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SADY LIKES MOVIES: A First For Tiger Beatdown

Say! Do you know what I’ve been doing? I’ve been doing The Holidays, is what I’ve been doing. And do you know what The Holidays look like? Well, when I am conferring with my top-notch Gentleman Associate, they look like getting started with some breakfast burritos and Bloody Marys (a fine drink! And, on the holidays, substantially finer due to our including the more optional and exciting ingredients) and then catching up on some movies. And, when I am at home with my family, they look like being bitter because you don’t have a driver’s license and someone else ate all the breakfast burritos, and also catching up on some movies!

I am mean to movies, you guys. So often. It makes me sad, how mean I am. Because every now and again, I will look in Ye Olde Comment Queue, and someone will be like, “this is why I read your blog! Because I hate all movies!” And, much as I love every single commenter here, that is a sad way to be. Movies are excellent! Here, I present some movies I have watched over The Holidays that I have actually enjoyed a great deal. And which were sympathetic to a feministical sensibility!

1. SMILEY FACE

I didn’t get Anna Faris before. But I totally do now! This movie is fun if you were totally fine with Apatow until you noticed that having a vagina was an automatic Unfollow for the majority of the male characters therein. Like, “sorry you can’t also figure out that growing up is hard and that it’s easier to exist within a permanent irresponsible adolescence whilst sharing some knowing chuckles about how dumb you act sometimes, but also? You’re A LADY, ICK.” This movie does not commit that sin! It commits Wonderful instead. Anna Faris is, in this movie, very stoned and very messy and very terrible at each and every one of life’s little challenges, and she wears a shirt that says “Sex Wax,” and you might maybe think she is you at times; I did. Scenes in which we flash into the minds of dudes and their fantasies about her – both of the dudes are level-twelve cute, John Krasinski and John Cho, but they are made up to be sort of hideously unappealing, which is a constant source of chuckling in its own right – and then contrast the dude-fantasies with the actual reality of Anna Faris and what she is fantasizing about are a particularly pro-lady delight. Good job, all around!

2. JULIE AND JULIA

For some reason, people always bring up “Julie and Julia” with me? She was unsatisfied; she had a blog which embettered her life circumstances; she lived in Queens. I think that’s it. Anyway, I saw the movie. And, wow! Without repeating too much of what you have already heard: no, it is not Amy Adams’ fault that she comes across as so bland compared to Meryl Streep, who eats the scenery as if it were delicious scenery-shaped marzipan; no, it is not Julie Powell’s husband’s fault that he comes across as seriously the most boring person ever to be birthed on this our Planet Earth, but rather the fault of the actor and/or screenplay for presenting him as some sort of beta-test Husbandroid; yes, the bits with Meryl Streep in them are so much fun, but with surprising depth to them. Also: there were some scenes near the end of this movie where I actually teared up, and they were – humiliation! – scenes concerning Amy Adams, and the redeeming power of Blog. You can make fun of me or pose reasonable objections to this in the comment section. There is just one scene with Amy Adams that I am not completely unashamed of connecting with, however, and it is where she is freaking out and acting like a crazy person because of, I think, blog traffic or blog commenters or something, and Husbandroid yells at her and calls her “massively self-absorbed” and tells her no-one fucking cares if she meets her self-created deadline on her self-created blog project which DOESN’T EVEN RUN ANY ADS (he does not mention it; we can trust, I think, that it is somehow implied) and also commands that she stop writing about him because she makes him so bland and like a Husbandroid all the time, and she slams a door in his face. If I had a biopic, it would contain a preponderance of similar scenes. Not that my life is bad at all! I’m a pretty happy lady, and I don’t even live with a robot or anything! Just that I think people should know that, just as Blog can heal, it can also destroy. Beware the mighty power of Blog!

3. BABY MAMA

Around the time this came out, people were like, “errr, the whole uptight-yet-righteous rich lady and trashy-stupid working class lady set-up is kind of gross, and also, this kind of glosses over the problems with surrogacy.” Okay, guys! Good points! I have another point to share with you: AMY POEHLER, AMY POEHLER, AMY POEHLER.  And Tina Fey, Tina Fey, Tina Fey, also. And Sigourney Weaver, and Steve Martin. Sigourney Weaver is funnier than Steve Martin in this movie, and Steve Martin is very funny. It’s all about how some ladies relate to each other, and it’s pretty super. Some critic complained about Fey not being sexy enough in this movie; people who complained about this are, I think, sad strange people. Did you know that Tina Fey is sometimes awkward and bad at being sexy, ON PURPOSE? Because it’s normally a pretty big part of her comedy? And she’s still a sexy lady? Or does your brain just sort of refuse to process the sight of a lady not trying to be sexy, and in fact trying for the opposite? Anyway, if your brain can handle that, you should probably watch Baby Mama.


