Friday, July 23, 2004

Going on holiday!
I'm going on a road trip with my parents. Ten years ago I would have dragged my feet at the idea, but now, spending time with the folks is one of my greatest pleasures in life. My parents are the greatest. Some day, I may write something about my mother's fantastic taste in cinema - it's strange, but completely independently of each other, we seem to have become interested in film at about the same time.

How many of you have mums that have said things like "Iranian cinema is really happening at the moment." None of you? yeah, I thought so. My mum is the coolest.

Mind you, my dad is pretty awesome too. Over lunch the other day, he came out with: "I really need to read a lot more about Byzantium, my knowledge of it is really deficient." My response was to say seriously; "yeah, I was just thinking that myself last Thursday". It didn't even occur to him that I wasn't serious - because, you know, we ALL need to know more about Byzantium. Aw. My dad rocks.

I totally need to retire. It does amazing things for your social life, free time, and enjoyment of life, if my parents are anything to go by.

Anyway, enough about my parents.  I'm off for a week, ending up in Melbourne, where I will hang out with Beth. I expect she will kick my arse (daily) at completing the cryptic crossword. MIFF films I will catch will include the following:
I also really want to see the animated film on Monday night that's been described as "a cross between David Lynch and Hello Kitty". And there's a zombie flick on Friday! Hopefully I'll catch up with some of you Melbourne bloggers whilst I'm around.


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Company, Robert Altman
I recently went to see the Bangarra dance company’s latest effort; Clan. It was amazing, but it confirmed to me that on some very basic level, I don’t get ballet. Never have. Stories are compelling to me, and I understand stories in words, spoken, with dialogue. I understand stories on paper. At a stretch – but it’s a step down as far as I’m concerned – I enjoy decoding ideas in paintings or photographs. But ballet, dance, or other pure “movement” forms? Aesthetically admirable, but it leaves me cold; or at least, confused at what I’m meant to draw from it. 
A few months ago, I saw Robert Altman’s The Company. It was after I started writing regularly on this site, but the film weirded me out sufficiently that I didn’t write about it. The Company is almost a reality-tv style take on the everyday life of the Joffrey ballet company. It’s fiction – it has a script, is directed by Robert Altman, and stars Neve Campbell (she of Party of Five and the Scream franchise). But it also stars the real life Joffrey dancers, features ballets which the Joffrey company have actually performed, and much of it feels pretty much just like a camera has been propped up in the corner of the studio.  
The Company is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I know this because I’ve been trying to relate it to other types of films I’ve seen, and failing. The first and most obvious is the dance film genre – Dirty Dancing, Centre Stage, Footloose, Save The Last Dance, etc, etc. These films have plots like “exotic dancer / welder falls in love and wants to go to ballet school”. Common themes are the finding of ‘natural’ talent, a love story after intimacy is created through dance, and a focus on dancers who are just developing their skills, or discovering the joy (and/or lots of sex) that dance brings to one’s life. The Company has absolutely zero of these elements. Dance isn’t used as a metaphor for intimacy, and it’s not used in a ‘follow your dreams’ kind of spin. Dance here, is dance. Physical effort, meticulous training, devoting your life to a craft. It’s pretty refreshing.
The second group of films that this film isn’t like, are films which star a "name" actor who has a gift, and the film is obviously meant to showcase that gift. Think Eminem’s 8 Mile, Britney Spears’ Crossroads or Mariah Carey’s Glitter. In these films, the artist is a relative unknown at the beginning, and we see them on the road to discovery. Whilst these films vary wildly in quality and intent, all three have showcase moments when we are meant to recognise the skill of the main protagonist. Again, not so with The Company. Neve Campbell (who plays young dancer Ry) is the producer, co-writer, and star. She is excellent, and clearly the focal character: we see more of her story, more of her home life, and she does have a few impressive solos. But the film stops well short of being her showcase; she's not the star, but the most accessible face in the crowd. This is, you begin to realise, the story of a company, which is using the personal only to illustrate the whole.
The third group of films is the other films by director Robert Altman  – Gosford Park, The Player, Pret a Porter. In these films, Altman tends to use big groups of characters (and usually big name actors) and lots of dialogue. Here, there’s a big cast, but with the fleeting exceptions of Ry and Mr A the company director (Malcolm McDowell) the "whole" of the company is unmistakably prioritised by the film over the individual members of the cast. Reactions and consequences are not unpacked on individual levels. If I had not known Altman had directed this film, I never would have guessed. (Strange, since not only do I consider myself an Altman fan, I’d always thought his style was pretty distinctive. Apparently not!)

