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How We Talk About "Women's Entertainment"
#1
The "we" can be the internet hive mind/film critics, but I think it has some specificity here. And by women's entertainment, I mean films/media that is very specifically targeted towards women.

I've noticed recently that we have no problem slagging on fanboys for going after Kelly Marie Tran or looking down our noses at GamerGate, but the way we talk about movies that aren't targeted towards us is interesting.

For example, someone in the Twin Peaks thread said that no one will remember BIG LITTLE LIES (or something like it) in twenty years, whereas they'll remember TWIN PEAKS. I'd argue that BLL has as much to say about The Moment We Are In as Peaks, and should and will be remembered. Or notice how we don't have a SHARP OBJECTS thread and THE HANDMAID'S TALE has about four people participating in it. As a counterpoint, we do have a pretty robust GLOW thread, but I'd argue that's because it hits a lot of the boxes for this board's target audience (80s, wrestling, spandex, talented comedians).

Or notice how we have a thread that's thousands of pages regarding B-movies, but not one for romantic comedies. Or even if we started one, I guarantee that not many people would visit.

Or in the Film Criticism thread, when Elvis or someone posts an article from a female critic or about a female filmmaker, that gets far less discussion than the latest FCH hit job. Counterpoint: We talk a lot about Lindsay (!!!) and Jenny Nicholson in that thread. 

Or in the threads recently about something like MARY POPPINS RETURNS, where there seemed to be a lot of resistance to people pointing out that the property is very popular among women and girls. Or that we have yet to have a discussion for SET IT UP, again, a romantic comedy. There's no MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS thread, which is a big Oscar project and had a pretty cool trailer that just dropped. 

I admit freely that I'm as guilty as the next person for letting my own biases and interests shape what I choose to talk about, but I guess my question is "what up with that?" Do we think this is a side effect of the fact that there ARE so many dudes writing film criticism? 

Before this descends into chaos, I want to say that I'm not specifically calling one or two people out, but it is a pattern I've noticed. And I guess I'm also curious to hear about your own experiences with movies of this nature, whether you had to have your own biases pointed out to you, or came to films late because you weren't the "target audience."

I will start - I didn't see WORKING GIRL until 2016, and I love Mike Nichols. I didn't watch the BRIDGET JONES movies until last year, and that was one where I had to have it pointed out to me that Bridget Jones was HUGE for millennial and Gen-X women. And I completely dismissed JENNIFER'S BODY because it got slammed by the critics - the same ones that have consistently had it out for Diablo Cody - but when I finally watched it, I realized how smart and subversive and fun it was.
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#2
Well, for starters, I think it's kind of odd to be expecting a forum of (mostly) general movie junkies to be consciously striving for a broad scope in the way that professional (or, at least, professing) film critics hypothetically ought to. (Granted, we do actually have full-fledged film critics here, but I would venture to say that most of us are in a significantly more casual category.) Not that it's bad to start and encourage discussions on material that falls outside of these boards' general wheelhouse, but when you get right down to it, a bunch of people hanging out and shooting the shit on a movie forum will pretty naturally wind up talking more about the type(s) of material they feel most passionate about (whether that be loving or hating) even if they hypothetically didn't skew strongly towards certain demographics.
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#3
That's a common argument, and one I get. But I guess my counterpoint is "shouldn't movie junkies be passionate about movies generally, and open to talking about all KINDS of movies?"
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#4
If they're "movie junkies" in the sense that they care most about film-as-an-art-form, I could see that. On the other hand, sometimes people just really like a few specific genres and aren't terribly bothered about branching out too far from their wheelhouse. You may think that they're missing out (and you can certainly attempt to convince them of that,) but I don't think there's anything fundamentally wrong with that. People like what they like, and if they don't have any professional obligations to fulfill there's no particular reason they should have to spend a lot of time on things they don't really care for if they don't find the subject or the discussion itself interesting.
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#5
Well, I'm going to reveal a little secret... but... there aren't many women on this forum.

I can only speak for myself, but when a show has a female focus, I don't mind a bit. But when it has what appears to be an EXCLUSIVELY female focus, my interest level wanes. So a show like GLOW or Veep or Arrival can draw me in, but Handmaid's Tale or Big Little Lies probably won't. I suspect the same is true for many women, where the average male-focused show may draw their interest, but an aggressively male-dominated one won't.

