Category Archives: Movies

3 Movies I Wanted in 1984 But Didn’t Get Till Middle Age

(Originally published on March 10, 2021, at the sunsetted GlitterCollective blog.)

The 1980s were the heyday of wildly successful woman-led movies, though no one seems to acknowledge it and today’s moviemakers have apparently all forgotten it. This happened with both mainstream movies like 9 to 5 (Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dolly Parton living a feminist corporate fantasy that’s still applicable 40 years later), The Color Purple, and Steel Magnolias, and iconic genre movies like Terminator 2, Aliens, and Labyrinth.

While I enjoyed T2 (and didn’t see Labyrinth until much later), my choice for Woman-led Genre Pic was Aliens, to such an extent that I cannot count how many times I saw it in the theater (the only movie that I saw in the theater more was Rocky Horror Picture Show). I loved Ripley, had a huge crush on Vasquez, and oddly did not find Newt annoying. (Actually, the actress, Carrie Henn, was bloody brilliant.)

The real power-up moment in Aliens.

Of course, the 1980s also sported a number of iconic and formative genre movies and series: Star Wars, Star Trek, the Indiana Jones movies, Superman, Mad Max, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Bill and Ted’s, Robocop, and The Princess Bride. I enjoyed a lot of them. My first birthday party with friends rather than family was going to see Superman II. I cried like a fool when Spock died at the end of Wrath of Khan and adored the soundtrack for The Voyage Home (still have the vinyl). I had to have friends tell me when it was okay to look again in the scene that punched all my horrible phobia buttons in Temple of Doom. A college friend and I bonded over quotations from The Princess Bride, as was required for all good geeks of the era.

But I wasn’t seeing anything like me in most of these movies. Vasquez was the closest thing to a butch that this baby butch saw in any movie of the time, and I was just starting to edge sideways into my butchness. Every non-woman-led genre movie had one (1) straight femme to exist in the male gaze and act as a love interest for the hero. There might be an accidental nerdy girl or a female villain in mainstream movies, but usually in genre, they kept the budget for hiring women short. (Also, sexual assault was normalized and romanticized, as in Blade Runner, and made things extra creepy.)

“Hey, Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?”
“No, have you?”

The 2015-2016 movie season suddenly served up 3 movies that punched straight through my middle-aged cynicism to the sad little teenager in the back of my head. It was an incandescent Utena experience all over again, only I was older and crustier and more cynical than I was in 1997. Why didn’t I have these in 1984?

The answer, of course, is Patriarchy.

Who Killed the World?

Speaking of Patriarchy, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Mad Max series. I watched the first 2 movies on VHS with my parents on a giant toploading VCR that Dad borrowed from work. And TBH I don’t remember them at all. They were kind of… brown and full of toxic masculinity and cars and desert? Oh, and that asshole, what’s-his-nuts. The only thing I got out of the third movie was that Tina Turner looked good in chain mail and sang a pretty good song about not needing another hero, though I wanted that movie to be better (and more about her character) than it was. But you know, what’s-his-nuts poisons everything he touches, so it’s not surprising.

I was more than a bit cynical when I heard about Mad Max: Fury Road. It was going to be another wet dream for the man-fans, I was sure. And I prepared to ignore it.

But then media I half-respected started to talk about it, and then my friends started to go see it and rave about it. Despite the enormous inertia I usually have to overcome (in myself mostly) to arrange outings to see movies, I did so.

Butch AND not just there for a joke?
Yes, please.

I spent the entire movie expecting the other shoe to drop. I waited for Max to become the star of the movie, the savior for all the poor li’l womenfolk. I waited for some sickening romantic BS between Max and Furiosa, some feminization of Furiosa. I watched for Nux to turn into the shithead I was sure he was. I anticipated the deaths of all the wives (Angharad’s death was a red herring down this road, but at least she died doing something instead of just getting fridged), or graphic flashbacks for their “origin” stories, or for one of them to betray everyone in order to get back to Joe.

I really wasn’t sure what to do at the end of the movie when… none of those things had happened. I joked that Eve Ensler, the “feminist consultant” on the movie, must have stood over the writer/director with a rolled-up newspaper and thwacked him every time he did something stupid or toxic.

