A Little Post About Wes Craven, the Monster Who Made Me Write

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la-me-ln-wes-craven-dies-at-76-20150830I’ve never written an obituary or anything of that sort before, not at any meaningful length or for anyone of significance, unless you count the essay I wrote about my father a couple years after his death. The best obituaries are those that aren’t narcissistic, but are able to encapsulate the stature of that person in the context of both the individual writer’s life and in a much broader sense. So, I’ll see what I can do, walk that tightrope. Read the rest of this entry »

True Detective: Mr. Holmes

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Sherlock Holmes is not, for all intents and purposes, a sensitive person. His creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, wrote him deftly as more of a fastidious automaton – quick with wit and lesson, humorous, but overtly dispassionate – and the subsequent iterations of the character have toyed with his unfeeling attitude. For drama in Basil Rathbone, Christopher Lee, and Jeremy Brett; for humor in Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Nicholas Rowe; and, in what Bill Condon’s Mr. Holmes asserts itself as a cinematic equivalence of His Last Bow, for pathos in Ian McKellen. Read the rest of this entry »

Slut Be a Lady Tonight: Trainwreck

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trainwreck-judd-apatow-amy-schumerI think what makes Trainwreck interesting is that it’s perhaps socio-politically confused, which is fine. But it feels confused about its gender politics in a way that seems like it would come out of the 2000s, or the ‘90s, even. It lacks a surefootedness about what it may or may not want to say about women, or what it may or may not want to say about this woman. I watched Sidney Pollack’s Tootsie last night, and I rewatched the entire series run of 30 Rock, and what both have in common is that they’re less inclined to make these kinds of concrete decisions about what femininity has to be in their respective cultural climates and instead acknowledge the mixed messages that are presented to the general populous. Both certainly play with the ambivalence of what their end games could be – domesticity or work – and, furthermore, with the idea of “having it all” (“Murphy Brown lied to us!”).   Read the rest of this entry »

What’s “Lava” Got to Do with It: Weighing In on the Great Film Twitter Debate

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pixar-lava-postIt’s hard to think of the last time one thing, one cultural event that wasn’t something really terrible or sad, simultaneously brought Film Twitter together and tore it apart. (Just kidding, Brandon Nowalk named at least five things that had a similar effect.) I’ve gotten pretty good at either being completely apathetic/indifferent to some, if not most of these debates, or at least keeping my opinion to myself. But this one, concerning the latest Pixar short film, seemed too amusing to not joke about having an opinion in the first place. It managed to engender some very, very vehement feelings, mostly vitriolic. There are certainly a bunch of people who, and I saw this with love and respect for these people, were incredibly smarmy and self-righteous in their defense of this short, but having not yet seen it, I couldn’t properly weigh in on the great Film Twitter debate that was on Lava. Read the rest of this entry »

When You Are Engulfed in Flames: What’s Left of “Paris is Burning”’s Legacy

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Paris is BurningOnce every season, RuPaul gathers her remaining gurls, brings them to the front of the “Werk Room”, gives them fake frames to hold over their faces like a monocle, and announces elegantly, “In the grand tradition of Paris is Burning, the library is now open.” The queens, on RuPaul’s Drag Race, proceed to read – make snarky insults at one another, kind of like a roast – the rest of the queens, and whomever makes the cleverest and wittiest jabs wins the mini-challenge. This is what is left of Paris is Burning. The embers that still glow are, shall we say, a bit appropriative. “Werk”, “Realness”, “Shade”, and the rest of them have all entered into a cultural lexicon that is no longer exclusive to the community from whom it was basically taken (some of the vernacular stems from AAEV), and though Jennie Livingston’s documentary still exists as a cultural touchstone, it’s only in the most “basic” of ways. Read the rest of this entry »

Looking: On the Objectification of Male Bodies

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chris-prattIt is becoming slightly more popular, of late, to talk about the idea of the objectification of men. In Out Magazine, Kit Harrington, of Games of Thrones fame, spoke on this, saying, “I found it unfair, really, some of the stuff I read [in response to being labeled a sex symbol],” he says. “I was making a point, which was that I think young men do get objectified, do get sexualized unnecessarily. As a person who is definitely in that category, as a young leading man in this world, I feel I have a unique voice to talk about that. I was making a point to sort of say, ‘It just needs to be highlighted.’ With every photo shoot I ever go to, I’m told to take off my shirt, and I don’t.” Conversely, Chris Pratt, whose transformation from the oafish dude on Parks and Recreation to the charismatic leading man of Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, argued that, in the name of equality, “it’s important to even things out. Not objectify women less, but objectify men just as often as we objectify women.” But, here’s the thing; I don’t think men can be objectified. By heterosexual audiences at least. Read the rest of this entry »

Toil and Trouble: The Repression of Women in the American Dream and Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby

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(Author’s Note: This was my final paper for my Film and Dream class.)

Looking over Manhattan almost with a glare, the lavish apartment complex that Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and her husband Guy (John Cassavetes) tour is the stuff that dreams are made of. He’s a somewhat struggling actor, she’s… what is she? Rosemary is Guy’s wife. And as he begins to ascend into fame, and she is left with little more to do than take care of their as yet unborn child and fend off the nosey neighbors, an anxiety oozes into her mind that seems not to concern her husband. They may have finally made it, they may have finally achieved the American Dream, but that dream, as represented in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, is regressive, serves only to benefit men, to repress women, and uphold a restrictive familial ideal. It’s really just another nightmare.  Read the rest of this entry »