I'm sure if we had an even split of male and female members, the discussions of female-oriented shows would be more robust, and the discussions of all shows would be more varied and interesting. But while I'd like to think that we're a more welcoming lot than perhaps we were in the past, barring a surprisingly massive influx of new members, it's hard to see our demographics changing.
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#6
Start the threads boone. Let them die a death or be proved wrong. As you say, GLOW has a following. I see people discussing OUTLANDER in the general watching TV threads. I gave SHARP OBJECTS a shot, me and the missus did not find it particularly good, but there's bound to be something.

I'm with commodore and farsight though. I have my genres I enjoy and those that I just don't indulge at all... I'm not doing this for a living. I watch stuff, sometimes I think it's interesting enough to discuss on here - that's it. Romantic comedies are watched occasionally, but I've never seen one that I feel is really worthy of a full thread of discussion. There is stuff like PRETTY LITTLE LIES, SCANDAL and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER that just doesn't feel like it's aimed at me at all and I let the missus just knock herself out with them alone. And conversely, she won't sit and watch a War Movie, Documentary or a Western regardless of what I say about it or if it has a strong feminine hook (TRUE GRIT for example).
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#7
(07-13-2018, 04:55 PM)boone daniels Wrote: I will start - I didn't see WORKING GIRL until 2016, and I love Mike Nichols. I didn't watch the BRIDGET JONES movies until last year, and that was one where I had to have it pointed out to me that Bridget Jones was HUGE for millennial and Gen-X women. And I completely dismissed JENNIFER'S BODY because it got slammed by the critics - the same ones that have consistently had it out for Diablo Cody - but when I finally watched it, I realized how smart and subversive and fun it was.

I'll admit to having a really idiosyncratic affection for romantic comedies. And my taste in them has changed (or at least what entertains/catches me does).

I haven't seen WORKING GIRL in ages. I'm not a Melanie Griffith fan, so that's my real reason for not revisiting.

At the behest of my wife, I watched the first BRIDGET JONES movie a few years ago. I can't remember thinking it was actively bad but I just found it.....boring.

However. As has been documented in blackmail-worthy detail in these hallowed forums, my taste is suspect at best. I own and like THE LAKE HOUSE. I own and like DEFINITELY, MAYBE. I adore MOONSTRUCK, and WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING is regular holiday viewing for me. I don't own but enjoy large chunks of SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE but find it mildly problematic in chunks, too.

Getting more highbrow: I was basically forced to watch SENSE AND SENSIBILITY back in 2006 or so. Moments entertained me but overall I thought it was boring AF. For some reason, though, I ended up revisiting it (and doing so with my daughters) and it quickly became a favorite for all three of us. It was definitely an acquired taste for me, and knowing the story's shape and tone ahead of time really helped me appreciate the film for what it was that second viewing (we've all watched it together at least once or twice more since).

I don't know if I'm helping the conversation, boone.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#8
In the past several years, I've tried to be more mindful of what and how I dismiss things that aren't "made for me".

Because I certainly engaged in that kind of discourse before... and likely continue to do so.
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#9
(07-13-2018, 08:48 PM)MichaelM Wrote: Getting more highbrow: I was basically forced to watch SENSE AND SENSIBILITY back in 2006 or so. Moments entertained me but overall I thought it was boring AF. For some reason, though, I ended up revisiting it (and doing so with my daughters) and it quickly became a favorite for all three of us. It was definitely an acquired taste for me, and knowing the story's shape and tone ahead of time really helped me appreciate the film for what it was that second viewing (we've all watched it together at least once or twice more since).
Now that's a pretty damn good movie. One of the few modern period pieces that just never, ever feels forced, plus a hell of a cast.
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#10
(07-13-2018, 08:53 PM)Nooj Wrote: In the past several years, I've tried to be more mindful of what and how I dismiss things that aren't "made for me".

Because I certainly engaged in that kind of discourse before... and likely continue to do so.

Same. A lot of the conversations around the Twilight series started challenging how I thought about and talked about movies that aren't squarely aimed at me or my presumed demographic.

As with most things in life, I'm still learning.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#11
Yeah, but regardless if Twilight is “for you or not,” it’s still fucking trash.  And I’m saying that as someone who generally has no issue consuming media that isn’t for me.
 I think all Marvel films are okay. This is my design.

Except for Thor 2: the literal worst.
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#12
ska gets it.
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#13
Maybe, but that was also the smaller point to be considered and discussed. Folks rightly brought up trashy action films that have predominantly male followings, films that are actually quite shitty but beloved and talked about with great affection, endless quotes, and enthusiasm.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#14
Nah. No matter what genre you're in, there's a difference between good trash and bad trash, and those films were not good trash.
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#15
I dunno. I got GREAT camp value from those twilight movies!