Hit him again, Furiosa.

Additionally, the movie was the most cinematographically beautiful endless car chase I’d ever seen, with human interactions that felt raw and real, and a storyline that was actually heartwrenching. The loss of the Green Place. The Vuvalini so diminished. The devastation of all hope. Who killed the world, indeed. And Max’s best moment of the movie, cutting through the grief with a suicidal plan that might work, but if it didn’t, they’d be just as dead as they would if they tried to traverse the dry ocean.

I will probably never watch this movie again, though I own it, because the unrelenting violence is too much for me in my tender and soft middle age. I wish I didn’t think that it was a wild fluke on the part of the makers, one of those ideas that Pratchett talked about sleeting through the universe until it found the right place and time to get made. I wish I believed that any further movies in the series would be as amazing as this one was. But I don’t. Toxic masculinity ruins the party again and again and again.

Thanks, F-word Murdergirls!
(If you aren’t familiar, My Favorite Murder is a great comedy podcast about true crime and why everyone should be in therapy.)

We’re All Fine Here, How Are You?

I didn’t see the original Star Wars movie until it was rereleased a year after it first came out. I was very out of touch with pop culture as a small child, and it took my cousin getting an array of toys to convince me that I needed to see the movie. The Empire Strikes Back was the last movie my grandmother ever took me to (after that, I was going on my own), and she complained about not being able to nap through it because of the loudness of the shooting. I remember waiting in a line that wrapped around the mall for the opening day of Return of the Jedi. I listened to my double album of the Star Wars soundtrack on repeat throughout my childhood and tween years. I collected a number of the action figures, though my family couldn’t afford the playsets. I made my own Millennium Falcon out of a boot-sized shoebox, roughly laser-cannon-shaped pieces of plastic left over from a model I built, and a lot of scotch tape.

You bet your booties I still have Princess Leia. AND her little plastic cape AND her laser pistol. Because I am a GEEK.

I was skeptical of Princess Leia as a character, and certainly couldn’t be Leia in my imaginative play with my friends. I preferred Han or Chewbacca, letting the “real boys” play Luke. (And therein lies a whole analysis of Han Solo as feminized character or at least as acceptably detoxified Mary Sue Fanfiction Blues bait.) As I got older, I came to a deep appreciation for Leia’s presence and ferocity, as well as Carrie Fisher’s determination to make the character memorable when stuck in a film that should have ignored her. (We can thank George Lucas’ wife Marcia for her script and film editing as well as Fisher for making her performances unforgettable.)

While I enjoyed the callbacks to the Star Wars universe, I was disappointed in the depiction of Luke and Leia’s mother in Phantom Menace, and so I didn’t bother to watch the second or third prequels.

Cue being extremely skeptical about The Force Awakens.

But the advance hype sold me. Another woman, and this one a focus character? A Black character as a focus character? Leia returning? Han and Chewie returning? At the last minute, I convinced the gaming group to go see it on opening night.

The opening credits did their usual goosebumps thing (damn you, John Williams, damn you). But I didn’t expect to cry. I cried at multiple points in the movie, but my first breaking point was Leia’s appearance. Because, whether we knew it or not as kids, Princess Goddamn Leia was the fiercest, most memorable character in SF&F film at the time. And here she was, older and wiser and with far fewer fucks to give: precisely the model I needed in my middle age.

Antiope was the best thing about the Wonder Woman movie. I would’ve watched an entire movie set just in Themyscira, with zero men. But no, they had to ruin Wonder Woman by fridging Antiope and heteronormalizing WW.
At least General Organa didn’t get fridged.

This was the movie I came out of saying, “My inner 16-year-old wants to know why we didn’t get this movie the first time.”

It would have been trivially simple to make the twins both girls. (If Lucas had even had the idea of having Luke and Leia be twins originally, which I disbelieve.) It would have been even easier to give Leia a lightsaber and Force training. But no. It was a boys’ club and Leia was the Smurfette of the universe… until Rey came along. Rey was fantastic. Rey interacting with Leia was downright flooring.

