Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Up in the Air, It's Complicated

In keeping with my New Year’s resolutions in which I vowed to view more movies in the movie theater because that’s what Jim—aka best hubby ever—likes to do, we went to see “Up in the Air” this past Saturday. George Clooney stars, along with Vera Farmiga—who who did admit to having a body double for the nude scene and forever cemented herself as a new favorite actress in my mind—and spunky kind-of newcomer Anna somebody or other, who didn’t look old enough to get into an R-rated movie never mind act in one. I found the entire story line—man travels the country firing people—to be extremely depressing and in the third act, when the man finds redemption or something resembling it, I found myself not rooting for the man but wondering what had happened to all of those loyal, dedicated people that he had fired. People who had lamented that they would need to vacate their homes, use less heating oil, and go on food stamps, all in the name of a company’s “downsizing.” All of this was made more poignant because the people who were fired in the film were real people, not actors. And that made the viewing of this movie all the more depressing and sobering.

And now I am reminded of why I hardly ever go to the movies, and when I do, shy away from the “important” and “star-making” ones like “Up in the Air.” Because they are just too damn depressing.

As we exited the movies, I implored Jim that we see “It’s Complicated” next weekend. Because you know what? It doesn’t sound complicated at all. Middle-aged women has two sexy men vying for her affection. Sounds like it’s right up my alley. Sure, I’ve got the middle-aged deli guy at the local gourmet store who smiles at me when I go in, but two middle-aged deli guys? That’s something a gal can only dream about.

But as I was pondering when we would go see “It’s Complicated,” I came across a small blurb in one of my favorite magazines, which touted the movie as “feminine middle-aged porn.” Really? So this is what an enjoyable movie made for my demographic is described as? “Middle-aged porn”? It’s a popular movie, starring the wonderful, sexy, and gorgeous Meryl Streep and now we’re supposed to feel bad because we buy into the story that two men could be interested in her? Or that she lives in a gorgeous house that is almost a character in the movie, so well-appointed and decorated it is? That was described as “architecture porn.” Seriously, people, enough with the “porn” references. If it isn’t porn, well, it just isn’t porn. Don’t try to be clever.

Anyway, we’ll go to see it and I’ll let you know what I think. There are so few movies made for women like me—basically, women who are not seventeen yet want to be entertained—that I’m looking forward to it. Have movie makers not figured out yet that it is we women, the middle-aged ones, who have the money? Because if they did, we’d be seeing a lot more movies in which women like Meryl Streep, and Helen Mirren, Joan Allen, and Vanessa Redgrave, and a host of other gorgeous women over thirty are given interesting and compelling storylines that may or may not involve pursuit by the opposite sex. Or their own sex. I don’t care which. Just stop showing women being mean to each other, or not supporting each other. We don’t want to see that because although movie makers think that this is what goes on in everyday life, it’s just not the case.

Just look at the Stiletto Gang. One for all and all for one.

Maggie Barbieri

13 comments:

  1. So true, so very true! If women love something, it must be derided - porn, indeed! We never go to the movies anymore - wait for DVD for the movies that look the best. Such a shame because we love movies. We do tend to be drawn to romantic comedies and I love anything Diane Keaton does these days. Funny, too, because I wasn't a fan in her younger days with Woody Allen. But her movies now are so fabulous!

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  2. Kathy: Man, you're up early!!! I love Diane Keaton, too, and who didn't love her house in "As Good as it Gets"? I wasn't a huge fan back in the Woody Allen days either, but have grown to love her. Maybe it's because I'm getting older and looking for sexy role models older than myself? Who knows. But I hope we get at least another "It's Complicated" or something like it this year and in the years to come. Maggie

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  3. Mags, I think you meant "Somthing's Gotta Give" (also Meyer directed) for the DK movie. "As Good As It Gets" was another great movie with Nicholson.

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  4. And, now that I've thought about it for a minute or two:

    I myself get more tired with having to hunt down the more developed stories. They’re out there: Frozen River, Cherish, Stranger than Fiction, etc. Some with younger women, some with older, and some with interesting males and even pets tossed into the mix! All with interesting people telling a story that is considerably more engaging than what I’d have no problem calling suburban-teen-vampire-porn. I think I wouldn’t mind it as much if there wasn’t such a glut of it on the market, just making it harder to see on the big screen the larger and deeper stories told. It’s the same with printed fiction, right? And with music.

