Category ArchiveThe Virgin Suicides

Top 10 ‘Bitch Flicks’ Articles of All-Time in 2017

10) How I Met Your Misogyny by Lady T
“Tonight, How I Met Your Mother will end its nine-year run with a one-hour season finale. A show that spawned countless catchphrases and running gags, How I Met Your Mother  will be remembered for its nonlinear storytelling and its portrayals of romance and friendship.
“It will also be remembered as one of the most misogynistic sitcoms on TV.”

9) Nine Pretty Great Lesbian Vampire Movies by Sara Century
“Almost unfailingly exploitative in its portrayal of queer women, this specific sub-genre of film stands alone in a few ways, not the least of which being that the vampires, while murderous and ultimately doomed, are powerful, lonely women, often living their lives outside of society’s rules. And I love everything about that… except the part where they’re all mass murderers. When there is so little representation of powerful queer women in film, it becomes difficult to fully dismiss the few that exist, even if they are ultimately negative or problematic.”

8) Rabbit-Proof Fence: Racism, Kidnapping, and Forced Education Down Under by Amanda Morris
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002), directed by Phillip Noyce, is a powerful and assertive film version of this tragedy. Based on three real-life Indigenous survivors of this era, known collectively as the Stolen Generation, the film is set in 1931 and tells the story of three young girls who were kidnapped on the government’s authority, forced into an “aboriginal integration” program 1,200 miles from home, and who are determined to run away and make it home on their own by following the fence. Unfortunately, the school’s director hunts them with the veracity of an early 1800’s US slavemaster. He is relentless and determined, but the girls are as well.”

7) 13 Disappointing Things about Grace and Frankie by Robin Hitchcock
“Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as the title characters, whose husbands Robert and Sol (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) leave them for each other after admitting to a 20-years-running affair. Grace and Frankie move into the beach house the couples shared and forge an unlikely friendship while navigating the single life for septuagenarians. The show has its charms, such that I might have watched the entire season without journalistic integrity as a motivation, but ‘Grace and Frankie’ let me down in a lot of ways.”

6) The Women of Deadpool by Amanda Rodriguez
“The newly released Marvel “superhero” movie Deadpool is more of a self-aware, raunchy antihero flick that solidly earns its R rating with graphic violence, lots of dick jokes, and a sex scene montage. It mocks the conventions of the genre while still giving us its warped version of a superhero origin story, a tragic love story, and a revenge story. Basically, it’s a good time. While Deadpool is entertaining, self-referential, self-effacing, and full of pop culture references, how does it measure up with its depiction of its female characters? The movie sadly does not pass the Bechdel Test. However, there are four prominent female characters worth further investigation.”

5) Stoker: The Creepiest Coming-of-Age Tale I’ve Ever Seen by Stephanie Rogers
“Its genre-mixing, unpredictability, and innovative storytelling, particularly with how it illustrates the hereditary aspect of mental illness, works incredibly well. […]
“Seriously though, what the hell did I just watch? One could categorize Stoker as any of the following: a coming-of-age tale, a crime thriller, a sexual assault revenge fantasy, a love story, a murder mystery, a slasher film, a romantic comedy (I’m hilarious), or even an allegory about the dangers of bullying, parental neglect, or keeping family secrets. Throw a recurring spider in there, some shoes, a bunch of random objects shaped like balls, along with a hint of incest, some on-screen masturbation, imagined orgasmic piano duets, and a handful of scenes that rip off Hitchcock so hard that Hitchcock could’ve directed it (see Shadow of Doubt), and you’ll have yourself a nice little freakshow!”

4) Wentworth Makes Orange Is the New Black Look Like a Middle School Melodrama by Amanda Rodriguez
“Wentworth is an Australian women’s prison drama that is much grittier, darker, more brutal and realistic than Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black could ever hope to be. This bleak realism also makes Wentworth‘s well-developed characters and situations much more compelling than its fluffier American counterpart. Don’t get me wrong; I really enjoyed Orange Is the New Black. The stories of incarcerated women are always important because they are a particularly marginalized and silenced group. […]
“Though OITNB and Wentworth deal with similar themes, Wentworth (based on an Aussie soap opera from the 70’s and 80’s called Prisoner) takes a no-holds-barred approach to subjects like officer sexual exploitation of prisoners, turf wars and hierarchy, sexuality, the inmate code of silence, gang beatings, gang rapes, prison riots, and the brutality of the crimes that landed these women behind bars.”

3) The Virgin Suicides: Striking Similarities Between the Lisbon and Romanov Sisters by Isabella Garcia
“Two sets of sisters, different in circumstance but alike in experience: the four Romanov Grand Duchesses of Russia and the four Lisbon sisters from 1970s Michigan in The Virgin Suicides. […] Clear links between the two sets can be drawn, but ultimately reveal that in both situations, living in a gilded cage only leaves behind a haunting memory.
“[…] While the Romanov sisters were continually in the limelight, the Lisbon sisters in The Virgin Suicides were under the watch of the neighborhood boys’ eyes. Seen as unattainable and ethereal in their white peasant dresses, much like those that the Romanov princesses wore, the boys fell for them.”

