Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A few fun and games...

Well, I got "tagged" by Ms. Alexa over at Pop Elegantiarum and I must comply with her wishes! :)

Five Things in my Purse:

(I don't have a digi camera handy, so I'll steal from google)

Fossil Wallet

Burt's Bees chapstick

Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti, founder of Feministing.com

Rhodia notepad with a Katharine Hepburn postcard glued to the cover.

And, a Yoyo!

Five Favorite Things in MY Room:

1. My DVDs
2. Libby!

3. The Mickey Mouse blanket my father bought me when I was 7.
4. The Tenant (1978) original AU daybill poster Jake bought me for Christmas in '04.
5. My collaged coffee table.

Five things I've always wanted to do:

1. Visit Europe for an extended period of time with Jake.
2. Take my mom on a vacation to NYC.
3. Publish a book.
4. Write the sequel novel to Roman by Polanski with Roman's blessing.
5. Dance!!!

Five things I'm currently into:

1. Learning more about Jennifer Jones.
2. Reading classic literature.
3. Taking my dog for walks.
4. The TCM "flim flam" game.
5. The midnight show of Sex and the City.

Five impressions of Alexa at Pop Elegantiarum:

1. She's very talented.
2. She has a wide range of interests that help with the creation of her art.
3. She's a feminist.
4. She's considerate.
5. She's super cool!

My six quirks:

1. I hate it when the volume of the television is not at an even number.
2. I hate it when people use "your" when they mean "you're."
3. I wear black almost every day...I just like it.
4. I feel at home in cemetaries.
5. I can't stand writing with pencils.
6. I don't drink or do any drugs and I never have nor will.

I'll tag Lisa and Alex!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

So what are we going to do? Sit around bars, sipping Cosmos and sleeping with strangers when we're eighty? Thoughts on Sex and the City: The Movie

Ok, I’ll admit it - I’ve seen every episode of Sex and the City at least twice. The girls’ (Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda) kept me company during the latter part of my high school years and my first year of college. Even then, I detested certain elements of the show and it’s almost constant need to pair up its ladies’ with mostly terrible men (among other things), which is exemplified in the show’s finale, but I couldn’t and still can’t help being drawn to the caring friendship between all four women. They’re goddamn soul mates for Christ sakes! And they’ve made it a point to flat out tell us so on more than one occasion.

So, even though I sold off my DVD sets long ago and haven’t watched the show in close to three years, I’m looking forward to the movie immensely…and so are other women, apparently. As it has sold more group sales tickets than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! The trailer has me hoping that the movie will un-do all of the romantic knots it created within the lives of the characters at the seasons end. I can’t wait to attend the first ever female oriented midnight show this upcoming Thursday evening. Could this be the first chick flick blockbuster in a decade? Could Sex and the City: the movie prove to studios, like, ahem, Warner Bros., that women want to see strong, important women on the big screen? It very well might.

Let’s hope certain obstacles don’t get in the way. Reporters keep trying to place the “bitch” label on each actresses forehead for some reason. Why do women have to be seen as constantly fighting with one another to sell newspapers and magazines? BTW, Kristin Davis (Charlotte) has emphatically denied all of the squabbling accounts here:

Sex And The City star Kristin Davis has denied reports alleging the hit TV show was marred by infighting between the four leading ladies. Davis and her co-stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall have long been dogged by rumors they don't get on - with speculation that petty arguments about costumes and pay had divided the group. There was even gossip that the new movie adaptation was almost shelved because of the growing rift between the actresses - in particular between Parker and Cattrall, who have both admitted to a dispute over money. But Davis insists the four women rarely fight when working together - especially not over a trivial matter like costumes. She tells British TV show This Morning, "If we were fighting over shoes, if we actually got into a physical altercation over shoes - we would have to be in the nut house. We don't fight over shoes, we don't really fight. We are four of the luckiest, overpaid women in the world - with the best job in the world. We have been together for 10 years, working together for 18 hours a day. We would never have got through this if we weren't close. We love each other."

The reviews of the film are also very mixed thus far and while those aren’t all that interesting, the comments the reviews receive online are:
“This may not be an indictment of men, but it is surely an indictment on the kind of people too many women of this generation have become. Promiscuous, foul-mouthed male bashing sexists. I am in my early thirties and I am thoroughly disgusted by the way many women who are ten years younger than me to around my age act. Where are the feminine women who know how to be a lady and respect men. I guess women could say the same thing about men. Masculine men are becoming less and less. There are so many Gay men nowadays and women seem to want their men feminine instead of true men. When did the line between the way men and women act become so blurred? It makes me SICK! Speaking of sick, the way women and Homosexuals idolize this show and these women also makes me sick. Women of this generation need to join us in reality!!!”