    The word “porn” is this year’s version of the words diva and Nazi. Remember when everyone who was harsh on any topic under the sun was a Nazi? Food Nazi, football Nazi, knitting Nazi, etc. And there was a serious over application and dosage of “diva” to the point that even Miley Cyrus was called one (seriously? MILEY CYRUS?!!? Are you kidding me?!).

    So, now it’s “porn” and its variants: gorno, torture-porn, vampire-porn, food porn (a la Food Network), weatherman porn (as in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”), etc. People toss “porn” on as a near-suffix to anything that seems to have a following or is out in the limelight, even briefly.

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  5. Vick: You are so smart, it's scary! And you're right! I forgot about Nazi and diva, but they were overused prefixes/suffixes for a long while. And you're also right that I screwed up the movie title. I'm still in vacation mode so the old gray matter isn't really firing on all cylinders. Maggie

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  6. Okay if it was a guy with two women after him, would they have called it "masculine middle-age porn"? I think not. Then it would have probably just been a "great movie" to see.

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  7. I didn't like Up in the Air either, no happy ending and George Clooney did not perk it up at all.

    It's Complicated on the other hand was fun. It was nice to see an older star, Meryl Streep, who hasn't erased her wrinkles or had her sagging chin lifted and she still looked great. The only porno thing about it was seeing so much of Alec Baldwin's pudgy body and butt, but again, you have to give the guy credit for letting the world see him like that.

    Marilyn
    http://fictionforyou.com

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  8. Maggie, hear hear to everything you said! (And now I don't think I want to see "Up in the Air" anymore, even though I feel obligated since it was filmed in St. Louis and every talking head on TV is blathering about it endlessly.) I'm dying to see "It's Complicated," too! Wish we could get a group and go together (why do we have to live so far apart, dang it?). Great post on a truly baffling/infuriating subject. I'm already seeing this bias in early reviews for The Cougar Club. One major trade said of my story about three 45 year old women finding happiness and love in their lives, "while it isn't likely to happen, it sure is a fun fantasy." Another reviewer basically echoed that comment. Huh? Why is it such a fantasy for smart women in mid-life to end up happy and in love with younger men? I could spend a year counting all the movies, books, TV shows, commercials, "reality" dating shows (aka VH1, ABC, and/or MTV playing pimp), George Clooney on any red carpet, whatever, where older men are with younger women and no one blinks. I cheer everytime I see Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, or any of those actresses you mentioned, Mags, in a role where she's powerful, sharp, hungry, and lustful. Why is that so unrealistic? I think more of us need to take up with younger men in order to show the world what we're made of (and, hey, Maggie and I have done our parts, so it's up to the rest of you!).

    Cheers,
    Susan

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  9. Hey--our money is just as good as that paid by a 17-year-old boy who goes to see a shoot 'em up, right? And Stiletto faithful, let me tell you one thing: The Cougar Club is fantastic! Preorder now if you haven't already. Rich characters who you really care about, great setting, fabulous storyline for all three major characters...what more could you ask for? I was lucky enough to read an advance copy and read it every night with a glass of wine while the kids were elsewhere. I'm hoping Susan writes a follow-up...please...please...please...

    Maggie

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  10. Aw, thanks, Maggie! :-D

    Has anyone seen "Have You Heard About the Morgans?" or "Blind Side"? Man, I'm so behind in going to the movies! I think hockey games are interfering way too much! (Maggie, aren't the Blues playing the Rangers soon, or am I hallucinating?)

    Cheers,
    Susan

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  11. Susan, Blind Side is great--wonderful feel good movie.

    Marilyn
    http://fictionforyou.com

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  12. I'm putting it on my "must-see" list, Marilyn. I just read that it's the first movie with a female lead to earn over $200 million. Go, Sandra Bullock (who's mid-40s and still rockin'!), go!

    Cheers,
    Susan

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  13. I enjoyed reading your article, thank you for posting.

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