 So now I’ve ruled out everything it’s not like, and I’m still not sure what to think. It didn’t really work as a film for me – and I was confused by the final showcase production (which was just ludicrous, but somehow deliberately ludicrous, in a way that I didn’t get what it was trying to achieve). But it helped me see the art of dancing in a way I never have before. Knowing on every jump or difficult turn how much the dancers are risking if they fall. Being completely committed to an art, in a near religious, monastic sense. The raw committment, the self-denial the punishing lifestyle.

Worth seeing.


Monday, July 19, 2004

Random stuff
I'm just really scatty at the moment.
#1 I will be attending about five days of the Melbourne Film Festival. It's a complete freaking coincidence, before you ask. But yes, I've already bought tickets. Your derision may commence . . . now.
#2 Did you miss the awesome interview on Enough Rope with Rachel Griffiths? The transcript is here. Highlights: Denton correctly guessing Griffith's depressing reading material; and the cameo appearance by Toni Collette in the audience, who got misty-eyed talking about her friend Rachel, then added inconsequentially whilst wiping away the tears "I've got a hangover".
(They've also got the transcript of the Germaine Greer interview that is just now making the news because she got all annoyed about the way Denton treated her during the interview, or something. I read the transcript, and I just don't see it. Anyone else got a view?)
#3 This lunch time, I was wending back to work after my break of hiding out in a cafe and drinking coffee, whilst attempting to read a political essay. The essay relied on a long analysis of John Updike's Rabbit quartet, which I haven't read. Very annoying. You know when someone is trying to tell you about foreign policy, and says - it's like that film . . . you know, that film? Oh, you haven't seen it? and then instead of changing the example, they explain the entire plot and backstory of Air Force One or which is a film you never wanted to see anyway, thank you very much in order to make a point that ultimately is at best an illustration rather than an actual argument, damn it, and hence it's entire status is at best ancilliary to what you're actually trying to say.
Net result: I am now determined, no matter how hard it is, and how many people throw obstacles in my path, never to read a John Updike novel.
#4 Anyway. My mood was restored when I wandered through the foyer of my work, and I could hear a note perfect whistler executing the creepy little tune made immortal by Elle Driver in Kill Bill. It was awesome (the acoustics in the foyer are, as it turns out, really excellent). I swear I looked around to see who it was, couldn't spot them, turned back. Then felt unaccountably nervous, and looked around again to make sure some statuesque blonde with an eye-patch wasn't about to beat the crap out of me with a sword.

More thoughts on My Neighbour Totoro
You know you’re turning into a film geek when: early on in the film, I leaned over to my sister and remarked: “these subtitles are different from the last time I saw this film.” My sister looked at me with this “oh god, you are too sad” expression.
But I was right! annoyingly, the subtitles were not just English, they were English for the hearing impaired: so along with translations, the subtitles informed us when there was a chickens clucking noise, or a door opening noise. (best of all: when the kids were laughing, the subtitles said: “Ha ha! ha ha ha! a-ha ha ha! [pause] ha! haaaa!” The kids laugh a lot in this movie, as it turns out.) There were also lines that the subtitles translated when no one was actually speaking in the film, usually when all the characters were off camera. Someone must have decided to pare down the dialogue for the latest release, but not bothered to send a memo to the guys doing the subtitles. Oops!

