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.
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.