Movie Review: Young Adult*.

Young Adult is like Black Swan for writers,” my housemate Eddie told me when I expressed interest in the film. And, after seeing it, I have to agree.

Black Swan was rife with metaphors, and so is Young Adult. Take, for example, the fact that emotionally stunted, alcoholic woman-child Mavis Gary says to her newly acquired drinking buddy Matt, who was beaten to a bloody pulp for being gay (he’s actually not, as an awkward, drunken encounter between he and Mavis will attest) when they were in high school together, that she wishes he would stop leaning on his crutch. Matt was rendered a cripple in the attack, so he kinda has to lean on his crutch, but she means it as a metaphor for his feeling sorry for himself and refusing to live his life. Matt congratulates her on her way with words and asks her if she’s used that line in her Waverly Prep novels.

Mavis is one to talk, though. The movie opens with her chugging Diet Coke, gorging on ice cream, napping during the day in her dingy apartment whilst watching Kendra and the Kardashians, and she continues like this throughout the rest of the movie, after deciding to return to her hometown to win back her high school sweetheart who is now married with a new baby.

I can understand maybe holding on to a lost high school love in your twenties, but Mavis is 37. It really emphasises the life rut the main character is in. Sure, she was a successful ghost writer and is beautiful (c’mon, it’s Charlize Theron!), but she’s an absolutely horrific person on the inside. I think screenwriter Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman did a wonderful job in making Mavis as horrible as they could (she ignores her dog, tries to split up a happy marriage and makes disability jokes at Matt’s expense) but still realistic as a person. Young Adult is probably one notch above Bridesmaids in terms of portraying real, and not necessarily likeable, characters. It’s the movie Bad Teacher wants to be.

But back to the metaphor thing: you can’t get much more metaphoric than the actual title of the movie. While Mavis may have graduated from high school and reading YA novels like Sweet Valley High (interestingly, Cody is in the process of adapting Sweet Valley High for the big screen. Perhaps there’s a bit of her in Mavis?) twenty years ago, in her mind, she’s as immature as they come.

 

 

 

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Bridesmaids Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Bad Teacher Review.

Image via IMDb.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

“The Case for Dry Humping: Why Being Prude is a Feminist Statement.” [HuffPo]

Alone time is my siren call. Here, Jezebel’s Social Minefield tells you how to get more “me time” without offended those who want to have “we time” with you.

One woman goes mirror-free for a year. [Jezebel]

Lady Gaga’s run out of people to plagiarise, so she’s turned to herself for inspiration in her latest video for “Yoü & I”. [Fashionista]

Nipple slips from Khloe Kardashian, Nicki Minaj and Kelly Rowland in quick succession: shock, horror! [The Washington Post] (SFW)

Camilla Peffer on Beyonce as the anti-feminist. [Girls Are Made From Pepsi]

The gender politics of Justin Bieber. [FBomb]

Is there a need for women to have their periods?:

“… I do want to raise the question that while we do the work of destigmatising menstruation and teach young girls to be proud and excited about their menarche don’t we also have a responsibility to question its necessity? We tell women they don’t have to have sex to have children, that breast cancer can be beaten, that they can have their tubes tied and then re-connected and their faces lifted and de-wrinkled. We live in a modern world with modern solutions, isn’t it time we started seriously thinking and talking about the need to bleed?” [Feminaust]

Porn star and new mum displays picture of her breastfeeding her newborn daughter in an exhibition challenging the Madonna/whore dichotomy of motherhood, controversy ensues:

“The idea that there is something inherently prurient about a porn star breast-feeding plays right into that classic either-or thinking: Her breasts are erotic in one venue, so they can’t be wholesome in another. It’s a wonder anyone lets her breast-feed at all! On the one hand, it’s surprising to see this attitude coming from a pornographer; on… [yet an]other hand, it’s perfectly appropriate given the way motherhood is fetishised in porn.