Ok, well, this review is particularly hilarious:

That said, I am revising my box office estimates for the film to about double what was being bounced around the studio just a few weeks ago. In the last decade, I have never seen the New Line screening room this full… not for Rings… not for nothing. If the fire marshall had shown up, at least a dozen women would have been thrown out before they could show the film. And it was 88% women in the room. And 8% gay men. And me.

But in a summer where Anne Hathaway is playing with boys and Meryl Streep is in a movie that Universal is now trying to sell to the High School Musical set with the unknown blonde girl and there is not really a single film for women of all ages all summer long… this one is going to be a big, stinky hit.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunsilk, Sunsilk, Sunsilk

Well, Unilver and Sunsilk hair care are up to no good once again. They never returned my follow-up e-mails to the original “icon” complaints I gave them, but I hope they’ll respond this time around.

Their new campaign is geared towards the every day Jane’s who buy their product – women had the opportunity to submit “their own story” to the company in hopes of becoming one of their starlet icons and undergoing the celebrity pampering treatment. Out of all the entries they received, Sunsilk chose twenty-five women as finalists whose stories range from admirable to absolutely pathetic. I guess that’s fitting considering the icons they chose to represent them, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, and Shakira. However, their stories aren’t necessarily what I’m concerned with, it’s the way they chose to represent them -

On their website, people from all over the world can visit, watch the video of the finalist telling their story, and vote who they think should be the first Sunsilk starlet. Instead of filming their finalists as if they’re people (from a head-on perspective, perhaps showing us some of their backgrounds in relation to their tale), they constantly fetishize their bodies with extreme, frenetic, Michael Bay editing that totally distracts from the person’s story. So, what they’re basically doing with this campaign is saying “vote for the person with the prettiest face, the hottest body, the most jewelry, and, of course, the best hair.” Way to go, Sunsilk.

If you’re interested in seeing of these vile shenanigans, visit their official website because I can’t post them here.

Blurbity Blurb Blurb - Inside (2007)

Touted as the anti-Juno, the French horror flick Inside examines some of the inner-workings of the female mind through pregnancy via a life and death battle between two women. It's possibly the goriest film I've ever seen (and I've seen plenty, trust me) and it all takes place inside the home, using traditional female objects like sewing scissors and hair styling products to commit the acts of violence. I'm not easily manipulated by horror films because I've seen so many, but this film really got to me and I can't believe it's only eighty-two minutes long because it's so effective.

Check out some of the images:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tina Fey wants a Bebe...

And I don’t know why.

Neither does she, apparently. Baby Mama begins with an informative voiceover heard over blank credits from Fey’s Kate Holbrook explaining how she managed to succeed in the male-driven business world. She attests (slightly paraphrasing): “I wore the short skirts,” “I let the old men cop a feel during business lunches” and then suddenly - - “I woke up one morning and felt like all the babies on the street were staring at me,” and goes on and on about how much she wants a baby. For comedic effect, the first real image we see is of Fey sitting at a dinner table with a man who obviously looks disturbed by the wealth of information just thrown at him. “Too much for a first date?” Fey asks.

So begins Baby Mama - a film with all of the bells and whistles of a grade-A female comedy that has too many balls and not enough bite to make it soar.

I hate to sectionalize films with trite remarks like “the first third of the movie was good, but the middle act and half of the climax sucked” because, well, it’s useless. However, Baby Mama warrants this type of criticism because there is a clear-cut distinction between the scenes in which Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are alone in their wondrous, pregnant universe and basically the rest of the movie when either or both of the ladies step outside and interact with the men of their worlds.

When Amy Poehler moves into Tina Fey’s apartment after she leaves her boyfriend, the movie takes an uplifting turn that kicks it up a few more notches than it actually deserves. As I pointed out in my quarterly review, few films allow women to have actual friendships that don’t involve catty, petty motives or some steak knives buried in shoulder blades. Baby Mama allows Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to be friends - to support one another, laugh, cry, and play the American Idol video game incessantly. They create their own loving, nurturing nest inside their environment. So much so, that certain people in the movie think they’re in a lesbian relationship. And, oddly enough, Fey and Poehler don’t really disagree. I don’t think I’ve seen such good chemistry between two women since Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis appeared together in Thelma and Louise (1991). They’re really fun to watch on screen together.

If the film had been written and/or directed by Ms. Fey as it should have, there’s no doubt in my mind that it would be ten times more clever and empowering than it is right now. I’m not one for television, but I’ve recently joined the Tina Fey bandwagon and can’t wait to see where she goes next with her career. She’s one of the few recognizably female powerhouses in the industry who is frequently lauded and applauded for her work. And, Amy Poehler, for that matter is an up and coming talent behind the scenes, having just created her own animated series called The Mighty B.

