“Why do we go to the movies?” is the film industry equivalent of “What is the meaning of life?” It’s a question that everyone with varying degrees of passion for the subject has a different answer to.
Often, the meaning of the movies reflect the season they are released in, because people have different desires at the theater. The summer is often associated with the kind of movie that gets people out of the heat and makes them relax. Something for the kids to go to while the parents are at work, or the whole family to enjoy when everyone is home.
It’s interesting to think about which movies will be remembered as classics 20-30 years down the road. Interesting, and also depressing. Stop and think. Is there one film made during the modern movie age that will resonate throughout pop culture like a Godfather or a Star Wars? There are no more Godfathers, mostly because the Mafioso in the modern studio system don’t believe in them anymore.
Movies mirror the culture they’re released into. It’s no coincidence that the biggest movies now are sloppily constructed rehashes used to make a quick buck. See also: the housing crisis. The most endearing movies of the old age are often blockbusters, but they’re also something more: risks that paid off. George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola had to fight like hell to get their movies made, and struggled to keep them once they were financed. In modern times, once you’re inside the system, there is no fighting. You make the movie they tell you to, or else you pay for it yourself.
The always engaging Manohla Dargis of the New York Times recently wrote a brilliant article about what Kathryn Bigelow’s Best Director win at the Oscars means. Dargis’ thorough, bullet-proof essay concludes that women in film are probed about their personal life more than men as well as “ghettoized in romantic comedy.”
This got me thinking about some of those recent movies, both romantic and comical, and just how they view women. Let’s take a look at two of 2009’s biggest films: The Hangover and The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
At a glance, these films may appear to have absolutely nothing in common. On closer analysis though, they both share some kind of anti-feminist philosophy. The Hangoveroperates under the philosophy that women are either a nuisance, or just total bitches, while New Moontreats its female “heroine” like a junkie looking for a testosterone fix.