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ParaNorman and the War on Women

I’m not feeling particularly eloquent at this moment but I want to bang this out before I forget or lose all interest.

I saw ParaNorman a couple days ago. I would have been content to merely gaze at Norman’s precious little plasticine, ruddy nose for 90 minutes, but the movie turned out to be surprisingly moving. The zombie-wrought mayhem in the middle was kind of a mess, but the third act, which riffed on the witch hunts of New England, was riveting and poignant.

There are certain rules to children’s movies older viewers come to expect. The plot will deal with the common concerns of children, including the desire to fit in and the fear of abandonment. Probably no one will die even when the characters are in peril, especially not the children. Furthermore, the characters are only allowed to speak in euphemisms around violence. They will not say “they murdered you,” they will substitute “they did something really bad to you.”

This is what happens around the harms visited on women on a daily basis, isn’t it? The movie addressed the unjust cruelty of punishing someone for being different and misunderstood, but obviously the film did not address the wider, extreme misogyny and intolerance which spurred and perpetuated the witch hunts. It’s estimated that 9 million people died persecuted for witchcraft, the vast majority of them women (see Andrea Dworkin’s “Woman-Hating,” page 90). But we never really hear about this do we? It’s always downplayed and minimized.

Classic Harry Lucey amazingness

Classic Harry Lucey amazingness

(Source: spaceghostzombie, via bettyandveronicafashions)

Waitress: The quirky indie comedy about women surrounded by men who commit domestic violence, malpractice, and stalking written, directed and starring a woman who was violently murdered by a young man who lived in her building. The candy colors and sumptuous montage of pies initially sucked me into this movie but I felt on edge through the whole thing.
To summarize, Jenna accidentally becomes pregnant after her husband gets her drunk and maritally rapes has sex with her. She despises her husband but is too financially unstable to leave him.
She then goes to her woman ob-gyn to find she has been replaced by a Nathan Fillion (before he got all fat). The two of them have a torrid affair throughout her pregnancy. I can’t imagine anything creepier than having an affair with your gynecologist, pre-puffy Nathan Fillion or no, but there you have it.
Jenna’s co-worker Dawn, played by the late Adrienne Shelly, goes on a five-minute date with a loser who then decides stalk her and persist in asking her out even though she has consistently and clearly rebuffed him. In a scene that is truly illustrative of female existence, he shows up at her work place and needles her for so long and so annoyingly that she yells at him. Everyone turns around and looks at her, mouths agape, and the loser dude starts so sniffle. All she can do is soften and reply “well sorry, hon” or something to that effect. She cannot protect herself and be assertive against his unwanted advances without hurting his poor feelings, and ultimately his feelings become more important than hers. Good thing she gets used to him and marries him so she won’t end up a lonely spinster, even though he remains totally embarrassing and terrible throughout the film.
Jenna has a baby girl which inspires her to kick both her abusive husband and her doctor to the curb, then lives happily ever after running her own business. Glad she was able to shake them so easily. Dawn wasn’t so lucky.

Waitress: The quirky indie comedy about women surrounded by men who commit domestic violence, malpractice, and stalking written, directed and starring a woman who was violently murdered by a young man who lived in her building. The candy colors and sumptuous montage of pies initially sucked me into this movie but I felt on edge through the whole thing.

To summarize, Jenna accidentally becomes pregnant after her husband gets her drunk and maritally rapes has sex with her. She despises her husband but is too financially unstable to leave him.

She then goes to her woman ob-gyn to find she has been replaced by a Nathan Fillion (before he got all fat). The two of them have a torrid affair throughout her pregnancy. I can’t imagine anything creepier than having an affair with your gynecologist, pre-puffy Nathan Fillion or no, but there you have it.

Jenna’s co-worker Dawn, played by the late Adrienne Shelly, goes on a five-minute date with a loser who then decides stalk her and persist in asking her out even though she has consistently and clearly rebuffed him. In a scene that is truly illustrative of female existence, he shows up at her work place and needles her for so long and so annoyingly that she yells at him. Everyone turns around and looks at her, mouths agape, and the loser dude starts so sniffle. All she can do is soften and reply “well sorry, hon” or something to that effect. She cannot protect herself and be assertive against his unwanted advances without hurting his poor feelings, and ultimately his feelings become more important than hers. Good thing she gets used to him and marries him so she won’t end up a lonely spinster, even though he remains totally embarrassing and terrible throughout the film.

Jenna has a baby girl which inspires her to kick both her abusive husband and her doctor to the curb, then lives happily ever after running her own business. Glad she was able to shake them so easily. Dawn wasn’t so lucky.

New Toothless Porn Doc Screened at Tribeca

I wasn’t going to write about this but it pissed me off so much that I have to just get a little bit of it off my chest:

http://www.avclub.com/articles/transcending-tribeca-jill-bauer-and-ronna-gradus-o,73087/

This is an interview with two women who made a documentary about the effects of porn on women and real-life relationships. The interview pissed me off because the two women who made the film implicitly take an “I’m not a feminist, but…” (often without even getting as far as “but”) tone, and it sounds like they do not go far enough to really show how insidious porn culture is in our society and the real harms porn visit on women.

The two quotes that pissed me off the most are:

 About viewing porn for research: “RG: For me, it was very traumatic. I’m very visual, I couldn’t get it out of… I mean, I am not anti-porn. At all. But I was horrified by what today’s porn is like, a lot of it.

JB: You’re not anti-porn, you’re anti-violent-porn. Brutality.”

All porn is brutal and violent. You can never even be sure that the woman you are watching is participating willfully, so most likely you are watching rape. I hate the way the first woman in the quote simultaneously notes how psychologically scarring the viewing of porn was to her but has to throw in that she is not “anti-porn,” as if that weren’t reason enough to be so, then the second woman accommodates her colleague by rationalizing and qualifying by minimizing the fact that porn is inherently violent against women. I don’t know where this magical loving, egalitarian porn is that people love to pretend like exists to justify why porn is actually okay.

And this makes my head explode:

"JB: … I think it’s really, really important, and we worked really, really hard at making this documentary something that would be appealing to men, and something where they wouldn’t feel complicit, because they’re not. We’re in it together, men and women. When you have a film with women in it, people can misperceive it as a feminist treatise or something like that, and it was really important to us to make it broad, and a conversation about men and women, between men and women.”

Men are not complicit!? Who is making the porn? Who is consuming the porn? Who is perpetrating these acts on women in bedrooms across the country (as they mention later in the interview)? Don’t try to put the blame on me, telling me this has to do as much with me as it does with men. I don’t watch porn, I don’t want to live in this pervasive porn culture I had the misfortune of being born into. Don’t hurt the poor men’s feelings with your little documentary!! Because men’s feelings matter more than women’s bodies.

