CBS just announced they’re developing a drama series based on the iconic Nancy Drew novels. It will be a contemporary take seeing Nancy in her 30s working as an NYPD detective.
Please excuse me while I go throw up.
In elementary school I read the shelves of our library’s Nancy Drew section dry. Then I went to city library. I scrounged every garage sale and bookstore clean. I loved her, I lived through her. And then I grew up and became a mystery writer. It is not an overstatement to say that the stories of Nancy (and George and Bess and Ned and Carson and Hannah) changed my life and shaped me into the person I am today. This is why I can state, with utmost certainty, that Nancy Drew would never work for the NYPD. At least not the Nancy that I know and love.
Nancy is an amateur sleuth. Cases find her, not the other way around. She occasionally works with the local police, but has no credentials. She never accepts payment. She doesn’t carry a gun or need a warrant. Nancy hops towns and sometimes countries to solve the crime du jour, always relying solely on her wits, charm, and friends. (What, is Bess an NYPD secretary? George her tough and jaded former partner, fresh out of rehab and back on the beat? Ned… oh, where will sweet, bland Ned fit in this new adaptation?) Her unofficial capacity always granted her the ability to sleuth how she saw fit — and when she got in trouble, she had no badge to back her up. She relied on people underestimating her. Now if someone underestimates her as an NYPD detective, it will be only because she is a woman.
I have no problem with a reimagining of the series. Of course Nancy should be in her 30s! We spent so much time with her as teen and in her early twenties, we’re hungry for the next chapter. But solving crimes on a police force? I don’t think so.
You know where Nancy should be? In a small town, middle of nowhere, hiding from the mystery that brought her to her knees. She should be uncertain of her future, a little bit broken, and traumatized by the mistake that killed her father or Hannah or Ned. (Don’t tell me she can be in the NYPD this way, that’s just Beckett from Castle.) Maybe she’s dusting a centuries old rocking chair in the small antique shop she manages when the bell above the front door jingles and she looks up to see Bess: pregnant in a frilly pink dress, but ashen and crying. Will Nancy be able to forgive herself and help her friend? Can she solve all the secrets of her adopted home, River Cove? And where, for the love of haunted showboats and secret attics, is George?
I want more than anything to go on new adventures with Nancy. I want to travel to new locales, chase down missing heirlooms, be thwarted by charming magicians, sneak through pirate ship portholes and find hidden hallways. I don’t want Nancy answering to her tough boss, bickering with her will-they-or-won’t-they co-worker, or peeking under sheets laid over dead bodies on the streets of NYC. We’ve seen that a million times.
Nancy is different. Nancy is exciting. Nancy is not a CBS procedural. Producing this version of Nancy Drew (without the heart or soul of the story and character the world has loved for 85 years) proves CBS is only interested in brand recognition and a built-in fan base. Oh, network of the Columbia Broadcasting System, you already have Sherlock and a dozen CSIs, why oh why won’t you give us the Nancy we love, the Nancy we deserve.
The red string of fate is an East Asian belief, where, according to myth, the gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to meet one another. These two people, connected by thread, are destined lovers, regardless of place, time, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break.
In Your Eyes is pure, unadulterated romance. In a genre that seems often to be ignored as its own entity, In Your Eyes soars as it follows Rebecca and Dylan’s love story, that of two broken people destined to be with one another.
FINALLY! I ranted earlier this year about a severe lack of good romantic films. Just romance. Not comedy, not indie, not framed around a high-stakes action plot (though those movies are great, too), but just romance. In Your Eyes delivers.
Written by Joss Whedon, directed by Brin Hill, and starring Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl-David, In Your Eyes is the second feature from Bellwether Pictures, a production company founded by Joss Whedon and his wife Kai Cole. Apparently Joss* wrote the script back in the early 90s, which makes perfect sense for his oeuvre, this film fitting perfectly in with the hopeless love tone set in the early years of Buffy.
I don’t think romance gets enough credit. These days they either get segregated to comedy or drama or Nicholas Sparks. It wasn’t even until about halfway way through In Your Eyes that I even realized I was watching a hard romance. I thought, as advertised, that I was in for an indie offering.
I believe that “indie” means two different things. The first being the budget and the second referring to a type of genre. To me the genre that an “indie” film is, is coming-of-age. Meaning, what is more important than the technical genre (comedy, romance, sci-fi, etc.), is that our lead character learns a lesson and grows as a human being. (Even just the last few indie films I’ve seen, St. Vincent, Obvious Child, The Skeleton Twins, all stand by this.) In Your Eyes is not an “indie” romance film. It is a romance. The characters main purpose is not to grow, but to find each other.
