Fighting with the Sky

Posts Tagged ‘movies

So my really exciting New Year’s Eve involved watching Easy A with a friend.  The movie was definitely entertaining and witty.  And surprisingly, I thought it did have some feminist undertones mixed in.  Warning: some spoilers.

The basic storyline of Easy A follows Olive, an invisible high school student, through her imaginary sexual exploits.  It all started when she lied to her friend about having sex with a guy that she had made up.  This rumor spread throughout the school and everyone was calling her a slut.  So in this, her closeted gay friend Brandon came up with the idea that they could fake have sex so that the other guys at school would stop picking on him.  That plan worked, but then all of the outcast guys wanted Olive’s help to make them cool by fake having sex with them.  All of the guys became cool but Olive became an outcast and labeled as a whore.  She started dressing, as she described, like a slut, because everyone already thought she was one.  But ultimately she realizes that what she has been doing is wrong and works to correct it.  In the end, we find out that the guy that she has a crush on really does like her and they end up happily ever after.  Don’t worry, some other stuff happens in there too 🙂

While there were some definite sexist and stereotypical things that happened in the movie (it is a high school, pop movie after all), I did appreciate that there were some feminist ideas that were spread throughout the movie.  The most prominent one was questioning why Olive became labeled as a “slut” and “whore” after one sexual encounter (and the subsequent ones) and all of the guys were seen as cool.  For example, Brandon and Olive fake have sex at a party so that everyone can witness it.  When they come out of the room, everyone is congratulating Brandon but they end up making fun of Olive.  I appreciated that the movie really highlighted this double standard.

The movie overall had a lot of great one-liners.  One of my favorites was (when Olive was in a bookstore): “Where is the Bible?” “Oh, that’s in bestsellers, next to Twilight.”  I also really liked Olive’s parents.  They were quirky and funny while being really supportive of their daughter.

I would recommend this movie if you like this genre of movie.  It definitely is one of those high school, light comedies.  But it does have some funny/witty parts as well as some undertones of feminism.  I wouldn’t call the movie overall feminist, but there were some of the undertones throughout.


this ain’t livin’: Before You Criticize the Food Choices of Others

Food policing is an area in which all sorts of assumptions are made about class and ability status. It goes hand in hand with the idea that people have an obligation to be healthy, that all bodies are the same so there’s only one way to be healthy, and that there is virtue in eating “right” as dictated by current authorities in the food world. Like, say, Michael Pollan, who is editorialized fawningly in numerous publications all over the planet for his “simple” and “helpful” food rules.

Here are a bunch of great posts about International Women’s Day:

Womanist Musings: In the Shadow of Hattie McDaniel Stands Monique

Ms. McDaniel won her award for best supporting actress in the movie “Gone With the Wind” in 1939. At the Atlanta premiere, not only was she banned from attending, her name was stricken from the souvenir program along with all of the other Black actors. Segregation meant that no matter her achievements, she was not worthy to be counted alongside the White actors. She was the first African American to be invited to the Oscars as a guest rather than a servant. What an accomplishment for the daughter of a slave. The Blame and Shame Game

I don’t doubt that the motives here were well-intentioned, but I think that the posters that the students developed are a prime example of how we talk about sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence in our culture.

Criss writes: International ALL Women’s Day: “Feminista”

I was excited to read Erica Kennedy’s FEMINISTA mainly because of the title. I happily bought the book, not just because I could put it on my shiny new eReader but because buying it I was supporting a fellow Latina writer.

The story and characters have turned out to be not be my particular cup of tea, but I wanted to read it anyway. Until the word “tranny” appeared — and didn’t go away.

Also make sure to read Criss’ follow up post: ” ‘Feministas’ and the T-Word: The Aftermath”

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.

I lieu of link love today and in honor of the Academy Awards tonight, I am just going to direct you to the blog Bitch Flicks that has reviews up of all the movies that are nominated for Best Picture.

As I have only seen one of the movies nominated for Best Picture, I cannot really say which I think is going to win based on personal preference, but I do have a feeling it is going to be Avatar.  So read through these reviews and make your predictions in preparation for tonight.

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of Alice in Wonderland.  Not only did I think that it was going to be an interesting retelling of the classic story, but it was also a Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp.  And it did not disappoint.

Warning: major spoilers.  If you have not yet seen the movie and plan to, please come back later unless you don’t mind spoilers.

I am only going to be looking at a few aspects of this movie, but there are plenty that could be examined.  One of many, for example, that I am not going to address in this post is the representation of mental illness, especially through the Mad Hatter.

In this Alice in Wonderland, Alice is now almost 20 years old.  She believes that her previous trip to Wonderland is a recurring dream and throughout the entire movie, she has to keep reminding herself that it is only a dream.  Alice is feeling pressured to accept the marriage proposal of the son of the man that bought her father’s company.  So when he proposes, she runs away and follows the rabbit down his hole and finds herself in Wonderland again.