And those are the precise reasons the rest of Baby Mama is such a startling disappointment. About half-way through the running time, the film takes an out-of-nowhere turn for the worse by turning Amy Poehler’s character into one of those wenches who had intended to stab her friend in the back. For no reason! That plot point unravels the rest of the girl-power progress the film had been making with the Poehler/Fey relationship and quickly regresses in the opposite direction. By the end of the film they’re still friends, but each woman is paired off and stuck with a simpering infant to take care of. No one bothers to point out if Fey is still a high-powered business woman or if Poehler got her act together and went to college.

Another major problem I have with the film is its take on surrogacy and any sort of baby-making process other than that of the biological. Tina Fey can’t get pregnant via artificial insemination because she has a T-shaped uterus. She can’t adopt a child because she would be a single parent and they don’t like those. She opts to pay $100,000 for a surrogacy with Amy Poehler because it’s her only option. However, and I don’t want to give away any plot points, but the movie paints surrogacy as some sort of Alien invention by making the creator, Sigourney Weaver, of the agency Fey goes to as some eccentric loony-bin who can still get pregnant in her fifties. And, in case you’re wondering, there are plenty of jokes about that too.


When the surrogacy with Amy Poehler fails to work because of her own stupidity and Tina Fey gets knocked up the old fashioned way, the film is taking a conservative bend that is most unwelcoming. It’s saying “you can still get pregnant if you wait for the right man to come along.” Greg Kinnear’s penis must be the eight wonder if it can turn a thirty-seven year old T-shaped uterus into something workable. Movies like Baby Mama that deal directly with topics like different kinds of reproduction methods should be striving to depict these issues in a positive light or they won’t be taken seriously.

Bad Baby Mama. Bad. Bad.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Cyrus Complex

Which picture is more disturbing?

I’m sure everyone and their mother has heard about the Miley Cyrus Vanity Fair photoshoot by now. It’s gained a lot of controversy for the first picture because it supposedly depicts the latest role model/pop princess as a sexual being. The latter picture, included in the same article, is not being discussed at all. I’ll ask the question again – which picture is more disturbing?

The latter one is for several reasons. The first that springs to mind is obviously the fact that she’s entangled in her father’s arms in the same way several perfume/cologne ads (heck, just ads in general) feature men and women as sex objects to sell their product. Secondly, by not ackowledging and abhorring the father/daughter photo for the same reasons as the individual photo, society is proving, once again, that it’s perfectly alright to be a sexual object as long a man is in the picture. That, in my opinion, is abominable.

Miley Cyrus is a beautiful, young woman. The first picture, though somewhat provactive, captures her youth while simultaneously capturing her emerging maturity as the woman she will grow into being in a few years. It’s a stunning photograph that looks almost like a painted portrait. She’s wearing very little make-up and looks natural for a change. Miley Cyrus should not be ashamed of this photograph anymore than she should be ashamed of growing up. More importantly, she should not be afraid of expressing her sexuality. She's fifteen! Not eight, ten, or twelve. She's probably been on her period for a few years and entertained the idea of having a boy friend/girl friend by now.

And her fans, if they really are fans, shouldn’t try to box her into being the perpetual tween angel. She should be allowed to grow-up in front of our eyes. If society won’t let her do that, then we’ll have another case of Spears and Lohan. They weren’t allowed to grow into mature women because “we” loved that damn virginal box so much. We want everyone to keep creating the same work over and over again because we don't want to re-evaluate our connotations of who that person is. Famous people must stay the same. Both women ended up exploding inside of their boxes by reacting childishly to adult situations. I don't mean childishly in the sense that they're infantile and end up sucking their thumbs after a bad night out partying, but childishly in the ways that they handle responsibility, relationships, and temptations. They have no barriers given to them so they don't know how to form their own. I realize the stress of being famous and more importantly, staying famous must be incomprehensible, but that’s our fault, not theirs. We as a society should try to rectify our viewpoints on stardom so that we can continue to adore our childstars when they become adult sensations. Everyone should be allowed to grow.

Unfortunately, Miley Cyrus has copped-out and issued an apology:

"I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be 'artistic' and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about."

Vanity Fair and Annie Liebowitz (the photographer of the shoot) have retorted that claim:
A spokesperson for Vanity Fair has defended the publication, saying:

"Miley's parents and minders were on the set all day. Since the photo was taken digitally, they saw it on the shoot and everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait of Miley."

The article accompanying the pictures quoted Miley as saying the pictures are "really artsy. It wasn't done in a skanky way."

Annie Liebowitz:
"I'm sorry that my portrait of Miley has been misinterpreted," the celebrity photographer said in a written statement. "Miley and I looked at fashion photographs together and we discussed the picture in that context before we shot it. The photograph is a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little makeup, and I think it is very beautiful."

I must say, Vanity Fair and Annie Liebowitz are handling the situation beautifully. I also love that VF's official website has an essence of snarkiness coursing through its HTML encoded veins about the ridiculousness of this controversy as well.