I guess I’m expounding on this** because I don’t remember the last time I saw a pure romance. Something that swept me up and took me away and made me fall in love. (I’ve seen plenty of great indies with romance — Zoe Kazan starring in many of them — but, they’re blends of coming-of-age or comedy, not the straight to the veins, hard dose of hopeless that In Your Eyes is***.)
They’re a rare breed and they’re often not given the time or the credit they deserve because romance is perceived as “girly” and therefore less worthy. (Don’t even get me started on defending The Notebook in film school. It saddens me greatly that our film theory professor would not — or, at least, hadn’t yet and wasn’t interested in — watching the most successful film of the son of John God Damn Cassavetes. (But there were other battles to be fought, like the lack of inclusion of Amelie, Moulin Rouge, and many other female or romance driven films, on the lists of the ‘greatest films’ that were handed out to us.) Romance is a genre that is worthy and In Your Eyes is a film that deserves to be included in lists of the best. In fact, I would place In Your Eyes between The Notebook and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as one of the best romances I have ever seen.
I’m not going to tell you anything about the plot, in fact I don’t even recommend watching the trailer. But I will tell you this: In a romance you must place obstacles in front of your soulmates. Real obstacles, not contrived ones. They must feel unsurmountable but — as the story progresses — not repetitive. And Joss Whedon and Brin Hill do this with aplomb; they’re patient, holding back until we’re no longer sitting on the edge of our seat, but fallen to the floor, eyes welling, knuckles white, breath held. The whole cast does a splendid job. While Zoe Kazan is luminous, as always, Michael Stahl-David will infiltrate your dreams. He is charming and handsome and kind. And it being a Joss Whedon script, there are no hints of misogyny from our romantic hero. Once you embrace the romance genre — that is if you can… I will no longer argue with men (or women) over things they don’t or won’t choose to understand, instead sharing things with the people who do — this film is perfect. I can’t wait to watch it again.
Take these words with a grain of salt, if you will. It’s all coming from a preternaturally effusive romantic with Shakespearetattooed on her wrist and Klimt prints on her walls, but I loved In Your Eyes from all the way from its touching start to its unapologetic end. This is the romance film I’ve been waiting for.
You can find the film on Netflix, iTunes, or rent it here, on their website.
Real love isn’t brains, children. It’s blood. It’s blood screaming inside you to work its will.
– Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
*We’re on a first name basis because write for the job you want?
***You could argue that In Your Eyes is actually a fantasy-romance, but if we’re being honest, aren’t all romances a fantasy? And though the elements of fantasy in this film veer into science fiction, sure, this film navigates them so well that it always feels like reality. (And what do we know, maybe for some it is?)
Dear White People is the first feature film from writer/director Justin Simien. Funded partially by Indiegogo, the film was released in the States on Oct. 17th, but only made it to Vancouver, Canada last Friday. If you haven’t been following my myriad anticipatory tweets, please click here to watch the trailer.
Set at the fictional Winchester University, Dear White People follows four college students as they navigate life as a ‘black face in a white place.’ Two men. Two women. Three straight. One gay. The boxes are ticked, but the characters never feel as if they were created to take a side. Each one is a nuanced, dynamic individual with his or her own opinions, motivations, and struggles.
I’ll get into race in a minute, but first let’s get one thing clear: Dear White People is a fantastic movie.
It would undermine Simien’s acerbic, modern, and hilarious script to talk about the “issues” first. Yes, Dear White People is a satire about race… on the surface. But that’s not what the film is really about. It’s actually a coming of age film about four people — kids, essentially — in their early twenties, trying to figure out who they are. Simien does not judge their actions or frame them so the audience has to choose a side; he makes sure that their insecurities (and supervening actions) come from an authentic place. His dialogue is brilliant, fast paced, and, dare I say, hip? For lack of a better term, what I mean is, Simien captures how Gen Y speaks, and what about, but makes it film-worthy i.e. funnier, more intelligent, and just as self-serving. It’s also beautifully shot (with an opening that would make Wes Anderson proud), impeccably scored, and wonderfully acted (What up, Veronica Mars alumnus!). Also, big kudos to the wardrobe and hair & makeup folks; I covet everything Sam wore.
