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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Hollywood, you are 300 movies away from making me want to marry you!


Look, I really like you, Hollywood, okay? You’re kinda cute, and you can be funny and smart when you want to be, when you’re not too worried about what the popular kids will say about you. (You care way too much about what other people think, which is really annoying and not attractive. Grow a backbone already, wouldja?) But I have to keep my options open. There could be someone better out there for me.

What’s that? How can I not be into you? Well, I don’t get the feeling that you’re all that into me. Like, you’re perfectly happy when I show up at the multiplex, you’re all Hi, hey, glad you could make it. But I hardly ever feel like you’d even notice if I weren’t there. A gal wants to feel wanted.

It’s been ages since you made me feel like you wanted me… and frankly, those moments are so few and far between that I figure they had to be accidents anyway.

But, you know, you could do something for me that would convince me that you love me.

Make me 300 movies.

That’s not asking too much, is it? You’re already making hundreds of movies each year. If you make just half of them for me, you could be done in a couple of years, and I’d be yours forever. Aren’t I special enough to deserve that kind of attention from you?

I’ll even give you a couple of recipes!

• First, you need to make a black comedy about that bint who is boasting publicly about how her boyfriend demanded 300 sandwiches in exchange for an engagement ring, and she is the process of complying. It should be all light and funny at first — la la, isn’t his piggishness adorable? isn’t her kitchen servitude romantic? — and then it gets darker. Finally, we learn that she has been slowly poisoning him all along, with the fatal dose in the 300th sandwich, and then she runs off with sweet Marty the butcher who has been supplying her cold cuts all along.

• Next: I’ll take about a dozen movies featuring sad, lonely, loveless young women who meet cute with Manic Pixie Dream Guys who brighten up their worlds, expand their horizons in every direction, and fall madly in love with them in spite of the fact that they do not look like supermodels. Thanks. Oh, and they have lots of amazing sex, and the MPDGs are always more naked than the girls.

• Action heroes! I don’t care how “unrealistic” they are: I want badass brainy lady archaeologists fighting Nazis over ancient magical treasures; I want women starship captains plying the interstellar badlands keeping humanity safe from marauding hoards of superadvanced dinosaurs; I want suicidal female cops who scare the shit out of druglords and terrorists.

• Herstories! I demand epic biopics of Ada Lovelace, Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Margaret Corbin, and Sacajawea. For starters. (Oh, you don’t know who all of those women are? Crack some books, boys.) And I’m taking big, sweeping, cast-of-thousands type stuff, the kind of movies that have critics and cinephiles predicting Oscars even before the first day of shooting.

But hey, I’ll not gonna give you all the recipes. You’re supposed to be wooing me, remember? You Hollywood execs, you study all your focus groups and tracking reports to get advice on how to keep an audience, and it’s so easy. We’re not complex. Just do something nice for us. Like make us a movie.

Now get back in the studio and make me a movie, bitch.

posted in:
maryann rants
  • Danielm80

    I’d love to see a movie about Nellie Bly.

    There was a Nellie Bly Amusement Park in Brooklyn, according to Wikipedia, with the theme Around the World in 80 Days. (And, in my opinion, having an amusement park named after you is the greatest honor a person can achieve. No kidding.) But it’s been renamed the Adventurers Amusement Park.

  • RogerBW


    Sorry, my mind has gone “ping” like an old rubber band.

  • Jurgan

    She sounds like an amazing woman, I’m particularly impressed that she was able to beat a fictional record. If she goes 21,000 leagues under the sea, I’ll name a damn school after her!

  • Jurgan

    Don’t forget Harriet Tubman. Great topic for a biopic.

  • LaSargenta

    I think I’ll just go get a sandwich.

  • Bluejay

    On the action hero front, it sounds like Joss Whedon is motivated to make a female superhero film at some point: “It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies. It actually pisses me off. […] I’m not going to let nobody do it. It doesn’t have to be me, but it could be.”

    Hope it happens.

  • singlestick

    RE: I want women starship captains plying the interstellar badlands keeping
    humanity safe from marauding hoards of superadvanced dinosaurs.

    David Weber’s Honor Harrington comes close to this (minus the dinosaurs).

    RE: I demand epic biopics of Ada Lovelace, Florence Nightingale, Marie
    Curie, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Margaret Corbin, and

    I immediately thought of Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie before I got to this part of your essay. Throw in Harriet Tubman, World War II era spy Virginia Hall, Emmy Noether, Rosalind Franklin, a whole bunch of women pirates from Europe, Africa and Asia, maybe even Cleopatra’s daughter Cleopatra Selene, Madam CJ Walker (and her daughter), and you’d be off to a good start.

