Monday, March 28, 2022

TV: History betrayed, common sense assaulted

As March winds down, we find ourselves looking back at one of February's most laughable moments.  For those who don't follow the US calendar, March is Women's History Month and February is Black History Month.  DISNEY+ decided to 'honor' Black History Month by noting, among others, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG.  Ah, yes, 2009's animated film about the struggles for equality, about the march on Selma and how Rosa Parks . . .

Wait.  The film doesn't focus on that.  It's about New Orleans and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and how people of color were more likely to have been impacted by . . .

Scratch that.  But it is set in New Orleans.  And The Princess falls for Christina Applegate's lover interest in Jesse -- who, for the record, is neither African-American nor Black.  Well it's directed by a person of color so that's worth noting during Black History Month and . . . Hold that thought.  Turns out that it's directed by two White men.  Well an African-American man wrote it!

Or was tacked onto the project, if we're honest.  April 20, 2007, there was big pushback on the film.  The name ("Maddy") was said to be possibly racist (too close to "Mammy") and The Princess of the title had her name changed to Tiana.  Others things were done as well.  Oprah Winfrey was soon aired as a ''technical advisor" -- let's hope she was an expert on princesses because adding Oprah to the film did nothing to make the movie more accurate when it came to race relations during the time THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG was set in (see Sasha Panaram, Hannah Rogers, Thayne Stoddard. "Contemporary Film and the Black Atlantic").  A few months after Oprah became "technical advisor," Rob Edwards was added (August 13, 2007) as a writer alongside listed writers Ron Clements and John Musker -- two writers who also were part of creating the story and concept.  Unlike Clements and Musker, Rob Edwards is an African-American writer and he did end up working almost three months on co-writing the script.  Too bad the music couldn't come up with a new writer or a co-writer (Randy Newman once again rewrote the same animation score he forever offers in film after film). 

But with all the problems the film had before it started filming and all the problems it had after, as well as the fact that this is not a true story, count us among the many still rolling our eyes over DISNEY+ featuring this animated film as part of Black History Month.  


As Women's History Month winds down, we're not seeing a lot to point to without laughter from the streaming services.  AMAZON is offering NINE TO FIVE ($3.99 rental, $4.99 purchase).  Patricia Resnick came up with the story idea and co-wrote the script with director Colin Higgens.  Jane Fonda produced the film with then-business partner Bruce Gilbert. Dolly Parton wrote and sang the theme song. And the film starred Jane, Dolly and Lily Tomlin as working women oppressed by the work force system who get a chance to implement the changes that they and many other women would put forward (including on-site daycare and flex schedules).  So at least that had some sense of history and power.  

But too much of it was just misguided.  

Take the awful limited series THE PRINCIPLES OF PLEASURE which NETFLIX just started offering.  Using the theme of 'sex,' it did briefly skyrocket into NETFLIX's top ten -- and, then people watched and it quickly fell out.  But, hey, it made it higher than THE ANDY WARHOL DIARIES.  People want to watch sex, apparently.  At least until they see how badly it's pulled off.

Former MTV vee jay Niharika Desai doesn't have a lot on her cv ao having directed this series probably won't help her out too much since it's both dull and meaningless.  Michelle Buteau does a fine job hosting the three episodes.  But there's just nothing there.


The series wants to address -- or says it does -- the "orgasm gap."  No, not up there with pay equity or the second shift so many women put in each day -- the unpaid second shift of work where they not only have to work outside the home but then come home and work some more -- childcare, cooking, cleaning, what have you.  It's not addressing rape.  It's not addressing anything.


Michelle is a very funny comedian.  It's a shame she wasn't allowed to cut loose.


We'd love to hear her let rip about the so-called "orgasm gap" that supposedly finds "no one orgasms as much as the straight male."  Really?  Even more than two gay males in a relationship?  


Men may orgasm more (they may not) because of the fact that they start beating off long before their bodies are able to produce cum.  They're forever touching themselves.  We're not knocking it, we're not making fun of them, we're just noting reality.  


Our "orgasm gap," if it exists, is due to socialization, to be sure.  It's also about our bodies.  If a woman is excited and engages in sex -- solo, in a duo, in a group scene -- she may or she may not orgasm.  The bodies are set up differently.  The male?  If the penis goes hard and begins thrusting, it's going to reach orgasm unless a fire breaks out in the bedroom forcing a speedy evacuation.  


Some men (and a few women) also have no clue as to how to get a woman off.  None whatsoever.  And that's an issue.  


But these aren't huge issues.  In the end, we need to all be responsible for our own bodies.  And we may be doing something tantric -- delaying release -- and that's okay too.


It's not an issue that needed a documentary.  


Not the way that love needs one.  It would be great if the streamers could do something for girls and women about love in Women's History Month.  This is not our saying, "Women prefer love to sex."  That's not true of all women.


But we don't do crazy things for sex in most cases while we do really crazy things when we think we're in love -- think we're in love -- often we're not.


