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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

because Hollywood is truly mystified that women might like Robert Downey Jr.

Look: Lots of women identify as “geeky.” Lots of women are delighted to check out the latest comic-book superhero blow-’em-up cartoon action movie purely on the basis of its being the hot new comic-book superhero blow-’em-up cartoon action movie of the weekend. I realize that many many many people in Hollywood simply cannot comprehend this, but perhaps they should wake the fuck up and actually see their audiences instead of making up shit about whom they think is seeing a film (from Variety via Thompson on Hollywood, because Variety made the dumbass decision to go behind a paywall):

According to Paramount, Iron Man 2 earned a Cinema Score of A, not only showing a 60% to 40% breakout in males to females attending, but in the under 25 to over 25 demo.

The studio is marveling at how strong the film is playing with females. “What you’ll see on Sunday is people taking their moms to see Iron Man,” says Paramount distribution executive vp Don Harris. “You can’t make a statistic like that up.” In tracking, the female figures for Iron Man 2 were so high, adds Harris, “you would expect such numbers from a film like Sex and the City 2.”

On how many levels can we say “Fuck you!” to this? More than one. First of all, people took their moms to see Iron Man 2 on Sunday? Maybe a few — I do know of one geek girl pal who did, indeed, take her mom to see the movie on Sunday. But there’s no way in hell this can account for the fact that 40 percent of attendees at Iron Man 2 this past weekend were female. This is as bad as saying that women go to see movies like Iron Man 2 only because they’re deferring to their boyfriends’ choice of movie, and would not otherwise see such a film. And unless moviegoers were surveyed to see whether the women attending were all somebody’s mom along for the ride on the way to dinner afterward, you sure as hell can make up a statistic like that. I saw Iron Man 2 for the second time on Saturday — paid for a theater ticket and everything, just like a regular moviegoer and not like a high-society film critic! — because I like these kinds of movies. And I saw lots and lots of women in the theater, too, most of which did not appear to be with their children.

Second: Does Don Harris seriously think that the audience for Sex and the City 2 over opening weekend will be 40 percent male? If so, I want some of whatever he’s smoking.

As Melissa Silverstein at Women & Hollywood sums up:

Sex and the City was successful in spite of the fact that few [men] attended, Iron Man 2 was successful because they got women to come.

Isn’t it interesting how getting women to a action movie is seen as a success but if you don’t have guys come and see a film starring women it’s because it just doesn’t appeal to men. It’s the same old story

Male movies = universal

Women’s movies = other

And then there’s this: If you’re a stupid, sexist Hollywood executive jerk who cannot appreciate that women might actually, genuinely like a movie about a dude in a metal suit kicking bad-guy ass, shouldn’t you at least be able to acknowledge that when you cast a guy in the lead who looks like this:

And like this:

And like this:

And like this:

And — Jesus Christ — like this:

that even the most shallow, most un-comic-book-obsessed gal might — just might — want to check it out.

I mean: Why can’t the sexist pigs at least be consistent?

This has been your WTF Thought for the Day.



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  • I_Sell_Books

    Nom.

    Oh, right. Yeah, fuck you too, Variety!

  • Joanne

    Not only does he look great, he’s also possibly the most effortless cool guy on screen. It’s a no-brainer.

  • bronxbee

    OH-KAY! (especially that last picture)… how can i say to hollywood, “I WANT!”

  • Ide Cyan

    Where is that last picture from?

  • nnvee

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe RDJ and Sarah Jessica Parker were once a power couple in their younger years. I think she was by his side during his worst drug years. Not that it has anything to do with the topic at hand.

    The picture on the bed of RDJ is cute. As I’ve mentioned many times before; men need to put out if they want to be sexy. Meaning they need to show some skin, same as the girls have to do. But that is a whole other rant.