Really, fuck this documentary. Dworkin is rolling in her grave.

Does this mean there are new episodes of “Wainy Days”? I was super obsessed with that…

thecomicscomic:

mememolly:

Garfunkel & Oates - David Wain Is Sexy (by MyDamnChannel)

As seen here.

The Dude and Walter, still takin’ her easy for all us sinners.
photo via Moviefone

The Dude and Walter, still takin’ her easy for all us sinners.

photo via Moviefone

Though Fox animation’s long-running “King of  the Hill” ended a few years ago, it remains widely loved by fans of  understated comedy. While most animated TV shows keep their characters  in a kind of stasis, a la “The Simpsons,” “KotH” allowed its characters  to age and change. Therefore, it is easy to forget that originally  Hank’s niece Luanne Platter was not only ultra-feminine but also a  master mechanic. Luanne would eventually go on to orchestrate Manger  Babies performances and cut hair professionally, but it is  disappointing that her mechanic wizardry was completely dropped from her  character. There is nothing wrong with puppetry or hairstyling, but  from a gender perspective, Luanne as a mechanic is much more  interesting, not only because it messes with traditional, constraining  gender roles, but also because of the power it gives Luanne. Knowledge  about cars is something that stereotypically women are not supposed to  have, but in so much as cars represent freedom of movement, such  knowledge can represent autonomy and independence for women. For women,  the ability to fix your own car is the ability to propel yourself around  the world without constraints or the need for a man’s support.
In this way, Luanne reminds me of another cult-beloved cartoon  figure, Maggie Chascarillo of the comic book “Love and Rockets.” Maggie  originally started out as an up-and-coming mechanic in a fantastical  setting whose ability took her to remote, exciting locations before  Jaime Hernandez changed his work’s direction and dropped  the futuristic  mechanical storyline to have Maggie settle down in a small Californian  town for increased realism. Now, I love Maggie in both incarnations and  actually prefer the Maggie and Hopey stories to the earlier ones, but  working on cars gave Maggie direction and power in her life that she  seemed to lose once the graphic novel became more focused on her  neighborhoods and the punks who populate it.
Ultimately, did Mike Judge and Jamie Hernandez simply want to focus  their energy on other story lines, or is there a another reason why  their female characters ceased using their mechanic prowess? Does it  matter that both of their creators are male?

Though Fox animation’s long-running “King of the Hill” ended a few years ago, it remains widely loved by fans of understated comedy. While most animated TV shows keep their characters in a kind of stasis, a la “The Simpsons,” “KotH” allowed its characters to age and change. Therefore, it is easy to forget that originally Hank’s niece Luanne Platter was not only ultra-feminine but also a master mechanic. Luanne would eventually go on to orchestrate Manger Babies performances and cut hair professionally, but it is disappointing that her mechanic wizardry was completely dropped from her character. There is nothing wrong with puppetry or hairstyling, but from a gender perspective, Luanne as a mechanic is much more interesting, not only because it messes with traditional, constraining gender roles, but also because of the power it gives Luanne. Knowledge about cars is something that stereotypically women are not supposed to have, but in so much as cars represent freedom of movement, such knowledge can represent autonomy and independence for women. For women, the ability to fix your own car is the ability to propel yourself around the world without constraints or the need for a man’s support.

In this way, Luanne reminds me of another cult-beloved cartoon figure, Maggie Chascarillo of the comic book “Love and Rockets.” Maggie originally started out as an up-and-coming mechanic in a fantastical setting whose ability took her to remote, exciting locations before Jaime Hernandez changed his work’s direction and dropped  the futuristic mechanical storyline to have Maggie settle down in a small Californian town for increased realism. Now, I love Maggie in both incarnations and actually prefer the Maggie and Hopey stories to the earlier ones, but working on cars gave Maggie direction and power in her life that she seemed to lose once the graphic novel became more focused on her neighborhoods and the punks who populate it.

Ultimately, did Mike Judge and Jamie Hernandez simply want to focus their energy on other story lines, or is there a another reason why their female characters ceased using their mechanic prowess? Does it matter that both of their creators are male?

At the end of 1988, two Japanese rock legends at the top of their game united to form the supergroup COMPLEX. Gorgeous solo rocker Kikkawa Kouji and guitar hero Hotei Tomokazu released their first single “Be My Baby” in April 1989. Filmed in one take, the duo command the screen, strutting with sexy swagger. The video is all the more classic and unforgettable for its monochromatic simplicity.

(Source: youtube.com)

Amongst a Japanese summer television schedule chock-full with   candy-colored comedies about boy-crazy girls masquerading as males the   better to pursue them, comes a thought-provoking and humanist series   focusing on the life of an intersex teenager. “IS ~Otoko demo Onna demo   Nai Sei~” or “IS ~Biological Sex is Neither Male or Female~” is about a   high school freshman named Haru who was born with ambiguous genitalia  as well as  the internal sexual organs of both sexes. Haru is registered  as a girl on his birth certificate but identifies as male. However, in  order to attend the high school of his dreams, Haru is forced to attend  as a girl and wear the corresponding girl’s uniform. The first episode  deals with Haru’s birth and upbringing to his first day of high school  where he quickly befriends the ultra-feminine Miwako.
What is interesting to me is that the stated intent of the show is  not just to entertain but to educate and promote tolerance as well. The  show highlights discrimination that intersex people face while showing  compassion for Haru and his family. Intersex people are regularly erased  from society’s discourse and pop culture even though between one in  2,000 to 4,500 are born intersex. As evidenced on the show’s official  website, viewers comment that they never heard of intersexuality until  discovering this show. The website also features interviews with  intersex people and a forum for people to share their experiences with  gender and biological sex.
Japan is still very LGBTQI-phobic. It will be interesting to see if  this program manages to have any social impact. Though apparently the  term “IS” has fallen out of favor, I kind of like it. Haru is not  defined by his bith certificate. He is not just man. He is not just  woman. He is human and he transcends definition; he just IS.

Amongst a Japanese summer television schedule chock-full with candy-colored comedies about boy-crazy girls masquerading as males the better to pursue them, comes a thought-provoking and humanist series focusing on the life of an intersex teenager. “IS ~Otoko demo Onna demo Nai Sei~” or “IS ~Biological Sex is Neither Male or Female~” is about a high school freshman named Haru who was born with ambiguous genitalia as well as the internal sexual organs of both sexes. Haru is registered as a girl on his birth certificate but identifies as male. However, in order to attend the high school of his dreams, Haru is forced to attend as a girl and wear the corresponding girl’s uniform. The first episode deals with Haru’s birth and upbringing to his first day of high school where he quickly befriends the ultra-feminine Miwako.

