Tag Archives: movies

“Fight Club” for women?

I finally watched Fight Club a few weeks ago. My review? An underwhelming “so what?” At the most basic level, it is easy to buy into the notion of challenging and/or rejecting the consumerist culture. Being liberated from the shackles of supposed need is an alluring daydream as I sit in front of a computer forty hours a week, drinking lattes, and making enough to buy the key on-trend items that identify me as belonging in a sea of other well-educated, city-dwelling, East coast, middle class 20-somethings. See that Marc Jacobs [insert Longchamps’ Le Pliage for a related sub-group] bag as I sit here tapping away on my iPhone? Oh, yes, I belong. I am one of them. I am one of you, so all is well with me.

I belong, so I dream of breaking out of the confines belonging imposes. But what if I refuse to make that tradeoff anymore? Enter Fight Club. Or Office Space. Or any of the other movies that tap so well into the vein of discomfort running through the shallow monotony of the modern middle class existence. Guy gets tired of his Ikea clad, TPS report producing existence and says, “no more.” Guy reverts to more “primitive” existence of fighting, manual labor, picking up women, etc.

And they are, for the most part, all guys, these cult hero, fight “The Man” types. Which brings me back around to my initial, “so what?” Sure, I can appreciate it for its theatrical entertainment value, but it is interesting that there is no obvious female corollary there.

What would it even look like? Reverting to the “primitive” days before white-collar office work would look like…what? I would venture to say nothing resembling a daydream for most women like me. Even if one eliminates the oft-cited “sex sells” mentality, which is a handmaiden to consumerist culture and feeds into the objectification of women generally and the idealization of a certain type or look of woman more particularly, one is left with another culture in which the situation isn’t much better.

Any way you slice it, the female experience does not lend itself to the same sort of escapist fantasies. I would suggest the opportunities my generation has make modern life the closest thing to a fantasy paradigm one can imagine, which does not make for a very entertaining movie or an encouraging commentary on the models society has and continues to envision for women.

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Bring on the popcorn, with a side of social change

I saw the movie “Milk” the other night. It once again demonstrated Sean Penn’s incredible talent as an actor far and away makes up for his occasional bizarre bouts of political commentary. Seriously a great performance on his part and a movie that is worth seeing.

I would be remiss in not mentioning how disappointing it is to think we are still dealing with some of the same issues vis a vis gay rights all these years (decades!) later. Or how the talk of Prop 6 made me think about Prop 8, which always makes me think of my lovely college friend who moved to California a little while back and married her girlfriend over the summer. That their marriage, like so many others, is caught up in that absurd mess makes me more than a little angry.

However, that terrain has been covered backwards and forwards, so I want to spend a moment touching on a less obvious angle. The movie begins when Penn’s character, Harvey Milk, is just an anonymous 40 year old nine-to-fiver in NYC. He was 40 years old before he even had an inkling of getting involved in politics and he went on to both symbolize and galvanize a movement on a national level. Just goes to show it’s never too late and one is never too “ordinary” to do great things that make an impact in one’s life, community, or even the world.

Almost turkey week links

RealClearWorld (RCP’s site focusing on international relations rather than obsessive polling analysis) has a great article about who will be the cause of Obama’s first “3am phone call.” I definitely agree with their No. 1 ranking… http://tinyurl.com/5pq4sj

NYT article on Obama giving up his BlackBerry and maybe email in general. Seriously? Doesn’t make much sense in today’s world… http://tinyurl.com/6jncql

Cautionary note on getting caught up in the entertainment instead of the substance of politics (for those already looking to 2012)… http://tinyurl.com/67spfq

And, in looking ahead toward the weekend, I think this movie will be worth seeing… http://www.foxsearchlight.com/slumdogmillionaire/