4. ADVENTURELAND

Another Apatow movie for people who hate Judd Apatow. Or who loved him until his issues became too apparent and they broke up with him and now it’s, as they say, complicated. I mentioned my issues with this movie in a prior post, but one thing I did not mention hard enough is that it totally overcomes those issues and becomes awesome! I hope that Jesse Eisenberg does not get typecast as the post-Michael Cera Michael Cera – oh, hey, a comely virgin with feelings and thoughts who wants to be your boyfriend, you guys – because he deserves better. But he does do Michael Cera really well. Also Lloyd Dobler, but only the second, sadder half of the movie. It is always the second, sadder half of Say Anything for Jesse Eisenberg in this movie. The soundtrack is really good. “Satellite of Love” is a lovely song. So is “Pale Blue Eyes.” So is that one Cure song, although also it is the Cure song everyone likes, but fuck it, it’s not like I figured out this incredibly obscure and underappreciated “Pale Blue Eyes” thing all on my own. And? Gender is – this is part of the whole “overcoming Apatow” thing – really well handled in this movie. Like, shockingly well, if you consider how it’s handled in other movies of this genre. I watched this with my Gentleman Associate, and he was bouncing around, like, “look! This is going to turn out to be a movie about how FUCKED UP SLUT-SHAMING IS!!! AND HOW LADIES ARE PEOPLE AND YOU NEED TO GET OVER IT!!!” And it’s true: Jesse Eisenberg does have a little epiphany in this movie, which is – I will quote – “guys get to be shitty, and girls don’t.” Which makes more sense in context, but is roughly about sex and personhood and how all people do stupid things sexually because that is how sex works, but people are always so shocked and angry when ladies get stupid too. And, you know, normally I get very impatient when dudes have these epiphanies in the third acts of the movies devoted to them, because, like: I HAVE HAD A VAGINA FOR TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS. WELCOME TO THE BASIC FACTS PARTY, YOU ARE LATE. But this movie sells it. And, you know, there are people who never arrive at the Basic Facts Party, so if you do: thanks for showing up, I guess.

So, there you go! Movies! Movies: WATCH SOME TODAY. And have a breakfast burrito, because that is what The Holidays are all about.

15 Comments

  1. Gator wrote:

    I liked Julie and Julia too, and I’m with you about Baby Mama. Most of the people I talked to didn’t care for it, but I forgive all of its sins for a couple of reasons. One: a mainstream comedy with two adult female leads, which is normally Not Allowed. (Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion–are there others?) Two: I saw it at a second-run theater which serves beer and has a mid-afternoon “Mommy Matinee,” to which one is welcome to bring an actual baby. I was surrounded by other women who had recently given birth, and we howled over our midday beers at Poehler’s send-up of every TV and movie labor scene ever, where the laboring woman suddenly becomes an aggressive, screaming lunatic. Poehler is so good at physical comedy, and it was cathartic to see her use that skill to mock this particular worn-out misogynist cliche.

    Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 1:26 am | Permalink
  2. Gnatalby wrote:

    Oh man, I just have to disagree about Baby Mama and Adventureland. The former was mostly acceptable to me because I saw it at the dollar theatre, and it was worth that, the latter I fell asleep in the middle of, and no, I wasn’t particularly tired.

    Baby Mama had things going for it (like the cast) but also the HUGE negatives of the desperation of idiot women who forgot to have babies who now NEED BABIES OMG and SPOILER SPOILER magical love baby cures infertility.

    It’s pretty hard to get past those things especially combined with the class problems.

    Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 3:55 am | Permalink
  3. PhryneF wrote:

    I like hearing about movies you like! I also loved Baby Mama. My friend and I were laughing all the way through until right at the very end – and then I agree with you Gnatalby – SPOLIER ALERT the “magical baby cures infertility” twist SUCKED BIG TIME. And it was going so well!! And then it had to have the happy families final scene. PUKE. What a shame. Because the rest of the movie was really very funny, and ridiculous yet realistic. If you know what I mean?

    I thought they brought in Greg Kinnear’s daughter to sort of help Tina Fey’s character with her infertility – in a “you have lots of amazing things in your life, and children can still be a part of you life” sort of way. But then they chickened out and I got the vibe that the writers thought they couldn’t give the film a happy ending unless she got pregnant. Which is Not True. So yeh. 95% laughter 5% puking.

    Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 4:48 am | Permalink
  4. Sady wrote:

    @Gnatalby & Phrynef: Oh, I think it helps not to want too much from “Baby Mama,” going in. I watched it because my mom wanted to and I anticipated it would be a movie we could both enjoy; I was not looking to be blown away. BUT, on the Womens Need Babies front, one thing I did appreciate was that it was more of a buddy picture than a rom-com, and the buddies were ladies, which is nice. And I thought it was kind of subtly unconventional that the drive to have a baby was treated as something in many respects different from the drive to have a dude. Like, I get that! The drive to eventually have babies is a pretty powerful one, for a lot of people! But Tina Fey is just flat-out like, “you know, one way I could do this is meet a dude and have his babies. Sure! That could happen! But really, I am just going to take this into my own hands instead, because just waiting around for a dude I like enough to have babies with is not very proactive.”

    Although, of course, Greg Kinnear shows up with his big vanilla face to provide a love object somewhere in the middle, and then there is Greg Kinnear’s magic fetus, and some puking.

    Also, you have to watch Adventureland for quite a bit until its neatness is uncovered! If you aren’t pulled in by the visuals and the music first, which I respect may not happen for everyone.

    Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink
  5. Brenda wrote:

    I have not seen all of thsese movies, but I agree with you about Julie & Julia (hit movie about two ladies that is not about babies or a relationship? and has Meryl Streep in it? yay!) and Baby Mama. It had ISSUES especially with the ending, but I did appreciate not only the lady-buddy-comedy aspect but also the part about how it was a movie that was actually ABOUT class.

    Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink
  6. Interstice wrote:

    I just watched Smiley Face last night and I LOVED it! You’re right, Anna Faris’ character is messy and terrible at life and–gasp shock horror–kind of human. I was totally excited to see a movie where a flawed female character talks about stuff other than guys (and instead engages in stoner debates about economics, for instance) and doesn’t end up being completed or rescued by a dude at the end. Is that a sign of woefully lowered expectations?

    Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  7. Kathleen wrote:

    “welcome to the basic facts party, you are late”

    oh, gosh. It doesn’t matter what you write about, you are always worth reading!

    Monday, January 4, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink
  8. Kathleen wrote:

    Interstice — I always freak out on how that test for movies (it must have at least two female characters, who talk to each other, about something other than a man) sets the bar *so low* and yet almost all movies flunk it. indeed it is woeful, cause who doesn’t like movies and thus it’s impossible not to wish they more often liked women back!

    Monday, January 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink
  9. Stephanie wrote:

    I have to agree totally with Gnatalby & Phrynef: Baby Mama was really enjoyable until the stupid infantile (heh) pasted-on ending.

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  10. snobographer wrote:

    I don’t think I’d heard of Smiley Face before this post, but it’s now at the top of my Netflix queue.
    A good way to find female-friendly movies is to look for female directors. Even if the movie looks like crap, if it’s made by a female director, I’ll pick it over the mainstream dude-directed thing.

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink
  11. smadin wrote:

    I liked Julie & Julia pretty well, but…I’m kind of mad at it, in hindsight.

    Because now that it’s been made, we will never get the three-hour biopic I finally realize we really need, consisting primarily of Meryl Streep butting heads with dumbasses who don’t think women can be real cooks, Meryl Streep cooking, Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci being all goofy and moony-eyed at each other, and the occasional visit by Jane Lynch.

    Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink
  12. Sady wrote:

    @smadin: Is it wrong that my version of the movie would include nothing but Meryl Streep and Jane Lynch interaction? Because if so, I am WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

    Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 11:33 am | Permalink
  13. smadin wrote:

    Well, clearly it’s wrong, in that I disagree!

    Wait, no.

    I loved the Julia-Dorothy interaction, but I also really loved Tucci. (Also, for what it’s worth, according to my parents, who have a friend who met them once time — and now I’m saying it on the internet, so you know it’s true! — Julia and Paul really were that completely head over heels for each other, their whole lives; the word quoted to me was “besotted.”)

    Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink
  14. This post was supposed to be about movies but it really sold me on breakfast burritos.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Permalink
  15. laura wrote:

    re: baby mama

    i had to shut it off when tina fey bemoans the fact that she might end up with a “she-male” for a child. transphobia just isn’t funny to me, i guess, and after the class issues and everything else, i found it really hard to overlook.

    i guess i feel like poehler and fey are really just the lesser of many evils, as opposed to actually good, most of the time.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink

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  2. Stoner comedy – now for women! « Zombietronics on Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 5:43 am

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