What is interesting to me is that the stated intent of the show is not just to entertain but to educate and promote tolerance as well. The show highlights discrimination that intersex people face while showing compassion for Haru and his family. Intersex people are regularly erased from society’s discourse and pop culture even though between one in 2,000 to 4,500 are born intersex. As evidenced on the show’s official website, viewers comment that they never heard of intersexuality until discovering this show. The website also features interviews with intersex people and a forum for people to share their experiences with gender and biological sex.

Japan is still very LGBTQI-phobic. It will be interesting to see if this program manages to have any social impact. Though apparently the term “IS” has fallen out of favor, I kind of like it. Haru is not defined by his bith certificate. He is not just man. He is not just woman. He is human and he transcends definition; he just IS.

So it’s over.

Today was the last day of “Oprah.” And it was SO. INTENSE.
Today’s episode was the culmination of the final three episodes which were long advertised. Monday and Tuesday were a celebrity-filled clusterfuck filmed in a large arena. I couldn’t make it past the opening strains of “I’ve Got a Feeling” scoring her entrance before I changed the channel. I’ve always found it endlessly amusing how Oprah’s themes vascillated day to day from “Tuesday: Suburban Men who diddle your children” to “Wednesday: Celine Dion’s fabulous, million-dollar walk-in closet!” and I have never been very fond of the noisy, consumerist, star-worshiping episodes, so this was far too much for me to handle.However, today’s final was subdued, with no bellowing or surprised. Oprah stood alone on the stage and sermonized about self-help and the love and joy she received from doing the show.
It was a very sweet hour and I honestly will miss having that hour of Oprah there for when I need it. OWN just isn’t the same. It truly is the end of an era.

So it’s over.

Today was the last day of “Oprah.” And it was SO. INTENSE.

Today’s episode was the culmination of the final three episodes which were long advertised. Monday and Tuesday were a celebrity-filled clusterfuck filmed in a large arena. I couldn’t make it past the opening strains of “I’ve Got a Feeling” scoring her entrance before I changed the channel. I’ve always found it endlessly amusing how Oprah’s themes vascillated day to day from “Tuesday: Suburban Men who diddle your children” to “Wednesday: Celine Dion’s fabulous, million-dollar walk-in closet!” and I have never been very fond of the noisy, consumerist, star-worshiping episodes, so this was far too much for me to handle.

However, today’s final was subdued, with no bellowing or surprised. Oprah stood alone on the stage and sermonized about self-help and the love and joy she received from doing the show.

It was a very sweet hour and I honestly will miss having that hour of Oprah there for when I need it. OWN just isn’t the same. It truly is the end of an era.

Maxell VCR Head Cleaner and Nostalgia for Mind-Blowing Antiquity

Generations are defined by time-specific cultural objects. Often these objects are of a technological nature. There is nary a boomer alive unwilling to bore me to death with wistful tales about dropping the needle on a new vinyl 45’ or cruising around town listening to an 8-track. I tend to find these stories awfully precious, yet here I am to share a similar story of my own.

I am here to share the story of the Maxell VCR Head Cleaner.

For those who are too young to remember, VCRs necessitated head cleaning to remove the dust and particle build-up left behind by videotapes, causing muddled playback. My dad, a “Simpsons” and “Doctor Who” repeat devotee (and the last VCR user alive) would on occasion employ the easy-to-use casette-shaped, Maxell brand head cleaners. The video that played during cleaning was as follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQkfCCBN1gU

Re-watching that video inspired in me both Proustian reverie and visceral squeamishness. I forgot about this 30-second clip for years, yet seeing it now reminded me of the childish fear and fascination it inspired. Why did I find it so mildly terrifying? Is it the authoritarian male voice-over demanding the viewer not eject the cleaner until the end of the cycle? Is it the ominous and sinister music, striking a sense of peril in my mind? Perhaps it is the the thunderous, cloudy sky. Or, it could be the loud sound-channel tests which sound like a lazer gun firing. 

It may have something to do with the image of that iconic man, frozen in his large chair, weathering this audio/visual apocalypse. Known commonly as the “blown-away guy,” he is originally from Maxell’s wildly successful TV ad campaign (which was on the air before I was born). In the commercial, the guy’s butler asks him if he will have “the usual,” and proceeds to pop in a Maxell cassette of “The Ride of the Valkyries.” The guy sits facing a large amp is literally blown away by the overwhelming sound quality Macell is able to provide him. This scene has been parodied by the likes of “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” and even “Jackass 3D.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DP89iMe0BY&feature=related

The terrors of the head-cleaning sequence are followed by a feeling of relief when the countdown ends and the cold comfort of the product placement for Maxell’s other wares. Although I am now fully ensconced in the world of DVDs, Blu-Ray and digital downloads, I feel I am all the stronger for surviving the Maxell VCR head cleaner tapes. I cannot help but feel a little nostalgic for something that inspired a visceral reaction in me, yet of which anyone born after 1990 is blissfully unaware. Perhaps one day I will be able to bore my own children to death with the tale of this antiquated technology.

Who Loves the Sun
"Who Loves the Sun" is a de rigeur modern indie elevated by beautiful photography and the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I already took down the trappings of recent indies in my previous post, but this film has so many that I can’t help but mention them: brooding man-children, family drama, shocking secret revealed in the third act, even the hijacking of a borderline-twee indie song title for its own. However, this film proves that humor can make such trappings tolerable.
"Who Loves the Sun" is about a young man, Will (Lukas Haas), who returns to his hometown after disappearing five years ago when he discovered his wife, Maggie (Molly Parker), having sex with his best friend, Daniel (Adam Scott). He stays at Daniel’s childhood home with Daniel’s parents, who invite Daniel and Maggie to come over as well.
Much of the comedy is derived from the arrested development of Will and Daniel. Being at Daniel’s home reduces the two men into petulant boys, awkwardly mumbling non-answers to questions posed by Daniel’s parents at the dinner table and engaging in clumsy wrestling matches when annoyed by each other. Adam Scott really shines here due to his sizable comedy chops and penchant for playing overly defensive yet lovable jerks. The childish dynamic between Will and Daniel is well played without being oversold, which keeps the movie fresh despite the glut of man-child comedies made these days.
But what of our leading woman, you ask? Molly Parker radiates pure sex appeal in this role. Maggie first appears on a dock in a vast lake, waiting for Will and Daniel to pick her up. She is shot from behind, standing perfectly still, hip alluringly jutted out, her long blue dress blowing about her legs in the slight wind, while the boat approaches. The shot is so evocative and brilliant that it was used for the poster. Her presence immediately demands attention, making it easy to see why the two men are both in love with her.
I also love that Maggie is her own person, and not simply a tool utilized in the male characters’ coming-of-age journey. Maggie has agency in her relationships with Daniel and Will. Having a strong female character in itself is a virtue on the big screen, but that is a topic for another day. All in all, I enjoyed this film, and recommend it as a must-see for all adoring Adam Scott fans like myself.

