Manic Pixie Dream Girl

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Trope Is Supposed to Be Dead — So Why Is It Alive and Well in ‘Paper Towns’?

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The formulation and discussion of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl was a net good; awareness was raised of this simplistic approach to the writing of women in films, and the odious trope went, to a great extent, the way of the dinosaur. But it’s still popping up in YA fiction and film adaptations of said books, which brings us to Paper Towns, which may well be the MPDG’s …Read More

Ridiculous Male Fantasy Wish-Fulfillment Movies

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You’re a married man who shares a secret loft with your buddies. There, you bed your mistresses and party to your heart’s content. But then some stupid dead woman messes everything up for you, placing you at the scene of the crime, making you mistrust your bros. Erik Van Looy’s The Loft, which opens this weekend, gets the biggest bunch of eyerolls from us. Currently holding a whopping 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, The Loft sadly isn’t alone when it comes to male fantasy wish-fulfillment movies. Here are a few of the worst offenders, all in good fun.
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The Manic Pixie Dream Girl May Be Dead, But Film’s Shallow Female Characters Live On

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Is it a big deal when the person who coined a term disowns it? In Salon, culture journalist Nathan Rabin has penned a piece called “I’m Sorry For Coining the Phrase ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl,’” where he apologizes for naming the archetype in an 2007 A.V. Club review that dissected Kirsten Dunst’s insufferable character in Elizabethtown. Rabin’s moment of insight eventually yielded a million think-pieces, Zooey Deschanel’s Emmy-nominated mainstream brand, John Green’s writing career, and a wave of cultural criticism that took to task — in manners both dismissive and frustrating — the phenomenon of female characters, often young, feeling like shallow, one-dimensional girls there to prop up a male protagonist.
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How ‘Skins’ Quietly Rejected the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Archetype

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When Skins announced its plan to end its seven-season run with three movies checking in on three beloved characters, Cassie struck me as the riskiest choice. Wild girl Effy would always have a story to tell; Cook’s inevitable downward spiral is the stuff addictive teen television is made of. But after giving Season 2 its perfect ending, sitting in a Times Square diner on the verge of a reunion with her beloved Sid, what was left for Cassie to do? The answer, it turns out, was proof I hadn’t given the show and its savvy intelligence nearly enough credit. Thus far, Skins Pure is a compelling deconstruction of the stereotype Cassie’s original incarnation embodied at her worst moments: the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
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In Defense of ‘Garden State’

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I think people honestly just don’t like Zach Braff’s face, and in fairness to them, it is sort of punchable. But the ever-polarizing actor’s recent Kickstarter campaign for his long-in-coming Garden State follow-up Wish I Was Here has cranked online Braff-punching up to volumes unheard in years — and in fairness to his critics, there is much to loathe about the story (more on that later). But it has also reinvigorated the narrative that Garden State, his 2004 debut film as writer/director, was a toxic piece of nuclear sludge that euthanized dogs and gave children bone cancer. Well, I’m here to tell you what 86% of critics and much of the viewing public said at the time: Garden State is a pretty good movie. In fact, it has moments of greatness.
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