? NOTHING like the movie…and thank gods. That comic was awful.) But I am not talking about just action titles here. If a film goes outside the boundaries of this Hollywood norm, like the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films/books, it literally has to be the whole premise behind the film (All Hail the Mistress Salander, sovereign of the United Queendom of Sweden!).

But I was talking about a romantic comedy and though there is rarely any physical ‘saving’ in the genre, the guy getting the girl that is gay and should not be gotten but still getting her anyway is FUCKING ABSURD. Oh yeah, *spoilers*. This movie SUCKS!

So right back to it then (thanks for indulging me in that little side-rant).
Instead of say, exploring what it is like for a straight man to have a relationship with a gay woman (its just like having any relationship ever where your first thoughts shouldn’t be ‘man i’d hit that’) this movie explores how all a gay woman really need is a good hot dicking to set’em straight (Dr. Tran style!)

Okay, here are the details:

This movie is about a comic book artist who falls in love with a woman that he meets who also writes/draws comics and then finds out that all his wooing skills are for naught when he realizes that she is gay. Inexplicably, he acts weirded out, let down and generally emasculated by this discovery, all while insisting upon decidedly non-homophobic things while gently berating his offensive best friend. The woman, being a friendly sort, seeks out this butt-hurt little sack of testosterone and tries her damnedest to be friends with him and answer all of his asinine, school-yard boy questions about being a lesbian.

Since this movie encourages the myth that it is physically IMPOSSIBLE for straight guys to have a non-sexually tense relationship with a member of the opposite sex, our ‘hero’ (who is Ben Affleck, btw) confesses to his new gay friend that he loves her. She is understandably offended by this and tells him that one cannot simply stop being gay before walking out on his juvenile ass. Since she made it perfectly clear there could never be anything between them and he is just not capable of being a fucking adult, I found this scequence of events to be logical and silently smiled as she stormed out of his shitty car into the dramatically milky rain. At this point, any director making a movie about homosexual-straight relationships would have faded to black and then picked up a few days later where they reconciled as friends or NOT. Instead, this director (Kevin Smith, you guys!), isn’t worth a shit, so he has Ben Affleck leap from his car and chase her down where she promptly folds in his strong, masculine arms like the gentle origami dove that she is and they go back to his place and inexplicably FUCK.

The rest of the movie isn’t really important. Benny ends up losing both her and his buddy because his buddy ends up being totally gay for irresistible old Ben but they can’t work out how to have a polyamorous relationship like ADULTS and therefore both of them say ‘fuck you Ben’ and leave his sorry ass. Which isn’t the point. This is not a ‘ha-ha, the juvenile man-child that always gets what he wants didn’t get what he wants this time’. This is a ‘holy shit this is supposed to be an ending to a movie that tried to prove that lesbianism can be dropped at the simple introduction of dick’.

On top of every homophobic insult a man can make to both gay men and women being ‘vibrantly’ present in this film, it is BAFFLING that I found not a soul online who seemed to share my distaste for this cinematic boy-fantasy bullshit. Every feminist blog that I came across seemed to be praising this film as some kind of brave new step in talking about homosexuality in cinema. Everybody seemed to love it. And if they didn’t it was because they were “hatin’ on da gayz!”

I don’t know how anyone can come out of this movie with a sense of ‘wow that was really a step forward for gay rights and my personal understanding of that lifestyle!’ That is like walking out of Twilight and thinking ‘wow that was the next big step in showcasing the ability of women in a male-dominated world since En HeduAnna the first philosopher-that-was-also-a-woman’! (bet you didn’t know that, huh?)

Conversely I don’t know how you can walk out that film and say ‘man that sure was a cinematic achievement for indie flims!’ In other words when I finished feasting my eyes on that steaming pile of trash, I went in search of kindred souls who also loathed this disaster. Instead I found people politely praising this debacle. (yes I said debacle!)

In short, this film is not just a failure as decent entertainment, it somehow managed to showcase how totally oblivious people today are to glaring examples of skull-numbing bigotry.  These same people that called crass an action flick (Sucker Punch), because they failed to grasp that there was a certain cerebral element to the power of the mind retreating into a fictional world as a means of escaping the psychological ramifications of sexual assault. But thats a topic for another time.

Or you know what? No. We will talk about this now. For all the movie critics that hated Sucker Punch but loved Chasing Amy, and for all the feminists that loathed Sucker Punch but thought Chasing Amy was great, here ya go:

Sucker Punch looked to me in-trailers like a female perspective on Sin City, a movie and graphic novel series that I love. My only objection to Sin City was ever that it focused almost exclusively on the male protagonists while tackling female abuse (instead of having more fem-heroes). Sucker Punch dressed its actresses in skimpy anime dresses, gave them stripper nicknames and stuck them into an Alice the Madness Returns sort of fantasy land that they can escape to when being sexually brutalized by their caretakers in an insane asylum. That is the movie that those critics hate. They expected a feel-good action flick, instead they got an Inception level mindfuck about rape and they just couldn’t fucking make the transition (or handle it). And the feminists that hate that film just couldn’t wrap their heads around something that both mocked the male gaze and pandered to it at the same time.

First, the fantasy landscapes look amazing. Its like a Steampunk meets Tolkien DnD meets Anime meets Sci-Fi wet dream with each consecutive ‘dance’. The dance, obviously, is when they are being raped in the asylum. Apparently (apparently to me, anyway), this was ‘Baby Doll’s’ way of keeping the heat off the other girls, meaning she was attracting all the rapists’ attention, meaning she was being abused triple as much. Its unclear how much of what they did actually lead to the escape of “Sweet Pea”, what is clear is that this dream within a dream within a dream delusion/escape fantasy is not pedantic and therefore is easy to misunderstand for people who go in with low expectations.

Anyway, Sucker Punch in my opinion mocks the male gaze while being as feminist as any action-based (cerebral or not) movie has ever been. Whereas Chasing Amy is a ‘romantic comedy’ hate fest that enforces the myth that  1. Lesbians just need a good dicking to turn them straight again. and 2. Men are incapable of loving a woman without wanting to fuck her.