Saturday Night Fiend: Misogyny Part II

Wonder WomanI know you think I don’t love you. I know you get tired of me sweeping in and out of your life, one day I’m here and have a schedule and the next I’m off in radio silence. Yeah, well sometimes it be’s like that.

Actually, I haven’t said anything because I haven’t had much to say. It wasn’t writer’s block—it was life’s block. In the last month or so, my life has been 2 parts Brian McKnight’s Where Do We Go From Here? and 1 part Bebe &Cece Winans’ It’s OK and while things are cool (or getting cooler), they demanded my focus. Oh yeah, in the midst of this nonsense, like a disease, I contracted a hater too. But, as much fun as it would be, I’m not gonna talk about that yet—we’ll save it for Tuesday.

But today, in the afterglow of Thanksgiving and the advent of the holiday season, I’m feeling thankful. I’m thankful for you, for hanging with me after all this time. I’m thankful for every eyeball on my words, every comment and like and Share. I’m thankful for the Swoaps (say what???) and DMFRHs and Friday Night Fiends and Stacy Case and…my hater.

Today, I want to revisit an older idea. A little bit ago, I wrote a post about misogyny, particularly in superhero movies. I lamented the lack of female heroines in the movies, highlighted Scarlett Johannsen’s portrayal of the Black Widow in The Avengers, and dogged the shit outta Warner Bros and DC for their hesitance in bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen because she was “tricky.”

Well, this week somebody called my bluff. If you haven’t heard already, not only will Diana Prince be in the next Man of Steel movie, she’s already been cast. Say whaaattt? Yep, in 2015 we’ll see some incarnation of the Amazon princess in a major motion picture and she’ll be played by Gal Gadot.

Aw, that’s aweso—wait, who?

Yeah, that’s the first thing I said: who the hell is Gal Gadot? Then I looked at the pic:


Oh, she’s one of the women who look like the other women from the Fast and Furious franchise?

But the first reaction I got was, “She doesn’t look like Wonder Woman. She’s too skinny. She’s too small.” Same reaction you heard too, right? If you checked the comments on any site anywhere that reported on her casting, all the responses where about her physical appearance. My problem was, those reactions I was hearing came out of my own house. And some of them came out of my own mouth.

Now I don’t generally debate a woman’s physicality. I watched every episode of Linda Carter as Diana Prince didn’t have an issue. I bought Lindsay Wagner as the Bionic Woman and buff-ass Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. Michele Yeoh will beat the shit out of all of us. Anne Hathaway made it happen as Catwoman. Zoe Saldana is rail thin but have you seen Colombiana? She scares me.

But when they said Wonder Woman, here’s where I went:

GINA CARANO at the Fast & Furious 6 Premiere in Los Angeles

That’s Gina Carano. She’s a UFC fighter. She’s RAW! She’s tall, beautiful, curvy, got muscles and the fearsome demeanor, and a thing going with Henry Cavill—but she can’t act to save her life. She has this movie called Haywire (you can find it on Netflix) that I’ve tried to watch twice but can’t stomach it. And that’s saying a lot: I liked the first Wolverine movie, am a fan of Out of Sight with Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney, and have watched (and loved) almost all of the Godzilla movies. I like shitty movies. I couldn’t do this one.

Here’s the thing: I bought hook, line and sinker into an overly-sexed, objectified view of a what a powerful woman must be. Because it’s Wonder Woman, does she automatically have to look like Jessica Rabbit? She’s the most iconic, most powerful woman in DC or Marvel universes and she’s relegated to wearing a bustier and hot pants—the idea is we wouldn’t buy her power, her capability, if she didn’t show cleavage.

And I’m mad at myself that I went there too.

Wonder Woman is strong, complex, beautiful and a warrior. Gal Gadot meets all the requirements for the role. She is actually an actress. Say what you want about that franchise but she’s been in movies that have grossed nearly $1B at the box office. That means she can carry the nuances of a character that has spent her life as a warrior and a princess of an island full of women and acting as an ambassador to the rest of the world. Complex? Check. Gadot is beautiful, no question about that. She was Miss Israel in 2004 and has been a model. So we can check off pretty. And she can fight. See, Israel has this mandatory 2-year service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). They have their own martial arts called Krav Maga. If you’ve ever seen it, it’s an exceptionally efficient, brutal technique of disarmament and overpowering. She can kick some ass. And she does all her own stunts in the Fast and the Furious. So strong and a warrior? Yeah, check.

Lastly, she actually looks like Wonder Woman. Like the comic initially intended.

