Women On Film – The Week In Women, January 23, 2009 – MaryAnn Johanson

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Crawl back under the covers on this frigid Friday morning: it’s been a terrible week for women.

Thank God it’s Friday, because this has not been a great week for women.

Another female voice in film criticism was cut off when Time Out New York fired reviewer Melissa Anderson, “possible the latest casualty of old-media’s collapse,” Indiewire suggests).

And, as Eleanor Ringel pointed out here at AWFJ, the Oscars passed over honoring the women who created challenging and unconventional portraits of women in favor of the very traditional ones.

A quick example of the low regard in which even those women who were nominated are held by even the entertainment press: MSNBC’s Courtney Hazlett, who’s presumably quite highly paid to be knowledgeable about movies, dismissed Frozen River because, apparently, she’d never heard of the film. (Media Matters reports more about Hazlett’s infuriating ignorance, complete with video!) And MSNBC managed to misspell the names of three of the five Best Actress nominees:

But even more egregeous is the New Yorker‘s story about how Hollywood’s movie marketing highlights the disdain the industry has for women: it all comes down to “the stuff that tugs on the ovary,” movie marketer Tim Palen maintains in the piece. Even when he has evidence that directly contradicts his own preconceptions about what audiences want and how to sell it to them, he ignores it. Example: Siobhan Fallon Hogan apparently got most of the laughs at a test screening of the upcoming Renée Zellweger comedy, New in Town, but Palen insists, “I can’t sell her.” In contrast, Jezebel’s excellent takedown reflects the female audience’s perspective on Hollywood’s movie marketing.

OH, HONEY: Kate Hudson’s tired of playing ditzy girsl, and is demanding that Hollywood acquiesce to her desire for better roles. WENN News at IMDb quotes Hudson’s comments to Elle magazine thusly:

“Do I want darker roles? If course. It has to be right though. I’m not just going to make a movie that’s, ‘Oh she’s a whore, prostitute and heroin addict.'”

And Hudson blames her predicament on moviegoers, adding, “It is very hard to get female-driven movies made. It’s hard to get boys into the theatre. It’s a business. That’s just the way it is unfortunate for us ladies. What you need is a high concept; a movie that women want to see that men don’t feel like you’re twisting their arm to see.”

Honey, Hollywood doesn’t care what we women want. That’s right, not even you. Here’s some advice: Take some some of your millions, find a great script by a female writer who understands women, option that script. Then hire a great female director to direct it. Then you star in it. Then sell it to women (and men) who are desperate to see a great movie about an interesting woman. Maybe you won’t make a hundred million at the box office, but it‘s time to decide what you really want.

STILL TOO THIN, BUT…: Billie Piper, star of Showtime’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl, has stated — publicly–what we all feel: Getting back into shape is the most boring thing in the world. The actress, who gave birth to son Winston in October, has been trying to lose her baby weight before filming starts for her new Secret Diary Of A Call Girl series.

“It’s boring and hellish, I’m sure, but if you’ve got to bare your ass on TV, you don’t want it to look bad.”

I could say something here about not baring your ass on TV, but I’ll refrain.

STAMP OF APPROVAL: Ever wanted to lick Cate Blanchett?

Opportunity strikes when the actress’ face appears on a series of Aussie postage stamps to be issued on her countrys national day. IMDb News quotes Blanchett’s delight:

“I am utterly, deeply, humbled and chuffed by the fact that I’m a stamp. I’m going to be licked by millions of Australians and I can’t wait. It is also recognising the value of the arts in Australia. It brings it into general consumption and if I’m part of that, I feel intensely proud,” says Blanchett.

(Also newly lickable in commemoration of Australia Day on January 26: Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Geoffrey Rush.)


Movies Opening Today: The children’s fantasy adventure Inkheart features a young teen heroine, played by the lovely Eliza Bennett. And the most feminist movie of the year not nominated for enough Oscars, Revolutionary Road, goes into wide release today. If you think Kate Winslet is fine in The Reader — and she is very fine indeed — then you must see her even more delicate and shaded performance here.

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at FlickFilosopher.com, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her AWFJ.org archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).