Who Loves the Sun

"Who Loves the Sun" is a de rigeur modern indie elevated by beautiful photography and the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I already took down the trappings of recent indies in my previous post, but this film has so many that I can’t help but mention them: brooding man-children, family drama, shocking secret revealed in the third act, even the hijacking of a borderline-twee indie song title for its own. However, this film proves that humor can make such trappings tolerable.

"Who Loves the Sun" is about a young man, Will (Lukas Haas), who returns to his hometown after disappearing five years ago when he discovered his wife, Maggie (Molly Parker), having sex with his best friend, Daniel (Adam Scott). He stays at Daniel’s childhood home with Daniel’s parents, who invite Daniel and Maggie to come over as well.

Much of the comedy is derived from the arrested development of Will and Daniel. Being at Daniel’s home reduces the two men into petulant boys, awkwardly mumbling non-answers to questions posed by Daniel’s parents at the dinner table and engaging in clumsy wrestling matches when annoyed by each other. Adam Scott really shines here due to his sizable comedy chops and penchant for playing overly defensive yet lovable jerks. The childish dynamic between Will and Daniel is well played without being oversold, which keeps the movie fresh despite the glut of man-child comedies made these days.

But what of our leading woman, you ask? Molly Parker radiates pure sex appeal in this role. Maggie first appears on a dock in a vast lake, waiting for Will and Daniel to pick her up. She is shot from behind, standing perfectly still, hip alluringly jutted out, her long blue dress blowing about her legs in the slight wind, while the boat approaches. The shot is so evocative and brilliant that it was used for the poster. Her presence immediately demands attention, making it easy to see why the two men are both in love with her.

I also love that Maggie is her own person, and not simply a tool utilized in the male characters’ coming-of-age journey. Maggie has agency in her relationships with Daniel and Will. Having a strong female character in itself is a virtue on the big screen, but that is a topic for another day. All in all, I enjoyed this film, and recommend it as a must-see for all adoring Adam Scott fans like myself.

The Vicious Kind
If I were a generous reviewer, I would say “The Vicious Kind” is a well-made, intimate film with multiple impressive performances. I would say the film is about a misanthropic, damaged man named Caleb whose deep-seated issues come to the surface when he meets his innocent younger brother’s girlfriend, who eerily resembles his cheating ex. Adam Scott, the star of the movie, shows his dramatic range in a total 180 from the lovable loser Henry of “Party Down,” one of my favorite TV shows.If I were a critical, and perhaps more honest reviewer, I would say “The Vicious Kind” is a melodrama rampant with all the modern cliche indie trappings about a misogynistic emotional cripple who preys on his younger brother’s Madonna/whore girlfriend. Adam Scott goes for his Big Acting Moment, though it falls flat as I could not buy into his ridiculous character’s redemption.The fact of the matter is, I enjoyed the process of watching movie, yet found it extremely frustrating. I really like Adam Scott and was surprisingly moved by Brittany Snow’s performance as Emma, the girlfriend. On the other hand, films like this are a dime a dozen, making it feel like a paint-by-the-numbers piece of work, not to mention the treatment of women in this film made me extremely uncomfortable and annoyed.Once I saw Neil LaBute’s name listed as executive producer, I felt vindicated in the huge red flag waving in my head. LaBute is the director behind such misogynist classics as “In the Company of Men” and the remake of “The Wicker Man.” I have seen an article claiming that LaBute’s “In the Company of Men” is not misogynistic so much as it is misanthropic, but I find that line of reasoning to be typical male privileged-induced blindness/patriarchy-denying. Film-making (and media in general), since time immemorial, has been dominated by men, and I grow increasingly fed up with the latent and overt sexism within. In is not abated by occasional equal-opportunity hating.So suddenly Emma is not a whore because she was actually a virgin when she has sex with Caleb? So suddenly Caleb is forgiven for calling all women whores because he beat up another chauvinist and his trauma is rooted in the fact that his dad lied about his mom being a cheater when in fact the dad was the one cheating? No, it is cheap and trite writing and why Caleb’s redemption is particularly shallow.I do not regret watching this film, but I would be hard pressed to recommend it to anyone. There are a few more problems with this film I could delve into, but I am far too tired and surely no one cares. For awesome dysfunctional family indie drama fare, skip this and watch “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” instead.

The Vicious Kind

If I were a generous reviewer, I would say “The Vicious Kind” is a well-made, intimate film with multiple impressive performances. I would say the film is about a misanthropic, damaged man named Caleb whose deep-seated issues come to the surface when he meets his innocent younger brother’s girlfriend, who eerily resembles his cheating ex. Adam Scott, the star of the movie, shows his dramatic range in a total 180 from the lovable loser Henry of “Party Down,” one of my favorite TV shows.

If I were a critical, and perhaps more honest reviewer, I would say “The Vicious Kind” is a melodrama rampant with all the modern cliche indie trappings about a misogynistic emotional cripple who preys on his younger brother’s Madonna/whore girlfriend. Adam Scott goes for his Big Acting Moment, though it falls flat as I could not buy into his ridiculous character’s redemption.

The fact of the matter is, I enjoyed the process of watching movie, yet found it extremely frustrating. I really like Adam Scott and was surprisingly moved by Brittany Snow’s performance as Emma, the girlfriend. On the other hand, films like this are a dime a dozen, making it feel like a paint-by-the-numbers piece of work, not to mention the treatment of women in this film made me extremely uncomfortable and annoyed.

Once I saw Neil LaBute’s name listed as executive producer, I felt vindicated in the huge red flag waving in my head. LaBute is the director behind such misogynist classics as “In the Company of Men” and the remake of “The Wicker Man.” I have seen an article claiming that LaBute’s “In the Company of Men” is not misogynistic so much as it is misanthropic, but I find that line of reasoning to be typical male privileged-induced blindness/patriarchy-denying. Film-making (and media in general), since time immemorial, has been dominated by men, and I grow increasingly fed up with the latent and overt sexism within. In is not abated by occasional equal-opportunity hating.

So suddenly Emma is not a whore because she was actually a virgin when she has sex with Caleb? So suddenly Caleb is forgiven for calling all women whores because he beat up another chauvinist and his trauma is rooted in the fact that his dad lied about his mom being a cheater when in fact the dad was the one cheating? No, it is cheap and trite writing and why Caleb’s redemption is particularly shallow.

I do not regret watching this film, but I would be hard pressed to recommend it to anyone. There are a few more problems with this film I could delve into, but I am far too tired and surely no one cares. For awesome dysfunctional family indie drama fare, skip this and watch “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” instead.

ParaNorman and the War on Women

I’m not feeling particularly eloquent at this moment but I want to bang this out before I forget or lose all interest.

