Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things

Sometimes…

Me, Maybe

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I love those articles that hit so close to home that they make you incredibly uncomfortable and also make you wish you were less self-aware, but then you feel idiotic for thinking you’re self-aware, because let’s face it, there are probably lots of things that you do to which all your friends are like “Dude, how do you NOT see that this is what you always do?” or “You always do that thing where you think you hit all the points and you do, but by doing that, you don’t, you know?”

Well I’ve gathered a few of said articles to let those of you out there who don’t know me from Adam (how can you know someone from Adam? Where was Eve? Was the Rib not taken out yet? Was this like the five-minute break between when Adam came breathlessly into this world and God was like, let’s get you a ladyyyyy and so cruelly tore Adam’s torso apart, but it’s cool, because then he was going to get. some.?) get to know me from Adam, and if not, then at least from Eve:

Though I am from New York City, and at said point in my life, never plan to live in a place where I have to upgrade my permit to a real live license (much to the chagrin of my mother, a real Californian, as much as she likes to deny it, she will look at me when I’m “too pale” and fight the urge to hand me the lotion with built-in self-tanner, as is her baby-oil childhood instinct),I found this article on DUI’s and living in LA particularly poignant. Though the best thing about cities is the greater opportunity for taking the train while intoxicated at any time of day, I do appreciate a good list about things I can do while drunk that don’t include driving. Some highlights?

“Play Sports: Especially great if you were a high-school athlete that could’ve actually been something if you didn’t discover weed and boys junior year. It will be the most fun you’ve ever had breaking your ankle, guaranteed.”

As someone who blogs, as painful as that can be to admit sometimes, I really am trying to totally get behind this Onion article “Pop Culture Expert Surprisingly Not Ashamed Of Self”:

“Shelham, who spends 10 hours every day consuming news updates on various entertainers and then commenting on their activities on an entertainment website, has reportedly shown no signs of humiliation or self-hatred over the way she spends the bulk of her time, and is also apparently not disgusted by the fact that this is actually what she does with her life.

‘Basically, I like to look at what’s going on in pop culture and comment on it with a sort of fresh, wry voice,’ said Shelham, who by all accounts still possesses the ability to look at herself in the mirror every morning. ‘I try to find things that I think are really lame and vacuous and then just tear them apart.'”

Too real. Especially this part:

“She also composed a scathing, 800-word critique of the upcoming motion picture Burlesque that she suggested, with actual pride, was ‘some of [her] best work.’

‘I’m sorry, but it might be just about time for [Burlesque actress] Cher to go away now,” wrote Shelham, who does not seem to find anything self-degrading in the fact that she earns a living by deriding people she does not, nor will ever, know. ‘I know you’re doing your best to make us forget that we actually found you charming in Moonstruck, but let’s just call it a day already, shall we?'”

Reading this piece several weeks ago did not stop me from writing this piece. Live and learn? Let’s not.

And not to get too existential, but what does it mean when the humor you have based your entire life around can be decoded by a machine? Is that like when you know someone has really learned a language because they get jokes in it? So is my humor no longer funny because a computer gets it? Don’t answer that.
“This is the most important software ever invented. Of course, if a computer using the Semi-Supervised Algorithm for Sarcasm Identification read that last sentence, it would immediately detect the sarcasm.”

Despite the fact that I do not literally blog all night, I do lead a different schedule than most of my peers, one that favors the night hours, when it is literally entirely dark in my apartment while I write this and I am left to only my thoughts, my Google Reader not endlessly ticking articles along that I MUST READ at the fastest pace possible. The night time is actually the only time left for the modern human that hasn’t been entirely overloaded, and I say this in the least bitter way possible. When I press publish on this, I will go to sleep, but I will still be sleeping when you wake up and read it, and thus be saved the horror of taking myself too seriously and preventing myself from being around for the reactions heard ’round the world on said posts. Author Josh Dubroff says of his stint as a nighttime blogger, “More significantly, I increasingly felt like I was part of this rare and special tribe. Working at night by myself when no one was on the Internet made me feel like a solo spaceship pilot, like every post about Sarah Palin or James Franco I churned out was going to ensure we stayed on course. I was careening through quiet forgotten Internet space, a vast calm all around me. And while all my friends were at work during the day—gchatting and fidgeting in their itchy button-downs—I was scarfing hummus and preparing for this noble take-off.”

I honestly haven’t read a more poignant piece in ages (especially the reference to “the classic Katherine Heigl film 27 dresses“). There is something to be said for people who prefer the night, who are good sleepers, and by something to be said, I mean we get the flack. We are considered the unproductive, the weird, the vampires of our society. I don’t know when sleeping until 1:30 in the afternoon became weird, but it was at some point during college, where I became chastised for being able to do a certain amount of work in less time. Is it jealously? No, probably more misunderstanding. But to our friends on the West Coast, we’re not weird, we’re just someone else who is awake while the rest of the nation sleeps.