Of course, none of my sniffling during Force Awakens could compare to my ugly sobbing at the end of Last Jedi when the dedication to Carrie Fisher rolled. Losing her was worse than losing Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy was sad. Fisher was heartbreaking.

Here. I can’t say it well enough. Watch this fanvid by Eruthros instead. Have Kleenex in hand.

Who You Gonna Call?

Was the original Ghostbusters amusing? Yes. Was it quotable? Yes. Did I quote it? Of course. Did I watch the heck out of it and its sequel? Yes. Did I mostly watch it for Sigourney Weaver? Yes. Was the humor chock-full of sexist bullshit? Yes. When I tried watching it again 10 years ago, was I able to watch it without spiking my blood pressure? Nope.

Not only was the original movie a pit of seething toxic masculinity “humor” but it was racist af (see all the information about what was done to Ernie Hudson and the character of Winston in case you missed that discussion). I think the movie had pretty decent bones, honestly, or it wouldn’t have been so enduring despite the shitty body it was given. I still feel pretty fond of the concept of the thing.


But but but.

Then the “reboot” (which I read as “alternate universe” or AU) of 2016 happened.

Not only did we get an all-women team of Ghostbusters, but I got one who rang queer, geeky, and butch to boot. The writing and comedy was solid, the characters were engaging, and I enjoyed the hell out of defenestrating Bill Murray’s character.

Yes, please, give me more.

My main issue was with Patty, who they treated at least as badly as Winston had been treated, and I wish to hell they’d fixed that problem. There’s no reason she had to be the “add-on” Ghostbuster. Leslie Jones would’ve rocked the hell out of a role like Abby or Erin. Patty could have been a disaffected PhD who was working for MTA because the benefits were better than in academia. (I’ve written some fic that postulates this too, because that’s one thing fic is for: fixit.) There were literally hundreds of less racist (and misogynist) possibilities other than what they chose.

I can still appreciate the Ghostbusters that Inner 16 wanted so much: the fat, competent scientist; the big, loud woman taking up space; the high-strung, serious scientist; and the geek butch geeking out and flirting madly with the nervy straight-wannabe who is attracted to both the project and the butch.


I think we saw the movie 3 or 4 times in the theaters and then I preordered the Blu-ray with the extended cut (I enjoyed the new content, particularly between Holtzmann and Gorin, but I think the released film is mostly better). I even started planning Holtzmann cosplay — I don’t do cosplay, you understand.

By the time Ghostbusters appeared onscreen, I hadn’t really spontaneously written fic for anything for something like 15 years. I don’t really count the little dribs and drabs that spooted out here and there (one very short piece for Fury Road, some cranky things about The X-Files and Doctor Who). For me, really being inspired to fic is the kind of thing I did with Utena: a few short pieces, a few longer pieces, maybe a novel-length monster that takes 10 years to finish. Ghostbusters was striking in that I not only had a several pieces appear in relatively short order, but I also wrote some Mature Content, which is very unusual for me.

Ghostbusters 2016 has actually gotten me more harassment than any of my other fandoms combined. I put a bumper sticker on my car that read, “Safety lights are for dudes,” with Holtzmann’s heart-radiation symbol, and I started getting dudes blowing their horns, flashing their headlights, and even following me as I drove through city streets (way too closely with brights on). (This behavior stopped as soon as I took the sticker off. It had never occurred with the pride sticker I had there before.) I have a “We Can Bust It” t-shirt with Holtzmann in the iconic Rosie the Riveter post and at a store in my town, the man (of course) behind the counter pointed at the picture on my chest (his finger halting less than six inches from my actual frontispieces) and opined that the movie wasn’t as good as the original. (I haven’t been back to said store, opting to go to a similar store at the other end of town instead.)

I cannot convey how much I wanted THIS Ghostbusters in 1984 and couldn’t even imagine it to want it.


Representation in media matters, y’all. (I say, preaching to the choir.) Women — and love between women — saving the world means so goddamn much to me. The way Black Panther means so much to so many Black people. The way having actual Native people playing Native characters matters. Inclusion matters. Having us not be goddamn tokens or placeholders to enable some dull interchangeable white dude matters.