There were other more substantive differences. When Mei is playing on her own whilst her dad is working, there’s a great moment where he looks down at the side of his desk to find a little row of flowers (that have been pulled off right near the head, the way little kids always do). “You’re the flower shop, daddy” I remember her saying the first time around. In this film, the line was “I’m the flower lady”.  Weird. I liked the first line better.
Anyway. The film is still great. Something I really noticed the second time around - Mei is playing at home before she meets Totoro for the first time; staying back with her father whilst her big sister Satsuki is at school. (I have hazy memories of this time in my own life, when my sister was in kindergarten - apparently I got really upset at being left out and developed a nervous stutter. Awww.) Anyway, Mei plays dress-ups and puts on a big hat. "Does this make me look grown-up?" she asks her dad; who responds (without looking up!) that it does. Shortly after, she discovers the spirits in the grass, and chases them to see where they lead. The hat falls off before she enters the Alice-style rabbit hole. A cute but subtle image - you have to be a kid to find Totoro.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Miyazaki and Brains!

#1 Guess what I'm seeing tonight - again?

#2 If we're out in time, I'm going to make it a double, and see this as well.

#3 I got the most awesome late birthday present EVER: a DVD titled The Brain That Wouldn't Die. Here's the blurb on the back - I only intended to type out a few lines, but it just got better and better:
Dr Cortner has been unsuccessfully experimenting with transplant surgery, as evidenced by the hideous mutilation of his lab assistant. When Cortner's fiance is decapitated in a car accident, he saves her head and rushes it back to his lab. He keeps the head alive with a secret serum that he has developed for his freakish experiments. Through the electrodes and wires, Jan conveys her desire to "please, let me die" in chilling whispers, but the good doctor has better plans. He prowls strip joints for a body to match the head of his girlfriend. She, meanwhile, develops a psychic connection to a horrifying monster that lives in the closet . . .

All this in a mere 82 minutes! Could this possibly the best c-grade schlock film ever?? Stay tuned.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Shrek 2

Shrek 2 starts off with the honeymoon, where a decidedly amorous Shrek and Fiona are getting it on in a PG, off camera kind of way (perhaps an uncensored version will hit the bootleg circuit later this year). Of course, happy ever after does not a sequel make - and their idyll is interrupted by a royal invitation from Fiona's parents to come and visit them in their kingdom far, far away.

Fiona's parents are predictably unhappy that their son in law is an ogre. Cue tension, and predictable introspection from Shrek. In a sense, it's a retread of the themes of the first film - but instead of whether being yourself will get you the girl, it's about whether being yourself will let you keep the girl.

Shrek 2 is not as good as its predecessor. To say a few nice things about the original Shrek - whilst it wasn't even my favourite animated film of that year, it was still very funny, and was particularly good at parodying that Disney style of story-telling. In Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame, the good looking guy gets the girl and the hunchback gets to hang out with the gargoyles; in Beauty and the Beast, the beast only gets a kiss once he's become the handsome prince at the end. Shrek really nailed its attack on this kind of twee storytelling, and I still recall the 'exploding bird' sequence (which was a brilliant parody of a scene from Snow White) with immense fondness. (My second favourite scene? "I'm a talking, flying donkey!" Priceless.)

But this is what Shrek does best - it's a narrative that has resonance when in comparison to other texts - in its function as parody or comment of other films, offering a kind of Disney meta-narrative. As a film with actual characters with narrative depth or drive, it still works, but functions at a lower level of achievement. And in Shrek 2, this level is lower still.

Gone is the novelty of the first film - we just get more of the same. More juxtoposition of modern songs into the narrative, more pop culture jokes, more film references. In the usual strategy of sequels, there are a couple of new characters added to the cast - and Antonio Banderas as Puss 'n' Boots is a very entertaining addition. But somehow, it all adds up to a lesser film, especially when at times, it feels like the narrative is sinking under the weight of its own cleverness.