Wonderland is different from her previous visit.  Since then, the Red Queen has taken over Underland (as it is properly named, Alice just called in Wonderland as a child).  The White Queen needs a champion in her name to stand up against the Red Queen’s champion.  It has long been foretold that Alice is said champion that will defeat the Jabberwocky, the Red Queen’s champion.  Alice is very hesitant to accept this destiny.  She eventually does accept it and defeats the Jabberwocky in an epic battle that restores the crown to the White Queen.

Before I start getting into my analysis, I want to say that I am probably a little biased because I did really want to like the movie, which probably made me like the movie and miss some of the problematic elements.

I was very impressed with the movie overall and with the message that the movie sent, especially to girls and young women.  Alice did not want the life that was being laid out for her; she didn’t like corsets and stockings, she didn’t want to marry the man that she had essentially been promised to, and she didn’t feel like she fit in because of her active imagination that she was not afraid to share with others.  But then she finds herself in Wonderland, where her life is also being laid out for her, but in a different way.  She is expected to be this hero, this savior that she doesn’t think she is capable of being.

Alice will not accept either of these lives that are being laid out for her; she wants to make her own path in life and isn’t afraid to do so.  While at first she does not accept that she is capable of being the White Queen’s champion, she later accepts this responsibility and finds the courage that she needs to defeat the Jabberwocky.

The movie also speaks heavily to believing in the impossible.  In the “real world,” Alice is often criticizing for believing in the impossible, yet she is hesitant to believe in the “impossible” world of Wonderland, trying to convince herself that it is only a dream.  In the end, it is believing in the impossible that gives Alice the courage that she needs to defeat the Jabberwocky.  Her father often told people that he thought of six impossible things before breakfast time.  So Alice listed off six impossible things that were proven possible in Wonderland, ending in her defeating the Jabberwocky.

In the end, Alice finds herself back in the “real world” where she refuses the marriage proposal of Hamish, tells people what she really thinks about them, and gains an apprenticeship at her father’s previous company after impressing the new owner (Hamish’s father) with her unconventional and imaginative ideas for expanding the company.

I am really glad that this movie was rated PG because I think it gave girls and young women a good role model in Alice.  Alice shows girls that you don’t have to accept what is being laid out in front of you if it is not what you want and that you have the power to choose what you do with your own life.  The movie also shows us that good things come from believing in the impossible and believing in yourself.

On top of the great themes and messages that Alice in Wonderland, there was some great acting and directing.  I’m a really big fan of Tim Burton’s work, ever since The Nightmare Before Christmas.  And this movie didn’t disappoint.  Johnny Depp was great as the Mad Hatter and Helena Bonham Carter did not disappoint as the Red Queen in all her quirky, complicated goodness.  And Anne Hathaway perfectly portrayed the good-hearted, idealist White Queen.  And relative newcomer Mia Wasikowska was brilliant as the naive day-dreamer, Alice.  And anything that includes the voice on Alan Rickman (the caterpillar) is good in my book.

And I’d just like to say that I really want the wardrobe for Alice.  I would totally wear all those costumes if I could pull them off.

I keep seeing trailers for the new movie She’s Out of My League (which can be viewed here).  Movies like this really irritate me.  Women can date someone who is less attractive than them and it’s because he’s a “nice guy.”  But guys never date (in movies/tv) a woman who is less attractive than them.  And if they do, they try to make them over so that they are more attractive (I am thinking She’s All That type movies).  Even in movies where a man is deemed to be “slumming it” and dating someone “below his standing” (as in movies where a rich man dates a poor woman), the woman is still very attractive.

This trend is evident in looking at popular actors and actresses as well.  Male actors who are less attractive can get by with being funny or a good dramatic actor.  But there are few examples (yes, there are some, but not many) of female actors who is not physically attractive but is still popular because she is an amazing actress.

This doesn’t really leave a lot of hope for real life.  In real life, it’s not questioned as much when an attractive woman dates someone less attractive, because that guy must be a “nice guy” and “treat her right.”  But a man who dates someone who is less attractive than him is almost always questioned by friends, coworkers, even family.  How can an attractive man date someone who looks like that?  She must be good in bed…

*Note: in this post I am mainly talking about heterosexual relationships.  I know that that is not necessarily fair of me.  But the trend that I see in movies and tv usually tends to deal with heterosexual relationships.  And this probably has to do with the limited number of homosexual relationships that are accurately portrayed in pop culture.  And I am talking about heterosexual relationships because those are the kinds of relationships that I am most familiar with personally, both in my experience and experiences of friends.

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.