2) Bob’s Burgers: The Uniquely Lovable Tina Belcher by Max Thornton
“Delightful Tina. Shy, painfully weird, butt-obsessed, quietly dorky, intensely daydreamy Tina. Tina is a little bit like all of us (and–cough–a lot like some of us) at that most graceless, transitional, intrinsically unhappy stage of life that is early adolescence. She is also a wonderfully rich and well-developed character, both in her interactions with her family and in her own right, and she’s arguably the emotional core of the whole show.”

1) Lilo & Stitch, Moana, and Disney’s Representation of Indigenous Peoples by Emma Casley
“…The 2002 film Lilo & Stitch features sisters Lilo and Nani, who are of Indigenous Hawaiian descent as two of the central characters. Looking at Lilo & Stitch can provide a valuable lens in which to analyze the upcoming Moana, as well as other mainstream films attempting to represent Indigenous cultures.
“Lilo & Stitch has been heralded as a film that avoids many of the harmful stereotypes of Polynesian culture that so many other white-produced works perpetuate. However, it is also worth considering how Lilo & Stitch as a film exists in the world, beyond the content of its storyline. Regardless of its individual merits, Lilo & Stitch is a money-making endeavor to benefit the Disney Company, which has not always had the best relationship (to say the least) with representing Indigenous cultures or respecting Indigenous peoples.”

Top 10 ‘Bitch Flicks’ Articles Written in 2017

10) Queen of Katwe Is a Gorgeous Inspiring Look at a Young Black Life Fully Realized by Candice Frederick
“Yes, it’s wholesome and finishes on a heartwarming high like many other cherished Disney stories. But at its core lies a story of redemption, cultural pride, feminism, and economics — elements of a young life contending with extraordinary challenges. […]
“Queen of Katwe is a mesmerizing story of a life fully realized, a life that’s often overlooked and not given a chance. Its young cast, led by Nalwanga’s nuanced performance, help illuminate layers of humanity resting deep in the ‘slums’ of Uganda, exhibiting talent well beyond their years. Meanwhile, Oyelowo and Nyong’o’s performances temper the film with heart-wrenching emotion. And Mira Nair’s touching portrait of Katwe’s inspiring young queen with a dream is one to remember.”

9) Céline Sciamma’s Films (Girlhood, Tomboy, and Water Lilies) Capture the Complexities of Adolescence by Charline Jao
“French director and screenwriter Céline Sciamma of Water Lilies, Tomboy, and Girlhood has gained critical acclaim for her portrayals of adolescence and coming-of-age, particularly on themes of gender and sexuality. Sciamma’s movies are intimate character studies, punctuated with dancing, tiny details embedded in body language, and a serious respect for younger viewers. For all the cringe-worthy or mediocre child acting that permeates film, Sciamma has a remarkable ability to draw out nuanced and organic performances in her works, oftentimes from non-actors.
“[…] The adolescent or teenager sits on the threshold of adulthood by sitting between child and adult, figuring out their rites of passage and space within society. This undefined, yet crucial space is an uncomfortable one and Sciamma’s films excel because they embrace the chaotic ambiguity of youthful liminality.”

8) Hush: A Resourceful Heroine with Disabilities for the Horror Genre by Cassandra A. Clarke
“What’s brilliant about Hush, written by Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel (who stars as the lead), is it pushes the envelope of the survivor’s tale further through its main character, Madison ‘Maddie’ Young: a woman who is deaf, mute, and lives alone in a rural area. In addition to featuring a female protagonist with disabilities, Hush crafts a home-invasion story that isn’t about her ‘problems’ or obstacles or the attacker at all, but rather it focuses on the tactful solutions she chooses along the way.
“…Its depiction of Maddie as a full, engaging character who fends for herself and thrives alone is an asset to adding more characters with disabilities in films, especially horror, as not victims but stars.”

7) Gilmore Girls: Rory Gilmore Is an Entitled Millennial by Scarlett Harris
“That’s because she’s never had to hustle; everything has been handed to her. She only watched her mother struggle to raise her on her own, and even then it’s established that Lorelai went to great pains not to expose Rory to her struggles. […]
“To be fair, Rory is largely a product of her upbringing. Until the events of Gilmore Girls as we know it — Lorelai’s reconciliation with her rich parents so Rory can go to an expensive private school and then Yale — Rory was raised by an independent, struggling, small-town single mom. Whatever life lessons she learned there were swiftly erased by the ensuing plot developments: her rich grandparents and then her rich father paying for her education and European holidays, her rent-free accommodations, and breaks in school and work to ‘find herself’ similarly bankrolled by Richard (Edward Herrmann), Emily (Kelly Bishop), and Logan (Matt Czuchry). […]
“Despite her flaws, I relate to Rory because she displays all my — and my generation’s — worst characteristics.”

