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Triumphs of Unintentionally Feminist Humor! Well, Sort Of!

Today, I learned a terrible thing: in pop culture, feminism is dead! Dead! DEAD, I say! I learned this from Lynn Crosbie, who writes in a real live paper, and about whom you will read more later. (Mystery! Intrigue!) Unfortunately, since feminism in pop culture is DEAD and all, I basically have nothing more to write about, ever. Except… what is that other thing? The thing I talk about all the time, that you are tired of? Oh, yeah: the sexism!

For example: in her obituary for feminism in pop culture, Lynn Crosbie does note one bright spot for feminist film: Obsessed, starring Beyonce, Idris Elba, and that one chick from Heroes. Obsessed, in case you are unaware, is a film which features its two leading ladies both engaged in making the timeless feminist argument that the other should STAY AWAY FROM HER MAN, BITCH, because, as we all know, when YOUR MAN screws someone else it is merely a terrible accident caused by his proximity to a lady who would not STAY AWAY. He cannot be held accountable! I’m not opposed to STAYING AWAY FROM MY MAN, BITCH on principle, but I do not think I am out of line here when I suggest that perhaps the spectacle of two ladies beating the custard out of each other (one is a woman of color! One is white! This makes it all the more delightful!) in order to secure the hot, sexy approval of a dude is not going to automatically bring about the Womyn Sister Queendom in the manner that Lynn Crosbie suggests.

“But, Sady,” you are saying, “why are you such a downer? If I cannot see Obsessed – for truly, I had planned to see it! And I have no other alternatives! And I construct my opinions on no other basis than that of your hastily typed blog posts! – then, truly, there are no entertainment options left in the world for me.”

To you, I say: have you seen Neil LaBute’s The Wicker Man?

Oh, dude. You need to see Neil LaBute’s The Wicker Man. It always strikes me as innately hilarious when people are like, “are you aware that feminists are constitutionally incapable of telling jokes, or laughing at them? This is a true thing I have said,” because I have always operated on the principle that stupid + absurd = funny and misogynists = stupid + absurd. For a demonstration of these advanced mathematics, I recommend that you view Neil LaBute’s The Wicker Man, which is a comedy goldmine! A goldmine of comedy AT NEIL LABUTE’S EXPENSE, that is: truly, the best goldmine of all.

So, Neil LaBute used to be one of those all-too-common guys about whom people asked, “but is he really misogynist? Or is he, perhaps, commenting on misogyny by presenting us with it over and over and over, all the time?” Then he re-made The Wicker Man, and people were like, “oh, well, that answers my question, then!” Truly, it is a fever dream of lady-hatred; it is also one of the most hugely incompetent films ever made, which means that even dudes and ladies who are suckered in or charmed by the sexism of other movies (the “but some women really are bitches” contingency) are likely to look at it and be like, WHOA.

So, in The Wicker Man, also known as Women Terrify Me: The Motion Picture Event, Nicolas Cage, in full-on “I Do Not Even Have To Try; I Am Just This Ridiculous” mode, plays a cop. Some terrible bratty female child throws her doll out the window of a moving car, and then he has to pick it up! Can you believe it? Furthermore, just to make his day worse, while he is retrieving her doll, she and her terrible mother go and get themselves hit by a truck! This is bad for them, but far worse for Nicolas Cage, who now has various flashbacks about women getting hit by trucks that cause him to overact wildly.

While he is in this vulnerable state, he is contacted by an ex-girlfriend. (In the original Wicker Man, the plot of the movie hinged on the idea that the male protagonist was a virgin. This cannot be allowed in Neil LaBute’s version! Nope, Nicolas Cage has totally sexed before – with sexy ladies, for sex purposes! He’s a sexually active dude, all right!) Her daughter is missing, much like that girl from the first scene, who is also “missing,” in that she was hit by a truck, FLASHBACK FLASHBACK FLASHBACK. Nicolas Cage’s ex-girlfriend, who he has because he is totally sexually active, with women, needs his help!

