I Love Lucy … and Haywire

I recently saw an awesome movie called “Lucy.” Scarlett Johansson plays a starring role in it. It’s so great I decided to buy it. So I asked Tim at the video store if I could buy his copy when he’s done renting it. “Lucy” is like a Jason Bourne movie with Scarlett kicking people’s asses …well kicking men’s asses … men who deserve to have their asses kicked.

It is so refreshing to see a Hollywood movie with a strong female lead. Hollywood is a dead zone in which the men are the heroes, with men rescuing women, women dependent on a strong man blah blah blah. I guess when producers are investing in a movie, they want to follow a winning formula, even though I’m assuming that half of their potential market is women, and surely they’re pretty tired of the formula too.

I didn’t like the premise of “The Hunger Games” in which teens fight each other to the death, but it was awesome to see Jennifer Lawrence (Spoiler alter) as the ultimate winner, outsmarting all those guys.

And my absolute favorite movie, EVER (well, today, anyway) is called “Haywire.” I’ve bought a (used) copy and forced just about everyone who comes to my house to watch it. Again it’s a Jason Bourne sort of movie, but with a woman kicking everyone’s butt. I starting watching this movie and didn’t know much about the lead actress Gina Carano. I wondered why I hadn’t seen her in any other movies. Well, it’s because she’d never been in anything before. It turns out that the director Steven Soderbergh had seen her fight. She’s a Mixed Marshall Arts (MMA) fighter. And she’s awesome … and terrifying. There’s a scene where she takes on Michael Fasssbender (Spoiler Alert) who is trying to kill her, and they just tear up this hotel room and well, Michael gets what he deserves.

Okay, so let’s hear it. But Cam, these are violent movies. Women should rise above this violence and use cooperation and their superior intelligence to avoid these situations. I’m with you. This is not the normal female response, but it’s just so nice to see such powerful, resourceful women. It’s so nice to see violent men getting back as good as they give. And yes, I do not advocate violence, but it’s a movie. And in a movie you have to suspend disbelief and just go with it and while I love Downton Abbey and all those romantic comedies that Michelle forces me to watch (and I have to prop my eyelids open with toothpicks to stay awake for), I do love action movies and I especially love them when women participate in the action, and initiate the action and just don’t look on forlornly, hoping that a man saves them.

My daughter introduced me to the Bechdel Test, which is a litmus test to assess the presence of women in movies. One of the questions that it asks is does the movie have two women who talk to each other about something other than a man? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test Wikipedia suggests that half of all contemporary films fail the test, which seems low to me, at least with the movies I watch. So I’m now starting my own gender bias assessment of movies before I invest any of my time watching them. I’m not even going to watch them if they’d got a man on the cover … which seems to describe more than half of the movies out there.

I’m hoping that producers and writers and directors will start to get this. I’m assuming that women want to watch movies about … well … women, or at least ones in which women play relevant roles. I was talking to my exceptional daughters about how NBC was showing Saturday Night Live from the 70’s and 80’s at 10 pm on Saturday (which I actually able to stay awake for!) and I couldn’t believe how few skits had women from the cast in them. Jane Curtin hosted the news for a while, but most of the female cast members played really small roles in the shows. Then you had Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in the late 90’s and they got more airtime, but I watched a fairly recent one and it was the same old thing, the majority of the skits were men. My youngest said, “Yea, I don’t even watch SNL because nothing they do interests me.” Are you hearing this Lorne Michaels? Get with the program? Enough of the whole ‘let’s focus just on the men’ thing.

How many women subscribed to Netflix to watch “Orange is the New Black”? Lots! Time to catch up Hollywood. Make more movies like “Lucy” and “Haywire.” Enough of the guy stuff. Now I’ll go quietly read some Jane Austen and try and find my happy place. Thanks for listening.


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About Cam
Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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