I came to the 90’s action party late.
Sure, I watched a few Arnie movies as a kid, but those were the blatantly child-friendly movies. I’m talking Kindergarten Cop and Jingle All The Way, fun romps to be sure, but nothing to prepare me for the awakening I had last year.
It all began when John convinced me to watch his favourite films from the 90’s (and a few from the 80’s). I decided to indulge my husband’s nostalgia. How was I to know it would end in an movie obsession that would leave me with a classic-action-movie-sized hole, never to be filled? I’ve had a hard time identifying what it is about these action movies that is still so appealing, so I thought I’d write a post trying to figure it out.
They’re Intensely Optimistic
I recently watched Sicario. It was an intense action (/crime/thriller) flick that follows the story of Kate Macer “an idealistic FBI agent [who] is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico”. While it was certainly a thought-provoking and well-executed film, it was also reeeaaaalllllllllyyy depressing.
Have you ever noticed that? Some of the “best” films out there also happen to be the ones that leave you feeling like you’ve been punched in the gut. Perhaps it’s the gritty realism of contemporary films that sets them apart from previous action films, but that realism also prevents them from being a true escape from real-world troubles.
If you go back and watch almost any 90’s action movie you can go into it knowing your protagonist won’t come out of his adventure emotionally scarred. Instead, you know he’ll just rampage across your screen, kicking butt and taking names.
With an endless amount of bullets.
Posted in film, writing
Tagged 80s, 90s, action movies, antagonist, Arnold schwarzenegger, bad, bad guy, depressing, Expendables, female, film, genre, good, good guy, hero, imaginary, male, millennium, one liners, one-dimensional, protagonist, reflect, Sarah Connor, sarcastic, Sicario, side-kick, superhero, thought-provoking, wish fullfillment
I know. Pretty well every woman with a computer has written about how great Mad Max: Fury Road was. I actually meant to write about it last week, but then I decided that I needed to address the news about the Duggars instead.
Not only am I late to the Mad Max conversation, but when I went to write about this post I came across the video I’ve included below, which succinctly summarizes many of the points I was hoping to make.
Even though Rowan Ellis beat me to the punch with several of her points, I loved this movie too much not to add my two cents. I also wanted to dig deeper into some of the feminist identities offered in the film and how they impacted me as a female viewer. Spoilers, obviously.
Furiosa: The Tough, Capable Woman
Furiosa is, of course, the first person anyone is going to think of when I say “strong female character”. She is a brave, intelligent, and capable character. I also love that she isn’t sexualized by the camera angles, and that we aren’t forced to view her through the male gaze.
As much as I absolutely love Furiosa, she doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. We’ve already had hardcore, confident female leaders like Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley since the 80’s. And as much as I want to be like Furiosa, I don’t always feel myself reflected in these kind of figures. Sometimes that’s okay, sometimes all I want is to escape into the kind of fantasy where I can imagine myself kicking ass and taking names. However, it can be discouraging when movies only have one type of “strong female character” to offer. While I absolutely love female heroes like Furiosa, I really loved having less capable heroines in Mad Max as well. Heroines who were well-rounded and brave in spite of their weaknesses and fears. Continue reading
Posted in feminism, film
Tagged abusive, ally, almost, capable, Cinema Blend, Colin Stacey, Community, cool, criticism, damsels, death, Ellen Ripley, Eve Ensler, family, female, feminine, feminism, feminist hero, Fragile, Furiosa, George Miller, heroic, idealistic, Immortan Joe, Kate Leth, Mad Max, masculinist, mourn, nurture, Nux, Orient, people of color, POC, power, preserve, privilege, prizes, rape, reformed, Sarah Connor, sexual violence, Splendid, survivors, the Congo, The Dag, the green place, the Keeper of the Seeds, the Many Mothers, The Vagina Monologues, titillate, toast, Tom Hardy, toxic masculinity, Transformers, treasures, Tumblr, Valhalla, violent, vulnerability, vulnerable, Vuvalini, warboys, we are not things, west
I used to cry a lot as a kid. A lot. I had all the feels and I didn’t know what to do with them.
I was also a pretty uncoordinated kid. I mean, nothing spectacular (I only broke a couple bones), but enough to make me suck at the only thing that mattered in elementary school: winning stuff. Being stuck as “it” for hours at a time in grounders or tag really gets the spirit low, so, as you might expect, I spent a lot of recesses crying.
My mom loves to tell this one story from back when she worked at my school. She had been helping a friend of mine with her homework one day and when this friend became frustrated she had reminded her that “Some people are good at spelling, some people are good at sports, etc. Everyone has something that they are good at, and everybody has something we need to work on.”
Later that day, I came dead last in a race (my mom likes to emphasize this part when she tells the story, often repeating herself with “and I mean dead last“). Anyways, after coming dead last in this race I retreated to a distance to cry my eyes out. This same friend of mine came over and put her arm around me. Then she started to tell me “You know Katherine, some people are good at spelling, some people are good at sports…”
You get the gist of it. I used to cry a lot. Then, one day on the playground, a kid called me a “cry-baby”. I don’t remember who it was, but I remember clenching my fists and swearing to myself “I will never cry again!” Continue reading
Posted in feminism
Tagged cry, Danielle Debarbarac, emotional, emotions, failure, feeling, feminine, feminism, Feminist, gender, gender roles, girly-girl, Men, role models, Sarah Connor, sensitive, sensitivity, stoic, strong, Taken, tears, tough, weak, women, Zooey Dechanel