Manic Pixie Dream Girl

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl May Be Dead, But Film’s Shallow Female Characters Live On

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. … Read More

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How ‘Skins’ Quietly Rejected the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Archetype

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. … Read More

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In Defense of ‘Garden State’

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. … Read More

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These Are the Movies That Make You Totally Undateable

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve started some fierce conversations (and ruffled a few feathers) with our features on books and bands that send up red flags among the dating population of Flavorpill’s staff, writers, and readers. With movies, it can get a bit more complicated — after all, a movie is a short commitment, so we can all be forgiven for seeing (and liking) some dogs, or for taking in films that dabble in disturbing subject matter. Where it gets worrisome is when you’re at the potential someone-special’s place, glancing over their DVD shelf, and a title jumps out that you realize they not only paid good money for, but wanted to keep around for repeat viewings. Thus, with the help of readers and colleagues (names kept anonymous to protect, well, everyone), here are some of the movies that you might want to clear from your shelves and queues if you’re heading out into the dating pool. Check them out after the jump, and add your own horror stories in the comments. … Read More

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Video of the Day: State Home for Manic Pixie Dream Girls

What’s a poor, smitten, hoodie-wearing young man to do when his quirky dream girl gets too weird for comfort? Why, ship her off to the State Home for Manic Pixie Dream Girls, of course, where she can twirl through the halls and do childlike art projects in the company of other young ladies who take their cues from every character Zooey Deschanel has ever played. Watch glasses-wearing ladies fight over mix CDs, dance in the rain, and “wonder at the marvel of every moment” in this hilarious video from Natural Disastronauts — which, as far as we’re concerned, is an even better send-up than Saturday Night Live‘s “Bein’ Quirky” sketches. … Read More

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Kirsten Dunst Hates the Term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”

We admit, Kirsten Dunst is a bit polarizing, just like Zooey Deschanel, but what can we say, we love them both for the way they fit the Manic Pixie Dream Girl persona. But as it turns out, Kiki had never heard the term before a recent interview with MovieFone brought it up, and once she learned it, she decided that she hates it. Here are a few choice excerpts from the interview, where the writer awkwardly tries to explain the definition to the star that led to the coining of the term. … Read More

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Joanna Newsom Is No Manic Pixie Dream Girl

We have always loved Joanna Newsom, but let’s face it: For a while there, she seemed like the perfect Manic Pixie Dream Girl — the willowy, ethereal good looks and whimsical sense of style; the quirky, elfin voice; the esoteric lyrics. You kind of got the idea that she woke every morning in the dewy grass of a forest clearing, nuzzling a deer and singing to the swallows. And while some (read: the depressing number of dudes who go for that kind of thing) might have been into that, we were excited to read an interview with Newsom in Sunday’s Guardian that dispels any fears we had about her strength of character. As it turns out, the singer and harpist ripped into Madonna and Lady Gaga, praised hip hop and declared a love for raunch. … Read More

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