I saw ParaNorman a couple days ago. I would have been content to merely gaze at Norman’s precious little plasticine, ruddy nose for 90 minutes, but the movie turned out to be surprisingly moving. The zombie-wrought mayhem in the middle was kind of a mess, but the third act, which riffed on the witch hunts of New England, was riveting and poignant.

There are certain rules to children’s movies older viewers come to expect. The plot will deal with the common concerns of children, including the desire to fit in and the fear of abandonment. Probably no one will die even when the characters are in peril, especially not the children. Furthermore, the characters are only allowed to speak in euphemisms around violence. They will not say “they murdered you,” they will substitute “they did something really bad to you.”

This is what happens around the harms visited on women on a daily basis, isn’t it? The movie addressed the unjust cruelty of punishing someone for being different and misunderstood, but obviously the film did not address the wider, extreme misogyny and intolerance which spurred and perpetuated the witch hunts. It’s estimated that 9 million people died persecuted for witchcraft, the vast majority of them women (see Andrea Dworkin’s “Woman-Hating,” page 90). But we never really hear about this do we? It’s always downplayed and minimized.

Classic Harry Lucey amazingness

Classic Harry Lucey amazingness

(Source: spaceghostzombie, via bettyandveronicafashions)

Waitress: The quirky indie comedy about women surrounded by men who commit domestic violence, malpractice, and stalking written, directed and starring a woman who was violently murdered by a young man who lived in her building. The candy colors and sumptuous montage of pies initially sucked me into this movie but I felt on edge through the whole thing.
To summarize, Jenna accidentally becomes pregnant after her husband gets her drunk and maritally rapes has sex with her. She despises her husband but is too financially unstable to leave him.
She then goes to her woman ob-gyn to find she has been replaced by a Nathan Fillion (before he got all fat). The two of them have a torrid affair throughout her pregnancy. I can’t imagine anything creepier than having an affair with your gynecologist, pre-puffy Nathan Fillion or no, but there you have it.
Jenna’s co-worker Dawn, played by the late Adrienne Shelly, goes on a five-minute date with a loser who then decides stalk her and persist in asking her out even though she has consistently and clearly rebuffed him. In a scene that is truly illustrative of female existence, he shows up at her work place and needles her for so long and so annoyingly that she yells at him. Everyone turns around and looks at her, mouths agape, and the loser dude starts so sniffle. All she can do is soften and reply “well sorry, hon” or something to that effect. She cannot protect herself and be assertive against his unwanted advances without hurting his poor feelings, and ultimately his feelings become more important than hers. Good thing she gets used to him and marries him so she won’t end up a lonely spinster, even though he remains totally embarrassing and terrible throughout the film.
Jenna has a baby girl which inspires her to kick both her abusive husband and her doctor to the curb, then lives happily ever after running her own business. Glad she was able to shake them so easily. Dawn wasn’t so lucky.

Waitress: The quirky indie comedy about women surrounded by men who commit domestic violence, malpractice, and stalking written, directed and starring a woman who was violently murdered by a young man who lived in her building. The candy colors and sumptuous montage of pies initially sucked me into this movie but I felt on edge through the whole thing.

To summarize, Jenna accidentally becomes pregnant after her husband gets her drunk and maritally rapes has sex with her. She despises her husband but is too financially unstable to leave him.

She then goes to her woman ob-gyn to find she has been replaced by a Nathan Fillion (before he got all fat). The two of them have a torrid affair throughout her pregnancy. I can’t imagine anything creepier than having an affair with your gynecologist, pre-puffy Nathan Fillion or no, but there you have it.

Jenna’s co-worker Dawn, played by the late Adrienne Shelly, goes on a five-minute date with a loser who then decides stalk her and persist in asking her out even though she has consistently and clearly rebuffed him. In a scene that is truly illustrative of female existence, he shows up at her work place and needles her for so long and so annoyingly that she yells at him. Everyone turns around and looks at her, mouths agape, and the loser dude starts so sniffle. All she can do is soften and reply “well sorry, hon” or something to that effect. She cannot protect herself and be assertive against his unwanted advances without hurting his poor feelings, and ultimately his feelings become more important than hers. Good thing she gets used to him and marries him so she won’t end up a lonely spinster, even though he remains totally embarrassing and terrible throughout the film.

Jenna has a baby girl which inspires her to kick both her abusive husband and her doctor to the curb, then lives happily ever after running her own business. Glad she was able to shake them so easily. Dawn wasn’t so lucky.

New Toothless Porn Doc Screened at Tribeca

I wasn’t going to write about this but it pissed me off so much that I have to just get a little bit of it off my chest:

http://www.avclub.com/articles/transcending-tribeca-jill-bauer-and-ronna-gradus-o,73087/

This is an interview with two women who made a documentary about the effects of porn on women and real-life relationships. The interview pissed me off because the two women who made the film implicitly take an “I’m not a feminist, but…” (often without even getting as far as “but”) tone, and it sounds like they do not go far enough to really show how insidious porn culture is in our society and the real harms porn visit on women.

The two quotes that pissed me off the most are:

 About viewing porn for research: “RG: For me, it was very traumatic. I’m very visual, I couldn’t get it out of… I mean, I am not anti-porn. At all. But I was horrified by what today’s porn is like, a lot of it.

JB: You’re not anti-porn, you’re anti-violent-porn. Brutality.”

All porn is brutal and violent. You can never even be sure that the woman you are watching is participating willfully, so most likely you are watching rape. I hate the way the first woman in the quote simultaneously notes how psychologically scarring the viewing of porn was to her but has to throw in that she is not “anti-porn,” as if that weren’t reason enough to be so, then the second woman accommodates her colleague by rationalizing and qualifying by minimizing the fact that porn is inherently violent against women. I don’t know where this magical loving, egalitarian porn is that people love to pretend like exists to justify why porn is actually okay.

And this makes my head explode:

"JB: … I think it’s really, really important, and we worked really, really hard at making this documentary something that would be appealing to men, and something where they wouldn’t feel complicit, because they’re not. We’re in it together, men and women. When you have a film with women in it, people can misperceive it as a feminist treatise or something like that, and it was really important to us to make it broad, and a conversation about men and women, between men and women.”

Men are not complicit!? Who is making the porn? Who is consuming the porn? Who is perpetrating these acts on women in bedrooms across the country (as they mention later in the interview)? Don’t try to put the blame on me, telling me this has to do as much with me as it does with men. I don’t watch porn, I don’t want to live in this pervasive porn culture I had the misfortune of being born into. Don’t hurt the poor men’s feelings with your little documentary!! Because men’s feelings matter more than women’s bodies.