What would these movies have done for me in 1984?

They would have given me joy. So much joy that it makes Inner 16 tear up.

And Patriarchy — as embodied in the white cis het men who whine and kick and throw whole screaming tantrums about these movies — is thoroughly invested in keeping that representation away from us. We — the queers, the women, the enbies, the BIPOC folks, anyone who isn’t a rich white cisgendered heterosexual man — are Not Meant to Have Joy in Western heteronormative capitalist neoliberal society.

If we have Joy, we might get Ideas, you know.

Carpe gaudium, my friends. Seize the joy.

Just an observation


This is Judy Bernly, played by Jane Fonda, in the movie “9 to 5” (1980).  She is our original POV character, walking into the company with the supertoxic boss, and she joins forces with Violet Newstead (Lily Tomlin) and Doralee Rhodes (Dolly Parton) to overthrow the Patriarchy.

Meanwhile, Judy has some issues with sporting the huge bow style of the era:

fonda2 fonda4

Until, of course, she hits her Empowering Fantasy Sequence:

fonda5 fantasy

Of course, in “real life” in the movie, things don’t go quite so picturesquely, but they do overthrow the Patriarchy (in part) and get the promotions Dolly sings about so eloquently in the title song.

I believe that Judy Bernly is the spiritual grandmother of Erin Gilbert of Ghostbusters 2016 and the world’s tiniest bowtie.  (For a variety of reasons, not least that the characters’ presentation and roles are similar, but mostly I’m just presenting this for your consideration, not wanting to argue at all.)


Ghostbusters 2016

First and foremost: SQUEEEEEE.  Yes, I’m fangirling this movie hard.  The queerness and the women and the fact that men are thoroughly secondary all make my shriveled heart sing.  The action sequences give me ALL the feels of EVERYTHING I DON’T USUALLY GET.  (Especially the super-queer character having the awesome action scene.  I love Furiosa, and Rey, and Ripley, don’t get me wrong, but none of them code particularly queer.  Well, okay, Vasquez.  But she dies.)

When I came out of the theater the first time, I told my wife, “This movie is a gift to my inner 16-year-old, who had to pretend to overlook all the sexist bullshit in the 1984 movie in order to enjoy it.  The same way The Force Awakens was a gift to my inner 8-year-old.”  My inner 16-year-old is still in tears of gratitude every time I see the movie.




I love Patty, and I think Leslie Jones has some of the best comic timing of the whole cast.  (There are some improvisational clunkers throughout the movie, things I really wonder why they got left in, but Jones doesn’t throw any of them.)  I think I’d really like Patty in person (I’m not sure about the others; they’re nice and all, and/or hot, but I’m not sure they and I would hit it off).

That said, I am a white woman, and therefore am not hauling up against the black stereotypes that Patty embodies.  I am aware, thanks to the excellent writing and discussion of people like NK Jemisin and the Nerds of Prey, of many of the problematics of the character of Patty.

The most glaring problem is that Patty is, like Winston Zeddemore in the 1984 version, portrayed as an outsider, a non-scientist, who joins for whatever reason the script decides to give them.  Patty has to fast-talk and bribe her way into the Ghostbusters (“Come on, you need Patty, Patty comes with benefits”), she “knows the city,” she’s self-educated, she’s NOT A SCIENTIST.

Those of you who have read about Winston in the original movie know that in the first script that Ernie Hudson saw when he accepted the role, Winston was a super-scientist veteran, and all of that was scrubbed out by the time filming began, in a giant bait-and-switch.

Leslie Jones has given us no indication that this happened with Patty.  Jones has a history of playing black stereotypes as a method of making her way in Hollywood, including during her time on Saturday Night Live.  Still, this excellent article in Ebony discusses the mechanisms of colorism and racism in Hollywood and how they keep dark-skinned black women like Jones caught in playing these roles tailored for the white gaze.

The whole thing pisses me off because it would have been so simple to fix.  I don’t write film scripts, and I could have fixed it in maybe three lines of dialogue, e.g.:

PATTY: “Okay, y’all know about the current science, but I’ve got a science background too and I want to join because you three and your research are the most intellectually stimulating things I’ve run into since they threw me out of grad school.”