But, ultimately, what makes this film so important — and what makes it a social satire — is that while navigating their collegiate lives and trying to figure out what kind of people they’re going to be, the colour of our leads’ skin defines their journey. But it shouldn’t. And that’s the point.
White privilege — like feminism and other hot button words — seems to mean different things to different people. (In the new times that are the wild west of the world wide web, a division of language is a terrifying thing), but I’ll push that thought aside for now and explain the meaning of what, I’ve come to understand, is ‘white privilege.’
Beyond being treated differently (based on the colour of your skin), white privilegeis the inability to comprehend what someone who is not you, who is notwhite, is going through, has gone through, and will continue to go through in their every day lives.
This privilege can also extend to wealth, sexual orientation, nationality, and gender. I, personally, only recently came to understand the need to stand up for feminism because of my own Canadian privilege — growing up in a very lovely bubble where I wasn’t treated differently for being a girl. Yes, I’m still unpacking all the various, often invisible ways I’ve been affected by misogyny but growing up in this country, in this time, with this body has given me an easy path.
What I’m trying to say is, while Lionel, Sam, Troy, and Coco are simply trying to figure out their own identities, society (Winchester College, their peers, their parents, the media) expect them to dictate themselves through their race. While in Canada* many of us look around and shake our heads, understanding that race doesn’t define a person, these stereotypes, these assumptions, these beliefs (about race, gender, sexuality) are so prevalent the world over that this conversation is not even close to being over.
*Canada is not perfect. We have A LOT to work on, but it’s not black vs. white up here (which is what the States appears to be, or at least us vs. them — ‘us’ being white people and ‘them’ being everyone else. (To which I say, your country was built on immigration, get with the fucking program. And, also, all humans are equal. Duh.))
Dear White People is important for two big reasons:
It’s a fantastic coming of age independent feature written and directed by a promising new talent. Justin Simien wrote this script, shot a trailer for $2,000, brought it to Indiegogo (raising $40,ooo), garnered enough attention to attach an independent producer, directed it for waaay under a million dollars, got it into Sundance and across the world. Now that’s impressive. The film navigates its four different leads’ story with grace, charm, and wit. Not to mention it’s really fucking entertaining.
It asks us to question what we know, what we believe to be true. It asks us not to define people by the way they look. It questions ‘post-racial America’ and (hopefully) demands of us to continue examining this issue instead of passively shrugging that ‘it’s over.’
There are so many more things to talk about here. There is so much turmoil in the States (and the rest of the world). There is so far to go in the entertainment industry. Chris Rock’s recent essay reminds us how ‘white’ the industry is. An industry that acts as society’s mirror, showing us who people are, what to believe and how to act. This is a conversation we need to continue to have.
Just go see the movie because it’s really good. It’s an independent feat and an impressive debut. Then, if you take something more from it, great. Remember, while society tries — and sometimes succeeds — in dictating the lives of the characters in the film Dear White People, in realityit also dictates our beliefs (often without our knowledge). Racism is learned and taught. And film & television often replicate these learned bad behaviours… especially the most subtle, insidious ones. This place that we call home isn’t quite as post-racial/sexist/homophobic as we like to believe it is. And if a smart, funny, sweet film can make us a little more aware of that, then it’s a good place to start.
NBC announced at the beginning of this month that it would not be ordering any more episodes of A to Z. The trades quickly reported that it, along with its timeslot partner and fellow NBC non-orderee, Bad Judge, had been cancelled.Reports that were immediately followed by pangs of regret slicing through the hearts of millions of viewers, “Great,” we thought, “another failed relationship. I can’t believe I talked myself into believing this one would last.” Then, like a friendly text in the middle of the day, (Not late at night! He/she must still love me!) executive producer Rashida Jones took to Twitter to say this,
So, wait. Could this beautiful thing we have going could actually last?!? As an EW article wonderfully put it: “It’s like in The Princess Bride: There’s dead, and there’s mostly dead. A to Z is mostly dead.” Maybe we do have a future after all! True love is real! (This is coming from a girl with a “Westley Never Dies” t-shirt, so please keep you salt shaker full of grains nearby.) BUT, this tweet does send hope that NBC could change their minds and give A to Z a second season — that their cold, calculating executive hearts might just give us, the viewers of A to Z, a shot.