But wait! There’s more! In order to help this woman, he must go to her home, which is located in the Mists of Avalon, er, “Summersisle.” Summersisle is a mysterious and forbidding island where, you will not believe it, all of the people in charge are chicks. I know, right? The psychological terror: it is intense! Some of these chicks are large, and speak in deep voices. Some of these chicks are older than fifty. Some of them do not respond well to Nicolas Cage bursting into their classrooms while they are in session and screaming at them and saying things such as, “I’m a POLICEMAAAAAAAAAN. See my BAAAAAAAAAAAADGE?” Yes, in the terrifying nightmare realm of Summersisle, it is not the badge, but the vadge, that rules!

So, the first half of The Wicker Man is a little slow, seeing as how it is almost entirely composed of women being ominous and/or unimpressed with the fact that Nicolas Cage has a penis. (NOTE: In this movie – and in the mind of LaBute – they are more or less the same thing.) Stay with it – for, as the movie builds to its climax, it gets much harder and faster and louder and makes much sillier faces. Wait, what? ANYWAY: the last twenty minutes of The Wicker Man are the most sublimely, supremely un-self-aware example of Unintentional Comedy at Sexism’s Expense that I have ever seen, composed as they are of Nicolas Cage running around in a a hysterical violent rage and screaming “BITCHES! BITCHESSSSSSSSSSSS” at the top of his voice and oh, fuck it, LET’S GO TO YOUTUBE:

I’m sorry, I need to emphasize something here:

(Note: the YouTube comments on these videos, like all YouTube comments, will depress the shit out of you. This is because some people think that hitting women is inherently funny. They are incorrect. THE FACT THAT NEIL LABUTE THOUGHT HE COULD SERIOUSLY SELL A SCENE OF NICOLAS CAGE GETTING INTO A BEAR SUIT AND PUNCHING WOMEN FOR NO GOOD REASON as a scene of SUSPENSE AND TERROR because he is AFRAID OF WOMEN AND ANGRY ABOUT THAT is funny. For the rest, chalk it up to the fact that sexists have no sense of humor.)

Anyway, the Monstrous Regiment of Women finally, after much delay, reveal their master plan, which is: to accomplish the Most Ridiculous Movie Death Scene of All Time. It involves THE BEEEEEEEEES, THE BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSS, which are a metaphor for people having vaginas, and also something getting BURRRNNNNED, and oh, here you go:

Do you see what happens when you have the right to vote, ladies? Do you see? This is why we can’t have nice things!

Anyway, for a woman of my sort – the sort who thinks that hating women is inherently really stupid, and also enjoys laughing at the failures of others – this movie, which demonstrates the stupidity thereof in a completely blatant and accidental manner, is much needed comic relief! Don’t pay for it, though. Neil LaBute is in need of many things – therapy, a Women’s Studies education, talent – but he does not need your money.


  1. smadin wrote:

    Oh, please tell me the music and slow-mo in that second clip are actually from the movie!

    (Also: dear Hollywood, please stop remaking old movies and making them worse.)

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Permalink
  2. Cait wrote:

    See? See? Women can be violent too! Men’s Rights! Men’s Rights! Men’s Rights!

    Oh…sorry, Sady, got caught up in that Most Excellent Movie…

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Permalink
  3. metalsunflower wrote:

    Did he get pulled up between the legs of the wicker “man” in the first film? I hope so, because it amused me greatly.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink
  4. Katherine wrote:

    Between the bear suit and the BEEEEES IN MY EYYYYYYES!!! I think I may have to obtain a copy of this atrocity.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Permalink
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    I am blown away by the awesome fucktardedness of this film…

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Permalink
  6. snobographer wrote:

    Yeah, I saw this one. It’s an MRA masterpiece. Richie at the Crimitism did a write-up on it and it was on basic cable so curiosity got the better of me. I couldn’t even get all that mad at the misogyny because it was just so ridiculously over-the-top.
    Another ridiculously misgynist director you may be interested in exploring, Sady, is James Toback. He’s a pervy-type misogynist though. Personally I can’t take much of that.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink
  7. Sniper wrote:

    I came here via Shakesville and have been feverishly reading through your archives ever since. I’ve only got through December 2008, but I am completely smitten, and believe that you should have an television show so that you can explain to a wider audience, at least once a week,how much Judd Apatow and Neil Labute suck.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm | Permalink
  8. angryyoungwoman wrote:

    So how do we create the society portrayed in this film?

