Today’s cinema has been an interesting thing to see as of late. We got to see the rise of one of the most dominating franchises in history dominate the film scene that culminated into the number one movie of all time. We’ve also got to witness the rise (and fall) of movie reboots, remakes and retellings, even if we didn’t want to see it. We got to see some amazing storytelling from so many different people. Somehow, we’ve managed to forget about all that we’ve accomplished and focus on stuff that doesn’t matter. I know that sounds extremely vague, but trust me, I’ll specify what I mean. For a little context in all of this, you should hear a little back story about where my opinions come from.
When I was growing up, I wasn’t really allowed to go play outside during the day because my dad didn’t want me outside while he was at work. So I stayed inside and watch a ton of movies with my mom. Of course, she watched what she wanted to, not what I wanted to. Well, at least 70% of the time I didn’t watch what I wanted to. During that time, I saw a ton of great movies that I never would have watched on my own. Movies like “A League of Their Own, While You Were Sleeping, First Wives Club, Chances Are, Sleepless in Seattle, Steel Magnolias, and the list goes on. Some of the movies I mentioned are female-directed movies and all of them are considered, “Chick Flicks”. I’ve seen my fair share of these movies and guess what, I like them. They offer some amazing storytelling and that’s why I like them. Not because they are female-led or it “empowers women”. Keep this in mind while I elaborate on my earlier statement.
Let’s talk about one movie that should not have been remade, Charlies Angeles. I know, I’m beating a dead horse, but bear with me for a second. This movie wasn’t asked for, it didn’t need to be updated to fit the modern era, and it didn’t offer fans anything that they felt like they needed. The only reason it was made is because Elizabeth Banks thought it would make her millions and she would be considered one of the most successful female directors in history. Guess what, it didn’t work. Of course, in today’s culture, Elizabeth Banks blamed the film's failure on the fact that “men don’t go see women do action movies”. Placing blame on something else other than yourself is the number one reason you don’t make it long term, it just makes you look petty and lazy because you can’t own up to the fact that you made a movie that didn’t offer the fans a good reason to see it other than it was a woman-led movie that had a woman director. Expecting to be given something because you are of a specific sex or gender is going to cause you a lot of pain and disappointment when you realize no one cares.
I read an article earlier this morning on Variety.com entitled, “Women Will Direct Four Major Superhero Movies in 2020, and Hollywood May Never Be the Same”. After reading it, it seems more like pandering to the audience that only focuses on the fact that “a woman is the director and that’s why you should go see the film” and honestly, that’s not why I go to the theater. I didn’t go watch Passion of the Christ because Mel Gibson directed it and I didn’t watch Apollo 13 because Ron Howard, the kid from Andy Griffith Show was the director. I go to the theater because I want to watch that film on the big screen. I could care less about who directs it, who wrote it and why it’s being made in the first place, IF it’s done the right way and it grabs my attention, it’ll have my attention. From what I can tell, Wonder Woman and Black Widow are the only two out of those four that I actually want to go see. Why? Because they look awesome. The others just look like their thrown together and are just trying to capitalize on Female-Led action films. The content of the trailer is very important for me because 90% of the time, that's the only chance movies will get to show me a reason for me to see the film. Here’s an example, my wife and I saw a tv spot for the movie Richard Jewell. I never knew anything about what the real situation was or why it was focused on this guy, but the spot was done so well that both me and my wife looked at each other and wanted to know more. It looked interesting and compelling enough for us to research this movie and find out what it is and why we want to see it. That 30-second spot is crucial for movies to capture the attention of the viewer.
Another thing that people are forgetting, especially the author of the Variety author, is that Hollywood has been changed forever already with movies that predate this era of cinema. We already have great movies made by women that were strong enough to take the heat from their peers in their time and still make a great movie with a great story. Anyone who thinks that women haven’t accomplished anything in Hollywood really doesn’t know its history. Take off the blindfold and actually look into what you're talking about, don’t let your peers tell you that things are a certain way when they’re really not. This may be an unpopular opinion, but just because a woman made something in today’s society, doesn’t mean that I’m obligated to support it or say that it was amazing. I call things for what they are, and to me, that’s nothing but a participation trophy. Focus on the story and creating something that makes me want to watch it because I need more than “Woman-Led” to bring me to the theater.