And it's not that it's impossible that a sequel be equal or outstrip its predecessor - I'm thinking of the fantastic Toy Story and Toy Story 2. The Toy Stories have a lot in common with the Shreks - big name voices, commercially success, pop culture jokes, and the addition of new characters to try and spice up the sequel.

But Toy Story 2 built on its predecessor in a number of ways. Peripheral characters were fleshed out, the friendship between Buzz and Woody had added complexity. Details which seemed insignificant (such as the Buzz Lightyear / Emperor Zurg saga) were developed in hilarious, unexpected directions. Further, the pop culture references in the Toy Story films were actually relevant - the barrel of monkeys, the Speak and Spell, the Star Wars parallels, and Mr Potato Head - it's not just referential in-jokes, it's an exercise in taking the adult audience back to its own childhood. Every pop-culture joke adds to the narrative, rather than being a diversion.

The Disney parodies in the original Shrek make a point about not buying into cliched fairytales which is relevant to the story. But what about the references to the Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, From Here to Eternity, Zorro, or god help us, Flashdance? None of these gags proved or established anything relevant to the actual plot. At times, the narrative bends out of its way to incorporate these gags, which starts to get just plain annoying. And worse still, many of the jokes just aren't even that funny - the references are just dumped into scenes, as if the mere fact that they mimic the Frodo / ring sequence from Lord of the Rings is meant to have you in stitches. And as for all the "Kingdom Far Far Away" jokes about Los Angeles, just how edgy is it to poke fun at Hollywood?

It's not a bad or unwatchable film - it's an entertaining enough way to spend two hours, and I laughed a few times (particularly at the From Here to Eternity beach make-out which ended with the mermaid being thrown to sharks. Ha! still funny.) And it does have a really adult, complicated-yet-simple potrayal on the give and take of relationships. But there's no question that Shrek 2 will date. In ten years, it seem like a film so much as a grab-bag time capsule of jokes circa 2000 - 2004. We'll watch it and think - "that's right. "Living La Vida Loca". I used to dance to that when I was really pissed. What was I thinking?" And then we'll wish we'd rented Finding Nemo instead.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
(or the alternate title: Harry Potter and the Director that Could)

The absolute best thing about this film is that whilst the first two Harry Potter films have really been J.K Rowling films, this one is an Alfonso Cuaron film.

Let me explain. I don’t hate the books, as such, I just find the cult that’s grown up around them to be really out of proportion (ie: they’re good, but not that good.) Further, I think that their popularity could well become part of their downfall. Example – J.K Rowling really needs a good editor, but now that she’s wildly popular and the second richest woman in Britain, it’s a bit hard for anyone to tell her to get her shit together. Up til now, the adaptations under Chris Columbus haven’t just been dull and unimaginative, they’ve been cautiously, slavishly accurate. Sure everyone looked the part, but it never came alive (although the adult cast, particularly Rickman’s Snape, did their absolute best).

But now, finally, we have a director who is prepared to do more of a “take” than an adaptation of Rowling’s novel, a director who has enough personality that he’s left his own stamp on the film. A script that’s not afraid to ruthlessly edit down the action. And finally, the book that (in my view) is the best out of the first four books of the series. The result? I finally walk out of a Harry Potter film entertained and satisfied, rather than bored out of my brain. I call it a win.

I don’t want to imply that Rowling’s work is devoid of merit. Her strength is essentially the characters and the world which she has created. Both are feats of imagination, no arguments here. The cast was also a done deal before Cuaron signed on, but as the adult regulars are a dream cast and the kids are improving, that’s no real problem.

