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July 2008, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 28 Jul 2008 19:49:47 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Lou Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
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Good point, Rochelle.  That may not have been the right phrasing.  Quite 
frankly what I probably meant was "more women who think like me!"

Seriously, though, I teach at a woman's university, so that drives a lot of 
my frustrations.  For the most part these are young women, pretty 
unsophisticated, and would not identify as feminists.

I certainly did not mean that women lack the intellect or education to do 
film reviewing, though I do suspect that that assumption on the part of 
editors and producers is an underlying reason there aren't more women film 
critics.  As I said, back in the day, and I'm talking about the 80s, for 
example, almost all the film panels at conferences I attended were 
exclusively, though of course not explicitly, male.

I agree what others have said about having more critics of color as well, 
it's just that I rarely know the ethnicity of critics unless I see a 
picture.  With gender I can usually go on name, though not always of course 
(I am a woman named Lou, after all).

And Waitress is indeed more complex, but I was just commenting on it from 
this one narrow perspective.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rochelle Mabry" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 4:47 PM
Subject: Re: [SCREEN-L] film critics

> 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
> follow.
> 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.
> Lou
> ----- 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
> ----
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