Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A movie world without women? No thanks

When I first saw this, I assumed it had to be a joke. Did the head of a major American movie studio really say he would no longer greenlight any movies with women in the lead role?

And knowing this comes from Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily column in L.A. Weekly, it should perhaps be greeted with skepticism, but since I've yet to see any kind of denial I have to assume it's true.

It seems that Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov has made a rather bizarre new decree: "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead."

In case this weren't sick enough by itself, you need only look at what evidence he used to reach this conclusion to see just how wrong it is. What drove this man over the edge? The poor box-office performance of two movies, "The Brave One" and "The Invasion."

Now, I didn't bother to see "The Invasion" because, well, I've seen "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and didn't need to see it again, but I can speak with authority on "The Brave One." Having had about a month to digest this one now I can state firmly that it was the worst movie I saw this summer, and is a strong contender for the overall title for the past five years or so. Is he really proposing we condemn women to the role of sidekick simply because these two awful movie underperformed at the box office? (Yes, apparently.)

Forgive me if I'm unable to come up with much of a cogent argument here, because this just pisses me off and it's still rather early in the morning, not a great combination. But rather than go on a rant about the virtues of women (if you don't know what they are, I'm 100 percent certain I can't help you), I got to thinking about whether or not there is anything we can do about this.

A viewers' boycott of Warner Bros. would make sense, but I'd advocate instead a conscious effort to support what few big box-office movies there are with women in the lead. I could only think of two for the rest of the year, but if there are any others coming up that I've missed please let me know (and I'm not counting conventional romantic comedies here because, well, it would be rather hard to make one of those that wasn't, well, gay without at least one woman in a prominent role.)

The first that comes to mind, and yes, I'm gonna mention it again, is "Juno." If you make the sacrifice of seeing adorable Ellen Page in the lead role (gasp, a woman!), I can virtually guarantee you'll get one of the smartest and funniest movies of the year.

But it starts earlier than that in wide-release land, this weekend in fact. It's a busy fall weekend with a lot of good titles. Personally, I'll be going to see as many as four movies: "We Own the Night," "Michael Clayton," "Tyler Perry's Why Did We Get Married?" and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age." Though I can't believe this would actually be necessary, I'd like to make a plea in honor of Mr. Robinov that out of this crowded slate everyone at least take the time to go see "Elizabeth."

With (gasp again!) perhaps the world's greatest actress in the lead role of Queen Elizabeth I, this should be a rousing period tale about Elizabeth's relationship with Sir Walter Raleigh and its impact on the world. There's exactly one review at the IMDB calling it an "awful, boring film," but I'm betting that once a more representative sample comes in the scorecard will tilt back in its favor.

Even if "Elizabeth" does somehow turn out to be horrible, however, that doesn't change the fact that Robinov is a moron, even if, looking at the current slate of movies, he simply was stupid enough to say out loud what must run through the minds of most movie studio chiefs as they greenlight movies. I guess the most I can ask is that you go see as many good movies as possible, and if you do get lucky enough to see one with a woman in the lead role enjoy it while you still can.

"Futurama" to the rescue

Well, that was all rather depressing, so here's a YouTube clip sure to make at least a few people laugh. I'd already seen a rough cut of this, the trailer for the upcoming "Futurama" DVD movie "Bender's Big Score," from ComicCon, but this is of much higher quality. Peace out.


jeremy said...

Rendition w/ Reese in lead and Meryl supporting and Margot at the Wedding are all I got--both of which I'll be seeing.
And that has to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard someone say.
How can someone who can make such broad, mysoginistic statements be a studio head?

Reel Fanatic said...

I have a feeling he won't be one for long, especially if the word keeps spreading as quick as it should .. and those are two definitely first-rate choices, Jeremy, and I'll definitely be seeing "Margot at the Wedding" even though it got some really scathing reviews out of the NYFF

Mercurie said...

Using Robinov's logic, Warner Brothers would no longer be doing movies with men in the lead either. After all, just how many movies starring men bomb? I suppose with Robinov in charge of production, we can look forward to a lot of movies starring dogs and cats...

Akanke said...

Hey just stumbled across your blog & wanted to let you know that it's great. I'm also a movie fanatic (among other things.) I'm definitely looking forward to "We Own the Night" & "American Gangster" among numerous others... Keep in touch, I'll definitely check back

Reel Fanatic said...

You're right there, Mercurie ... I think the real result would be all animated movies, which would drive me even more nuts than movies starring cute dogs and cats .. And thanks, Ananke ... I'd have to list "American Gangster" as the movie I'm most looking forward to for the rest of this year

Bob said...

I have no words for Mr. Robinov, except..."Really?" It's the sort of idea that could have only been devised by a studio executive. It's even worse than the guy who asked if Joy Division could play at the American premiere of "Control," and THAT is saying something. Thanks for the "Futurama" trailer. I can't wait to see more Zoidberg.

I saw "The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford" this weekend. I posted a review of it on my page. Incredible movie.

Reel Fanatic said...

I look forward to reading it when I get a bit of free time, Bob ... that one is very high on my must-see list for the rest of this year

Divinity said...

Call me silly but Enchanted with Amy Adams will probably get my money... Portman and SMG's new projects look interesting as well.
In the words of my British students, Mr. Robinov can chuck a flying ferret at a rolling doughnut... :P

Eric said...

Yeah the myspace filmmaker forum is all a twitter over that call. Needless to say Warner is not the only producer out there so I would imagine that the policy will be rather short lived

Reel Fanatic said...

Very well put, Divinity ... I should have and would have included Amy Adams' new flick if it just didn't look so damn silly ... I'll probably give it a chance anyway just because I like her so much in everything she does

Kimberly Nichols said...

Disgusting comments re women in the movies. What a moron.

(p.s.--Watched Lives of Others and Zodiac last weekend. I'm still in awe.)

Reel Fanatic said...

I started thinking about my list of favorite movies of 2007, Kimberly, and I have to say Zodiac is near the top of that list, because it's still blowing my mind more than six months after watching it

sexy said...