Joyless New York Times movie critic Manohla Dargis took to the Sunday Arts & Leisure page to spoil yet another summer movie season by ranting about the alleged paucity of roles for women on film: “The Living Is Easy; The Women Are Missing.”
If you’re a woman who roared, snorted or sniggered at 'Bridesmaids,' if you like watching other women on screen, you should see it again. Because that hit comedy written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo and directed by Paul Feig, turns out to be one of the few occasions this summer when you can enjoy a movie about and with women released by a major studio. From now through August, American films will again be almost all male, almost all the time (the occasional decorative gal pal notwithstanding) as this year’s boys of summer -- the Green Lantern and Captain America, Conan the Barbarian and Conan O’Brien -- invade the multiplex, seizing media-entertainment minds and your dollars.
This is an update of the argument Dargis unleashed both on May 1 of this year and in the summer of 2008, when she slammed that year's crop of summer movies for the sin of featuring men as leads: “Iron Man, Batman, Big Angry Green Man -- to judge from the new popcorn season it seems as if Hollywood has realized that the best way to deal with its female troubles is to not have any, women, that is.”
Newt Gingrich: He’s No Mario Cuomo
"Whatever can Newt Gingrich be thinking? That’s the question a lot of political handicappers are asking now that Newt, as he is universally known in Washington, has decided to enter the 2012 campaign, with an announcement expected on Wednesday. Until recently, most of my colleagues assumed that the former speaker of the House, who flirted with running four years ago, was merely doing the same thing now, just to stay in the news. I mean, let’s be unsparing about this: Mr. Gingrich has never been elected to anything outside his old Congressional district in Georgia." – Political writer Matt Bai on former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, May 11.
"If you were a kid in the Northeast during the 1980s, as I was, there is something awesome -- in the literal sense -- about sitting across a desk from Mario Cuomo, even if he now misplaces names and occasionally grasps for the point of an anecdote that has fluttered just out of reach. He was, at that time, the anti-Reagan, a powerful and resonant voice of dissent in the age of "Top Gun" and Alex P. Keaton. Cuomo, Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson were the three titans of the day who seemed to possess the defiance needed to rescue liberalism from obsolescence." – Bai in an April 10 Sunday Magazine profile of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.
New York Times movie critics Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott spray the new crop of summer flicks with a dose of liberal guilt in Sunday’s “Gosh, Sweetie, That’s a Big Gun.” Dargis in particular just can’t be pleased with how women are portrayed by Hollywood. Three years ago she greeted the summer season with "Is There a Real Woman in This Multiplex?” On Sunday she lamented that the women on screen today are the wrong kind of women, criticizing a scene from "Meek's Cutoff" in embarrassing feminist/Freudian academic language, circa 1968: "I just don’t believe that scene where her character pulls out a rifle to protect the wagon train’s Indian prisoner -- or should I say when she takes possession of the symbolic phallus."
The introductory paragraph set the tone:
The summer season brings the usual cavalcade of testosterone-fueled action heroes, including Thor, the Green Lantern, Captain America and Conan the Barbarian. But action-movie derring-do is not always an exclusively male preserve, and in the last year some women and girls -- Evelyn Salt, Lisbeth Salander and the lingerie-clad avengers of “Sucker Punch,” among others -- have been shooting and not just clawing their way into macho territory. Is this empowerment or exploitation? Feminism or fetishism?