I don’t have good taste in movies. I freely admit it. I have seen Balls of Fury more times than I can count, and I still think Independence Day was a little bit of a masterpiece. But I call serious shenanigans on every single review of The Virgin Suicides that talks about how it’s a thoughtful representation of the adolescent female mystique, or some such baloney.
Here are the first two lines of Roger Ebert’s review: “It is not important how the Lisbon sisters looked. What is important is how the teenage boys in the neighborhood thought they looked.”
Does anyone else see the problem with that?
And this, from the New York Times review: “The deaths of the Lisbon sisters are equivalent to the destruction of the elm trees that line their street: they are beautiful and it’s sad to lose them, but they have no inner life.”
I am so over retro, coming-of-age-in-the-summer movies about pasty misunderstood teenage boys. More to the point, I am so over the two-dimensional objects of their desire. Or wait — not even desire, in many cases. Usually, the protagonist is afflicted by some sort of weird combination of fetishization and worship. The female characters — if they can even be called that; their sole purpose seems to be riding vintage bikes in short-shorts with their mouths open — do little more than provide an excuse to dress fifteen-year-old girls in beachwear and film them in slow motion against a soundtrack of dreamy seventies pop. Did AnnaSophia Robb even have any lines in The Way Way Back? (For that matter, did Toni Collette’s Pam have a single defining characteristic, other than “girlfriend of philandering asshat” and “parental failure?”)
Let’s have some films where girls aren’t there just to idolize. Let’s have films about girls who have just as many Feelings as their male counterparts; who have interests and passions and ideas; who are weird and misunderstood; who are not defined by the people around them.
Howl’s Moving Castle
What are your suggestions?