But now, the handicaps. Name this film: it starts out at the Dursleys house, where Harry just doesn’t fit in because they’re mean and nasty. He makes his way to Hogwarts in a very exciting mode of transport. On arriving at Hogwarts, there’s a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. The kids from Slytherin are mean, especially that Draco Malfoy. But the Griffyndors soon put him in his place. Take that, Draco! The kids play a match or two of Quidditch. A plot is uncovered and Harry is in danger, but the person who seems villainous isn’t, and the actual villain has been hiding innocuously all along in an unexpected form. Voldemort and the death of Harry’s parents are quite significant to the conclusion. Problems are solved through Hermione’s brains, Harry’s bravery and initiative, and Ron not stuffing it up too much.

Okay, I hear you say, sure this happens in every single one of books one through four, but it’s a franchise, there’s nothing wrong with a little repetition. But leaving aside the love you may or may not bear for the books, this is a significant problem for a film director adapting book three. You don’t want an audience experiencing deja-vu, and you don’t want them leaving and reflecting “okay, but a lot like the last one.”

Cuaron’s film solves this problem through sheer audacity. The Hogwarts train journey in the first film, and the flying car of the second were filmed as straight “exciting journey” sequences (shots of scenery, juxtaposed with Harry looking excited). Compare this to the sequence on the bus in the third film, which (with help from the score) feels like an acid trip. The Quidditch match? you hardly see the game at all for the pouring rain and the lightning, and the film pretty much shows the minimum amount of action necessary for the story (none of those awful boring “practice” scenes and “who’s playing and where are they” establishing shots – we just go straight to Harry’s predicament in mid-air.) Time is passing? we know this not because of exposition, but because of the whomping willow (some of my favourite vignettes in the movie). It’s called cutting the crap, and can I say, thank god.

Even better, the world in this book has expanded – we’re outside, we see more of Hogwarts, more of a sense of the layout of the castle. Signposts to Hogsmeade, carriages up from the train – there’s a bigger roadmap of how it all fits together that feels like the gaze of the film is larger – even though this film is significantly shorter than its predecessors.

And the jokes and observations are subtle. The kids are growing into adolescents, and there are few shy sweet suggestions of how this is playing out between the three leads. And how hilarious was that first shot of Harry in bed under the sheets playing with his . . . wand (don’t tell me that joke wasn’t intended!) Another great moment: in the pub in London as Harry walks through to meet Fudge, there’s someone on the far right of the screen reading a copy of Hawking’s Brief History of Time. I thought it was funny but a bit off the wall, it was only later that I realised of course that time and its properties are important to the story. Winks to the audience like this worked because there weren’t too many of them to be clever – subtext never overwhelmed the text.

It’s been a while since I read book three, and I have to say that the action went a little too fast for me. How on earth did Hermione figure out Lupin’s secret? if it was solely Lupin’s reaction to the boggart that tipped her off, she really is the most talented witch of her generation. Also, there was not nearly enough Snape – Rickman is the most fun to watch onscreen, and Snape is my favourite character of the series (moral complexity, yo). But on the whole, an enjoyable film – whilst not genius, it’s light years ahead of the other two. We have about a year to be happy before the next director in line, Mike Newell, fucks it up all over again.**

** Okay, he’s a step above Chris “Bicentennial Man” Columbus, but I really, really hated Love Actually. And all this guy has shown he’s proficient at is large cast English sex romps. Colour me unconvinced.


Thursday, July 08, 2004

Oh, whatever.
General rant, Max Barry, the Olsen twins, and a few token references to films

This? makes me so mad.

Speaking of Australia becoming a US state, this scenario is explored in Max Barry's fantastic novel Jennifer Government, which you should all go read. The rights to film the book have been optioned by Section Eight, the Clooney / Soderbergh production company. If you have some free time, you can read the first chapter here. It'll make a great movie.

Max Barry is awesome. He was interviewed by Beth, my personal litmus test for cool. He has an awesome webpage, and has an opinion on just about everything. I particularly recommend his brilliant review of an Olsen Twins novel which had me in stitches. (Apparently, Ashley is the funny one. Who knew?)