It was some GOOOOOD trash!

Some truly memorable insanity!
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#16
Admittedly, I only watched the first two before saying screw it, but...there were little moments of high camp (Michael Sheen is even more totally out of control than he was in TRON: Legacy, and that's saying something) and pure laughability, but they were merely scattered throughout a bland grey porridge.
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#17
(07-13-2018, 09:14 PM)MichaelM Wrote: Maybe, but that was also the smaller point to be considered and discussed. Folks rightly brought up trashy action films that have predominantly male followings, films that are actually quite shitty but beloved and talked about with great affection, endless quotes, and enthusiasm.

Yeah, in certain circles. In others those same action films are ridiculed just as much as Twilight. And it’s not like there isn’t a significant community where Twilight is adored too. That’s just not something most of us are a part of. 

Learning the difference between like/dislike and good/bad is important if you want to have reasonable mature conversations about this stuff, which unfortunately isn’t most peoples’ strong suit.
Superlaser speaks for me from now on.

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#18
I cannot stand the vast majority of rom-coms. Even Apatow's more male-oriented entries in the genre leave me pretty lukewarm at best.

But WHEN HARRY MET SALLY is a huge exception. It's probably the only entry in the entire genre that I can say I like without adding a, "but..." at the end. It's just a terrific film about people who are easy to root for.

I feel like filmmakers in the genre often can't figure out whether they want to make a romance with comedic elements or a comedy with some romance. Most seem to try to split the difference and end up failing at both. Apatow makes comedies where the romance drags everything to a halt. Conversely, most "women's" rom-coms try to shoehorn in too much comedy, resulting in characters I end up loathing rather than rooting for.

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY never forgets that its characters need to be real people first and comedic engines second if the audience is going to buy in to caring about their fates. It's an unabashedly romantic film with comedy elements. And I dig it for it.

Outside of that genre, I've also enjoyed the "women's" action genre, as long as it doesn't appear to be aggressively pandering to mask laziness (a la the most recent "Ghostbusters"). Going back to Buffy and Alias, through to Fringe and films like Wonder Woman, I'm all-in for stories in my areas of interest, regardless of gender.

Being more of a TV person has probably helped keep me open to strong female roles, as I'd say TV has been way ahead of film for presenting balanced gender roles. Some of my favorite shows (Farscape, Fringe, Person of Interest, LOST) have presented female characters on equal ground without hanging a sign on it, and all were better shows because of it.
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#19
(07-13-2018, 09:31 PM)commodorejohn Wrote: Admittedly, I only watched the first two before saying screw it, but...there were little moments of high camp (Michael Sheen is even more totally out of control than he was in TRON: Legacy, and that's saying something) and pure laughability, but they were merely scattered throughout a bland grey porridge.

ohhhhh man, you gotta see him in the last one!



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#20
I picked the finale of Love Actually in the Favourite Endings thread.

#WokeAF #BuchoWinsAgain #RomComKing
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#21
oohhhhhhhh man oh man!  you cannot imagine the amount of glee I experienced during this sequence!

GLORIOUS CAMP!




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#22
(07-13-2018, 10:00 PM)farsight Wrote: I cannot stand the vast majority of rom-coms. Even Apatow's more male-oriented entries in the genre leave me pretty lukewarm at best.

But WHEN HARRY MET SALLY is a huge exception. It's probably the only entry in the entire genre that I can say I like without adding a, "but..." at the end. It's just a terrific film about people who are easy to root for.

The only Apatow film I really love is 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN.

I've never really dug WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. I don't disagree with your praise. It's film in which the secondary characters always felt more interesting than the two main ones. And Billy Crystal just does nothing for me as a leading man in a film concerned with romance, neurotic or not.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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#23
I'm bumping this thread because I don't know where else to put this story, but a dude got in Carey Mulligan's face at an NYFF Q&A about her WILDLIFE character being "reprehensible," and I thought her response was pretty good:

“We’re all too used to only seeing women behaving really well [in movies],” Mulligan said. “When we see them out of control or struggling it doesn’t ring true because of everything we’ve been brought up to understand that women are always perfect and can do anything. That’s an unrealistic expectation of a woman. Seeing real humanity on-screen can be really jarring from a female perspective.”

https://www.indiewire.com/2018/10/carey-...202008811/
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