This season of fall television brought us an uncommon amount of RomComSitcoms. With Marry Me, Selfie, Manhattan Love Story, and A to Z on the docket, us romantic comedy aficionados were buzzing with anticipation. But then they began to premiere…
Selfiewas… okay. John Cho is brilliant, always, but the plot of the pilot played out like a marginal feature film squished into 21 and a half minutes. I loved Suburgatory and wish only the best for Emily Kapnek (and do think the show is rather cute/fun), but keeping Selfie on the air is not the battle I’m fighting today.
Then came Manhattan Love Story. Oh, MLS, what’s there to say? Your creator used to write for Just Shoot Me! and Spin City, both great shows. But — what’s that!? — said creator just came off 21 episodes of Two and a Half Men? Yeah, it *ahem* shows. Offensive. Unimaginative. And, just plain old boring. (Also, WHO CARES IF A DUDE SAW YOU “PICKING YOUR TEETH”??? Seriously. This show. I can’t ev — I digress…)
Marry Meis… Well, I can tell you what’s it’s not. It’s not Happy Endings. And while I realize that’s not fair… not fair at all, I’m still in the anger/denial stages of my mourning*, so I can’t be held accountable for my passive disappointment toward it. (Will it stick around to see a full season? I’m 50/50 on this one.)
Last, but obviously the very opposite of least or else what would the point of this article be?, is A to Z, sweet, lovely, A to Z: the reduced-sugar apple pie of television shows — you know, like the kind your friend who spent all her tax return money on a Vitamix would make: delicious, but not entirely bad for you. Can you taste the coconut oil?
*Time does not heal all wounds.
The romantic comedy sitcom is a hard thing to nail. While the “will they or won’t they” couple trope is practically written in blood onto every comedy showrunner’s contract, a show revolving around two paramours is dangerous. If the show is entirely about their relationship, every argument can suddenly seem contrived. We know they can’t break up — it’s a rom com sitcom after all — so why are they trying so hard to keep them apart/fighting?!
Now A to Z doesn’t completely sidestep this pitfall and it isn’t perfect — not by any means — but it’s a damn good start. (And, come on, how many sitcoms are perfect right away? New Girl took half a season; Parks & Rec didn’t kick off until it’s second year.)
The point being, while A to Z does need a little more time to find its true footing, it’s still fun, playful, and holds so much potential. IT DESERVES TO STICK AROUND, NBC. It doesn’t play into outdated gender stereotypes (Manhattan Love Story, Marry Me) or fabricate absurd fights to keep their leads apart (ditto), but it also isn’t blatantly subverting tropes just for the sake of it. The creator, Ben Queen, and the writers and producers have created full, dynamic characters. The show is fresh, thoughtful, and smart. It gives us human beings: flawed, weird, predictable and surprising.
The world of television is rapidly changing. Selling to Netflix is the new syndication. Trending on Twitter is the new sign of success. So why are networks still so concentrated on numbers? Yes, NBC is arguably one of the most linear networks. Their biggest numbers come from The Voice and sporting events (some of the last things people are still tuning in live to — except for Shonda shows, but that’s a different blog altogether). So it’s not surprising NBC has decided not to put trust in a show with potential. But, still, you would think that the network that brought you some of the greatest sitcoms of all time would strive to build and nurture promising comedies… at least a little bit? What NBC needs to realize is in the new wild west television landscape, quality is winning. The model of pouring millions of dollars into a series only to turn around and cancel it isn’t working anymore. Netflix and cable have it right: find a project you love, nurture it, then trust… Of course, that’s never going to work 100% of the time, but besides the last season of Parks & Rec, NBC is sitting with About a Boy, Undateable, Welcome to Sweden, and Marry Me. Not a lineup that inspires confidence; (Amy Poehler and her relations aside.) Time to start pouring some love and care into a series that fans have jumped onto and critics have enjoyed, hmm?
I do think A to Z needs to work on/do a few things differently. It needs to decide more clearly on its tone and subsequently magnify it. It needs to use its magnificent supporting cast far more. It needs to pump up the jokes. And it needs to have even more fun — bigger set pieces, more absurd situations — while keeping the characters down to earth and in touch with the oddball charm it has already instilled in them. Needing finessing is not a bad thing. With the solid foundation already built, this show can only get better and better.
