Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Here's to the ladies who lunch...instead of going to the movies

In Sunday's New York Times Manhola Dargis went to task on Hollywood for continuing to make films that appeal to and star men and women are becoming an afterthought in film altogether. She cited this summer's slate of male oriented action blockbusters (is she only noticing this now?) and the failure of last fall's female starring films. While the numbers certainly indicate that films with strong female leads aren't pulling in audiences Dargis' "reasoning" for this doesn't amount to much more than a lot of posturing and whining. She also uses the article to go off on a tear about the Apatow male leads being soft, weak and feminine (effectively acting as both the man and the woman of the film-now who's being sexist). If anything the failure of female driven films is indicative of women actually being SMARTER film-goers then men. The numbers show that the coveted 12-28 male demographic studios crave are rarely discriminating. They go see movies regardless of quality. The fact remains that in the long run the great movies get seen (even if they are only discovered years later at home). Maybe women just have a better bullshit detector than men. Dargis cites her disappointment in the failure of Invasion and the Brave One as a result of the studio not pushing the films enough. Really? How about the fact that the movies were AWFUL? The current success of Baby Mama certainly illustrates that a film with female leads can be successful if it's marginally clever, a fact Dargis buries way at the end of her piece (she also cites The Devil Wears Prada-as so many articles like this have). Dargis keeps using qualifiers to exempt films with women that actually did well ignoring films like Enchanted and Juno because they dealt with princesses and pregnancy respectively. She balks at No Country for Old Men as a boy's club affair forgetting that Kelly MacDonald gave one of the best performances in the film. It's a no-win affair with Dargis. Frankly, like most things Hollywood is cyclical and just as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Katherine and Audrey Hepburn all once reigned supreme at the box office, it will happen again. You need to open your eyes Manholia it could be happening right now.

1 comment:

elaine said...

well put. it's funny, i started laughing when i read the post title because i'm meeting a friend for lunch and then we're seeing "iron man".