“…We don’t like to think of moms as sexual beings—except for in the taboo-busting world of porn (paging Dr. Freud). It’s fitting for a porn star mama, the rare industry ‘MILF’ who is actually a mom, to remind folks that, generally speaking, one has to have sex in order to become a mom.” [Salon]

Anne Hathaway’s new effort, One Day, has a “bleak worldview of co-dependence where men need women to improve them, and women need to improve themselves to deserve men’s notice and achieve their purpose,” with The Film Stage dubbing it “the most toxic romance of the year”.

Also at The Film Stage, a breakdown of Katherine Heigl’s stereotype-reinforcing rom-coms, from the career-making Knocked Up, which she subsequently dissed for being sexist, to the just-as-sexist Killers and Life as We Know It.

Here’s an extended version of Erica Bartle’s debut piece for Sunday Life. While I don’t necessarily agree with her sentiments on faith most of the time, this is a great read. Better than the published piece, dare I say? [Girl with a Satchel]

Taylor Swift VS. feminism. [Autostraddle]

Is it “time for an abortion pride movement”?:

“… Women should not merely have the right to end unwanted pregnancies, they should have the right to be proud of having done so. Surely, there is enough suffering in this world already without adding infants with Tay-Sachs disease and Lesch-Nyhan syndrome to the mix. Women who step up to the ethical plate and have the strength to say, ‘This is the wrong time,’ or ‘This is the wrong fetus,’ should hold their heads high in the streets.” [Opposing Views]

Oh, the hilarity of Photoshop on this Glee/Vogue/Fashion’s Night Out advertisement. [Styleite]

It’s not just women who get the short end of the stick when it comes to Disney films: “Sexism, Strength & Dominance—Masculinity in Disney Films.” [FBomb]

The awesomeness that is Adam Lambert. [Autostraddle]

One from the vault: Buffy’s Willow Rosenberg destroys the world when her lesbian love is killed, calling into question the show’s support of the LGBT community. [Salon]

A mother’s perspective on the dysfunctional Twilight-saga relationship between Edward and Bella. [Persephone Magazine]

The politics of the SlutWalk. [New York Times]

Five of The Simpsons’ best recipes, including 64 slices of American cheese and Vaseline toast! [Warming Glow]

Image via Chubby Wubby Girl, Styleite, Salon.

Movie Review: Bad Teacher*.

 

Bad Teacher was released at an inopportune time, having to follow in the footsteps of Bridesmaids, a movie that has been deemed revolutionary for the simple “fact that two women hav[e] a realistic conversation about sex in a café,” as Caitlin Moran told Rachel Hills in her Sunday Life profile last weekend.

In comparison to Kristen Wiig’s “realistically weak female character” in the Judd Apatow hit, who acts exactly how a real down-on-her-luck woman would act, Cameron Diaz’s Elizabeth Halsey has been called “a lazy, lying, scheming, slutty, and obstinately materialistic [character], whose sole redeeming virtue is her hard body… who is so delusional that she thinks her ostentatious assholery is rock-star sexy, and whose delusions are essentially validated by narrative resolution,” by Karina Longworth in Los Angeles Weekly.

And while this was true (she gets away with stealing the results to the state test in order to win money to get a boob job, and gets the sweet and goofy guy she’d been treating like shit the whole movie), it was no way near as bad as I envisioned it to be in terms of it being anti-women, or at least anti-Bridesmaids-esque-feminism.

It was horrifically racist and downright disturbing in some parts, though. Unhinged goody two-shoes Amy Squirrel is forced to transfer to one of the most dangerous and underprivileged schools in the state, Malcolm X High School. Her boyfriend, Justin Timberlake’s pathetic character, Scott Delacorte, praises Elizabeth for teaching her kids that they should never stop working on themselves by getting a boob job. He also has a thing for “oriental” food. And don’t even get me started on the dry hump scene. It was as pointless as Timberlake’s appearance in The Love Guru. Or his whole acting career in general.