    (SOME VERY MINOR SPOILERS)
    I saw IM2 and was quite underwhelmed with the movie. RDJ is not enough of a reason singularly for me. Poor storytelling, no character development, too much weapons porn, Bill O’reilly (sp) shouldn’t have been in the movie not even as a joke. Where was Jeff Bridges?? Wasn’t he in the first one?

    I think it is worth mentioning that the movie may have had some of it’s success because it had absolutely no competition at the box office: ZERO.

    I think there is collusion amongst the major studios to guarantee success for their chosen projects. Where are the big box office battles for the viewers hard earned dollar? It just does not look like a free market to me.

    I find it hard to believe that all the major studios all at the same time cannot make a dollar in the female market (half the human population) without making us sit through man-movies and then calling that a success.

    I DO NOT want to sit through dude-movies all the time. Nor do I want to sit through these crappy supposed female for shit romantic comedies we’re being fed. It’s all Bullshit.

    (Sorry for the profanity)

  • Bruinsfan

    There are probably some places where the audience for Sex and the City 2 will be as much as 40% male. But Chelsea and West Hollywood are not demographically representative of the nation as a whole.

  • Sarah

    Dayum.

    If your new site’s direction leads to more pictures like that last one, Maryann, I wholly support it.

  • Given the divorce rate in this country, and fathers disappearing from their kids’ lives, it wouldn’t actually surprise me that moms end up taking pre-teen sons to movies like Iron Man. When I was growing up, it was definitely a father-son thing to do. I’m not saying it’s a complete explanation, just that the mom theory isn’t so whacked out.

  • judy

    Thank you for being the voice of reason!!! yes yes yes!! I have been a fan of Downeys for years and I will see every movie he makes. He is a damn good actor and he is very very handsome! and to answer the question of where the last photo came from… it was from a series by Sam Taylor Wood ( and yes she is a woman) who made a series of photos of famous men crying. It was called the Crying Men series! I don’t know how to post a link but here are more.
    http://toomuchsexy.org/index/weblog/comments/crying_men/

  • Well! Looks like I have a new desktop wallpaper!

    Suck it, Hollywood. Not only do we like RDJ, but some of us will turn up for Mickey Roarke as well.

  • Kay Jay

    RDJ has been a fav since I was a teen. Rehab was very very good to him. He is HOT HOT HOT. By request me family took me to see IRONMAN on Mother’s Day. I’m so proud of his comeback. Love and Kisses to you Robert!!!

  • LaSargenta

    @ Paul, THIS mother took her son to see Iron Man 2 last weekend because I wanted to see it. He sorta wanted to see it. He was worried it would be as heavy at the beginning as Iron Man’s opening was.

    I am divorced, but I’m the one who liked these kind of movies more than my ex in the first place. I also take my kid to ice hockey and some day will introduce him to Peckinpah’s films, too. His father can’t stand Peckinpah.

    Maybe women are a more diverse bunch than seems to be indicated by the (probably) skewed marketing polls.

    As far as RDJ, I’ve always liked him but as a general rule I’d like more hair there. ;-)

    Now beefcake photos of Liev Schreiber…those ought to be posted ’round here next!

  • Given the divorce rate in this country, and fathers disappearing from their kids’ lives, it wouldn’t actually surprise me that moms end up taking pre-teen sons to movies like Iron Man.

    Well, my mother made it perfectly clear a few years ago that she wasn’t interested in seeing the first Iron Man so not taking her to see the new one last Sunday was a bit of a no-brainer. (For what it’s worth, she preferred to watch a DVD of The Blind Side for Mother’s Day.)

    Then again my mother was more enthusiastic about seeing the last Star Trek movie than I was and when I was little, one of the first R-movies she took us kids to see was a drive-in movie showing of The Godfather. (Not that my mother was the type to take us to many age-inappropriate movies but I’m guessing she really wanted to see the movie that weekend and lacked a sitter. Plus she was separated from my late father at the time.)

