In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff


We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.







Try Advanced Search


  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...


CultureBlogs
Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
PhilosoBlog
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Gregdotorg
BookSlut
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Cronaca
Plep
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Seablogger
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette


Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Samizdata
Junius
Joanne Jacobs
CalPundit
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Public Interest.co.uk
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
Spleenville
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
CinderellaBloggerfella
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
InstaPundit
MindFloss
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes


Miscellaneous
Redwood Dragon
IMAO
The Invisible Hand
ScrappleFace
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz

Links


Our Last 50 Referrers







« Videobooks | Main | Surf's Up »

September 04, 2002

DVD Journal: "The Sweetest Thing"

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Friedrich --

The Wife and I caught up with "The Sweetest Thing" on DVD. Have you seen it? A painful misfire. Cameron Diaz, Cristina Applegate and Selma Blair in a slapstick, road-trip romance that wants to combine "There's Something About Mary" (charm, gross-outs) with "Sex in the City" (charm, satire, glamour). Almost nothing in it works. The girls twinkle and laugh, show off their underpants, wink at the camera, sing and dance a satirical song about the penis -- and almost none of it is funny, let alone charming.

sweetest thing cover.jpg They Wish

Fascinating to read viewers' comments about the movie, which generally divide this way: it's gross and raw and therefore bad (the "tut tut" reaction); or it's gross and raw and isn't that cool and it's therefore good (the "you go, girls" reaction).

My own reaction: it's interesting to think about how to put across a chickflick that features guffaws and grossouts, but this particular team certainly didn't solve the problem. The actresses shriek, horse around, and seem to amuse themselves. But from minute one you're staring at the movie in disbelief as it lays egg after egg: How could it have gone so wrong? Cameron Diaz has nothing like the technique it takes to put over this kind of extreme, stylized material; Cristina Applegate is fine; Selma Blair I adore (that comic earnestness and overintensity!), and I was glad to see her manage a few droll moments. But all three seem terrified of not being found charming, and overcompensate wildly.

More general musing: I'm glad girls and young women feel free to be more rambunctious than they supposedly used to be, although I wonder whether we don't paint earlier generations as more uptight than they were. (My mom had an out-of-the-house job, like many of the moms in my small town; and I recall being chased, beaten up, and outplayed by many neighborhood girls my age, lucky me. It's a funny myth, this idea that American women were until recently so repressed: I remember an article in Salon whose young-woman author had apparently been convinced -- by some women's-studies prof? -- that before the 1970s women didn't enjoy sex.) But it's about time, in any case, that some of that rambunctiousness started showing up in movies.

Do you, by the way, as the daddy of teen girls, find the new girls much different than those of our generation?

thesweetestthingtop.jpg The Penis Song

But girls seem in conflict in ways boys don't. A boy can be obnoxious, extreme, and gross and still semi-reasonably hope to be found entertaining. Girls still often want (biology or culture, I'll let others fight it out, although I know which side I vote for) to be found charming, and even cute. Allowing for that, has any female performer successfully brought together funny, gross. and charming? Margaret Cho, maybe?

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at September 4, 2002




Comments

The sweetest thing kicks ass. You're a male, so you wouldn't understand the humor.

Posted by: Mara on May 12, 2004 8:52 PM






Post a comment
Name:


Email Address:


URL:


Comments:



Remember your info?