    I’m thinking now of watching this with the bf and then murmuring “the drone must die” during sex. You know, just to see how he reacts.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 10:41 pm | Permalink
  9. BrianDS wrote:

    I can’t believe they wrote in him screaming about bees in his eyes. That’s hysterical.

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 10:51 pm | Permalink
  10. Legible Susan wrote:

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen any of that movie; the reviews were enough to know not to watch it.

    In the original, I’m not sure where the audience’s sympathies are supposed to be at various points (I guess the mundane audience is expected to be on Howie’s side). Here, I assume LaBute wants us to be on the side of Cage’s character, but I’d be on the women’s side from square 1.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 5:08 am | Permalink
  11. born-stubborn wrote:

    Oh, hell no. This joker has people thinking that Wiccans sacrifice people.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    I agree with Sniper. You should have a TV show. I would watch it religiously.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Permalink
  13. FlipYrWhig wrote:

    I had no idea this movie was like this… If there were ever to be a feminist MST3K, Sady, you should be the host.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Permalink
  14. Aileen Wuornos wrote:

    Highlights: Large fire
    Lowlights: Everything else

    I think I’m most outraged at the fact they bastardised this film. With Nic Cage? Oh god.

    I wouldn’t even waste my bandwidth on it thanks to your sneak preview.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 9:41 pm | Permalink
  15. rosefox wrote:

    My girlfriend sent me this, and in response I made her this animated gif:

    Thus do we show our love!

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 9:45 pm | Permalink
  16. Pat Kight wrote:

    I got this from Netflix a while back, vaguely remembering the original and curious about the remake; had I even noticed LaBute’s name on it I’d have steered clear, given what I know about his theatrical plays.

    As it was, I sat there slack-jawed at the utter awfulness of it, horrified at how low fine actresses like Ellen Burstyn and Frances Conroy had been forced to stoop, presumably by the paucity of film roles for older women.

    Your review, on the other hand, almost makes up for having watched the thing.

    Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 11:06 pm | Permalink
  17. mccn wrote:

    I saw this, I did, I saw it. And I laughed the whole way through. In fact, at one point, I fell off the couch screaming: YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS. Thank you for the dramatic reenactment – it’s even better the second time around.

    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 9:17 am | Permalink
  18. masagoroll wrote:

    These clips make me laugh to no end! I immediately forwarded them to my husband, and when he was annoying me, I began yelling “HADDA GEBURNED??” in Nicholas Cage fashion rather than saying anything topical– much more fun!

    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 9:22 am | Permalink
  19. metalsunflower wrote:

    angryyoungwoman, you owe me a new keyboard. And, depending on whether I imitate you, possibly a new boyfriend too!

    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Permalink
  20. sylviasproblem wrote:

    I’ve been horribly tempted to watch that movie for ages because it looked, well, basically the way you describe it. Sounds like I should make a party of it. A very drinky party.

    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Permalink
  21. Anonymous wrote:

    "If there were ever to be a feminist MST3K, Sady, you should be the host."

    Well, at least we can have the Wicker Man Rifftrax:

    Wicker Man shall now be moved to the top of the Netflix queue.

    (Also: Came here a few weeks ago via Shakesville & I love it here!)

    Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 6:18 am | Permalink
  22. JS wrote:

    That is astonishing. Astonishing. The original is a bit of a triumph of stupid but this–THIS. IS. PRICELESS.

    Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  23. anime-heart wrote:

    Ignoring The Wicker Man, which is only right, I must say you are spot on about that Globe & Mail piece. It is completely incoherent. It's like her editor deleted every other sentence! Or maybe just one sentence per graf. Because it almost makes sense, except for it doesn't.

    Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Permalink
  24. Tom wrote:

    All of Neil LaBute’s other films are a little like this. Not very good, sexist, and kind of stupid. But his other movies were a bit more subtle. You could watch them and think that maybe there was some worth to them somewhere, that maybe LaBute wasn’t a raging sexist with a paucity of talent, despite the many indicators. Now, however, we see that in fact, his other works were but footnotes to the moronic glory of The Wicker Man. We now know that, in fact, his career was building to this all along; that The Wicker Man is his overblown, misogynistic masterpiece. A glorious masterpiece of fail.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink