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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

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.

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