Evan Rachel Wood is a 34-year old idiot [see "TV: 'No one was looking after me!' (that includes you yourself)".]  She was with Brian Warner (Marilyn Manson) for approximately four years.  And she wants to whine, on HBO MAX, about all the things he did, things she insists were "essentially rape."  No, Evan, your boyfriend, your lover, making a music video with you and deciding he wanted to make the sex real is not rape -- essentially or otherwise -- when you did not tell him "no," when you did not stop him, when you did not try to stop him.  Take accountability.

Women do crazy stuff in the pursuit love.  Some men do as well but women really do.  We put on a pair of adult diapers to drive cross country -- tossing aside our NASA career -- because we're convinced that if we make it cross country. from Houston to Orlando, without stopping for a bathroom break, to track down our rival.  We do this why?  In part because we are conditioned to believe that being in love is the only validation that matters for women, that if we're not in a relationship, we are nothing.  We have moved a little, as a society, away from the notion that all women must be mothers but we haven't moved away from the notion that they must all be paired up like animals on Noah's Arc.  We place so much emphasis on this that we are willing to victimize ourselves.  

Evan wants to play like, "Woops! Four years later!"  No, you, idiot, stop lying.  You're not helping anyone.  You elected to start an affair with a newly married man.  That was your first bad decisions.  You soon learned he loved Nazis.  And you stayed with him.  That was your second bad decision.  He wrote "kill all Jews" on the wall above your side of the bed.  And you stayed with him.  That was your third bad decision.  Go down the list, Evan, you made one bad decision after another.

You had a very bad relationship.  But we're not seeing the assault you're claiming today.  You weren't raped -- as you describe it -- and the brief aside, single sentence, in the whole two-part 'documentary' where you suddenly insist that he would have sex with you while you're asleep is something that requires further elaboration from you before any sane person can comfortably say either "that's rape" or "that's not rape."  

You had a bad relationship.  Find a woman who hasn't and she must have been very lucky in life.

And we need to learn about bad relationship and learn from them.  

We need to learn how to stick up for ourselves to ensure that we're not losing ourselves in some romantic addiction that we try to pass off as love.  And if you're addicted to romance, hey, go for it.  But learn that's your addiction and stop trying to pass off bad dating as assault.  You're disappointed things didn't work out as you wanted and you're upset over the time you've wasted -- time lost now.  We get it.  But don't try to #MeToo it when you're not dealing with assault.

Evan Rachel Wood looks like the essence of White privilege.  She was a celebrity who didn't have to worry about money -- no going behind the counter of Taco Bell for her -- so she could follow her boyfriend, her lover, around the country as he gave concerts.  He didn't rape her.  Not as she reveals it in her 'documentary.'  Say Brain Warner hurt you.  Say he was a bad boyfriend.  Say many things.  But stop pretending that he did this or that to you.  You went along.  You were part of it.  You could have said no at any point.  Take responsibility.  

We get really upset that some women refuse to take accountability for their own actions.  


FRESH is Women's History Month's THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and HULU is this month's DISNEY+.


The film is pure garbage, absolute garbage.  If Roger Corman had made this trash, we'd all be appalled.  But because Mimi Cave directed it and Lauryn Kahn wrote it, we're supposed to celebrate these two women as somehow empowering.


They're nothing to applaud.


They've made torture porn.  They should be ashamed of themselves.


Torture porn.  A man woos a woman -- again, we need some documentaries on love to educate us all -- and then takes her away . . . to a human veal pen.  He's in the business of providing human meat and he's going to harvest her as he does other women.  The woman's best friend will try to rescue her and get caught to be harvested as well.  The woman will lose her butt when it's sliced off for food.  

This is garbage and Mimi has no excuse for directing it and Lauryn should be watched very closely by all who know her because not only is her theme disgusting but there's no redemption to it.

They claim it's a horror film -- it's torture porn -- but there's no Jamie Lee Curtis role.  

There's just pathetic Daisy Edgar-Jones. 

She really does hate women, doesn't she?  Fresh off PAMELA AND TOMMY LEE about Pamela Anderson who did not want anyone playing her or the project made, Daisy's now eager to do more damage.  Her bad acting ensures a lot of damage.  She's pathetic onscreen and you really want to root for Sebastian Stan's character after she whimpers and whines and is so pathetic that, on a first date at the beginning of the film, she can't even stand up to the man across the table who is insulting her and all women.  She's that pathetic so it's no surprise, when Sebastian's character emerges, that he's able to torture and victimize her.

If she were playing Sebastian's role, you might understand her taking the role.  There would be something to it, something to bite into.  But this is just a pathetic and generic victim role.  How desperate was she for cash that she took the role?  

Women's History Month will be ending soon and, with what the streamers served up, we can't wait for it to end.  But let's hope next year, for Black History Month and Women's History Month, the streamers offer some documentaries, series and films that really have something to say -- not fairy tales and torture porn.




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