I might take a nibble here or there from the ladies' plates of He's Just Not That Into You, but I'll still take Meg Ryan's entire meal in When Harry Met Sally any day of the week. She's ballsy, opinionated, and proves the skillful ease of fake orgasms. Unlike her neurotic but independent character, He's Just Not That Into You presents women who need men to tell them what women think and how to overcome their blind devotion to archaically patriarchal relationship dynamics. Can I get a "WTF?"
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed myself quite a bit watching this, and even told friends I would return to it again with them (although I thankfully never did). But for a book that shouts from the rooftop, "you are NOT the exception!," the film had no problem cradling women (and men) everywhere with the false hope that we are.
As an adaptation of a self-help book on relationships, the film proves a good narrativization of the original material. But, like my fellow feminist jouster, I couldn't help but want all the women of the film to stand up for themselves a bit more, take charge. "Pounce or bounce!" I kept silently screaming. And thank goodness a couple of them do, otherwise this film would have fallen horribly flat for me.
The cast is rather stellar, particularly for the genre (save for the never acceptable Scarlett Johannson). Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin have been favorites of mine since they co-starred in the 1990s television show, Ed, and Kevin Connolly from HBO's Entourage was well suited for the "nice guy." And the script was well thought out structurally - pretty well balanced and edited so as not to let any story line get too much screentime. Unfortunately, this also meant none developed too much depth, save for Ms. Goodwin's abyss of desperation.
As a date movie, I second my fellow jouster, Charley, in supporting it as a good 'cuddle up and watch other people's relationship issues and imagine you are protected from the drama of Hollywood.'
But I'll have to put a more solid foot in Linde's corner and question why in this age we couldn't have a He's Just Not That Into You where women say "F*%! this! I'm more important than a man's affection!"... whether he's into you or not.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Posted by Molly Hubbs at 1:13 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
"The women of "He's Just Not That Into You" probably have never seen "Thelma and Louise," but they've seen "When Harry Met Sally" a few times," writes William C. McLean. While I agree to a certain degree, I keep asking myself, did feminism even happen?
I definitely enjoy a good rom-com and would never identify Thelma and Louise as belonging to that genre, though I do love it as an empowering, albeit tragic, women's buddy film. When Harry Met Sally, though not as kickass, still offers more empowering moments for Meg Ryan's oh-so-cute Sally, than many of the women in get in He's Just Not That Into You. Granted, a rom-com should not be judged by how empowered the female characters are, but if the women in rom-coms are constantly preoccupied with figuring out what men want and seeking their affirmation, what does that say about the women in the audience, like myself, who watch this stuff. Ok, so it's not ONLY women in the audience, but still, I would like to think me and other women are not only obsessed with figuring out men and seeking their affirmation. Because for one thing, that's assuming a lot of straightness about my sexuality.
Movies aren't life. They may reflect it sometimes but I hate it when I leave the theater and a pack of girlfriends go on and on about how this rom-com is exactly like their life. Yeah, some awkward moments that the adorable Ginnifer Goodwin had ring painfully true with the trials and tribulations of my love life, but I really need to believe that I and other women are not that insecure.
For one thing, aren't the post-feminist women in the audience and on screen presumably fans of Sex and the City and therefore realize the importance of female sexual pleasure? The film is PG-13, therefore it lacks the full-frontal fun, but is made readily available for every girl and woman's adolescent (minus the raging hormones) fantasies. Sex is removed from relationship dynamics, and when shown or hinted at are acts of desperation and usually show the male, actually just Bradley Cooper as douchebag extraordinaire, in the dominant role. If this film is supposed to be considered THE relationship/chick-flick film, which I don't think it is, shouldn't depicting a woman's sexual experience be part of what gives this rom-com preeminent status? The film is definitely engrossing and will make you laugh and maybe even tear up a bit, but I'm left wondering do I really want what she's having?
For about a month I waited for the release of "He's Just Not That Into You." A primary reason for my media diet is to escape into the fictional worlds provided. Why escape? These worlds are easily (a return phone call) or sometimes not-so-easily solvable (flying into an alien ship planting a virus). But the point is that they are solvable - generally leading to a better (the scholar in me might say naive?) world.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Just in time for Oscar Night, February 22, 2009, check out the Media Joust Podcast, as we go through the Academy's nominees for Best Supporting and Lead Actors and Actresses in addition to Best Director and Best Picture. We have some beef, plus a few atta-boy/girl/films. Also, make sure to check out the films that were nominated for Best Foreign Language Feature as well as Best Documentary.
Though we are incredibly affirmative of Slumdog Millionaire as a thoroughly enjoyable film, I have some hangups after learning more about how the young actors were not paid enough.
Please leave your comments, beef, rants, raves, and predictions, to the podcast below, and forgive us for a few technical difficulties as we modify the old Screen Junkies podcasts to the Media Joust name.
Have a Happy Oscar Night!