Thursday, December 17, 2009

'Crash as best picture? What the fuck.'

Provocative read: Jezebel's interview with the outspoken New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis, on the state of the Oscars, Hollywood sexism, the lack of viable women directors and Judd Apatow as the lodestar of contemporary romantic comedy. Excerpts:

On the success of director Kathryn Bigelow's war movie “The Hurt Locker”: Something like a woman winning best director for directing an action movie and not a romantic comedy is symbolically important. Whether it then leads to a lot of women doing things outside of the pathetic comfort zone of romantic comedy--and I say that as someone who loves romantic comedy--we'll see. We know that because women are allowed to make romantic comedies that they can make romantic comedies. That's in everyone's comfort zone. The idea that a woman can be a great action director is not is everyone's comfort zone. That's [Bigelow's] exceptionalism.

On the Oscars: Let's acknowledge that the Oscars are bullshit and we hate them. But they are important commercially... I've learned to never underestimate the academy's bad taste. “Crash” as best picture? What the fuck.

On male and female directors being held to different standards (e.g., Bigelow and Michael Mann): Do you think that a woman would have been able to get forty million dollars to make a puppet movie the way that Wes Anderson has been able to make, bringing to bear all the publicity and advertising budget of Fox? After two movies that didn't make a lot of money? I think this is true for a lot of black filmmakers too--they're held to a higher standard. And an unfair standard. You can be a male filmmaker and if you're perceived as a genius--a boy genius or a fully-formed adult genius--that you are allowed to fail in a way that a woman is not allowed to fail.

On why so many romantic comedies are so terrible: One, the people making them have no fucking taste, two, they're morons, three they're insulting panderers who think they're making movies for the great unwashed and that's what they want. I love romantic movies. I absolutely do. But I literally don't know what's happening. I think it's depressing that Judd Apatow makes the best romantic comedies and they're about men. All power to Apatow, but he's taken and repurposed one of the few genres historically made for women... We had so few [genres] that were made specifically for the female audience and now the best of them are being made by Judd Apatow. But what are his movies supposed to be about? Nominally about the relationship between a man and a woman, but they're really buddy flicks. “Funny People” was supposed to have an important role for a woman, but she was uninteresting and an afterthought.

Piqued? More of the penetrating stuff here.

Go watch The Hurt Locker on DVD. And boo to the Golden Globes for snubbing Jeremy Renner as Best Actor.

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