6) The Love That’s Really Real: American Psycho as Romantic Comedy by Caroline Madden
“A 2006 YouTube video created a parody trailer envisioning American Psycho (2000) as romantic comedy. While the stark juxtapositions between the classic boy-meets-girl formula and a horrifying portrait of a serial murder are amusing, the sentiments between them are not so far-fetched. Although primarily a horror film, American Psycho has a satiric backbone that appropriates codes from the romantic comedy genre to expose the absurdities of our gender ideals. Director and co-writer Mary Harron’s lens skewers the qualities we find appealing in romantic comedies as terrifying.
“Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a concoction of the romantic comedy and drama archetype of ‘the bad boy.’”

5) The Revenant Should Be Left in the River to Drown by Celey Schumer
“Don’t believe the hype. You have been conned. The Revenant is a terrible film. […]
“This white-man-against-all-odds tale of revenge has been told so many times, even Michael Bay is probably like, “Eh, can’t we find something more original?” […]
“The second galling part of the film is its abhorrent treatment of Native peoples. It is at best mediocre, at worst condescending, and at all times unremarkable lazy recycled fodder. Almost every time Hugh has an interaction with a Native American person, they meet with disaster. Honestly, Chief Elk Dog (Duane Howard) and his men are the only ones operating with their own agency and justice in their quest to rescue his kidnapped daughter, Powaqa (Melaw Nakehk’o). But we hardly see them and are left to infer all of this information, until of course Hugh the White Man comes to Powaqa’s rescue. […]
“Can we see this whole movie from the Arikara tribe’s perspective? From Powaqa’s perspective? That would be an actual game changer.”

4) The Eyes of My Mother Is a Gorgeous Coming-of-Age Horror You’re Not Likely to Forget by Candice Frederick
“Oh, how I love this age we’re living in in which women characters on the big and small screens are allowed to be inappropriate, messy, b**chy, and sexual. It just further illuminates the myriad complexities women embody, painting a more thorough profile of inclusive feminism. But even while Hollywood has been consistently pushing these boundaries in more recent years, few films have explored morbid sensuality through the gaze of a woman better than writer/director Nicolas Pesce’s The Eyes of My Mother. […]
“…Pesce explores the nature of human instinct and arrested development in a way that is uncomfortable to watch yet immersive just the same.”

3) 20 Years of The Craft: Why We Needed More of Rochelle by Ashlee Blackwell
“I was flustered and empathetic to a character that was virtually invisible to an entire school population outside of her small coven of comrades, unless to be the unchecked target of racist scorn. This made her experience even that more isolating in contrast to her white female counterparts who, if they did get that brief seat at the table, were promptly dismissed for their class, burn scars, and not performing for the teenage ‘good ‘ol boys’ club. The most glaring difference; Rochelle was never going to get that seat. […]
“The movie for many sparked the thirst to explore the deep intersections of the weirdo. Rochelle was the social outcast with the other handful of social outcasts of St. Bernard Academy, sure. But how do we cinematize the Black girl outcast teenager that many of us felt like? That just so happens to be a practicing witch?
“Much of what can be read of Rochelle relies heavily on those of us whom she meant so much to. What kinds of conversations did young Black girls have back in 1996 and are having now about the importance of her presence in a film that at least, didn’t blend her in colorblind rhetoric? How did many of us find camaraderie, empathy, and imagination in Rochelle’s broader, unseen story?”

2) Caitlin Snow: It’s Time to Give The Flash’s Overlooked Heroine Her Due by Lacy Baugher
“Plus, the decision to continually depict Caitlin as afraid of herself and her abilities is unsettling. Women are almost always taught to fear their own power, instead of embracing it or attempting to understand it. It’s sad to see that pattern repeating on a show that has so few leading women in the first place.
“Caitlin’s journey – whether she ultimately keeps her powers or not – should be about figuring where she fits within Team Flash, within her family, and within her own idea of herself. We have seen Caitlin unnerved by the darkness inside her. She has issues with her mother and even occasionally with members of her own team. She’s certainly lost enough to want to burn the world down twice over. But she’s never really gotten the chance to deal with any of those issues on-screen in a significant way. This Killer Frost arc offers a perfect opportunity for her to finally do so. Caitlin’s journey shouldn’t be about whether she might turn into a monster, it should be about her becoming whole.”

1) Too Feminine, Too Pretty, and the Gendered Bias in the Critique of Sofia Coppola’s Films by Claire White
“However, while being one of the most discussed women directors, it is hard to think of a female director who is under as much scrutiny as Sofia Coppola. This is especially true when it comes to her signature pretty and feminine filmic style.
“When it comes to the critique of Sofia Coppola, her filmic style is too often described along the lines of being too pretty, too feminine, or as style over substance. …Male directors, however, who exhibit the same attention to style and aesthetics, are not held to this same ideal. As explored in Rosalind Galt’s book Pretty: Film and the Decorative Image, prettiness in film is not exclusively female or feminine, and is thus unfair to use as a critique against women directors’ films. […]
“There is a double standard in the way prettiness is regarded in cinema. ‘Pretty’ is for female directors, but for male directors, prettiness isn’t ever uttered, and reverence is received in its place.”