ABBY: “Oh my god!  They threw you out of grad school?”

PATTY: “Baby, it was twenty years ago and who the hell was going to give someone who looks like me a (physics/chemistry/biology) PhD?”

(I will note that I was in grad school 20 years ago in biology. My department generally accepted one African-American student per class, and then forced every African-American student out of the PhD program without the doctorate.  I know of the happenings over a period of about a decade.  I don’t know if they’ve graduated an African-American student with a PhD YET.)


Anyway.  I will reread How to Be a Fan of Problematic Things, take a deep breath, and love the parts of the movie that I really really love.  And hope that there is a sequel, where they can expand on Patty’s character the way the sequel to the 1984 movie helped expand Winston.  In the meantime, the Power of Patty compels ME to love her and want better for her.



Oh my gods you guys, there wasn’t a SINGLE FAT JOKE IN THE ENTIRE DAMN MOVIE.  Do you have any idea how happy that made me?  How much I want to hug Melissa McCarthy for not doing any self-denigrating humor?  How much I LOVED Abby’s one line, “We just gave a ghost a nuke, I guess we better run,” and the fact that when they reached their destination, NO ONE was out of breath?  NOT EVEN ABBY?

I adore Abby.  Abby is my Patronus.  She’s the best kind of Mulder, the one who wants to believe and has poured her whole life into that belief, and FINALLY has proof.

Also, I love her angry voice.  And the fact that she does an amazing job with the sequence where she’s possessed.  (Which Hemsworth apparently couldn’t even be arsed to attempt.)  And the fact that, given that Rowan doesn’t seem to be enhancing her strength with any onscreen FX (unlike with the jump and the midair planking), she’s probably actually strong enough to pick up Holtzmann singlehanded and carry her to drop her out a window, at least on an adrenaline rush.



Erin is our Every-aca-woman.  The portrayal of academia as it impacts a white woman in a STEM field is PERFECT.  Just enough to tell us everything we need to know, not too much to make the scenes drag.

“More prestigious than Princeton?”  Yes, and you just know that some woman in that department dragged Dude’s research at some point.

Kristen Wiig also does a beautiful job of taking Erin from her stilted, awkward, painful pursuit of tenure to the angry, competent scientist who will, in fact, if challenged to prove herself, release a ghost into some asshole’s face because GODDAMMIT SHE’S TIRED OF BEING TOLD IT’S ALL IN HER HEAD.

For a really insightful analysis of academia in the Ghostbusters, see Is It a Race Thing or a Lady Thing?



I feel like everyone has said everything that really needs to be said about Holtzmann.  She builds dangerous things, she’s queer, she’s resistant to patriarchy, she’s everything we ever needed wrapped up in a tiny blonde eccentric-geek-soft-butch package.  Because of Holtzmann, there are nearly 400 fics, to date, on the Ghostbusters (2016) tag on Archive of Our Own less than a month after the film was released.  (Most of it is Holtzbert, because how can you not react to all the amazing flirtation there?)  Holtzmann is a huge question mark: she’s the only one we get nearly nothing about, except for the credits scene with her mentor, Rebecca Gorin (who, I am not ashamed to say, made me squee at a wavelength that only cats and lesbians can hear when she walked onscreen).  She’s the one who nearly everyone wants to write about, she’s the one who is a blank slate to write on, she’s the one nearly everyone is gay for, and she’s the one seducing her fellow Ghostbusters (especially Erin) all over fandom.  Everyone can project whatever they want onto her.

Holtzmann is the character I’ve been longing for forever, the queer woman in an SF&F movie who kicks ass and doesn’t die.  I hope in any sequel, they can make her queerness canon and text, instead of playing all the subtext and director’s cheerful assurances.

The Dudes

Every guy in this movie is an obstacle for the Ghostbusters to overcome.  Every. Guy.

Dr. Filmore: Is the Patriarchal Academic Gatekeeper that is introducing more and more ridiculous bureaucratic hoops for Erin to jump through, and who finally slams the gate in her face.