P.S. To prevent from ending this on too much of a serious/downer, please note that potatoes are great for you, there! I have been proven right. I can now go on an all-potato diet, with maybe the occasional dairy product thrown in and also lose 60 lbs. See you later, haters.

The Helen Mirren Hypothesis

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Helen Mirren’s brilliant, moving, inspiring acceptance speech at a recent Women in Hollywood event, she delivered a forceful rebuke of Hollywood’s obsession with “the 18 to 25-year-old male…and his penis (quite small, I always think).” Mirren lamented the “fact that virtually every drama made for film, stage or television has 20 male characters to the one, two, maybe three if you’re lucky, female characters.”

I decided to test Mirren’s supposition against the recently released Golden Globe nominations. This is obviously not a cross-section of all that TV or film has to offer, but The Golden Globes represent an industry standard of perceived quality. Consequently, Mirren would be more likely to find roles of substance in these nominees, than in, for example, The Bachelorette90210 or The Back-Up Plan.

A word on methodology: The statistics below are based on the official cast lists presented on each show’s network website. Rather than using my own judgement (or the judgment of IMDB, Wikipedia, etc) to decide which characters merit inclusion, I wanted to see how each network officially depicted its cast. For example, AMC’s Mad Men site names 27 characters, 12 of whom are female, netting a “score” of 44%.

Best Television Series (Drama):

Boardwalk Empire (27% of listed characters are female)
Dexter (29%)
Walking Dead (33%)
Mad Men (44%)
The Good Wife (50%)
Best Television Series (Drama) AVERAGE: 37%

Best Television Series (Comedy):

The Big Bang Theory (20%)
30 Rock (33%)
Modern Family (40%)
The Big C (43%)
Nurse Jackie (44%)
Glee (64%)
Best Television Series (Comedy) AVERAGE: 41%

Yikes. One drama achieves gender parity in its casting, The Good Wife, a project from husband-wife team Robert and Michelle King. Michelle King is the only female “creator” of the five drama nominees. Even shows created by women (30 Rock, The Big C, Nurse Jackie) favor roles for male actors. Although the comedy category average is not quite as dire as the dramas, this average is hugely helped by Glee, the only nominated show with more female characters than male (without Glee, the category averages 36%).

On to the big screen:

Best Motion Picture (Drama):

Black Swan (80%)
The Fighter (40%)
Inception (22%)
The King’s Speech (22%)
The Social Network (29%)
Best Motion Picture (Drama) AVERAGE: 39%

Best Motion Picture (Comedy):

Alice in Wonderland (75%)
Burlesque (44%)
The Kids Are All Right (60%)
Red (33%)
The Tourist (14%)
Best Motion Picture (Comedy) AVERAGE: 45%

The differences in category averages between big and small screens are only a few percentage points, but the distribution within categories don’t line up. Film, it would seem, allows for one or two female-driven pictures. Black Swan, set in a dance studio, starring 4 women and 1 man, would be this year’s entry.

The point is not for all productions to reserve exactly half of their roles for women (or minorities, the elderly, or any other oft-neglected demographic). Some shows are aimed at women (SATC) and others at men (Entourage) and their casting reflects this fact. The problem is that what we identify as quality, via awards shows like the Golden Globes, distinctly favors male actors. This creates a cycle in which male-dominated productions are considered the “norm,” and gender-neutral casts or female-heavy casts are relegated to niche markets or less popular networks.

One could argue that Hollywood reflects reality…most police departments are male-dominated, as are boxing rings, and tech-start ups. That is both true and problematic. Yet, the question remains; why are the male-dominated arenas the ones in which people prefer to play creatively? Because women (self very much included!) will watch a show or movie set in a “male world,” but men will not reciprocate? Projects set in traditionally female worlds (say a preschool or an ice skating team) either don’t get made, don’t get made well, or get made well and don’t get recognized. Any way you cut it, Helen Mirren has a point.

Burlesque V. Tangled

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There comes a time in every woman’s life when she must switch from watching poorly executed animated films about princesses to poorly everything films about, well, grown-up princesses. Or you can be like me and never grow up and get the best of both worlds. What does that consist of, you might ask? Watching both Tangled and Burlesque in the same week, and thoroughly enjoying both of them!

