A Female Moment?
March 20, 2011 10 Comments
The world is falling apart. But, I have some frivolous and cheering news. I think we might be in for a bit of a female moment, coming soon, to movie theaters near us.
I say this because, yesterday, I went to go see the new Simon Pegg Nick Frost genre bender, Paul. It was fine. Fine-ish. I will forget it all by next Thursday. BUT, the previews that aired before this dude-heavy sci-fi comedy movie were kind of like some of my wildest dreams coming true. Every movie previewed had a female lead. There was not a princess, a hooker, or a mother…shit, there was a princess, but she was schooling her menfolk. The women were often kicking ass and taking names. And, doing despicable, unattractive things. The theaters are going to be populated, come April and May, with actual three-dimensional womens. (Possibly, if one is to believe the promises of one set of movie trailers). I think we can look theaterward and see, rare but real, a constellation of sloppy janes, women heroes, and a supreme passing of the Bechdel test. An optimistic outlook for sure, but I am so used to cursing the movie industry as I sit in a theater, that I was caught a bit off guard to see every movie presented have a woman allowed as many dimensions as the men. I doubt this moment will last. It might be a like a comet. But, also, proof that Hollywood can actually do this thing that it has insisted on ignoring since like, forever.
First up was Hanna:
We have Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchette, Focus Features, antler rifle practice, female friendship, and a dad not knowing how to prepare his daughter for the battles she’s got to face. I love assassin movies that get to the marrow (my favorite movie, possibly ever is La Femme Nikita), and am hoping Hanna does it. It reminds me of Run Lola Run. Here’s hoping.
The first time I saw the trailer, I thought, compared to everything on British television, this is all too little too late. I was worried that this movie might boil down to what men think women do that is funny. And it might be. I have a feeling it had a thousand rewrites, even though it kept Wiig’s fine name on it. And that may be what needs to happen to get anything out of this stature and oomph, because this thing is getting the full Apatow big movie treatment. It’s the big honcha–getting the chance that the likes of Spring Breakdown never had. We might have a eyeful of the awkward woman, showing us how expansive and devastating (the good way) comedy can be when we let women in. Or, it might be The Hangover sent to the cleaners, and back with a box of tampons and some lesbian jokes. My aim is that this movie pushes things forward. That’s all I ask, Apatow. Keep the Wiig gold.
Then, Your Highness:
Yes, it’s about two brothers, but it is NaPo herself that lends the effort a sense of…establishment? Yes, the trailer includes a shot of her stripping down to a leather thong, but it also shows her legitimately being a better “quester” then her male cohort. The movie is banking on inverting the prince charming trope, and playing with all of its accessories. This, and dick and pot jokes. But, she gets to make a lot of them, and is never rescued, but does indeed rescue.
Next up: Bad Teacher
Or what I like to call, Sloppy Jane extraordinaire. She doesn’t like kids, she wants things that are bad for her, unapologetically. I am excited about this because here we have an unattractive female protagonist (at least morally, if not physically), where the joke is that she is an asshole. I can’t think of the last morally unattractive female lead along the lines of Tracy Flick in a long time. Diaz might be able to do here what was attempted in The Sweetest Thing, and hope this will reward for her long suffering in The Green Hornet. I am also trying to forget that Justin Timberlake has anything to do with this.
And last, Arthur.
My fingers are crossed that while this movie wants to be Russell Brand heavy, the women will sweep the show. Replacing key male roles from the original with female leads (Mirren as the new Gielgud), and surrounding Brand with a nanny, a fiance, a mother, and manic pixie (maybe authenticized, because, after all, they chose Greta Gerwig and not Minka Kelly), along with the fact that Brand can’t really carry a movie on his own (Get Him to the Greek) but fabulously supports others (Sarah Marshall), I think we might have a good recipe for a good time. Or, this will be about women telling men what to do. It’s a gamble, especially since they have removed all the alcoholism from the original 1981 script. Why can’t we have fun drunks anymore? Can you imagine The Thin Man without all the codependent drinking?
So, in all, we have an action movie, Apatow with ladies, a stoner comedy castle quest, a rom-com that offers nothing sweet, and a remake updated and upfemmed. This spring might be a heavy moment. Or, this might be a skewed representation, pulled from the inadequate sample of one set of previews that were shown before a movie that relied heavily on jokes about an alien’s balls.
Fingers warily crossed,