  • singlestick

    I think there was a TV drama about Tubman years ago, and a kinda glamorized version of Tubman appears in “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter,” of all things.

  • David Weber’s Honor Harrington comes close to this (minus the dinosaurs).

    That’s not a movie.

    Oh, and I want an Amy Johnson biopic, too. She was like James Bond *and* Indiana Jones mixed together.

  • singlestick

    I meant that the fictional character Honor Harrington could easily be adapted for the movies, like Horatio Hornblower or Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. Kickass female starship captain.

    And Amy Johnson bio pic, yes. And Bessie Coleman and Nadezhda Popova, one of the Soviet “Night Witches” of World War II.

  • Paul

    Doctor Who magazine recently had a story for its comic strip where the Doctor and Clara met up with Amy. Set in North Africa, and playing up the Indiana Jones angle for all it was worth. Clearly written by someone who wanted to say much of what you’ve said here. And a good strip, with a poignant resolution.

  • Michael Brown

    The more I learn about Sacajawea, the more impressed I am. Figure she was preggers for the first part of the L&C Exploration, then she had her kid and continued on. And she had to overcome many different tribes anti-women prejudices just to get them to talk to her. And how did she learn everybody’s language, some kind of superwoman there? I know we finally put her on the money and I’m happy about that, and who could play such an accomplished lady?

  • Oh, there’s no shortage of material. It’s just that Hollywood is not interested in most of it.

  • LaSargenta

    Despite the horrible headline for this article, here’s where Michelle Rodriguez tells all of us (imo) why she’d be fantastic for a superheroine franchise. I want one written for her. http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/01/showbiz/celebrity-news-gossip/michelle-rodriguez-gay-rumors/

  • Bluejay

    Michelle Rodriguez is awesome. She was on the “Women Who Kick Ass” panel at this year’s Comic Con, along with Katee Sackhoff, Tatiana Maslany, Maggie Q, and Danai Gurira — ALL of whom need franchises written for them. There doesn’t seem to be full video of the panel up on YouTube, but there are fragments: here’s a 5-minute clip of the panelists talking about the need for better stories for women on film; and here’s the transcript for the whole thing. Worth checking out.

  • RogerBW

    Maggie Q did pretty much get a franchise written for her, but for me Nikita faded badly after the first season.

  • bronxbee

    that awesome actress on Falling Skies, Moon Bloodgood. she could definitely do Sacajawea.

  • Bluejay

    True, and Maslany headlines Orphan Black. I guess I was thinking of movie franchises.

  • Michael Brown

    Yes, Moon would knock it right out of the park.

  • cal

    Even better: did you know that when Nellie Bly raced around the world, another female journalist raced her, going the opposite direction? This book tells the story and this would be a fabulous movie. http://www.amazon.com/Eighty-Days-Elizabeth-Bislands-History-Making/dp/0345527267/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380999933&sr=1-3&keywords=nellie+bly

  • Kirk Aplin

    Another lady whose life would make a terrific motion picture is Sarah Aaronsohn – the “heroine of Nili”. Nili was the ring of Jewish spies in Palestine during the First World War who dared everything to help the British defeat the Ottoman Empire. It was founded by Sarah, her brother (renowned botanist Aaron Aaronsohn) and Avshalom Feinberg. When Aaron went to the Brits to set up communications and Feinberg was killed, Sarah took over. Sarah was a woman ahead of her time – flouting conventions to do what she thought was right and necessary. She traveled widely through the Ottoman Empire to gather intelligence and confer with Nili operatives. In 1917, she snuck out to Egypt to update British Intelligence personally. Her brother and British Intelligence urged her to stay, saying she had already done more than enough, but she went back to Zichron Yaakov in Palestine, contending that without her Nili would have no strong leader. There the Ottomans caught one of her carrier pigeons and arrested her and others. They tortured her to reveal the rest of Nili. After four days of excruciating pains, she managed to shoot and kill herself with a previously hidden pistol to avoid further torture and protect her colleagues.

    My nomination to play her is Kelly Macdonald.(check out Sarah’s picture on wikipedia). There’s a lot more info about her in the wonderful book, ‘Lawrence in Arabia:War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East’ by Scott Anderson.

  • bronxbee

    awesome. that book is on my “must read” list already. perhaps i shall move it up.

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