I hope the outcrying on Twitter and Facebook has already made the NBC execs take notice. I won’t even be mad if they keep this season order at 13 — as long as season two is given a go ahead. With 26 letters in the alphabet, a second season of A to Z could end perfectly on that 8 month, 5 week, 3 day, 1 hour cliffhanger of “will they or won’t they.” (As the perfectly cast Katey Segal explains via voiceover in the pilot, that’s how long our couple will date for. But does that clock tick down to a break up or an engagement/marriage?) And Hollywood needs to start mimicking the British model of series length, anyways. Quality > quantity, people — I can’t say it enough.
If you’re not already watching and in America, catch up on Hulu or NBC.com. If you’re in Canada, well, I’m not saying illegally download it, but… (in perhaps some weird conspiracy???**) A to Z is not available on Shaw on Demand, on Global TV’s website, and only the first two episodes are available on iTunes (when six have aired). So find a way to watch it now — then find a way to support it monetarily later.
**Bad Judge — the other show NBC hasn’t ordered more episodes from — is available on all of these platforms. What gives? Is this some wide, Canada-based conspiracy to keep A to Z from finding more fans?
If you haven’t seen A to Z and love comedies, rom or otherwise, this is the one to watch. If you already love A to Z, make your voice heard. We are the viewers. We deserve good television. Good stories deserve to keep being told — even if it takes a little time and faith. And if NBC gives us an initial 13 episodes of a television series and we love it — and there’s enough of us — WE DESERVE MORE (as long as the writers and cast/crew want to keep giving it to us, which it appears they definitely do).
NBC, take a chance. Let it breathe. Don’t throw all your money into another development season; give a charming, wonderful show a second chance. The times are changing; quality is starting to win. Let A to Z live on; commit to this relationship and, who knows, it might be “the one” (to bring must see TV back to NBC).
Jonah Hill has come under fire this week for yelling homophobic remarks at the paparazzo who was stalking him. While it appears relatively unprovoked, I do believe that he was being followed and harassed for a long time. As such, I support Jonah in his right to tell this guy to “Fuck off.” (Although, if I was in that situation, I’d be asking myself What Would George Clooney Do? And the answer, obviously, would be smile, laugh, wave, and walk away.)
I believe Jonah when he says he’s not a homophobe. I believe that he has gay friends and family members whom he loves very much. But I believe that with his insult he wanted to, from a position of superiority, convey the most vitriol he could muster. And so he told this paparazzo, “Suck my dick, you faggot.”
In Jonah’s mind (a writer, actor, and improvisor’s brain), the most demoralizing thing he could think of was demanding another man to suck his dick. So while he may not be outwardly homophobic, the societal belief* that gay men are of less worth is clearly deeply ingrained in him.
* I wish I didn’t have to call it a “societal belief” but look around, we’re not past this yet.
I was dating this guy a couple months ago. (Not Jonah Hill… We’ll get back to him.) We had been seeing each other for a couple of weeks; things were going well. He ‘we’-ed us. There was potential. But he had causally dropped “retarded” and “faggot” into two different conversations. I didn’t say anything in the moment (for various reasons) but I flagged it to bring up later. So one night, we’re out drinking with a couple of my friends and he drops the r-word again. Finally! My chance to set him straight. I quickly pipped up and told him that not only do those words make me uncomfortable, but I find using them in conversation morally irresponsible.
Naturally I assumed he’d say something along the lines of, “Oh. You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll never say them again.”
Nope. Instead he told me that he used to avoid these words, but recently decided that ashe’s not a bigot, he is allowed to use these terms in jest as long as those people aren’t around. FUCK THE WHAT?! Then he started arguing some sort of backwards rhetoric about my believing the term “retarded” to be demeaning to a group of people was in itself demeaning. Let’s not forget to mention that he was also throwing the n-word around too.
Later, as I was endlessly conversing the matter with several girlfriends, I received mixed feedback. A few people told me “that’s just the way guys are” and that I should give him another chance. What?
Listen, I get it. You don’t mean any harm. It’s always been a part of your vocabulary. You’re just so used to saying it — you don’t mean it; it just comes out. That guy I dated, Jonah Hill, your boyfriend, your girlfriends, that loud dude at the beach, none of them are bad people. Some of them might be mildly bigoted, but most of them simply aren’t conscious enough to understand what they’re saying and what it means.
What those people — you? — need to realize, and I’m saying this to those that are kind, thoughtful people (I don’t think even my bolditalicscould sway real bigots.), I’m saying you need to understand that your words have repercussions. Although you mean no harm, you are propagating the degradation and humiliation of other human beings. You’re selfishly choosing to keep something in your vocabulary because it’s familiar, you like the way it rolls off your tongue, and it conveys your point in a manner that you have yet to discover a better word for.
