The Shitty Miracle of “The Women.”

I recently read a fun article at The A.V. Club called “Shitty Miracles,” which refers to projects so stunningly bad one wonders how they were ever greenlighted. The staff of A.V. Club seemed to have so much fun recalling their “favorite” shitty miracles, I thought I’d give it a go myself.

Since “The Room” was mentioned in the Q&A I decided not to discuss it here. Besides, “The Room” is not shitty. It is unbelievably wonderful, a transcendent movie-going experience.  If you looked up the phrase “so bad it’s good” in the dictionary, there’d be a picture of Tommy Wiseau winking impishly.

How I felt when I watched the remake of "The Women"

How I felt when I watched the remake of “The Women”

So I’m stuck picking another, erm, winner. And that has to be the 2008 remake of the 1939 classic, “The Women.” Now, the original “Women” is one of my favorite, if not my straight-up favorite film of all time. It is a fast-paced, fast-talking, funny, snarky, silly, feminist (in its own twisted, antiquated way) film about an extremely privileged woman who’s dealing with her beloved husband’s infidelity and her circle of friends’ reaction to her turmoil.

If the original “Women” was sparkly, chilled champagne, the remake is a bottle of Peach Riunite that was left in the sun. It has no bubble, no verve and might make you throw up.

Low Points:

  • The casting. It was terrible all-around, but special mention must go to the casting director who’s answer to “Get me a smart, snarky, jaded, single writer” was “I know–Jada Pinkett-Smith!” Not Aisha Tyler. Not Janeane Garafolo. Not Margaret Cho. Jada fucking Pinkett. What’s worse, was that the character was inexplicably made into a lesbian apparently so she could stand around being lesbian and saying lesbianish things like “Hey, that woman who’s banging your husband sure is hot.” I do give the writers credit for not having her wax poetic about trips to the Home Depot, but this movie is such a huge mish-mash of moronic non-sequitors, they probably had to stop somewhere.
  • At one point the twiggy tween daughter  (who worries about being fat) talks about her father finding her mother’s “coming into her own” sexy. Daughters talking about their mother’s being sexy is dead creepy. Full stop.
  • At not one, but two, points in the film, the extraordinarily annoying Sylvia character has over-earnest, goofy, feminist primer sessions with the possibly-more-annoying tween. Feminism is awesome. Talking to young girls about feminism is also awesome. Doing it in a clunky, dated, “where the hell did that come from?” way is not awesome. Oh, and the 1990’s called and it wants its feminist issues back. PLUS, I’m a liberal, not a wingnut. I don’t need my films to be rife with smarmy, obvious propaganda that confirms my worldview.
  • The original film nods earnestly–albeit quickly–to the main character’s privilege. And somehow the the time period of the film makes the first world problems of these women seem less irritating. Not so for the remake. Somehow the idea of these thoroughly unappealing women pondering love and loss and how hard it it is for a tough-talking rich woman to get by in the magazine business kind of makes me want to vomit. I simply don’t care. Honestly, the movie would have been better if they–along with their first world problems– had all click-clacked their way in their Manolos–or Jimmy Choos or whatever the hell idiots wear these days– into the middle of the street and been run over by trucks. Also, “Sex and the City” wants its…everything… back. (Although, to be fair, SATC was occasionally funny and goodness knows the “Women” remake didn’t steal that from the show.)

I don’t know how the film managed take everything that was good about the original film–its crisp dialogue, its amazing cast, its catty humor– and turn it on its head. So instead of a soapy treat about women and their relationships, you get the treat of watching a horribly mis-cast, humorless pile of shit with leaden dialogue and feminist propaganda disguised as a meandering plot.

Feminism is great. I am proudly and rabidly feminist. The most feminist aspect of “The Women” is it that features no men. If you don’t understand the visual and psychological impact of that, you have no business remaking the film.

P.S. : WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SHITTY MIRACLE?

Is It OK to Say a Movie is Boring?

The great thing about twitter conversations is that there’s no need to shorthand them. Here’s a quick, easy read wherein a really nice guy in my twitter feed says he was bored by “Blade Runner.” Which kinda shocked and thrilled me, because even though I think “Blade Runner “is stunningly gorgeous and impactful, I also think it’s pretty flawed. (Although decidedly not boring.)

“The Masterbat0r” is more like it. But, to be fair, those two lingering shots of the boat waves really helped to advance the plot. 

I find that most people demure when it comes to the subject of movie-induced boredom, especially when discussing critically-acclaimed films, and I’m not sure that’s a healthy impulse. Some films–even films with a lot of merit– are just boring, and I think it should be ok to say so. What do you think?

See me once, shame on…shame on you. See me…you can’t get seen again.

LGM has a great thread here talking about movies that cannot “be unseen,” referring to films that are particularly memorable, and not for any reason you’d like for a thing to be memorable.  There are a lot of horror films mentioned in the thread, but the “unseen” criterion doesn’t necessarily refer to horror, and people mentioned everything from dramas about drug use to trippy musicals (Tommy, which, yes, is disturbing at times). I was wondering what movies you’ve seen that cannot be unseen…and that you probably never plan on seeing again. I was also wondering if there were any films out there you’d like to see–for shits and grins–but are hesitant to watch.
I participated in the LGM discussion. The films that sprung to mind were:

The Hills Have Eyes (remake)

The Ordeal

Martyrs

The Ring

Three Extremes

I could actually watch these films again…but it’s always going to be a butt-clenching experience for me.
There are several films I “want” to see, but cannot work up the nerve:

Inside

Salo

A Serbian Film

Gummo

Julien Donkey-Boy

Sweet Movie

I may update this post as I  think of more movies.

Now you go.