Fighting with the Sky

Posts Tagged ‘Kathryn Bigelow

Since I haven’t been doing a lot of writing this week, I have been doing a lot of reading.  Here are some of my favorites!  Also, check out some of the stuff that I have been posting on tumblr.  Or you could even ask me a question!

Womanist Musings: Jesse James and the Fallen Woman

I like Sandra, from the interviews I have seen with her – she seems like a woman that I would really enjoy sharing a beer with; however, the Madonna/Whore binary that this story is creating in her defence is harmful to ALL women.

Professor What If…?: What if she SHOULD be able to run/walk/hike along? Thoughts on the rape and murder of Chelsea King

Yet I must admit that this quote reverberates because it was one of the first things I thought when I heard a young girl was missing after going to run alone in a local park. Living in a rape culture which blames the victim, I recognize that even I, a feminist scholar and teacher, have had a “she should have” commentary beaten into my brain on a daily basis.

fbomb: A Call to Arms

If women are going to continue to break down barriers and keep the fight of feminism alive, we have got to lay off the girl on girl crime. This is something that affects women of all ages. Several weeks ago in Salon Magazine I read an article by Martha P. Nochimson, an established former NYU professor and author, take down Katheryn Bigelow simply because she didn’t like her movie.

Equality 101: Social Contexts of Education: Teaching Social Justice to Privileged Kids

Because children come from privileged backgrounds are the ones who need to know the most about power, privilege, and access; in other words, it is a necessity for these children to understand the foundations of social justice education. That’s Ms., Not Miss, Thank You

Actually, Ms. is a way of privacy. Ms. does not convey age like Miss might indicate youth and Ma’am might indicate experience. Ms. does not convey marital status like Miss implies single and Missus implies married. Ms. implies female, woman, lady. It allows a woman’s name to stand on her own, without being defined by social roles.


Having watched the Oscars this past Sunday and coming to the realization that I had only seen one of the movies nominated for Best Picture (District 9), I decided that I should watch some more of the “best movies” of last year.  While there are some that I will probably not see, at least not for a long time (Avatar and The Blind Side come to mind), a lot of them are out on dvd now, so it is pretty easy for me to get my hands on them to watch.  So in the next couple of weeks and/or months, I will be putting up my reviews of some of the Oscar-nominated films from last year.  I know, I’m a little late to the game, but better late than never I guess!

So, what better movie to start with than the one that actually won Best Picture: The Hurt Locker.

After watching The Hurt Locker, it became very clear why it won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.  I have to admit that while I was watching the Oscars, I was rooting for Kathryn Bigelow because she was a woman and The Hurt Locker because it wasn’t Avatar.  I had heard amazing things about the movie, but having not seen it myself, I was more rooting for it because of Kathryn Bigelow.

But now that I have seen it, I wish I could watch the Oscars again so that I could actually root for it for the right reason: because it deserved to win.  I know, I haven’t seen the other Best Picture nominees, but it was pretty clear from this movie that it deserved Best Picture.

For those who don’t know, The Hurt Locker follows around a three-person Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team in the Iraq War.  Jeremy Renner plays Sergeant Will James, the leader of the EOD team who was brought in after the previous team leader was killed during a mission.  James’ behavior is often considered to be reckless, especially by Sergeant Sanborn, another team member, who really likes to do things by the book, but he gets results.  Specialist Owen Eldridge is the third and youngest member of the team who struggles with the belief that he is responsible for the death of the previous team leader.

While I have never been in a war, so I can’t speak to it, what struck me about this movie was the reality of it.  It felt like these were real situations that EOD teams could be in and real struggles that soldiers face on a regular basis.  I don’t mind violence in movies because the type of movies that I watch that have violence in them tend to be sci-fi, which isn’t really realistic violence.  War movies have never really been my thing because the violence always seemed gratuitous.  Yes, I know war movies are going to have violence, but most of them seem to have unnecessary levels of violence.  One thing that I liked about The Hurt Locker is that the violence didn’t seem gratuitous.  Yes, there was a good amount of it, but it all seem realistic and not in the movie for the sake of having violence.  And for a war movie, there wasn’t actually a lot of violence in it (in comparison).  It was all about the tension of disarming bombs rather than shoot outs (which there were).  It was all about survival.

War has always been about men (I know generalization, but I am also more speaking to war movies in this case).  And yes, this movie was about men.  Men blowing things up and stopping them from blowing up, men with their big guns, male bonding, action!  In fact, we only ever saw one woman in the movie (who happened to be Evangaline Lily — Kate from Lost) — the ex-wife of James and the mother of his son.  But what was also so great about this movie about men was that it was directed by a woman.  Kathryn Bigelow showed that women can make art about war, that women are capable of understanding the struggles of war and showing those struggles in a beautiful way.