It was hilariously funny in some parts, but if you’re looking for a strong narrative with diverse and realistic female characters, maybe seek out Bridesmaids again. If you’re looking for some mind-numbing 90-minute escapism (as opposed to all these two-and-a-half-hour wastes of time), Bad Teacher’s your movie.

*It has come to my attention that I give away too much in my movie reviews, so the asterisk will now serve as a blanket *spoiler alert* from now on.

Related: Bridesmaids Review.

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Caitlin Moran Cover Story Sunday Life.

[LA Weekly] You Want a Raunchy Comedy Starring Women? Be Careful What You Wish For.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

While I don’t agree with most of the Prime Minster’s actions, this cake of Julia Gillard getting attacked by a crocodile is a bit much. Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion didn’t seem to think so, and neither did the voters who crowned him the winner of a local cake baking competition! Scullion could be investigated for insinuating violence against Gillard. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Six steps to come across smarter. [MamaMia]

The best is yet to come, despite some peoples’ seemingly dreary destinies? [Girl with a Satchel]

Read the full version of this article on Kate Ellis being too sexy, which I wrote about in my Sunday Life review last week. [MamaMia]

Amy Winehouse’s death was treated like a spectacle by the media. [The Guardian]

Naww, the languages of love. [MamaMia]

Rachel Hills has some nice things to say about my nice things to say about her Sunday Life column last weekend. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Following on from her post on Musings last week, Hills writes for the Sydney Morning Herald on the assertion that young people are no longer interested in sex.

 

How your Tweets can betray your gender. [Fast Company]

“Clare’s Law: Should Abuse History be Revealed to New Partners?” Hell to the yeah! [Sydney Morning Herald]

There’s no such thing as “having it all”. [We Mixed Our Drinks]

On the (potential) end of Law & Order: SVU:

“I can’t imagine life after SVU. Mariska Hargitay is taking it much better than me:

“‘For the past 12 years Chris Meloni has been my partner and friend, both on screen and off. He inspired me every day with his integrity, his extraordinary talent and his commitment to the truth. I love him deeply and will miss him terribly—I’m so excited to see what he’ll do next.’

“Speak for yourself, Benson. Unless what he is doing is going back to taking his clothes off on HBO, I’m finding it difficult to muster up enthusiasm for my favourite detective being anything other than that. If anyone needs me, I’ll be crying in bed watching the entire first season on Netflix.” [The Hairpin]

In praise of Joan Holloway. [Pamflet]

Mia Freedman debriefs on the Cadel-Evans-sportspeople-aren’t-heroes hullabaloo from last week. More on this to come next week on The Early Bird. [MamaMia]

Emily Maguire on society’s obsession with female virginity, from April last year. [The Monthly]

The Sweetest Thing, Bridesmaids, Bad Teacher & the Female Raunch Comedy”:

“Comedic movie actresses have to be allowed to not be hot. Not like, high-heel-stuck-in-a sewer-grate, frizzy-flyaway-hair, Anne Hathaway-in-nerd-glasses not-hot. I mean genuinely not-hot. Full-attack mode physical-comedy not-hot. John Belushi not-hot. Not-pretty enough to be actually funny, because vanity contraindicates comedy. And this was the most revolutionary aspect of Bridesmaids; the pratfalls are actually pratfalls, the dick jokes are legitimately obscene.” [Grantland]

Women who don’t wear makeup are “arrogant, lazy or deluded, and frequently all three.” That counts me out, then! [The Daily Mail]

Three years on from Vogue Italia’s “all-black” issue, has the racial landscape of the modeling industry changed? You tell me… [Jezebel]

Tiger wife Wendi Deng-Murdoch’s defensive right hook, which came to the aid of her almost foam pie-faced husband, Rupert, has renewed “belief in love”. [Newsweek]

“In Defence of Imperfection.” [Persephone Magazine]

“30 Years of Women on MTV.” [Jezebel]

Images via MamaMia, Fast Company, Jezebel.