AWFJ Women On Film – The Week In Women, March 27, 2009 – MaryAnn Johanson

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Women screenwriters are oh so cute! And so are 50-foot-tall Reese Witherspoons!

GIRLS ARE WEIRD BUT PRETTY. “Don’t even try to credit their bankability to their looks,” writes Deborah Schoeneman in The New York Times this week, deep into her story on a cabal of four female screenwriters — Dana Fox, Liz Meriwether, Lorene Scafaria, and Oscar winner Diablo Cody — taking Hollywood by storm. Which would be great, if Schoeneman hadn’t started off her piece like this:

CROSS-LEGGED in one director’s chair was Lorene Scafaria — black pants, brown high heels, amused gaze — leaning in to ask the next question. Waiting to answer, cross-legged in another, was Diablo Cody, struggling to keep her short blue dress from riding up.

The two women, both 30, both screenwriters at the top of their game, both gorgeous, looked as if they were about to crack up. Ms. Scafaria turned to the audience.

“This is weird because we hang out a lot,” she said. “We’ve seen each other naked.”

Yeah, and they occasionally write screenplays, too, apparently. But they’re so cute! And scary!

The Fempire’s solid front — all four wear the same gold necklaces with tiny heart pendants inscribed with words that can’t be printed here, gifts from Ms. Cody — seems to make some men nervous and envious at the same time.

“I adore them and I’m terrified of them,” said Jason Reitman, who directed “Juno.” “There’s so much talent packed in the group. Writing is such a solitary activity. The idea that they have each other is quite lovely. When I think of the four of them together, writing, of course I’m jealous.”

But it’s not all about making the boys jealous!

“I flew to New York a couple times to hold Diablo’s bag when she was doing press,” said Ms. Fox, who also held Ms. Scafaria’s handbag at the Toronto Film Festival. (This is usually a job relegated to publicists.) “I love holding my ladies’ bags.”

I’m all for gal supporting other gals, of course, and in such a male-dominated industry as film, it’s even more important, but is this really the most important aspects of the lives and work of these women the Times could be focusing on? Can we expect to hear all about Seth Rogen holding Judd Apatow’s bag next?

I didn’t think so.

DECLINE AND FALL OF THE CRITICAL EMPIRE, ITEM NO. 7,498. The tidal

wave of critics being forced out of print jobs is now stretching to their bosses… maybe. Editor & Publisher reports:

Just six months after becoming Associated Press entertainment editor, Genetta Adams has resigned, giving no formal reason, AP officials said Tuesday.

AP spokesman Paul Colford confirmed the resignation, but offered no other details, stating in an e-mail: “Genetta Adams resigned from the AP. Her successor will be named later.”

Contacted at her New York home, Adams also declined comment, stating she had left and “pretty much that’s all I have to say.”

The no-details thing sets off alarms for me. I wonder if a successor will be named at all…

OPENING THIS WEEK. Reese Witherspoon is the nicest 50-foot-woman ever

to attack anything in Monsters vs. Aliens, a sweet animated cheese puff of a movie that rips on 50s monster flicks yet gives a woman a more central — and vital — rolen than the genre ever offered… even in the original 50-foot-woman movie. That’s the kind of not-retro retro we like. But it’s the usual cheeseball nonsense in the weekend’s other wide releases: a woman is the bait for the bad guy and the prize for the good guy in 12 Rounds, and a woman

is nothing but superconcerned mom in The Haunting in Connecticut. How is it that the supposedly modern stories are the throwbacks?

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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 Women On Film archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).