Tag: movies

Summer Movie Enjoyment Cap

Summer Movie Enjoyment Cap

Last summer, I only saw three movies at the theater from May until September. If you’re curious, they were Captain America: Civil War, Ghostbusters, and The Nice Guys. All three were good movies and I enjoyed them, but my favorite experience, by far, was Ghostbusters.

Watching four women save the world from ghosts was not only super fun, but it felt exciting in a way that was… specifically for me. I had goosebumps. It was honestly a little overwhelming. I went through a cycle of emotions after that – I was happy a big summer movie featuring women heroes existed, but I was also really irritated that so many movies still placed an unnecessary hard cap on my (and most people’s) possible enjoyment by not including women, POCs, or other perspectives in their stories. But maybe this wouldn’t feel so new one day and it would be normal to see everyone represented in wide-release summer movies?

ghostbusters-masshysteria

[Cut to summer 2017]

This summer, the cinema has upped its game. I’ve already seen six movies and it’s not even August. But none of them have left me feeling as good as Wonder Woman. I saw it opening night with my partner, and then gave it my money a second time with my best friend. We loved this movie in that specific Ghostbusters way.

Now that I know what it feels like to watch movies that aren’t just the same white men making movies about white men being cool, I want more, and I want better. Here’s a quick list of some “Perfectly good & enjoyable, but there’s a cap on that enjoyment” movies I’ve already seen this summer:

1. War for the Planet of the Apes: A technical masterpiece. The direction, score, special effects, and genius of Andy Serkis as Caesar, created an engaging, beautiful movie. But, I also found myself cringing at the story. A larger, seriously problematic theme was overt. And this entire franchise is undeniably rooted in misogyny. I never thought I’d say this, but we deserve better stories about apes taking over the earth.

2. Spiderman Homecoming: A very well done Spidey-reboot from Sony/Marvel. We should be sick of getting new Spidermen but with this great cast & fun story, we’re back in!… Rooting once more for Peter Parker when Miles Morales could have been our first POC Spiderman? I know there are hints that it’s coming, but why not now? This movie was solid, but seems like a possible missed opportunity, made even more obvious by the fact that everyone else in this movie is not a white guy, except the main hero & villain, of course.

tenor

3. Baby Driver: Fast cars, cool music, heists, Jon Hamm!… But, the women in this movie are props, and I tweeted my other thoughts.

Look, all these films are all very highly rated, and I enjoyed them – I laughed, smiled, and felt emotions. I don’t think enjoying something means you can’t discuss its problems. I’m just so tired of saying, “I enjoyed this movie, but…” And as long as big-budget storytelling is predominantly a white male-centric domain, these stories will be problematic & limited. And so will our enjoyment.

Recommendations: Movies I enjoyed recently on my Likes page. Also, go see Black Panther when it comes out because it looks fantastic!

Photo Credit: ScreenRant

Pop Culture Confessions

Pop Culture Confessions

  • I’m about 85% through Bryan Cranston’s A Life in Parts (read by Bryan Cranston). I do not love this book. I would have stopped listening already but laziness and wanting to hear his take on the “Breaking Bad years” have kept me in it. He has a nice reading voice, and I don’t mind the company on my walk into work in the mornings. But most of this memoir reads like bullet points written by a friend of a friend. His internalized greatness as an actor is center stage. Rarely is any other “part” really examined to its root, exposing the why of this human… save for one story where he admits he came close to murdering an ex- girlfriend. Again, I’m not a fan. One thing he says a couple times that I do like and will take away from all this listening is, “You can’t fake letting go.” It’s a profound, timely reminder for me. He, of course, means it in terms of acting.
  • I recently binged Riverdale on Netflix and the ages of the main stars make me… uncomfortable.
  • Photo Credit: Vulture
A Friday List #1

A Friday List #1

Despite feeling more tired than usual this week because ugh, it’s Daylight Saving Time again, I made it through the week alive. Here’s some proof:

  • I FINALLY saw Get Out. Yes, it’s that good. Yes, you should see it in the theater. As someone who has recently come around to horror movies, this was a perfect blend of social commentary and horror movie tropes. It’s entirely modern & classic. If you’ve seen it, I recommend getting some deeper podcast perspective: No, Totally and Black Girl Nerds.
  • Speaking of diverse voices in film: Rebecca Theodore on Diversity & Inclusion in Film Criticism.
  • I’m reading Papergirls & I love it. It’s written by Brian K. Vaughan who also writes my favorite graphic novel, Saga, plus it’s basically the answer to, “What if ANY of the many stories I grew up with as a kid in the ’80s about an unexpected group of children saving the day were about girls?”

Have a good weekend!

The New Wonder Woman Trailer is Here!

The New Wonder Woman Trailer is Here!

I’m excited for this movie. Patty Jenkins has been working on a WW movie concept for 10 years, and it looks like she’s giving us a pretty perfect official introduction to Diana of Themyscira. (Her actual intro in BvS was a scene-stealer.):

The DCMU really needs a balanced, hopeful story in their lineup. This looks like it.
And now June 2nd seems very far away.


Recommended Read-While-We-Wait: The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore

I Haven’t Seen Ghostbusters Yet (This is Not a Review)

I Haven’t Seen Ghostbusters Yet (This is Not a Review)

The embargo lifted on Ghostbusters reviews yesterday. (Here are a couple written by reviewers I like: Birth.Movies.Death & Screencrush.) For me, this movie’s existence has never been about whether or not we need a new Ghostbusters movie. It’s about whether or not we need women to be seen in a space that has always been dominated by men. More specifically, the space of the comedy hero. And we very much do!

I love Freaks and Geeks. Throughout the series (also created by Paul Feig), the three best friend “geeks” at the heart of the show often lean on their comedy heroes for support. The 1980 cast of Saturday Night Live and the movies of comics like Bill Murray and Steve Martin fill in for real life friends, offering them a safe, happy place to escape from the confusion and pain of being a teenager.

Freaks-and-Geeks-Sam-Bill-Neal

When I was growing up, comedy franchises were in their heyday. Beverly Hills Cop, Airplane, Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s whatever, and Police Academy set the standard for laughing at a bunch of silly people (read: men). Women rarely got to be funny or heroic, so to see a group of women being BOTH would have blown my young mind.

Capture

As a child, I never got to have a collection of hilarious lady stories on VHS to call upon in my low moments to cheer me up. So, I don’t care if Ghostbusters isn’t my new favorite movie. (Although I expect to laugh a lot and really like it.) I bought my ticket to Ghostbusters to cast a vote for a new generation of young women who get to have comedy heroes who look like them.

Photo Credit: Empire online