Whilst we're on the subject of the Olsen twins, I recently saw the preview for New York Minute. It went something like this:

[Eugene Levy]
Me: I totally have to see this!
[horrible dialogue with MK]
[horrible dialogue with Ashley]
[small fluffy dog]
[Jack. Osbourne.]
[fake Charlies Angels style smackdown sequence by MK]
Me: actually. You know? I think I'll save my crappy cinema dollar for Garfield.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli
My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away

Miyazaki is a director of Japanese animated films, best known for Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke which were both released cinematically here in Oz. I’d only seen Spirited Away, but thanks to the Miyazaki showcase currently on at the Valhalla and Chauvel cinemas in Sydney, I caught My Neighbour Totoro last weekend. Even though these films were created ten years apart, they have common story elements which really highlight the themes Miyazki finds interesting:

• young girls are the major characters: Chihiro in Spirited Away, and the sisters Satsuki and Mei in My Neighbour Totoro.
• the family is moving house (to a green, leafy environment)
• the children encounter a fantastic world of spirits: in Spirited Away, Chihiro is actually ‘taken’ into the spirit world; whilst in Totoro, Satsuki and Mei encounter spirits who inhabit our world, which only children can see.

What to draw from this? There’s a focus in both films on how children’s lives can be stressful. Things are happening that they have no control over; like moving house, and Satsuki and Mei's sick mother in Totoro. But this powerlessness is then undermined in the film, as the narrative empowers the kids in a variety of ways. The children are usually the only ones who can see the spirits – the films suggest that they have a perceptiveness or power that’s lost in adulthood. Further, because the children in these films don’t necessarily jump to conclusions about the spirits being bad or scary, the children often turn out to be better judges of character than the adults.

I’m sure that a lot of how spirits are depicted in these films is linked to mythologies that I’m not informed about. But the narratives in the film still work on the level of someone outside that culture, and the messages are all positive. Don’t be afraid of things you don’t immediately understand. The ugliest looking things shouldn’t be judged by appearance. Don’t be scared of change, and look for new exciting things that change brings you. Also: it's cool to be a kid.

The thing that makes these films really special is the depiction of the children, which is always absolutely real. Throughout Totoro, I got really misty-eyed watching the two sisters interact, which reminded me of how my older sister used to play with me when we were kids. Give a Miyazaki kid an umbrella, a bunch of puddles and gumboots, and the way they play seems exactly right. And that’s an amazing thing – that of all the films I’ve seen recently, these nail childhood the most for me, and yet they’re animated and in Japanese.

Oh, and also? the animation is spectacular. In 1988 when Totoro was released, Disney released Oliver and Company, which was a dog film in more ways than one. More than a decade later at the 2003 Oscars, Spirited Away beat out both Dreamworks’ Ice Age and Disney’s Lilo and Stitch for the best animated film award (the first foreign film to have won this category). You have to feel sorry for Disney – not only has Pixar outstripped its master and then jumped ship, but Studio Ghibli under Miyazaki is both getting better, and winning more mainstream acclaim. Things look grim for Mickey.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Spiderman 2

I was planning on writing my Spiderman 2 review as lyrics to the spiderman theme song, but that just started looking really awful. (“Tobey Macguire! he’s not bad! / except that he looks perpetually sad!”) Is there a rhyme for “Dunst”? please let me know via the comments function.

Anyway, Spidey 2 rocks, in the sense that it totally delivers on the B-movie action front. It’s a solid 3 ½ stars from me – it would have edged up to four, but for the laughable “Spiderman as Jesus” scene on the train. I was also bugged by the number of scenes that were replicated from the first movie. Mary Jane in peril? tick. A heart-stirring “you want to attack him? you’ll have to go through us” scene from New Yorkers? tick. Depressing under-use of James Franco, who actually seems to be a really good actor? tick.

However, there’s still something just freaking beautiful about the scenes of Spidey, swinging his way through the streets of New York. The absolute freedom of it just strikes a chord, even if you’re scared of heights, have never been to New York, and think that spiders are creepy. That these films also work as morality plays about the use and misuse of power and responsibility is icing on the cake.