Dean of the Higgins Institute: Another Patriarchal Academic Gatekeeper, but one with less gravitas and more of the sort of flippant asshole treatment of women that crawls out of the Internet.  Slams the gate in Abby’s face like a teenage boy drunk on power.

Bennie: Constant low-grade obstacular annoyance.  Abby, particularly, depends on him for a relatively minor housekeeping item (food) that is easy to perform (delivery, particularly after they MOVE TO THE SECOND FLOOR OVER THE RESTAURANT), but he can’t be arsed to move himself to perform that task with more speed than he feels like.

The Tour Guide: Nope, not gonna even unlock the door for you, not gonna even hand you the keys, just gonna throw them on the ground and you can pick them up yourselves.

Ed Mulgrave: Okay, yes, he’s less of an obstacle than others — he provides the way the Ghostbusters can get their first proof.  Still, wow, he’s an asshole to his employees.  Also, I would argue that there’s a certain amount of queer coding to his clothing and mannerisms. No, we have no proof, but there’s something subversive — in his assholery and zaniness — going on there that allows him to be the side-channel around Patriarchy’s Gates.

Manager of the Concert Venue: Speaking about queer-coded white dudes. Still refers to the Ghostbusters as “girls.”

Martin Heiss: I don’t even need to really discuss this, except can I say how fabulously cathartic it was to see Bill Murray defenestrated?  I don’t like the actor, I hate Peter Venkmann, and Heiss was pretty much everything about the Amazing Randi that I loathe.

Mayor Bradley and Agents Hawkins and Rorke: So we have the Godfather and the Men in Black throwing monkeywrenches into the Ghostbusters’ research and trying to make the world think that they’re hoaxers, even moreso than Heiss.

(Jennifer Lynch: We wouldn’t have patriarchal gatekeepers without having at least a token collusive woman.  Notice that she’s the actual thinker of the Mayor’s office, and the mouthpiece through which he conveys any support, secretly. He cannot be arsed to call in the Ghostbusters to thank them himself — he only talks to them when they need to be shut down.)

The Cabbie: Yeah, looking at you, Dan Aykroyd. Need to stop Erin from getting somewhere easily?  Have a cabbie spout “entertaining” lines at you and then abandon you during the apocalypse. Fortunately, Erin was wearing her tennis shoes.

Rowan: Oh, yeah, our antagonist.  Him.  He was creepy and anti-everyone, but super misogynist when given the opportunity.  He recognizes that Abby is the motive force behind the group, and without Holtzmann, they won’t have the equipment to take him on.  He goes straight for their HQ and tries to take them out, then absconds with Kevin because he’s handy, and at the end, tries to take Abby with him out of revenge.  Rowan crawled straight out of Reddit, just like Darth Emo from The Force Awakens and Immortan Joe from Fury Road.  He’s just from a different subreddit.

Kevin: Fandom keeps wanting to make this guy some sort of innocent child-like individual.  Aw, he can’t figure out the phones.  Nah.  The luggage in a pile next to his desk is the key here: he just doesn’t care enough to do the job he’s being paid for. He won’t invest the emotional labor to be attentive, answer the phone, listen to his bosses.

He refuses to acknowledge, at first, that the phone is ringing and that it’s his job to answer it. (He just doesn’t seem to hear it, much less acknowledge that it exists on his desk. He remembers that there’s a phone in the fish tank, though — that he can’t reach.) When pushed to answer the phone, he immediately hangs up on the caller. (He’s “not into that conversation.” Probably because the person is upset and would require some listening.  How many of us have been receptionists who “aren’t into” those conversations?) He has to be asked who was on the phone.  The women have to walk him through every step of the way, repeatedly. He refuses to think through to the logical conclusion the fact that he has to take messages and let the women know that, for instance, they have a visitor waiting.

See ref: all the men (and some women) who, for instance, “just don’t see” mess that needs cleaning. They don’t exert themselves to do that emotional labor in terms of maintaining their own environment.