    Every time I have my mother’s movie tastes pegged, she surprises me. She took us kids to see The Poseidon Adventure, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, SuperDad and Billy Jack and my sister and I used to tease her because after her divorce from our father, she’d often see movies like Looking for Mr. Goodbar and The Other Side of Midnight that she wouldn’t be caught dead taking us to see.

    Lately, though, I’ve noticed that she often ends up hating the same movies I hate, even if she sees them on her own or with my sister.

  • MaryAnn

    That idiot from Paramount did not talk about moms taking their sons to this movie, but people taking their moms. Not the same thing at all.

  • Great post. I wonder how much of it has to do with the fact that these people had nothing to do with making the movie? Not that the ignorance and stereotyping of Americans is atypical among Hollywood execs, and then of course it seems doubly inexcusable because this is a sequel and the stats probably aren’t that different from the first movie.

    Speaking of which, at the Iron Man 2 premiere, a reporter asked Robert Downey Jr why he thought Iron Man appealed to such a large audience and guess what he said …
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2WzHH7tcFo#t=0m50s

  • @LaSargenta, as I said, my idea wasn’t a complete explanation.

    I agree that there is a difference between people taking their moms and moms taking their sons, but with parents and children it can be hard to tell who is taking who. Sure, the parents are driving, but would they have gone to certain movies if the kids hadn’t pleaded?

    I guess I just like my explanation better than the Hollywood guy’s.

  • Lisa

    May I suggest a Stud of the Week column? just a thought

    We could also fight back against the sexism Hollywood shows towards women by reducing men to the level of sex objects too. HUZZAH!

  • Jim Mann

    This is as bad as saying that women go to see movies like Iron Man 2 only because they’re deferring to their boyfriends’ choice of movie, and would not otherwise see such a film.

    I agree. Though I’ll note that this happens to men also. Hollywood assumes that the only reason men go to see Pride and Prejudice or other such movies is because they are deferring to their girl friend or wife. But I know quite a few men who love Jane Austen.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    Yeah, I’m a guy and I got a few funny looks when I bought a ticket for Whip It recently too…

    I think internet movie rental sites have come close to erasing the gender gap here. Before, if you were a man who loved rom-coms, an adult who loved kids’ films or a woman who loved action movies you might have waited until they were on TV rather than try to interest your friends in seeing them, or going to the pictures alone, or letting the Blockbusters clerk know what you were into. Now nobody has to know anything about it.

  • Sapphire

    I agree that the studio explanation for how well the movie did with women is just plain silly. It brings me back to 2008 when the first Iron Man and The Dark Knight were making money hand over fist and people wondered why — truth was, there were a lot of women going to see both movies. Nowadays I usually avoid blockbuster-type films (there’s a real sameness to them these days), but I loved both movies. I was originally interested in seeing them because they looked like they had interesting stories and great acting. Thinking women appreciate that. Movies like the Sex and the City films and all those romantic comedies may make most of their money from women, but not all women like those films, so it’s silly for Hollywood to think it’s weird when something that isn’t a “chick flick” appeals to them.

    I was one of the many women who saw the sequel this past weekend, and I had a very good time. In fact I saw it again with some family members a few days later. And I’m certainly no mom…just a single woman in her early 30s.

  • MaryAnn

    May I suggest a Stud of the Week column? just a thought

    We could also fight back against the sexism Hollywood shows towards women by reducing men to the level of sex objects too. HUZZAH!

    I’m thinking maybe a “Brainy Beefcake” feature. I don’t want to reduce men to the level of sex objects, or at least not just on the basis of what they look like and nothing else. But it certainly can’t hurt to remind Hollywood that some women do like looking at attractive men…

  • Yay Whip It! I went to see it with a roller girl, so it was perfectly appropriate.

    But, yes. I know just as many, if not more, geeky girls than geeky guys, and my roller girl girlfriend is far more up-to-date with how Iron Man is portrayed in comics these days than I am. Maybe living in Hollywood and being surrounded by women who feel they have to project the ‘brainless starlet’ image warps their perceptions?

