I went to see two movies this past weekend. One was the latest in the onslaught of comic book superheroes, Green Lantern, and the other was the new Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris.
I love movies. I always have. I can't help it, and having seen so many, I think I know something about them.
Comic book superhero movies are not supposed to attract women on a large scale. It's the guys who go for the lair, the rides, the chases, the fights and the explosions. In some films, the only nod given to the women who might show up is a good-looking protagonist in a tight-fitting suit.
The girl in comic book movies is usually lovely and sweet and doesn't have much to do. Today, she usually has a high-powered job just to let you know she's smart, but her presence does nothing for the plot. She's just there to become endangered so our hero can rescue her. She is essentially a prop. I don't even know why actresses get excited about being cast in these roles.
It's sad that women characters have lost so much ground in popular movies. Didn't Thelma and Louise prove that women want to see women doing things on film? Thelma and Louise were in a classic car; they were being chased by cops; they shot up a truck -- and women loved it. Female moviegoers actually did just what superhero fans do: they went to see this film over and over again in the theater. It was even the kind of chick flick one could feel comfortable taking a guy to see.
Green Lantern was no exception when it comes to writing off women before shooting even one frame of footage. I reaped the benefit of low expectations because I wasn't expecting much, so I actually didn't hate it. Still, the film cost 200 million dollars; can't they spare a few more bucks for a script that uses female characters as more than just window dressing? The box office returns for Green Lantern have not been exceptional. Maybe it's time to give women something to do in these films besides just being the damsel in distress.
Midnight in Paris isn't much better. It stars Rachel McAdams, who plays such an annoying, despicable character that one wonders if Owen Wilson's character is an idiot for having proposed to her. She's a sexless, money-hungry social climber. I couldn't figure out if Woody is saying that women are disgusting or that men are idiots. He's probably saying both.
If only Paris was a woman. The one great thing about Midnight in Paris is that it is truly a love letter to Paris. Woody is now telling the kind of stories he used to tell about New York about other great cities. He did the same for Barcelona a few years back. Whatever you say about him, he does have a knack for capturing a place. Unfortunately, women and the nature of human love continue to elude him.