What the eff, Hollywood?
I went to see Transformers the other day (Shut up!), and was treated to the delightful previews. There was a preview for the new Adam Sandler flick, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. See, they're fire fighters, but there's something about them needing to be married to make sure that their families can get the money if they die. Or something. The point is, they pretend to be gay! See, that's funny! The preview includes the brilliant comedy bits you'd expect: When told they can kiss at the wedding, Adam Sandler punches Kevin James instead, and says something about "Yeah, that's how we are in our family." Which, of course, gets a knowing look and an "Ooooooh" from the man officiating the ceremony. Oh, and the hill-are-ee-us scene where Jessica Biel strips to her underware in front of Adam Sandler because, you know, he's gay, right? And she makes him feel her breasts. Because they're real.
Anyway. Yeah, looks like a real flippin' winner, this one. Nothing screams comedy like men pretending to be The Gay.
And if that wasn't enough brain smashing comedy genius, I got to see a preview for Rush Hour 3, as well! See, it's a loud black man, and a martial artist Asian man! And they have wacky hijinks! Woooooaaaaah! Ker-azy!
Yeah. It looks awesome. Especially the part where they're in France, and a Chinese man shouts something in French at Tucker, and Tucker responds "You Asian, man, stop embarrassin' yourself!"
I hate that. I really do. It's not that race or sex or other statuses can't be used to great comedic effect. They can. It's just that the majority of Hollywood writers seem quite content to play it low. They're not looking to poke fun at stereotypes, they're looking to reinforce them. It's possible to poke fun of and subvert stereotypes for comedy, but, far too often, being gay/black/female is the joke. If your whole schtick is "Look, I'm a man pretending to be gay! I loooove fashion." then you're not being clever. Sorry to break the news to you.
And before anyone says it: No, I havne't seem them yet. Maybe I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry will be awesome. Maybe it'll expose some of the very real and very harmful bigotry that homosexuals still face in our society. That'd be awesome. As it stands, though, the preview plays to that very same sort of bigotry. Stereotypes of homosexuality are funny. Har. Har.
Speaking of movies and previews:
Most of us have heard the news about the billboard ads and the lead-in to Captivity. Joss Whedon put up an impressive missive on his site after seeing the ads and watching the trailer. It was, shall we say, a shit storm. The news on the release party- suicide girls, cage fighters, live torture rooms, something "probably not legal" etc...- didn't help. That the party was touted as a "personal little tribute" to "women's groups" didn't, either. The whole thing painted a pretty bleak picture.
And that's the thing that's interesting to me: I know it shouldn't be a surprise, but it is. The whole controversy? All the "it's a movie about kidnapping, torturing, and murdering a woman"? It's all smoke and mirrors.
It's all PR bullshit meant to drum up controversy in support of the movie. From reviews of people who've seen the movie, and from the many posts you can find online, it's pretty clear that the whole thing was manufactured. It's all a scam. All the posters and billboards and the buzz around it being about her getting tortured and murdered? Intentional controversy to get people's interest piqued.
Which, ultimately, brought a question to my mind:
Which is worse? A guy who makes a movie about kidnapping, torturing and murdering a woman because he's an asshat who thinks that is totally awesome, or a guy who makes a movie where the woman escapes, but uses shitty adverts to sell it?