  • Lisa

    Are you going to take requests/accept submissions? Can’t we have stupid good looking men too?

  • MaryAnn

    Are you going to take requests/accept submissions?

    Sure! I’ll post a suggestion link like I do for the Questions of the Day.

    Can’t we have stupid good looking men too?

    Nope. You’ll have to start your own site for that. No Channing Tatums allowed. :->

  • bats :[

    I guess we’re not allowed more than one intelligent, urbane George Clooney-type at a time.

  • Actually, my former bridge partner was a widow, sort of a second mom to me in college, and she had a swimsuit calendar of well muscled men with Phds. Each month obviously had a different man, listing his first name and his academic field. I don’t know where you would find such a thing, but it has been out there.

  • Cate

    Iron Man 2 at the IMAX last Saturday night was Girl’s Night Out for me and my “geeky” (we all love Trek and Star Wars and sci-fi and comic-book movies in general) girlfriends. All 5 of us, there because WE wanted to see it, not because our boyfriends did.

  • nnvee

    MaryAnn

    Why is Channing Tatum stupid? I think that is a completely unfair thing to say about him.

    Is it because you disagree with the political stance of some of the movies he’s been in or are you saying he’s stupid because he’s beautiful?

    Does it also follow that people who like him are stupid for liking him? What unseen evil has this dude wrought upon us?

  • MaryAnn

    Is it because you disagree with the political stance of some of the movies he’s been in or are you saying he’s stupid because he’s beautiful?

    Yup. That’s it. Wow, you’ve totally sussed me out, nnvee.

  • LaSargenta

    I’m not MaryAnn, but I’ll take a stab at answering this from the point of view of backing her up:

    Why is Channing Tatum stupid? I think that is a completely unfair thing to say about him.

    No, it isn’t. A neighbor of mine is in the film industry and has worked with him. According to her, he was perfectly ‘nice’ but abysmally idiotic and, unfortunately, fairly in love with his ideas and would go on and on about them for a really, really long time. He also fancies himself a great director.

    Not that my neighbor is the be-all-and-end-all of adjucating who’s a brainiac and who isn’t, but the details of the story she related to me make me think that Channing Tatum probably isn’t someone I want on my team in a pub quiz let alone something more. ‘Kay?

    So, not to sound repetitive or anything like that, can I ask for Liev Schreiber, please?

  • nnvee

    LaSargenta

    When I think of stupid I think in terms of does it affect me and choices I need to make regarding the person charged with being stupid.

    Example: George Bush is stupid. His stupidity affects me and many millions on this earth and will for generations to come. My ex-husband is stupid (No details needed just take my word for it). My ex-husband’s stupidity surely involved me during the course of the marriage, thus a divorce.

    That Channing Tatum drones on and on about his ideas about directing is pretty benign to me and in no way affects me. My question to MaryAnn was in honest a desire to know if his politics are so abhorrent that maybe I need to re-think watching his movies.

    Before there is maybe an eyeroll at this point remember that the snake-oil salesman Bill O’Reilly was in IM2.

    I have seen many Channing Tatum movies and I could not tell you what any of them are about. I could not tell you what any Brad Pitt movies are about. It is just a relief that after millions of images of half-naked women are forced in front of your eyeballs constantly it is just nice to see a hot looking dude sometimes (anytime, all the time). It is serene and greatly appreciated.

    If I now need to pay attention to what the dude is selling, tell me now. BTW-I am perfectly cool with Brad Pitt’s politics.

  • LaSargenta

    @nnvee What you are describing is whether or not you, personally, need to care if he is stupid. What MaryAnn wrote was about the state of being stupid.

    I, too, don’t need to care in my life whether or not Channing Tatum (or Liev Schreiber or Lenny Kravitz, etc.) is stupid or intelligent. I agree with you that GWB’s stupidity affected us all.