In the end, The Hurt Locker isn’t just about war, it’s about human struggle.  People struggling with the realities of their lives and realities of war.  People bonding with each other yet keeping each other at arm’s length.  People struggling to survive yet risk their lives from their drug of choice: war.  People realizing what they really want out of their lives.

“The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”

This quote from Chris Hedges, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, was displayed at the beginning of the movie and that’s really what the movie showed: war as a drug.  And The Hurt Locker shows us how humans deal with their addiction to that drug.  James is shown as the most “addicted” because of his reckless, adrenaline-seeking behavior and his decision to return to Iraq at the of the movie.  Sanborn is very straight-laced when it comes to the rules, which is how he manages his addiction.  And Eldridge’s addiction (and inexperience) ultimately get the best of him because he is unable to deal with his previous team leader’s death and the horrors that they see on a daily basis.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone.  Even if you don’t like war movies or movies with violence.  Like I said, I’m not the biggest fan of war movies.  But this movie is so much more than a war movie.  It’s definitely hard to watch at times, but it’s definitely worth it!

Also check out the review of The Hurt Locker that is up at Bitch Flicks.

Overall, I was generally pleased with the results of last night’s 82nd Academy Awards.

The big news of the night: the first woman ever (and fourth ever nominated) won Best Director.  Congratulations to Kathryn Bigelow of The Hurt Locker for that amazing achievement!

The Hurt Locker (and Kathryn Bigelow) also walked away with Best Picture!  I have yet to see the movie, but it is definitely on my to-do list this week!

Despite the fact that Kathryn Bigelow made history last night for her win in Best Director, women were still not recognized across the board.  Out of the 40 total winners, there were only 7 women who won an Oscar (including the awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress).  And of the 24 categories, there were 8 (not including Best Actor or Supporting Actor) that did not include a single female nominee (animated feature film, cinematography, original score, original song, animated short, sound mixing, visual effects, and original screenplay).

Women need to be better represented in film making!

I was also not that impressed with Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as the hosts.  They weren’t really that funny.  They made a lot of “jokes” about racism and women as objects.  Not cool.  And they also introduced Kathryn Bigelow with her relationship to James Cameron, because she doesn’t have any accomplishments other than being the ex-wife of James Cameron.

And on a more personal preference point, I was a little disappointed that Sandra Bullock won Best Actress (but she did give a really good acceptance speech in which she recognized all of her fellow nominees).  I was really hoping for Meryl Streep or Gabby Sidibe.  I’m not incredibly impressed by Sandra Bullock as an actress (but granted, I have not seen The Blind Side) and from the previews, clips, and reviews that I’ve seen of The Blind Side, it just looks racist and like it’s trying waaaay too hard to be inspirational.

Overall, I can’t be too upset about the Oscars this year because Kathryn Bigelow won and Avatar didn’t!

Womanist Musings: Emily Blunt Makes Disability Fashionable

Crutches are not a fashion statement; they are a mobility aid. There is nothing chic about crutches because they help to mark a persons body as faulty to the outside world, due to our understanding of disability. Crutches mean limited access, and exposure to disableism, therefore the idea that they can enter a fashion shoot in the same way as a pretty dress or a nice pair of shoes is highly offensive.

Autostraddle: Why Taylor Swift Offends Little Monsters, Feminists, and Weirdos

However, before I brought it up again (especially this late, as the backlash-to-the-backlash part is over and we’re now in the Valley of WhoCares, which is clearly where I “thrive”), I knew I had to do my Taylor Swift due diligence. After reading that MTV article I did it: I listened to her music, read her blog, and watched her videos.

And I finally figured it out.

Taylor Swift is a feminist’s nightmare.

Women & Hollywood: Pondering the Bigelow Nomination in Larger Context

The reason why I want to talk about it is because I think that no matter how much Ms. Bigelow doesn’t want to talk about the gender implications in her nomination, they are everywhere. I heard them when I was listened to the Oscar Talk podcast when Kris Tapley called her “hot” and Anne Thompson said that she’s not 100% convinced she will win because the Academy is “overwhelmingly male and she just doesn’t trust them.”

Clarissa’s Blog: Why I Dislike Third-Wave Feminism

Unfortunately, the excellent intentions of third-wave feminists are completely undermined by the statement (from the same blogger I quoted before) that “third-wave feminism respects the choices of everyone.” After a very short discussion, it always comes out that these feminists do not really support any kind of choice on the part of everybody. People who abuse others, racists, chauvinists, ableists, and xenophobes make all kinds of vile choices, and obviously third-wave feminists do not support those choices.