It’s funny. It’s exhilarating. And it’s deftly handled - there are moments of dialogue where you can almost here a click of “wheels set in motion”. For those who’ve seen the film, I’m thinking of the scene between Peter and Harry towards the end of the film – Harry makes a statement, and there’s a pause when you feel that a lot is hanging on Peter’s answer. Peter responds (“more important things to worry about”), and I remember just exhaling my held breath and leaning back in my seat. It’s not that Peter gave the wrong answer, but you know that this moment was a turning point, and boy did it resonate. Pulled off without any heavy music cues, obvious underlining or emphasis. This is why I think Sam Raimi is an excellent director.

Finally, minor props to Michael Chabon, one of the three people credited with the script. He's a comic book writer, a McSweeney's regular (he edited the fantastic issue #10 and wrote this awesome little essay about the short story genre), a Pullitzer prize winning author, and my latest literary crush.

Speaking of McSweeneys, I just found this on their website:

"An open letter to the radioactive spider that never bit me".

I could be punching bank robbers and rapists! I could have pectoral muscles! But no, I have to walk to where I want to go, and the only thing I can shoot out of my wrists is blood, and that’s not possible without probably dying afterward.

Dude. I hear you.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Miranda Devine: film critic

I pretty much invariably hate everything Miranda Devine has to say. And now, I can legitimately talk about her on this site, because she uses The Stepford Wives as a vehicle for her usual ramblings about why feminism sucks. It’s nothing she hasn’t said before, but it’s "new" because she’s using a new film as an example. This for Miranda, is cultural relevancy.

As usual with Miranda, my first problem is the headline. “Yes sister, choose what you want.” First thought: what the fuck does that even mean? Second thought: even her headlines are annoyingly condescending. Third thought: ah, Miranda on choice, again. I predict that when she says “choice”, what she means is “every choice you could make that isn’t my choice, is the wrong choice.” (and . . . bingo!)

This is essentially exactly the same article I’ve read at least three times this year from Miranda. It’s all “new feminism” and “new domesticity” – the apparent deluge of women who are fed up with their meaningless lives, who desperately want to put on aprons, go back to the kitchen, and succumb to their maternal and feminine instincts. There's no analysis of wider social/economic reasons why people might have trouble having children, or taking time off work to look after said children. Or any suggestion of a role that - say - a father/husband/partner could play in all this.

Miranda's "analysis" of The Stepford Wives is realy just an excuse to revisit the same old ground. So to save Miranda some time, I’ve come up with a few suggestions of other recent films she can "review", to ensure that she can continue to write hard-hitting articles about the exact same topic. I've even come up with some suggested opening lines, because that's the kind of generous girl I am.

#1 The Day After Tomorrow: This film is about global warming. Global warming is a big recent thing people have only started to become aware of. And that’s exactly like “new feminism”, the movement that’s going to warm up the nuclear family . . . with love.

#2 Spider Man 2: “With great power, comes great responsibility” is the message at the heart of the spiderman franchise. Clearly, there’s a message here for the womens’ movement. Well, the “responsibility” part, anyway. We’ll just leave “power” to one side, shall we?

#3 Dawn of the Dead: The zombie “virus” spreads rapidly around the population, turning everyone into mindless, aggressive, bloodthirsty automatons. Although this may be unintentional by the filmmakers, this virus could clearly be a metaphor for the feminist movement, and the zombies themselves are the very image of the rabid, bra-burning harpies I clearly have in mind, every time I think of every time I hear the word “feminist”.

#4 Shrek 2: In accepting Shrek’s proposal, Princess Fiona is clearly making a socially unacceptable choice (at least to the “feminist” set), and one must applaud the braveness of the filmmakers in insisting on upholding the values of family and commitment. We should also rejoice in the fact that however misguided the womens’ movement was, it does mean that Fiona has choices, and she should be thankful for that. Whilst having babies and staying home.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?