Really, fuck this documentary. Dworkin is rolling in her grave.

thekittencovers:

The Kinkens

thekittencovers:

The Kinkens

Does this mean there are new episodes of “Wainy Days”? I was super obsessed with that…

thecomicscomic:

mememolly:

Garfunkel & Oates - David Wain Is Sexy (by MyDamnChannel)

As seen here.

The Dude and Walter, still takin’ her easy for all us sinners.
photo via Moviefone

The Dude and Walter, still takin’ her easy for all us sinners.

photo via Moviefone

Though Fox animation’s long-running “King of  the Hill” ended a few years ago, it remains widely loved by fans of  understated comedy. While most animated TV shows keep their characters  in a kind of stasis, a la “The Simpsons,” “KotH” allowed its characters  to age and change. Therefore, it is easy to forget that originally  Hank’s niece Luanne Platter was not only ultra-feminine but also a  master mechanic. Luanne would eventually go on to orchestrate Manger  Babies performances and cut hair professionally, but it is  disappointing that her mechanic wizardry was completely dropped from her  character. There is nothing wrong with puppetry or hairstyling, but  from a gender perspective, Luanne as a mechanic is much more  interesting, not only because it messes with traditional, constraining  gender roles, but also because of the power it gives Luanne. Knowledge  about cars is something that stereotypically women are not supposed to  have, but in so much as cars represent freedom of movement, such  knowledge can represent autonomy and independence for women. For women,  the ability to fix your own car is the ability to propel yourself around  the world without constraints or the need for a man’s support.
In this way, Luanne reminds me of another cult-beloved cartoon  figure, Maggie Chascarillo of the comic book “Love and Rockets.” Maggie  originally started out as an up-and-coming mechanic in a fantastical  setting whose ability took her to remote, exciting locations before  Jaime Hernandez changed his work’s direction and dropped  the futuristic  mechanical storyline to have Maggie settle down in a small Californian  town for increased realism. Now, I love Maggie in both incarnations and  actually prefer the Maggie and Hopey stories to the earlier ones, but  working on cars gave Maggie direction and power in her life that she  seemed to lose once the graphic novel became more focused on her  neighborhoods and the punks who populate it.
Ultimately, did Mike Judge and Jamie Hernandez simply want to focus  their energy on other story lines, or is there a another reason why  their female characters ceased using their mechanic prowess? Does it  matter that both of their creators are male?

Though Fox animation’s long-running “King of the Hill” ended a few years ago, it remains widely loved by fans of understated comedy. While most animated TV shows keep their characters in a kind of stasis, a la “The Simpsons,” “KotH” allowed its characters to age and change. Therefore, it is easy to forget that originally Hank’s niece Luanne Platter was not only ultra-feminine but also a master mechanic. Luanne would eventually go on to orchestrate Manger Babies performances and cut hair professionally, but it is disappointing that her mechanic wizardry was completely dropped from her character. There is nothing wrong with puppetry or hairstyling, but from a gender perspective, Luanne as a mechanic is much more interesting, not only because it messes with traditional, constraining gender roles, but also because of the power it gives Luanne. Knowledge about cars is something that stereotypically women are not supposed to have, but in so much as cars represent freedom of movement, such knowledge can represent autonomy and independence for women. For women, the ability to fix your own car is the ability to propel yourself around the world without constraints or the need for a man’s support.

In this way, Luanne reminds me of another cult-beloved cartoon figure, Maggie Chascarillo of the comic book “Love and Rockets.” Maggie originally started out as an up-and-coming mechanic in a fantastical setting whose ability took her to remote, exciting locations before Jaime Hernandez changed his work’s direction and dropped  the futuristic mechanical storyline to have Maggie settle down in a small Californian town for increased realism. Now, I love Maggie in both incarnations and actually prefer the Maggie and Hopey stories to the earlier ones, but working on cars gave Maggie direction and power in her life that she seemed to lose once the graphic novel became more focused on her neighborhoods and the punks who populate it.

Ultimately, did Mike Judge and Jamie Hernandez simply want to focus their energy on other story lines, or is there a another reason why their female characters ceased using their mechanic prowess? Does it matter that both of their creators are male?

At the end of 1988, two Japanese rock legends at the top of their game united to form the supergroup COMPLEX. Gorgeous solo rocker Kikkawa Kouji and guitar hero Hotei Tomokazu released their first single “Be My Baby” in April 1989. Filmed in one take, the duo command the screen, strutting with sexy swagger. The video is all the more classic and unforgettable for its monochromatic simplicity.

(Source: youtube.com)

Amongst a Japanese summer television schedule chock-full with   candy-colored comedies about boy-crazy girls masquerading as males the   better to pursue them, comes a thought-provoking and humanist series   focusing on the life of an intersex teenager. “IS ~Otoko demo Onna demo   Nai Sei~” or “IS ~Biological Sex is Neither Male or Female~” is about a   high school freshman named Haru who was born with ambiguous genitalia  as well as  the internal sexual organs of both sexes. Haru is registered  as a girl on his birth certificate but identifies as male. However, in  order to attend the high school of his dreams, Haru is forced to attend  as a girl and wear the corresponding girl’s uniform. The first episode  deals with Haru’s birth and upbringing to his first day of high school  where he quickly befriends the ultra-feminine Miwako.
What is interesting to me is that the stated intent of the show is  not just to entertain but to educate and promote tolerance as well. The  show highlights discrimination that intersex people face while showing  compassion for Haru and his family. Intersex people are regularly erased  from society’s discourse and pop culture even though between one in  2,000 to 4,500 are born intersex. As evidenced on the show’s official  website, viewers comment that they never heard of intersexuality until  discovering this show. The website also features interviews with  intersex people and a forum for people to share their experiences with  gender and biological sex.
Japan is still very LGBTQI-phobic. It will be interesting to see if  this program manages to have any social impact. Though apparently the  term “IS” has fallen out of favor, I kind of like it. Haru is not  defined by his bith certificate. He is not just man. He is not just  woman. He is human and he transcends definition; he just IS.

Amongst a Japanese summer television schedule chock-full with candy-colored comedies about boy-crazy girls masquerading as males the better to pursue them, comes a thought-provoking and humanist series focusing on the life of an intersex teenager. “IS ~Otoko demo Onna demo Nai Sei~” or “IS ~Biological Sex is Neither Male or Female~” is about a high school freshman named Haru who was born with ambiguous genitalia as well as the internal sexual organs of both sexes. Haru is registered as a girl on his birth certificate but identifies as male. However, in order to attend the high school of his dreams, Haru is forced to attend as a girl and wear the corresponding girl’s uniform. The first episode deals with Haru’s birth and upbringing to his first day of high school where he quickly befriends the ultra-feminine Miwako.