This is what Urban Dictionary has to say about the word “retard:”
A person born with a mental condition and therefore has to work a million times harder to be able to do simple things (such as learn and communicate) that we take for granted. On top of this, a retard will usually suffer a lot of ridicule from society because people fear what they do not understand. The people who choose to make fun of the mental retarded tend to be complete morons and cannot comprehend that these people have feelings and emotions just like anyone else.
I find it amusing that saying somebody has cancer would not be taken as a joke and yet, using another disease such as mental retardation as an insult is common among society, and many do not realize that it is very offensive and that there is something seriously wrong about it.
If Urban Dictionary, Urban-fucking-Dictionary, thinks it’s wrong (along with, not to mention, EVERY OTHER dictionary: “often used as a general term of abuse” “acontemptuousterm” “used as a disparaging term”), then you probably shouldn’t be saying it.
Faggot isn’t okay. Neither are Chink, Nigger, or Injun. Do those words make you uncomfortable? Retard and Retarded should make you uncomfortable too.
You are being insensitive, insecure, and frankly a massive ASSHOLE if you ever choose to use any derogatory words. Even in jest. Especially in jest. Even if you’re Jonah Hill. Pull your heads out of your asses, kids, and CONSIDER what you are saying. Or don’t. Keep dropping retarded and faggot and whatever other antiquated derogatory term pleases you into your conversations; type ’em out in your Facebook posts; yell them at your buddy for chickening out; relay them to your friends to describe how drunk you were…
And one day, when you have children, whom I sincerely hope are healthy and happy (regardless of how, from their births, they happen to experience the world), I hope that they are kinder and more thoughtful than you. I hope they choose to see the world as a place full of people just doing their best and trying to get by. I hope they embrace everyone they meet with respect and empathy. I hope they teach you how to be a better person, because if you are still so careless with how you regard other human beings that you choose to use these hateful, hurtful, selfish words, then you’re not doing a very good job yet.
Let me start by saying that when anyone looks at themselves in the mirror and is happy with what they see, that is a beautiful thing. And when a woman chooses not to wear makeup because she’s happy with her face the way it is, that’s great too.
But what is this whole “no makeup nomination” business really about? Is it about feeling comfortable and happy in our own skin? Or is it yet another way to base our self-worth on our appearances?
I don’t have perfect skin. I am 26 years old and I still break out all the time. I deal with rosacea and dry patches and puffy skin and, on especially bad days, an atrocious double chin. Now let me make myself very clear: I am not fishing for your sympathy, empathy, your pity compliments, honest compliments, or your feedback. I am extremely happy with my face, faults and all. At my 26 years I have learned to appreciate it for exactly what it is and when it doesn’t make me happy I let it go.
But letting it go isn’t something I’ve always been able to do. I’ve struggled for years over body image issues. This isn’t some huge confession. I’m no different from any other young woman. My friends and I speak about these things nearly every day. I see these issues in every woman I know. I see it when they try on clothes; I see it when they do their hair and makeup; I see it when they choose their meals.
They (we) are all beautiful, healthy women, yet we spend so time obsessing over our looks. Forgive me if I don’t think a makeup free selfie is going to fix that.
Because what about the woman who doesn’t feel comfortable taking a no makeup selfie? What about the woman who is nominated and, like EVERY celebrity “makeup free” photo, touches up a little bit here or there, covers a spot or two, puts on some shimmering moisturizer and then snaps a pic? What about the surely tens of thousands of teenagers who are experiencing this trend all over their social media who don’t feel comfortable with themselves and are inundated with beautiful young women, somehow blessed with clear skin, who don’t know how to respond to their nomination because they aren’t confident enough or don’t feel beautiful enough to show their naked face to the world?
And for the women who do, do we really need to pat ourselves on the back and give ourselves a hearty congratulations for having the bravery, the audacity to post a picture online sans makeup?
Apparently this trend has raised 2 million pounds for UK Cancer Research. Well, that’s fucking fantastic. But I only learned that today. Most of the pictures I’ve seen haven’t mentioned anything about that. And while I would never want to condemn something that is raising money for a good cause, what on earth is the correlation between not wearing makeup and raising money for cancer research? Oh, and did you donate?
