Why do reporters ask vapid gendered questions about diets and clothes and “balancing work and family” of actresses over and over again — while they ask male movie stars about preparing for their roles and other weighty topics? Well, because whether these inane queries get slapped down or answered in earnest, it probably makes for a juicy headline. But it’s also simply lazy. That’s why one of the most heartening changes in the cultural sphere in the past few years is the way so many celebrities, male and female alike (Jeremy Renner being a notable exception), have simply refused to play this game — or, even better, called questioners on their …Read More
“But, Conan, if you slept with four of the six Avengers, no matter how much fun you had, you’d be a slut… I’d be a slut.” — Jeremy Renner to Conan O’Brien, May 2015.
Jeremy Renner is working hard to advance an equal-opportunity definition of the loaded term “slut.” He even thinks that he’d count as a slut if he fictionally slept with fictional characters. So to honor his valiant crusade, and prove that he wasn’t singling out Black Widow because of gender or objectification or anything mean like that, we’re taking a look at the biggest sluts in action movie history, regardless of gender.
The word “slut” has already been reclaimed, repurposed, turned inside out, and analyzed ad nauseam since the ’90s. In the past few decades we’ve encountered Kathleen Hanna’s stomach “slut” scrawl, were Slutwalks, The Unslut Project, Slut! The Play, as well an entirely new term for an old concept: “slut-shaming,” a phrase that has become increasingly common shorthand for something that shouldn’t be done but is done so often that it leads to bullying and worse. Even Monica Lewinsky is fighting back against slut-shaming, while discussions about race, gender identity, and slut-shaming flourish on the Internet.
And then there’s Marvel superhero slut-shaming.
The Sony hack continues to present a conundrum for those of us with an interest in the “business” half of the movie business equation — yes, it’s stolen property, and a violation of privacy, and we’re all going to hell, and so on. But these emails also provide a rare unguarded (and thus valuable) look at how the sausage is made; they’re a guide to exactly how Hollywood’s most powerful people view matters of race and the pay gap (and, in the latter case, said emails have provided artillery for demands of parity). And now, a bit of newly unearthed correspondence reveals just how dense the folks who make your comic book movies are about who wants to see them, and who they should be about.
We’re in the final stretch of SNL’s big 40th season with a trio of hosts who are probably feeling the pressure. Scarlett Johansson kicks things off, followed by Reese Witherspoon and Louis C.K. on May 9 and 16, respectively. This isn’t Johansson’s first time on the Studio 8H stage, but it’s been a while — and now she’s a mom with, perhaps, a new perspective. We get a hint of that in her opening monologue, but it’s her Black Widow side that gets the biggest laugh of the night. Marvel at how it all went down last night (sorry), below.
Superhero movie fatigue is a real thing, and I’m afraid your correspondent has come down with a case of it. Sure, there have been dribs and drabs before, in the grim solemnity of Zack Snyder’s joyless Man of Steel or the endless recycling of the Spider-Man franchise. But amidst all the clutter, the Wolverines and Ghost Riders and Green Lanterns, the Marvel movies have been an oasis (y’know, Thor movies aside). Iron Man gave us a hero with real dimension, acted sharply by Robert Downey Jr. and directed with intelligence by Jon Favreau. Captain America: The First Avenger had a golden glow of nostalgia and a giant heart at its center. Joss Whedon injected the series with a shot of genuine wit in the first Avengers — he insisted that blockbusters could be (in fact, should be) funny, a notion taken up well by Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He’s back at the helm of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which has several thrilling action sequences, a great many good jokes, and an unshakable sense that everybody is just going through the paces.
Wild, director Jean-Marc Vallée’s film version of Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir, hits DVD and Blu-ray this week, and is well worth your time — both on its own merits and as part of the fascinating and ongoing history of the female road movie. While tales of the open road often focus on male buddies (Easy Rider) or lovers on the run (Badlands, True Romance, Natural Born Killers), some of our favorite road movies track the physical and psychological journeys of women. Here are a few …Read More