Notice that when he’s interested, he’s willing to put in the emotional labor to actually do something.  He can dress and groom himself, perform extensive workout routines, and ride a motorcycle, after all. He suddenly becomes competent enough to find an outfit and acquire a motorcycle (tricked out in the logo and with the ECTO-2 license plate — he claims to “borrow” it, but someone had to sit at DMV and get that license plate) when he wants to join the Ghostbusters because he thinks it’s cool.  And then at the end of the movie, he attempts to take credit for saving the city. He includes himself as a Ghostbuster, horning in on the women’s accomplishments without a blink of conscience.

Kevin is not (particularly) stupid: he’s a typical cishet white man with the volume turned up to showcase the lack of emotional labor and the imposition of himself on the women in all the normal ways that men do, with all the casual narcissicism that cishet white men are taught to spew around themselves.

In Closing

Holy crap, I love this movie.  Even with all its problems.

Safety lights are for dudes.

The new Ghostbusters

I am completely and totally THERE for the new Ghostbusters movie.

ALL WOMEN?  No more Bill Murray?  (Well, apparently, except for some cameo bullshit?)  I’M THERE.

Yeah, I tried rewatching the old one a few months ago, and we got so bored about half an hour in that we turned it off.  (I might have been shouting at Bill Murray to shut the fuck up too, I can’t remember.)  I remember loving it when it came out while I was in high school.  I saw it with my best friend, and we adored it.  We went to see the sequel together too.  I was sad.  This was clearly not one of the movies of my adolescence that has held up.  (Don’t get me started on my sadness about The Princess Bride.)


Also, okay, hot tall black woman, check, hot fat white woman, check, hot goofy geeky probably queer white woman, check!*

So OF COURSE I jumped on the new trailer.


But why, why, why, why whywhywhyWHY is Leslie Jones’ character NOT A GODDAMN SCIENTIST LIKE THE WHITE WOMEN?  Why is it all street cred and sassy black friend?

I would LOVE to see an African-American woman in a genre movie that was more in the mold of, say, Clarice or Ginger from Dykes to Watch Out For: ferociously smart, viciously sarcastic, and otherwise fully-rounded human beings that refuse to play into cliches.

clarice.thumbnail moreginger.thumbnail

[Art by Alison Bechdel, from]

I’m desperately hoping that Leslie Jones has chosen to play her character this way and that there’s moments of redemption from cliches (something like finding out that she does, in fact, have an advanced degree that she worked her ass off to get, but couldn’t get a job, so she ended up working for the transit authority for the union, decent wages, and decent bennies; something that plays up code-switching and whatnot).  ETA: I note that I had not, in fact, seen that Nora Jemisin had suggested this as headcanon when I wrote this.  She suggested it first, though!

That said, I like the little I’ve seen of Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon’s characters (heeeey, rock it, fellow Micks! I hadn’t even noticed that before). I’m  wondering if Kristen Wiig’s character is purposely a bit of an homage to Jane Fonda’s character in 9 to 5 or if it’s just that she, too, is playing a cliche.  There was just something in the character’s mannerisms that struck me.  (Or maybe it’s that 9 to 5 is the last good all-female caper comedy I remember seeing.)

Part of me deeply desires the ubiquitous and unidentifiable Chris** manly-man who is apparently in this movie to turn out to be a gay man.

TL;DR: I will go see this movie because GODDAMMIT MORE WOMEN-LED MOVIES DAMMIT and also I like many of these actresses (seriously, have you seen Leslie Jones’ standup?).  But I really hope there will be cliche-breaking lampshades all through this movie.




*Okay, yes, I’m sorry, I AM shallow, especially about things that poke my sparkly shallow teenager gland, but it’s SO UNUSUAL for there to be a movie that STARS WOMEN THAT I FIND ATTRACTIVE.  All the other women in Hollywood that other people find hot generally make me go “Meh.”  Even women as beautiful as, say, Brigitte Lin or Michelle Pfeiffer, I find beautiful in a, “Well, what a lovely work of art,” kind of way, not a, “Let’s have a shag, shall we?” kind of way.

**I can’t tell any of the Hollywood boy-men named Chris apart when they aren’t wearing their particularly iconic costumes.  (And sometimes even when they are.)  They’re all straight and white and vaguely blondish and look the same to me.