Sunday, November 08, 2015

The feminist film classic of the 90s

Two weeks ago, we wrote "Feminist Classic Films of the 90s" and we got a ton of e-mails.

A ton.

Loraine was outraged that BOYS ON THE SIDE didn't "get a shout out" but if she'd read Jim's "A note to our readers" that week, she would have seen this, "12 films make our top ten -- and there were more and we almost did honorable mention.  Since I (Jim) am married to Dona I have to note her pick BOYS ON THE SIDE."

It was very difficult to choose the best.


Randi e-mailed that Leslie Dixon wrote a great script for OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE and that Bette Midler and Shelley Long were an amazing comedic team.

"How could you ignore that?"  she wondered.

Though it didn't make the list, we haven't ignored the film.

We do a regular feature here called Film Classics Of The 20th Century and OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE was the film we kicked the series off with.

Others lamented that we ignored THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS, CHARLIE'S ANGELS, DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD, HAIRSPRAY ("John Travolta in a dress, playing a woman, is at heart of confronting gender portrayls," insisted Marcy), and VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.

Whether those films qualify as feminist or not we leave open to others to interpret but we were covering the 90s.  None of the films in the previous paragraph were released during the 90s.

We made a huge mistake in the article, by the way.

While we were compiling our list, Betty suggested a title.

Jim said, "That's from the 80s."

C.I. said, "No, it's not."

Jim said, "Yes, it it."

C.I. sighed and said, "I'm not having this debate."

Guess what?

The film is from the 90s.

It was released in 1990.


In The Spirit
Lureen: I better quit drinking. I've got to go do The Robin Byrd Show in an hour.

Reva: Oh really? Are you an actress?

Marianne: Yeah.

Lureen: You know Karl Percy, don't you? From Albany?

Reva: Oh yeah.

Marianne: Yeah.

Reva: We worked for him.

Lureen: You're kidding. Which movies?

Marianne: The early ones.

Reva: Yeah, the early ones.

Lureen: You mean like Finger Licking Good? 20 Laps?

Mariann: Yeah, that's right.

Lureen: Wow.

Reva: No, I-I wasn't in 20 Laps.

Lureen: Oh.

Reva: I had another part.

Lureen: Oh.

Reva: In a musical.

Lureen: You're kidding!

Marianne: She is.

Lureen: You know, Crystal was so good in Hot Sausages --

Reva: Uh-huh.

Lureen: -- but she just never followed through. She had no ambition.

Marianne: I think that she was very dumb to get mixed up with Chuckle.

Lureen: Yeah, well, Crystal was dumb. And Chuckles is smart. He is real smart. He is too smart. I get scared of guys who are that smart. You know, and he really gets off on showing you just how smart he is -- like a really mean cat with a bird.

As we noted in 2010:

1990's In The Spirit is one of the funniest comedies of its decade. The film, written by Jeannie Berlin and Laurie Jones and directed by Sandra Seacat, stars Marlo Thomas and Elaine May. as Reva and Mariann.

Marianne is married to Roger (Peter Falk) who has lost his job on the West Coast at the start of the film. So as he spirals into depression, Marianne tells him the answer is to move back to NYC where they still have their c-op and he can look for a new job. At a party, Sue (Olympia Dukakis) introduces Marianne to Reva who is an interior decorator, who was married to Sue's late brother Ed and who is heavily into New Age spirituality.

The film is hilarious.

Elaine May and Marlo Thomas hit comedic highs and the entire cast -- Peter Falk, Jeannie Berlin, Melanie Griffith (as Lureen) and Olympia Dukakis are amazing.

Jeannie Berlin and Laurie Jones should write more screenplays and Sandra Seacat should have directed ten more films by now.

Our earlier article resulted in a huge number of e-mails, the bulk of which were saying thanks for one of the films we chose for our list.

But we understand the e-mails complaining that we'd left out an important film.

We happen to agree with that critique but we feel that film was IN THE SPIRIT.

Of all the films in the 90s, none deserves more applause for being a feminist classic than IN THE SPIRIT.

We salute the film and all those who helped bring it to life.

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