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Movie Mom

MaryAnn Johanson has a great piece in her series on the website of the Association of Women Film Journalists in response to the Hollywood conventional wisdom that movies need to be directed at boys and men to make money. Noting that the advance sales for “New Moon” are ahead of “Transformers” at this stage, she says:

If the boys can be targeted by Hollywood with movies that pander to their basest instincts — toys! explosions! Megan Fox! — then I suppose we must see it as a sign of progress that girl audiences are getting the same treatment: sighing! moon eyes! Robert Pattinson!

And speaking of Megan Fox, Johanson skewers Lynn Hirschberg’s profile in the New York Times Magazine.

Later, noting that the TV in the hotel room was on and tuned to some girly reality show about wedding dresses or somesuch, and that Fox said she watches these things because she doesn’t understand them and is trying to figure them out, Hirschberg characterizes Fox thusly:

Fox said this as if she were contemplating an alien species.

Because, you see, reality shows about wedding dresses represent the actual actuality of all women, and a woman who doesn’t comprehend why anyone would collapse into fits of tears over a wedding dress must be an alien. Because no real women would need to study such a reality show, as Fox indicates she does — a real woman would just understand.

I like to read Johanson’s summary of the way women are portrayed in current releases. Here’s what she had to say last week:

OPENING THIS WEEK. Women are there to be rescued in 2012, whether it’s the Mona Lisa or Amanda Peet as John Cusack’s ex-wife, who does literally nothing but scream for two and a half hours while the world ends around her. Good riddance to this world. Women — or females, at least — are all but absent from Fantastic Mr. Fox, except Meryl Streep as the alternately scolding and praising wife to the titular character; the male animals are the ones who get to have all the adventure and all the fun, and they’re the ones who get to learn things about themselves and grow as people. And forget Pirate Radio: the boat HQ of the illegal broadcaster is boys only — well, there’s one girl present, to cook, but she’s a lesbian, so she doesn’t really count.

On the indie side, things aren’t much better. Women in Trouble does feature an ensemble cast of terrific actresses, but it’s all in service of writer-director Sebastian Gutierrez’s fantasies about what women are really like (hint: it frequently involved lingerie). The Messenger, a drama about the soldiers who notify families that their loved one has been killed overseas, does at least feature Samantha Morton in a powerful and unexpected role as a new widow.

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