A Female Moment?

Dear Millicent,

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.

Next, Bridesmaids:

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,





10 Responses to A Female Moment?

  1. Kip Manley says:

    We finally got around to seeing True Grit on Friday, and they showed the Hanna trailer before it; it was pretty damn electrifying. We immediately began plotting the logistics of another date night during its release.

    Also, I notice you didn’t include Sucker Punch on your list. I wonder why…

    • Carla Fran says:

      I would have loved to include Sucker Punch, but it wasn’t in the brief lineup of previews that I saw the other day during my theater outing. Coming out this week, looks like it may be the movie to kick off the leading ladyfest that might be upon us. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      • Kip Manley says:

        I think it’ll end up a rule-proving exception to this (hopeful as it is) list: the hype about Sucker Punch being a “girl power” film is weird to me, since the mindscape they escape to seems to be that of a 14-year-old boy. —An interesting comment I saw running around Twitter from some women loosely clustered around the gamer/cartoonist axis was: “Sucker Punch: don’t wanna sit through it, just wanna star in it.” [Googles.] Aha. Which, well. Is more eloquent than 140 characters frequently can manage.

        —But mostly because it’s a Zack Snyder film, and all that that implies.

      • Carla Fran says:

        Also, didn’t realize it was Lena Dunham who made that smart comment about sitting through vs. starring. Am still waiting to see Tiny Furniture, and am hesitantly anticipating (if you can do that) her Apatow produced HBO show, “Girls.” The title alone makes think it will either be, again, Apatow’s idea of what women do instead of what women actually do, or a pretty great layer cake of women’s experiences.

      • Kip Manley says:

        Tiny Furniture goes on the list of things to make time for with the spouse maybe later on the DVD when the child’s asleep; not quite up to the electric gotta of the Hanna trailer. (I must say I was assuming because of the vector the tweet was a gaming/comics thing, which oddly makes more sense to my prejudicial assumptions than an indie filmmaker thing, but there we are, and look how broadly it spread!) —The things you have to do sometimes to find yourself in the fantasy figures available in the broader pop consciousness. I am tempted to make a leap to Triton, by Samuel Delany, but I always drag things back to Delany, and we’re approaching the blog post I probably ought to just find the time to write already, aren’t we. (But then I would have to actually go and see the film. To be intellectually honest and all.) (But I never went to see Watchmen.) (Oh, never mind.)

  2. Carla Fran says:

    Love that twitter comment…damn. Just from reading the synopsis on Wikipedia, I was struck by, how for all the female cast, it looks like the plot hinges on the actions of three men, “Wise Man”, “High Roller” and her stepfather…which makes sense since it is purposefully set in the 1950s, and I’m guessing will explore how these girls fight out of these obstacles (kind of a very badass, hyperstylized Mona Lisa’s Smile?).

  3. Subashini says:

    That’s an interesting list of movies – I didn’t even know about Bad Teacher one. Is Justin Timberlake everywhere, these days? I hear he will be starring in a movie with my beloved, Cillian Murphy, and this makes the heart ache – just a tad.

    I sat through the Sucker Punch trailer before I watched the joy that was The Adjustment Bureau. Hmm. Hmm, hmm, hmm. Kip Manley’s comment above, about the movie looking like it’s set in the “mindscape of a 14-year-old boy” is spot on, based on those few minutes. A 14-year-old boy’s wet dream, is how I’d sum it up at this point. I’m sure there’s a reason why young girls need to wear midriff-baring tops, miniskirts, and knee-high stockings while wielding guns – freedom of physical movement, perhaps? Unrestrained by… fabric… they can do anything? Perhaps.

    • Carla Fran says:

      At least Timberlake will be his foil, making Murphy’s good looks and good acting seem like a supernova in comparison to Timberlake’s bland stumblings. And, I bet it is easy to kick ass in a skirt if you don’t care if anybody sees your panties. If the whole movie is about the power of a girl’s imagination, then it is sucksville that this great imagination is totally burdened by the ideal of a sexualized young thing. I hate to say it, but I’m probably going to go see it, even if just to have a stroke during it from banging my head on the movie seat in front of me.

  4. Subashini says:

    “I didn’t even know about Bad Teacher”, even.

  5. Pingback: The Leaking Conquest « Millicent and Carla Fran

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