Well, truth be told, I actually enjoyed tangled more. Behold, a comparison of what it means to have female genitalia in this day and age:

BURLESQUE
Though these two posts have funnier and probably more comprehensive notes about the more hilarious aspects of Burlesque (respectively, its similarity to Showgirls, a cinematic classic that is now available on Netflix Instant, and the prominent role of gay men in the movie), there is still much to be said about Cher’s triumphant return to screen. Though I’m a huge fan of Cher’s based solely upon “Believe“, I do sort of agree with my father and think she’s a better actress than musician. If you disagree, watch either Moonstruck or Mask and call me up laughing/crying afterward. A large portion of the Lower East Side of Manhattan must be on my side, because when Megan and I went to see it, there were a number of high maintenance male couples attending. Why high maintenance? Apparently, it’s not appropriate to talk when “The 20” is airing 10 minutes before the previews have even started. Go figure.

It should be noted that these days I would watch Cher perform merely because she’s more interesting to look at than pretty. Her face is really something to behold. She stares at you, unblinkingly, and looks like some sort of bird of prey, or an alien life form, or maybe a really weird baby. But she’s least interesting when alone; her one number that she tiredly belts from an empty stage was incredibly boring. The only interesting part of it was that I could not for the life of me figure out who the DJ was, and upon googling it, I realize that he is Terrence Jenkins, Khloe’s co-host of “Khloe After Dark”, her radio show in Miami, who constantly has to cover for her when she’s late.

Other important males: Stanley Tucci, the gay costumer, who, while referencing one drunk night he had with Cher’s character, made me dream of a night in Vegas that was magical with him as well; Alan Cumming, in a brief cameo that was very much appreciated and made me realize what a ridiculously versatile actor he is; Cam Gigandet, who I always want to call Cam Gidget, and who looks better with eyeliner; and Eric Dane, who I will always remember most fondly from Valentine’s Day as a closeted gay football player. Generally though, it was the females who were more stronger and more interesting the males; Christina Aguilera takes up practically every single scene.

The movie was directed by Steven Antin, who is the brother of Robin Antin. This is the Robin who started a nouveau dance troop called the Pussycat Dolls, which combined some semblance of burlesque with stripping. She spun that off into the pop sensation PCD and finally started the illustrious career of Nicole Scherzinger. Once you have that in mind, this version of burlesque doesn’t seem that far-fetched at all from what the original conceit really is. By the end of the film, you’re only a little bit sick of seeing this clean, crisp, albiet somewhat boring dance style that they have created. The cinematography was excellent; the edits horrible. And the script — not the reason to see this movie. There were several times where Megan and I wondered where on earth the plot was going to go, despite having a feeling we knew exactly where it was headed. When Cher’s character discoveres Christina Aguilera’s Ali talent, she gets her big break in literally three minutes. “Oh, you’re nobody? Oh, I’m making a show about you.” Speaking of Ali, the hair was miserable. The hair was a tragedy. It was the most distracting thing about the movie, and I pray to god it was a wig.

Burlesque finishes with the song “Show Me How You Burlesque”, which was supposedly written by Ali’s cute jazz piano playing roomie-turned-boyfriend Jack (Cam Gidget). To say that it was the most unrealistic thing about this movie that Jack, who was a jazz piano player, would have been inspired to write this R&B tinged pop number, is probably a stretch. What’s worse is the title of this song, which makes no sense.

TANGLED
Tangled was definitely a far better film. The two main characters were voiced by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi (of Chuck!), so I was obviously biased towards it before the film even began, but it really was very pleasant to watch. The trailer’s humor had me doubting, and Disney’s marketing of the movie was not my favorite, but really, animation alone, this one blew it out of the park. There was a scene with floating lanterns on the water that literally made me tear up.

These pictures don’t really do it justice at all, because watching them move is half the fun, but check it out.


Images via Disney

I have actually not seen a movie in 3D since I was a kid, and so that was weird. The biggest improvement there would be just making lenses you could put over your glasses if you wear them, because the double frames was pretty uncomfortable, though apparently hilarious (it was too dark in the theater for KB’s picture to come out, fortunately for me). KB also pointed out that it was frustrating that basically our only choice was to see it in 3D. It didn’t really make things much cooler, though at some points I did reach out and try to touch the air like an idiot. And Rapunzel’s hair really did have a life of it’s own. Along this line, I was pleasantly surprised with the attention to detail, not just animation-wise. I was consistently pleasantly surprised by plot developments or features that I would not have predicted.

There’s not much else to say, other than see it. As I implied before with my blatant other-post-linkage, it’s the last of the Disney Princess movies, but I totally dug it, and left feeling warm inside, which is what we all really want from them anyway.

A bonus: Flynn Rider in 10 sexy pictures. He’s the hottest “prince” in a long while, which is saying a lot, considering the weird crushes I had as a child on both Simba and Robin Hood, the animated.

Thanksgiving Can’t Come Soon Enough

Tags: , , ,

I considered making a joke about giving thanks, or being thankful, but you get the idea.

© 2009 Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by Wordpress and Magatheme by Bryan Helmig.