Dakota Johnson Should Have Been an Oscar Contender for Fifty Shades of Grey

The Razzies have come under fire in recent years for being an opportunistic, publicity-hounding sham that doesn’t add anything new to the conversation, or even manage to be funny. Rather than effectively satirizing “legitimate” award shows like the Oscars, they’ve become known for taking in-poor-taste potshots at easy targets, beating each year’s dead horse until it’s really, really, really dead.

And what’s an easier mark than Fifty Shades of Grey? Both the book series and the 2015 film are embarrassing blemishes on our culture, appallingly sexist and mind-numbingly inane pornos that reinforce damaging stereotypes and actively encourage young women to seek–and try to “save”–abusive partners. So naturally, it received no less than six Razzie nominations, pretty much every single one for which it was eligible. Continue reading →

Advertisements

Talking about “The Flick”

This post is a little different: JD and KHT went to see The Flick a few months ago, and loved it, while feeling that there was more going on than we were aware of in the moment. We tried a dialogue format to talk through what made it so interesting.

KHT: I really enjoyed Annie Baker’s Pulitzer-prize-winning The Flick, a play set in a low-traffic Worcester movie theater that still uses a 35mm projector, which I saw last week at the intimate Barrow Street Theater. The three main actors—Louisa Krause, Aaron Clifton Moten, and Matthew Maher—had a lot of poise and sense of timing as they brought to life a specific, very slow rhythm that was both familiar to me from awkward-pause-heavy comedies like The Office and totally new.

Continue reading →

Noah Solloway’s Great American Thriller Come to Life

The Affair is at its very best when it’s skewering privileged white male literary darlings through the ever-insufferable Noah Solloway, our resident aspiring Great American Novelist. In between name-dropping Jonathan Franzen, Philip Roth, and, of course, the sagacious Ernest Hemingway, Noah says things like “As a straight white man, I am automatically disqualified from winning the PEN/Faulkner… it’s impossible to be a man in 2015!” and uses Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss’s divorce attorney because “now they live in adjacent brownstones in Brooklyn!”
Continue reading →

The best books we read in 2015

Janes:

The Portrait of a Lady

Henry James

69-a-Portrait-of-a-Lady

No one delves into a character’s psychology quite like Henry James, and in Isabel Archer, he found a protagonist more than worthy of his meticulous deconstruction. She’s a formidable intellectual who doesn’t see the value in intellectual pursuits, she’s an idealist who isn’t quite sure what her ideals are, she’s an independent who is completely and utterly controlled by the malignant, vicious people in her life. She has a complex, distinctive personality and an indomitable will, all of which is systematically broken down by a small man with “exquisite taste.” It’s as tragic as it is insightful, sensitively portraying the experience of patriarchal oppression through the eyes of a woman who is determined to “behave picturesquely.”

Acquired: through kht, who warned me I would relate to the protagonist to an uncomfortable extent. I’ve thrice been told that I am like Isabel Archer, once as a lament, once as a compliment [To be clear, this was me –kht], and once as a scathing criticism. Only a Henry James character could find so many different ways to be relatable to a real person’s life.

Continue reading →

ROOM’s Metamorphosis from Feminist Critique to Oscar-fied Inspiration Porn

In the first half of Emma Donoghue’s meticulously psychological Room, the character of Ma is just that—she’s a mother. She’s a near-saintly, self-sacrificing angel who unfailingly thinks of everything and always knows how to make everything better. She’s also not a person in her own right, but that’s the entire point, as the story is told from her five-year-old son’s perspective. To him, she is just “Ma,” because he’s never known her to be anything else. Continue reading →