What is interesting to me is that the stated intent of the show is not just to entertain but to educate and promote tolerance as well. The show highlights discrimination that intersex people face while showing compassion for Haru and his family. Intersex people are regularly erased from society’s discourse and pop culture even though between one in 2,000 to 4,500 are born intersex. As evidenced on the show’s official website, viewers comment that they never heard of intersexuality until discovering this show. The website also features interviews with intersex people and a forum for people to share their experiences with gender and biological sex.

Japan is still very LGBTQI-phobic. It will be interesting to see if this program manages to have any social impact. Though apparently the term “IS” has fallen out of favor, I kind of like it. Haru is not defined by his bith certificate. He is not just man. He is not just woman. He is human and he transcends definition; he just IS.

So it’s over.

Today was the last day of “Oprah.” And it was SO. INTENSE.
Today’s episode was the culmination of the final three episodes which were long advertised. Monday and Tuesday were a celebrity-filled clusterfuck filmed in a large arena. I couldn’t make it past the opening strains of “I’ve Got a Feeling” scoring her entrance before I changed the channel. I’ve always found it endlessly amusing how Oprah’s themes vascillated day to day from “Tuesday: Suburban Men who diddle your children” to “Wednesday: Celine Dion’s fabulous, million-dollar walk-in closet!” and I have never been very fond of the noisy, consumerist, star-worshiping episodes, so this was far too much for me to handle.However, today’s final was subdued, with no bellowing or surprised. Oprah stood alone on the stage and sermonized about self-help and the love and joy she received from doing the show.
It was a very sweet hour and I honestly will miss having that hour of Oprah there for when I need it. OWN just isn’t the same. It truly is the end of an era.

So it’s over.

Today was the last day of “Oprah.” And it was SO. INTENSE.

Today’s episode was the culmination of the final three episodes which were long advertised. Monday and Tuesday were a celebrity-filled clusterfuck filmed in a large arena. I couldn’t make it past the opening strains of “I’ve Got a Feeling” scoring her entrance before I changed the channel. I’ve always found it endlessly amusing how Oprah’s themes vascillated day to day from “Tuesday: Suburban Men who diddle your children” to “Wednesday: Celine Dion’s fabulous, million-dollar walk-in closet!” and I have never been very fond of the noisy, consumerist, star-worshiping episodes, so this was far too much for me to handle.

However, today’s final was subdued, with no bellowing or surprised. Oprah stood alone on the stage and sermonized about self-help and the love and joy she received from doing the show.

It was a very sweet hour and I honestly will miss having that hour of Oprah there for when I need it. OWN just isn’t the same. It truly is the end of an era.

Maxell VCR Head Cleaner and Nostalgia for Mind-Blowing Antiquity

Generations are defined by time-specific cultural objects. Often these objects are of a technological nature. There is nary a boomer alive unwilling to bore me to death with wistful tales about dropping the needle on a new vinyl 45’ or cruising around town listening to an 8-track. I tend to find these stories awfully precious, yet here I am to share a similar story of my own.

I am here to share the story of the Maxell VCR Head Cleaner.

For those who are too young to remember, VCRs necessitated head cleaning to remove the dust and particle build-up left behind by videotapes, causing muddled playback. My dad, a “Simpsons” and “Doctor Who” repeat devotee (and the last VCR user alive) would on occasion employ the easy-to-use casette-shaped, Maxell brand head cleaners. The video that played during cleaning was as follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQkfCCBN1gU

Re-watching that video inspired in me both Proustian reverie and visceral squeamishness. I forgot about this 30-second clip for years, yet seeing it now reminded me of the childish fear and fascination it inspired. Why did I find it so mildly terrifying? Is it the authoritarian male voice-over demanding the viewer not eject the cleaner until the end of the cycle? Is it the ominous and sinister music, striking a sense of peril in my mind? Perhaps it is the the thunderous, cloudy sky. Or, it could be the loud sound-channel tests which sound like a lazer gun firing. 

It may have something to do with the image of that iconic man, frozen in his large chair, weathering this audio/visual apocalypse. Known commonly as the “blown-away guy,” he is originally from Maxell’s wildly successful TV ad campaign (which was on the air before I was born). In the commercial, the guy’s butler asks him if he will have “the usual,” and proceeds to pop in a Maxell cassette of “The Ride of the Valkyries.” The guy sits facing a large amp is literally blown away by the overwhelming sound quality Macell is able to provide him. This scene has been parodied by the likes of “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” and even “Jackass 3D.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DP89iMe0BY&feature=related

The terrors of the head-cleaning sequence are followed by a feeling of relief when the countdown ends and the cold comfort of the product placement for Maxell’s other wares. Although I am now fully ensconced in the world of DVDs, Blu-Ray and digital downloads, I feel I am all the stronger for surviving the Maxell VCR head cleaner tapes. I cannot help but feel a little nostalgic for something that inspired a visceral reaction in me, yet of which anyone born after 1990 is blissfully unaware. Perhaps one day I will be able to bore my own children to death with the tale of this antiquated technology.

Who Loves the Sun
"Who Loves the Sun" is a de rigeur modern indie elevated by beautiful photography and the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I already took down the trappings of recent indies in my previous post, but this film has so many that I can’t help but mention them: brooding man-children, family drama, shocking secret revealed in the third act, even the hijacking of a borderline-twee indie song title for its own. However, this film proves that humor can make such trappings tolerable.
"Who Loves the Sun" is about a young man, Will (Lukas Haas), who returns to his hometown after disappearing five years ago when he discovered his wife, Maggie (Molly Parker), having sex with his best friend, Daniel (Adam Scott). He stays at Daniel’s childhood home with Daniel’s parents, who invite Daniel and Maggie to come over as well.
Much of the comedy is derived from the arrested development of Will and Daniel. Being at Daniel’s home reduces the two men into petulant boys, awkwardly mumbling non-answers to questions posed by Daniel’s parents at the dinner table and engaging in clumsy wrestling matches when annoyed by each other. Adam Scott really shines here due to his sizable comedy chops and penchant for playing overly defensive yet lovable jerks. The childish dynamic between Will and Daniel is well played without being oversold, which keeps the movie fresh despite the glut of man-child comedies made these days.
But what of our leading woman, you ask? Molly Parker radiates pure sex appeal in this role. Maggie first appears on a dock in a vast lake, waiting for Will and Daniel to pick her up. She is shot from behind, standing perfectly still, hip alluringly jutted out, her long blue dress blowing about her legs in the slight wind, while the boat approaches. The shot is so evocative and brilliant that it was used for the poster. Her presence immediately demands attention, making it easy to see why the two men are both in love with her.
I also love that Maggie is her own person, and not simply a tool utilized in the male characters’ coming-of-age journey. Maggie has agency in her relationships with Daniel and Will. Having a strong female character in itself is a virtue on the big screen, but that is a topic for another day. All in all, I enjoyed this film, and recommend it as a must-see for all adoring Adam Scott fans like myself.

