SCREEN-L Archives

July 2008, Week 4


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Rochelle Mabry <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 28 Jul 2008 14:47:28 -0700
text/plain (130 lines)
Dipping my toe into the big pool for the first time to respond to this:

"If we had more educated women reviewing films, I think that might change."

I have to admit I find this statement a bit problematic on a couple of levels.  First, it makes what to me is an essentialist assumption that only a female critic is capable of writing a feminist critique.  Second--and again, this is solely my reading--I'm not quite comfortable with the idea of "educated women."  It strikes me as saying either that women still don't have the educational/intellectual capacity to do work like competent film viewing, or that film viewing should only be the province of an elite cadre who have been trained according to a certain canon of history, theory, and critical practice.

Finally--and a bit off the topic at hand--I find the film Waitress a bit more complex--even from a feminist viewpoint--than the description below may indicate.

Rochelle Mabry
Florida Atlantic University

"So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?"

----- Original Message ----
From: Lou Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2008 5:34:01 PM
Subject: Re: [SCREEN-L] film critics

Thanks to all of your for your thoughtful responses.  I hope to read more!

What I have been thinking about is how few women are film critics, something 
I've always wondered (and it was tough to break into film scholarship as a 
woman too, in my experience), but recently there have been some films that 
got pretty universal critical acclaim but that I found appalling because of 
their not-so-subtle sexism. I have pretty much determined that those films 
were liked because they are being reviewed by men who don't see anything 
wrong with sexism (and I'm not saying all men are like that, just most male 
film critics that I've read)--in fact, they don't even notice it.

For example, take the film "Waitress."  I should warn you that spoilers 

I had heard great things--nothing but great things, in fact, about this 
film.  When I saw it my first reaction was one of disappointment, mostly for 
the stereotyping of Southern characters and also that the so-called 
"cleverness" of the whole pie recipe story was kind of a joke--none of these 
recipes were original, they were just given "cute" names.

But as I got further into the film I was really disturbed by the fact that 
all the women were subservient to men, that the protagonist was having an 
affair that was three times inappropriate (she was married, he was married, 
and he was her doctor!), and she is  saved only by a lecherous old rich guy 
who dies at a convenient time.  And the doctor was rejecting his perfectly 
lovely, pleasant, physician wife in favor of a waitress who was in an 
abusive relationship but fed him pie.

There have been quite a few films like that lately.  I'll admit that even my 
female students like these films, just as they don't see the problems I have 
with "Pretty Woman" or "Love, Actually" (again for my feminist ideology), 
but they're young and unschooled, and so I wish critics would look a little 
more closely at the ideological assumptions that these films perpetuate, 
since most filmgoers obviously do not.

If we had more educated women reviewing films, I think that might change.

Not that I want to do it, though.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Holiday, Frederick N." <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, July 25, 2008 11:23 PM
Subject: Re: [SCREEN-L] film critics

>I don't really have a list if the best, but I know who the absolute worst 
>is:  Peter Travers of ROLLING STONE, without a doubt.
> Fred A. Holliday II
> ________________________________________
> From: Film and TV Studies Discussion List [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf 
> Of Lou Thompson [[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Friday, July 25, 2008 8:12 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [SCREEN-L] film critics
> The announcement today that "Ebert and Roeper" were going off the air came 
> at one of those serendipitous times for me, as I've been thinking a lot 
> about film critics--who they are, where they come from, how (or if) they 
> are trained or schooled.
> I was wondering if those of you on the list would be interested in sharing 
> your list of the top film critics/reviewers (not scholars), past and 
> present.
> __________________________
> Lou Ann Thompson, Ph.D,
> Professor of English
> Texas Woman's University
> _____________________________
> "One Law for the Lion and the Ox is Oppression."--William Blake
> _____________________________
> "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do 
> nothing."--Attributed to
> Edmund Burke
> _____________________________
> "It could be worse.  I could be Sting."--Ozzy Osbourne
> _____________________________
> ----
> Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite
> ----
> Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite

Learn to speak like a film/TV professor! Listen to the ScreenLex

To sign off Screen-L, e-mail [log in to unmask] and put SIGNOFF Screen-L
in the message.  Problems?  Contact [log in to unmask]