    But that isn’t the point here. She was responding to a question about beefcake pinups and whether she was going to have only smart sexy guys or stupid hunks, too. I can happily take a look at some manflesh and enjoy it knowing nothing about the guy’s brain power, but if I actually know that the guy is a dumbass, he becomes waaaaaaay less attractive.

    I suspect MaryAnn has a similar reaction.

  • allochthon

    @Judy;
    Thank you for the crying_men link!

  • Kate

    Channing Tatum just has a completely moronic face. He just looks like the stereotypical dumb jock who spends his whole life at the gym, and who has never read a single book or had a complex thought in his life. Some might find his dull, beastlike face attractive – I just find it blank and…stupid.

    What the politics of his movies have to do with it is beyond me.

  • Orangutan

    @Judy;
    Thank you for the crying_men link!

    Seconded. Those are some fantastic pictures and a great theme. I only wish I’d thought of it. :)

  • nnvee

    @Kate

    Here are some people who have read (and written) books and have many complex thoughts: Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini. All criminally insane.

    And to a lesser extent: Dick Cheney, Timothy Mcveigh (He learned how to build the bomb that killed 158 people in a book) Ted Bundy (A lawyer surely he has read a book. He brutally murdered 60+ women during his serial killing crime spree)

    My point being that intelligence or the lack thereof is subjective: Bill Gates the richest man ever to walk the earth never graduated college. No college degree is frowned upon in many intellectual circles of our society. Bill Gates is a very smart man.

    Beyond Intelligence Quotient (IQ)) there is something called the Emotional Quotient (EQ). The majority of us who do not walk into schools, malls, gyms, churches and start shooting people are more emotionally intelligent. EQ can also just be common sense.

    Let’s check Channing Tatum’s EQ:

    Self-deprecating humor-On the Ellen Degeneres Show he sweetly poked fun at himself for some of the odd jobs he worked while trying to break into acting. Being able to laugh at yourself shows self-confidence. Very high EQ.

    He’s a millionaire: Being rich doesn’t make one better than anyone else but making something out of nothing is definitely a great challenge. Meaning when he decided to be an actor he was broke and amongst 1000’s of other guys seeking the same goal. High EQ.

    Using what your Mama gave ya! He smartly assessed that his good looks could make him money. Turns out he was right. That you think he is dumb-looking puts you in the minority. High EQ.

    30+ million in box office for Dear John opening weekend and taking Avatar out of the #1 spot: Being able to draw a crowd is a form of intelligence. Do you know the degrees sought, books read, complex thoughts and the millions spent by marketing execs? Part of the draw for this movie was to watch this gorgeous dude walk across a 60 ft screen. High EQ.

    Up to this point in his career (as far as we know) Channing has been a nice guy: Being nice is greatly under appreciated and under estimated; he does not go around making videos, cds and movies bragging about beating and slapping his ‘hos, he quietly married, doesn’t have a trail of un-fathered (I don’t like the word illegitimate) children, doesn’t rape kids, not a drug addict, not caught in a hotel with a battered teen forced into prostitution by a pimp, hasn’t killed his wife and fled the scene in a Bronco, didn’t stick his penis in a hotel worker, all in all doesn’t seem like an asshole. EQ for being nice, off the charts.

    Some in the comments section have tried to make the argument that Channing Tatum is stupid. No one has factually proven that he is stupid, it is only their opinion.

    To show my high EQ I accept that others may have opinions that differ from my own.

    Also Kate: You said, “What the politics of his movies have to do with it is beyond me.” On this very site that you were on when you wrote this our esteemed movie critic/reviewer MaryAnn reviewed a movie Channing Tatum was in called, “Dear John”. In the review she challenged the politics of the movie. I then asked in the comments section of this post if her opinions of the movie also reflected on her opinions of Channing Tatum. Her reply was essentially, “No”.

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