Log in

No account? Create an account
14 July 2013 @ 10:57 am
Looper; Robot & Frank  
Watching films I've had out from Netflix since May...

Finally got around to watching Looper, which would have easily been ten to fifteen percent better as a film if they hadn't put Joseph Gordon-Leavitt in those awful prosthetics. (Because, yeah, I'm watching a movie about time-travel assassins and random telekinesis, but the thing I'm going to be thrown by is whether JGL looks enough like he could grow up to be Bruce Willis. *That's* what's going to shatter the conceit.) It's not good when looking at the main character is actually unpleasant, and that's not supposed to be the case. Mostly I'm just grumpy about the movie, because it had a lot of the ingredients to make a fun, interesting time-travel story, but decided instead to be about futuristic manpain, only with a character I didn't even care about. Twice.

(Actually, it reminds me a bit of how much I hated Inception - "dream a little bigger, darling" doesn't work when no one making the movie is - and also, that thing where a female character only exists for a boring hero to have wistful flashbacks about, although I guess at least Marion Cotillard's character got a first name and some dialogue, so it can always get worse.) (Since I can't remember a single name from this movie except Ariadne, I'm assuming she had a name, but I could be wrong.)

Just - it's the future, right? Could we maybe have something more interesting than the same old tired gun battles and explosions? And no, putting them at funny angles doesn't count, Inception.

I liked Robot & Frank, though, although it did suffer a bit from that weird delusion people seem to have that libraries are just places with books in them. (One of the side plots is that these future hipsters are closing the library - which has no computers or anything in it, somehow, and of course no one ever goes there except Frank - in order to turn it into a "community space," which in the actual world is redundant, which you would know if you'd been to a library recently.) I mean, I get it, the movie is about memory and obsolescence, so it's ~thematic~, but bleh anyway.

Also, Netflix has decided from these two movies that I am interested in "critically-acclaimed crime dramas," which I find inordinately amusing. Er, no. Way to miss the point there, Netflix.
litlover12 on July 14th, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
It's a minor thing, but I really hate the term "manpain." If men threw a term like "womanpain" at us, we'd be upset, and rightly so.


Edited at 2013-07-14 05:14 pm (UTC)
tempestsarekind: arthur clennam [little dorrit]tempestsarekind on July 14th, 2013 06:43 pm (UTC)
Sure - and if we didn't live in a world where the media is totally saturated with male protagonists I'm supposed to care about because bad things have happened to the women in their lives, *over* and above the stories of any women who might exist in the narrative, then I would totally agree with you. I certainly can't speak to anyone else's use of the term, but when I use it, this is generally what I'm talking about: the women in the story exist mostly or solely as props for the man's feelings and character development; or women's feelings in a narrative are shunted aside so that we can put all our focus on those of the male character. I don't even know what "womanpain" would be, in this scenario, because there isn't even enough of it on my screen to need a shorthand expression for it.

(This is also why I have used this term about the Tenth Doctor, *especially* in season three, because even though all kinds of traumatizing stuff has been happening to Martha for a whole *year*, apparently I'm supposed to ignore that, and instead feel really bad for Ten because he's sooooo alone. Right.)

Edited at 2013-07-14 06:46 pm (UTC)
litlover12 on July 14th, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't know -- I haven't seen that season yet. :-) I understand what you're saying. I just personally find the term too stereotyping and dismissive, that's all.

Honestly, I can't think of an awful lot of examples of shows and movies I've seen where the women's feelings are trivialized for the sake of exploring the men's feelings. (Although I can think of a number where older people's feelings are trivialized for the sake of exploring the teenagers' endless angst. Love the ageism, Hollywood.) Maybe I'm watching all the wrong things!
La Reine Noire: Wimminz!lareinenoire on July 14th, 2013 10:28 pm (UTC)
I'm guilty as charged when it comes to using the term "manpain," but I'd say the female equivalent for a very long time was, simply, "hysteria." It is stereotyping and dismissive, yes, but sometimes I do find that it's accurate. Lev Grossman's The Magicians or Salinger's Carcher in the Rye are both books that I'd describe as being full of "manpain."

I admit, I liked a lot of things about Inception (including the fact that apparently it is a very useful way to explain Act III Scene III of Othello to my undergraduates), but the ubiquitous dead wife is a trope I am heartily sick of.
tempestsarekind: amy and her boystempestsarekind on July 15th, 2013 02:55 am (UTC)
I read enough angry posts about Lev Grossman's book on Tumblr to decide that I really shouldn't read it!

I just remember being so upset about Inception, because of its failure to do anything interesting with the dream world. You could do *anything*, tell so many interesting stories about dream-logic and the subconscious...and then it was basically a heist film, with lots of shooting. :(

La Reine Noire: Catelareinenoire on July 15th, 2013 03:52 am (UTC)
The thing about Grossman is that it was recommended to me by a good friend who described it as Hogwarts College, so I actually enjoyed the first half of the book. Then the second half sort of does its own thing and the hero goes from an emo but still somewhat interesting character to an emo asshole, and a few other very stupid things happen.

I can see what you mean that it was a great concept but used for a silly plotline. The concept is brilliant and the visuals were brilliant, but it really was a heist film in the end.
tempestsarekind: death and dreamtempestsarekind on July 15th, 2013 02:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, I remember seeing it described that way - luckily there's so much of a lag between my to-be-read list and my actual reading that people started writing criticisms online well before I started reading. :)

Inception was gorgeous to look at; I just remember yelling goofy things like "where are all the men with bunny heads?!?" at my TV screen. (...I guess this is what I think of when I think of dreams? Although I *did* have a recurring childhood nightmare about a man with a balloon head...)
litlover12 on July 15th, 2013 03:21 am (UTC)
"I'd say the female equivalent for a very long time was, simply, 'hysteria.'"

Good point!
tempestsarekind: ten and martha have three hearts betweentempestsarekind on July 15th, 2013 02:44 am (UTC)
Oops, sorry! :)

I think it's also called "fridging" sometimes, and that form happens a *lot* - some guy's girlfriend or wife gets murdered in episode one, to give him something to fight for or some hidden pain to motivate him and make him "sympathetic." Supernatural, Life on Mars, The Mentalist... A lot of female characters hardly exist at all, except to provide angst for the male lead. And I guess that's why...well, I don't want to say I'm okay with the term being dismissive, but the point, for me, is that it happens so often as to *be* stereotypical, so I think it deserves an easily recognizable term: "look, here it is, yet AGAIN."

Edited at 2013-07-15 02:50 am (UTC)
litlover12 on July 15th, 2013 04:25 am (UTC)
It's okay, I don't mind "Doctor Who" spoilers. :-)

Yes, I see what you mean about fridging. That does seem to happen a lot.
tempestsarekind: martha jones is a startempestsarekind on July 15th, 2013 02:48 pm (UTC)
Phew - that's good!

Yeah, and any one instance could be an effective storytelling move, but when it happens in bulk, it sets my teeth on edge.