Gal Gadot and Wonder Woman

Actors transform themselves for their roles. Christian Bale last 50 pounds for the Machinist and then adopted both an American accent and that heavy growl for Batman. Henry Cavill for so bulked up and sculpted my mother said “I think he is sexy as hell” (which set up an exceptionally awkward night of movie watching). Heath Ledger went from being a gay cowboy to a psychopathic, anarchist, murderous clown in what has become the definitive portrayal of the Joker. The point is we can do better. I can do better. Instead of focusing on how that woman looks or whether she measures up with some comic book ideal of what a powerful woman should look like, I decided to take a page from the Honey Badger. I told her Wonder Woman was finally making it into the movies. She just smiled and said, “Cool!”


Festival of Fiendishness: THE TERMINATOR

Howwwwdeeyyy Ho everybody!

Welcome back to a brand new installment of the Festival of Fiendishness, the place where we take a look and your favorite villains and mine and break down why they’re awesome. Today’s super-awesome super-villain is Mister Can’t-Stop-Won’t-Stop himself: the Terminator.

And that introduction is longer than the intro we got in the first movie. You remember this cat (seriously, how can you forget, right?) Arnold Schwarzeneggar shows up butt-ass naked (yes, I know that was redundant—shut up) in a blaze of lightning, finds a group of miscreants, takes their clothes (by PUNCHING THEIR HEARTS OUT!), steals a car and gets about the business of killing one Sarah Connor. But he’s not smooth with it, he ain’t concerned about the boys in blue or being stealthy or anything: this dude finds a payphone, snatches the page out the phonebook and proceeds to drive across LA shooting all the Sarah Connors in the face. A lot. And this is all so she doesn’t survive long enough to give borth to the dude who leads the resistance against the machines in the future. Not too shabby a plot.

Now I realize there are a couple Millennials who frequent my blog—before you even start: they didn’t have cellphones or GPS in 1984. Everybody’s phone number and address was listed in the phone book and that book was connected to the payphone. What’s a payhone? I’m not the History Channel, man; that’s what Wikipedia is for. Look it up.

Now that that’s out the way—the Terminator chases the only surviving (and coincidentally, the correct) Sarah Connor to a club where he tries to shoot her ass IN PUBLIC! People are running and ducking and this man ain’t Puffy or Plaxico—he’s just some dude in an army jacket bucking for one girl. And then we meet the hero, Kyle Reese, who manages to get bit by Sarah Connor while saving her, arrested and given the “This muthafucka’s NUTS” treatment, and his ass whopped by the Terminator. I can’t even call him incompetent because my man is doing the best he can. I know you’re a fan of “I’ll be back,” but when it comes to villains, Reese gives THE most compelling line about a villain ever: “That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

And to prove his point, Arnold drives a TRUCK into the police station! A semi! Into the police station! And then capped like 30 cops for one girl! That is commitment.

Now, I would be remiss if I focused on Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s stellar portrayal of the T-101 and ignored Robert Patrick as the T-1000—the liquid metal man. Now, I have a couple issues with Terminator 2: first, how do you have a Terminator movie and the Terminator can’t kill anybody? (Watch it, Arnold doesn’t kill a soul). And second, this was the first movie ruined by the trailer.( Hey dummy, that Arnold was the good guy and the cop was the bad guy was supposed to be a SURPRISE!) Those items aside, the T-1000 was RAW!!  This cat picked a police officer to jack (since everything goes back in time naked) so he instantly had a uniform, a weapon, a squad car and access to the DMV database. In like 4 minutes. But that’s not what made him incredible. It’s not when he ran down a car going 60—on foot. It wasn’t when he impersonated John’s foster mom—which was pretty messed up (he even killed the dog!) It was that one scene where he comes up from the floor, mimics the man standing there, gave him the Michael Myers head cock, and sticks his finger in dude’s eye. T-1000 don’t play.

I’m kinda “Meh” about the 3rd one. Ol girl was cool as the Terminator and I was happy they put a woman in the role. And she did everything all straight-faced and cold. That Terminator didn’t add much and I was over the whole “Arnold is the good guy” shit. However, Terminator: Salvation, that was pretty good.

The Terminator is awesome because he is unstoppable. He’s what Michael Myers would be if he wasn’t flammable. He’s what Megatron is without the whole galactic domination thing. He’s who the agents in the Matrix would be if they just shot the shit outta Keanu Reeves and skipped the special effect, Bullet-time bullshit. He’s awesome because, despite his/her appearance, in spite of the time/space continuum, regardless of whether it’s fresh and clean or a legless, half-melted quivering heap, the Terminator will not stop. Ever.  EVER. And that’s some scary shit.

What’s next? The second bloodsucker to grace this blog: the Vampire Lestat joins the Festival!