Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #1026: Random Drippings From The Brain Pan


French actress Audrey Tautou told the UK Independent that she doesn't care to work in Hollywood. 

This is not because of any antipathy towards America, American films, or American filmmakers, quite the opposite is true. She says she loves American movies and working with Americans. What she can't stand, what keeps her holding Hollywood at a distance, is the constant and merciless scrutiny that Hollywood gives women's bodies.

She's right.

We've all seen it, people constantly harping on who looks fat, who looks too thin, and who has done something or wore something that keeps them from matching some sort of unattainable ideal without radical surgery that usually leaves them looking like someone wearing a leather mask that's supposed to be of someone attractive but it doesn't quite fit right.

Naturally, we feel the need to blame someone for this problem, and the usual suspect is something the academics like to call "The Male Gaze." The Male Gaze is an unconscious desire to feed men's unconscious desire to ogle and objectify women by assuming the narrative stance of a heterosexual male.

My first problem, is that the desire to ogle women is not totally unconscious in heterosexual men, but my second problem is that you can't blame Hollywood's treatment of women, especially the almost sadistic scrutiny they get in the media on men.

Look at where the most intense scrutiny occurs: The E! Network, home of that cackling harridan Joan Rivers who judges women's appearances all the time, tabloid newspapers, gossip web-sites & TV shows, and fashion magazines.

What do all those things have in common?

Their main audience is women.

Then there's the whole film/fashion/celebrity nexus. To be considered a "star" an actress has to get a lot of magazine covers, because too many of them need the hype to cover up their real box-office performance. Outside of a handful of magazines aimed at men, the bulk are targeted at women, and tightly linked to the fashion industry which has a standard of beauty that goes beyond Hollywood's traditional juvenile dementia to essentially turn women into glorified clothes hangers.

And I don't think it's going to get any better, in fact, I fear it's getting worse.

I recently heard a possibly apocryphal, but believable story of an actress who was in the range of unbelievably beautiful when she was a teen starlet in the 1980s. As a prank she put a picture of herself at 17 into a stack of head-shots of young actresses being considered for a CW type teen show for girls by a friend who was a casting agent. The casting agent saw the photo didn't recognize who it was and immediately said: "No way, too fat, too ethnic."

Is there a solution to this problem?

Yes, but it requires a change in the mindset not only of Hollywood, but of a certain segment of the audience as well.

You know who you are.


Theatre owners would like shorter trailers so they can have a faster turnover in screenings. Studios are naturally hemming and hawing, but I have a suggestion to solve this problem. Take out all the stupid spoilers they put in trailers and they'll be naturally shorter.

It's bad enough that I usually guess correctly how a story is going to turn out, I don't need to have the few possible surprises blown by the trailer.


Skyfall did boffo box-office and got great reviews, and Sony/MGM would like Sam Mendes to jump straight back in and do the next Bond movie, even if it means delaying production. Some are even saying it's already a done deal.
If you ever think of recasting...

Personally, I think no one director should do consecutive Bond films. Part of what's kept the franchise vital over the years is that it's not wed completely to a single star or filmmaker, and it would be a mistake to start doing that now.

Let someone who isn't JJ Abrams, who is doing every other franchise, do it, then have Mendes back. It'll give everyone the breathing room they need to keep their creativity fresh, and force the other guy to bring his A-Game in attempt to top Mendes and Skyfall.

1 comment:

  1. I remember Mallard Fillmore once doing a joke (though i can't find it now) that if you looked at them, Men's magazines, their women seemed a lot more "real" and less photoshoped than women's.

    Making one wonder if men have ever really been the enemy of women... (I always thought we were their biggest fans)