I hesitate to even post this as some of the selfies in my newsfeed were posted by some of the loveliest people I know. They radiate inner beauty and that’s why I’m so blessed to call them my friends. (But they’re also really pretty. Like, really naturally pretty.)
So why must we continue to base our self-worth on our looks? Where are the nominations to spread happiness? Do good? Plant flowers? Buy a stranger coffee? Tell someone you love them?
I’m aware this is a silly battle to fight. It’s relatively well-intentioned and at the end of the day, it’s raising money for good. But I’m also trying to be aware of what this means for us as women, as a society. Let’s work on being happy and comfortable with ourselves for exactly who we are — NOT what we look like.
In lieu of posting a makeup free photo I’m going to donate $10 to cancer research. Then I’m going to step in front of the mirror, cover up that ugly zit right under my nose, and head out into the world. I nominate you to do whatever the fuck you feel like doing, but doing it with kindness and the intention to improve others’ lives through your actions.
Another day came and went and I only took two photos: this one for Instagram, extolling the beauty that is cheap, American-bought alcohol and this one:
Oooh, so impressed. NOT.
It’s kind of timely actually as last night we were driving around and we stopped at a red light next to a poster of A Winter’s Tale. Go ahead: watch the trailer; I dare you. So I groaned when we pulled up to the poster and Ryan asked me the (very valid) question of, “Why do these movies keep getting made (if they’re so shitty)?”
The reason I took the above picture is because I watched The Vow, in theatres, no less, and I f*cking HATED it. It is a bad, bad film movie. So the thought, to me, of marketing a film by associating it with The Vow is laughable. WHY WOULD THEY THINK THAT WOULD MAKE ME WANT TO SEE IT?! Oh, right, because The Vow grossed 125 MILLION dollars.
There is it.
Both A Winter’s Tale and Endless Love are being released on Valentine’s Day: in a month that is already statistically proven to release awful movies and on a day where the entire marketing world pulls at impressionable women’s heartstrings. To be honest, I have no sympathy for women who get sucked into that crap (Eat some chocolate and get over it.) but it irritates me to no end that this is all we’re being offered.
No, I haven’t seen A Winter’s Tale or Endless Love and, yes, they’re two slightly different genres (fantasy-romance and thriller-romance, respectively). But they’re both made for and marketed to women on the assumption that we’ll watch anything with romance in it; and they’re right.
I LOVE romantic movies. I want to watch romantic movies. I want to watch historical ones, hilarious ones, ensemble ones. But the films that are coming out these days are almost uniformly sycophantic, offensive, and straight-up BAD.
Okay, confession time: I kind of liked the trailer to A Winter’s Tale. Ohmigawd, I know! I’m sorry. I’ve been ranting for minutes and it’s all a lie! I totally want to watch a bad romantic movie! But you know why I won’t watch it? The romantic leads are 13 years apart. And I just can’t do that anymore.
Because it’s not just this one film. It seems like 90% of films released, genre be damned, the female lead is SIGNIFICANTLY younger than the male lead. I mean, Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale? 16 years. Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara? 11 years. Leo Dicaprio and Margot Robbie? 16 years.
And, listen, I know I’m leaving out Amy Adams and Sandra Bullock, but those talented ladies are the exceptions, not the rule. It’s not all awful. There are tons of brilliant filmmakers making movies with women of all ages. It’s getting better, slowly. But until there’s equality in the gender of the leads of films, until women stop getting described by their looks and men by their personalities in scripts, and until the age discrepancy between leads is equal (unless necessary to the plot), I will keep ranting.
I will not see Endless Love because, frankly, it looks like a shitty movie. And I will not see A Winter’s Tale because of the age discrepancy. But I bet they’ll both recoup their budgets and AWT will make some significant profit. Oh, how I wish they wouldn’t.
So what are we going to do about it? Don’t pay to see a romantic movie just because it’s romantic; wait; read the reviews; make an educated choice. And if you’re a writer, write something better. Be aware of how you’re describing your characters. Ask yourself why you’re making the females in your script younger than their males counterparts. AND, SCREENWRITERS, WRITE US SOME GOD DAMN AWESOME ROMANTIC MOVIES!!! (I’m looking at you, little Sam.)
Be conscious about what you’re choosing to watch. And this stuff bothers you like it does me, say something about it. We’re living in a day and age where social media matters and right now, we’re the target market.
Because let’s face it, ladies (and gents), we deserve better!