Who Loves the Sun

"Who Loves the Sun" is a de rigeur modern indie elevated by beautiful photography and the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I already took down the trappings of recent indies in my previous post, but this film has so many that I can’t help but mention them: brooding man-children, family drama, shocking secret revealed in the third act, even the hijacking of a borderline-twee indie song title for its own. However, this film proves that humor can make such trappings tolerable.

"Who Loves the Sun" is about a young man, Will (Lukas Haas), who returns to his hometown after disappearing five years ago when he discovered his wife, Maggie (Molly Parker), having sex with his best friend, Daniel (Adam Scott). He stays at Daniel’s childhood home with Daniel’s parents, who invite Daniel and Maggie to come over as well.

Much of the comedy is derived from the arrested development of Will and Daniel. Being at Daniel’s home reduces the two men into petulant boys, awkwardly mumbling non-answers to questions posed by Daniel’s parents at the dinner table and engaging in clumsy wrestling matches when annoyed by each other. Adam Scott really shines here due to his sizable comedy chops and penchant for playing overly defensive yet lovable jerks. The childish dynamic between Will and Daniel is well played without being oversold, which keeps the movie fresh despite the glut of man-child comedies made these days.

But what of our leading woman, you ask? Molly Parker radiates pure sex appeal in this role. Maggie first appears on a dock in a vast lake, waiting for Will and Daniel to pick her up. She is shot from behind, standing perfectly still, hip alluringly jutted out, her long blue dress blowing about her legs in the slight wind, while the boat approaches. The shot is so evocative and brilliant that it was used for the poster. Her presence immediately demands attention, making it easy to see why the two men are both in love with her.

I also love that Maggie is her own person, and not simply a tool utilized in the male characters’ coming-of-age journey. Maggie has agency in her relationships with Daniel and Will. Having a strong female character in itself is a virtue on the big screen, but that is a topic for another day. All in all, I enjoyed this film, and recommend it as a must-see for all adoring Adam Scott fans like myself.

The Vicious Kind
If I were a generous reviewer, I would say “The Vicious Kind” is a well-made, intimate film with multiple impressive performances. I would say the film is about a misanthropic, damaged man named Caleb whose deep-seated issues come to the surface when he meets his innocent younger brother’s girlfriend, who eerily resembles his cheating ex. Adam Scott, the star of the movie, shows his dramatic range in a total 180 from the lovable loser Henry of “Party Down,” one of my favorite TV shows.If I were a critical, and perhaps more honest reviewer, I would say “The Vicious Kind” is a melodrama rampant with all the modern cliche indie trappings about a misogynistic emotional cripple who preys on his younger brother’s Madonna/whore girlfriend. Adam Scott goes for his Big Acting Moment, though it falls flat as I could not buy into his ridiculous character’s redemption.The fact of the matter is, I enjoyed the process of watching movie, yet found it extremely frustrating. I really like Adam Scott and was surprisingly moved by Brittany Snow’s performance as Emma, the girlfriend. On the other hand, films like this are a dime a dozen, making it feel like a paint-by-the-numbers piece of work, not to mention the treatment of women in this film made me extremely uncomfortable and annoyed.Once I saw Neil LaBute’s name listed as executive producer, I felt vindicated in the huge red flag waving in my head. LaBute is the director behind such misogynist classics as “In the Company of Men” and the remake of “The Wicker Man.” I have seen an article claiming that LaBute’s “In the Company of Men” is not misogynistic so much as it is misanthropic, but I find that line of reasoning to be typical male privileged-induced blindness/patriarchy-denying. Film-making (and media in general), since time immemorial, has been dominated by men, and I grow increasingly fed up with the latent and overt sexism within. In is not abated by occasional equal-opportunity hating.So suddenly Emma is not a whore because she was actually a virgin when she has sex with Caleb? So suddenly Caleb is forgiven for calling all women whores because he beat up another chauvinist and his trauma is rooted in the fact that his dad lied about his mom being a cheater when in fact the dad was the one cheating? No, it is cheap and trite writing and why Caleb’s redemption is particularly shallow.I do not regret watching this film, but I would be hard pressed to recommend it to anyone. There are a few more problems with this film I could delve into, but I am far too tired and surely no one cares. For awesome dysfunctional family indie drama fare, skip this and watch “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” instead.

The Vicious Kind

If I were a generous reviewer, I would say “The Vicious Kind” is a well-made, intimate film with multiple impressive performances. I would say the film is about a misanthropic, damaged man named Caleb whose deep-seated issues come to the surface when he meets his innocent younger brother’s girlfriend, who eerily resembles his cheating ex. Adam Scott, the star of the movie, shows his dramatic range in a total 180 from the lovable loser Henry of “Party Down,” one of my favorite TV shows.

If I were a critical, and perhaps more honest reviewer, I would say “The Vicious Kind” is a melodrama rampant with all the modern cliche indie trappings about a misogynistic emotional cripple who preys on his younger brother’s Madonna/whore girlfriend. Adam Scott goes for his Big Acting Moment, though it falls flat as I could not buy into his ridiculous character’s redemption.

The fact of the matter is, I enjoyed the process of watching movie, yet found it extremely frustrating. I really like Adam Scott and was surprisingly moved by Brittany Snow’s performance as Emma, the girlfriend. On the other hand, films like this are a dime a dozen, making it feel like a paint-by-the-numbers piece of work, not to mention the treatment of women in this film made me extremely uncomfortable and annoyed.

Once I saw Neil LaBute’s name listed as executive producer, I felt vindicated in the huge red flag waving in my head. LaBute is the director behind such misogynist classics as “In the Company of Men” and the remake of “The Wicker Man.” I have seen an article claiming that LaBute’s “In the Company of Men” is not misogynistic so much as it is misanthropic, but I find that line of reasoning to be typical male privileged-induced blindness/patriarchy-denying. Film-making (and media in general), since time immemorial, has been dominated by men, and I grow increasingly fed up with the latent and overt sexism within. In is not abated by occasional equal-opportunity hating.

So suddenly Emma is not a whore because she was actually a virgin when she has sex with Caleb? So suddenly Caleb is forgiven for calling all women whores because he beat up another chauvinist and his trauma is rooted in the fact that his dad lied about his mom being a cheater when in fact the dad was the one cheating? No, it is cheap and trite writing and why Caleb’s redemption is particularly shallow.

I do not regret watching this film, but I would be hard pressed to recommend it to anyone. There are a few more problems with this film I could delve into, but I am far too tired and surely no one cares. For awesome dysfunctional family indie drama fare, skip this and watch “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” instead.

ParaNorman and the War on Women
New Toothless Porn Doc Screened at Tribeca
Maxell VCR Head Cleaner and Nostalgia for Mind-Blowing Antiquity

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