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.

My Week in Pictures.

The contradiction.

Last week at work I was reading a print off of an article from Musings of an Inappropriate Woman on eating disorders whilst munching on a Toblerone. Contradiction, much?!

The exhibition.

I went to see the Immigration Museum’s new Identity exhibition last Friday. Review to come next week.

Packing.

I’m moving house on Saturday, so my apartment is an amalgamation of boxes and bits and pieces ready for the weekend.

The new sheets.

I bought these sheets for $19 from Coles a few weeks ago, and only decided to use them this past weekend. I thought I needed a change of scenery for my first week of holidays and for the new place. I think Coles still has them…

The movie.

Considering I’ve been on holidays this week, I haven’t done much besides pack, blog and watch Private Practice. But I did manage to get myself out of the house on Monday afternoon for a movie and dinner date with my friend Tess, whom I haven’t caught up with one-on-one since… January! Abhorrent! We went to see Bad Teacher, which was equally as abhorrent in some parts!

The stack.

The Census.

When my Mum used to fill out the forms every five years, I used to think, how cool! I can’t wait til I’m a grown up and I can fill out forms. Now I am a grown up and filling out forms is the bane of my existence, so I was dreading this one. But I was pleasantly surprised: it was easy! Took me less than 10 minutes.

The smoothie.

I’ve taken to Creative Gourmet’s Smoothie Cubes to refuel me after a jog. They’re quote good. So far I’ve tried three of the four flavours: breakfast (bananas and cinnamon, which I’m not really a fan of), strawberry and a mix of berries (the one in the photo above).

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 4th August 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 28th July 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 21st July 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 14th July 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 7th July 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 1st July 2011.

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

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] I Do Not Have an Eating Disorder.

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: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] 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.

Guest Post: Get Out of the City.

Recently I decided that I desperately needed a holiday.

I then realised I haven’t had a week off work in three years. I was shocked and promptly applied for annual leave. I wanted a nice, relaxing beachside holiday where I could read and get massages. My immediate thoughts were of Bali, but then I thought of Byron.

I’ve had a love affair with Byron Bay ever since I went on that Year 12 weeklong ritual known as Schoolies. I went up with a bunch of girlfriends for a week in November, and my Year 12 boyfriend also went up with his mates, and it was a week of partying, drinking, sleeping on the beach and more partying. The town was teeming with seventeen and eighteen-year-olds letting off some much needed steam after a year of hard work. I returned with a girlfriend and her sister six months later in the middle of winter and the place had a completely different vibe—less tourists, more locals and generally quieter and more peaceful. That time I stayed in a Tee Pee in the Arts Factory Village, about a ten-minute walk into the centre of town. The time after that was during the break between my first and second year of uni when I was nineteen. Ever since I had visited during winter, I said I would go and live there for four months over the summer. And thus, with my car full of the essentials—bedding, books, music and a shitload of clothes I cajoled my friend into making the trek up to Byron with me and off we went.

When I arrived I started looking for accommodation—and found it in the form of a zany English family—complete with kids called Tigger and Roo, a contortionist mother and a Valium-addicted father. I was desperate for any kind of cheapish accommodation so I took the room without a second thought. Even though baby Roo was teething and thus screaming the house down every night, I stuck it out until the end and met a few other backpackers along the way.

My next requirement was to find a job. I quickly got a job working as a waitress at The Rails, a pub located on the train line behind the bus stop that only the locals frequent. So my days consisted of lying on the beach during the day, and working at The Rails at night.

I left Byron at the beginning of February to get ready for my second year of uni with a sense of accomplishment. My first foray into living independently was a success! I returned in March with my sister and a few of her friends for the Blues and Roots Festival. The family I stayed with over the summer had enough room for us all to stay for the week, which consisted of music, drinks, party favours, TDK moments and cane toads.

I have wanted to return to Byron for a while now, but I always had some sort of excuse not to go. But this time around I was determined to. I found relatively cheap flights, along with affordable Balinese-like accommodation located ten minutes from the centre of town. I was set. When I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to go he said he couldn’t afford it, so I decided to go alone.

Whenever I told someone about my trip they always asked who I was going with, and when I replied that I was going alone to relax and do nothing but read books they all seemed jealous [Early Bird note: Especially me!].

I was on the early flight and as soon as I stepped off the plane and into the sunshine I instantly felt more relaxed. After I arrived at my accommodation, I then armed myself with two books, water and some sunscreen I wandered into town. I had been told there was now a Sportsgirl store on the main street so I was prepared for a bit of a commercial change to it, but I was dismayed to also find a Supre store alongside a Witchery, Just Jeans and Ice, sitting in amongst the ubiquitous hippie shops and surf stores! But not to be deterred, I found a lovely cafe to bask in the sun and enjoy a light lunch at, followed by a couple of hours of reading at the Beach Hotel. I have recently discovered the books of Sloane Crosley, and I have to say she’s one of my new favourite authors. She is one of those rare writers who can make me laugh out loud. I pretty much inhaled her first book of essays, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, in my first afternoon and promptly started on my next book, Last Summer by Kylie Ladd. By this time it was about 4:30pm and the sun was fading, so I wandered back to my room and spent the twilight hours reading and listening to Ben Harper, and then ambled back into the chilly breeze (why didn’t I pack any socks?) for dinner. I had a craving for a big bowl of Vietnamese pho, and it was this craving that led me to the new Japanese restaurant that had opened three days prior, Enso, which took he place of the Vietnamese one. I saw it as a sign to eat Japanese. The restaurant was up a set of stairs and kind of hidden away, which was perfect because it meant the tourists hadn’t sniffed it out yet. When I enquired about a wine list the waiter apologetically said they weren’t licensed, but then proceeded to pour me a lovely glass of champagne, free of charge. Sometimes it pays to eat alone. And thus, my first dinner of gyoza, cabbage salad and miso soup was one of the highlights of the trip.

Wednesday was pampering day. I awoke early to get a bacon and egg roll and a coffee from the local milk bar, Macs, before heading off to the Buddha Gardens Day Spa for a three hour relaxation session.

On arrival I was offered an herbal tea and was then transported to buff, scrub, polish, wrap, oil and massage heaven. After the treatments, I ambled back to the beach with lunch on the brain and got a generous serving of spud with extras and a Coke at Soul Bowl, and went and sat on the grass beside the beach and settled in for the afternoon. I polished off my second book and made headway on the third: Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil. It was nothing compared to Life of Pi, but it was still a good read. Once again, 4:30pm hit, and the weather turned a little chilly so I went home to put on more clothes and have a bit of a nap. For dinner I went back to my old stomping ground, The Rails. The owners may have changed, but their famous beef and bacon burger and the atmosphere sure hasn’t. After a feed and a beer, I headed back home for a good night’s sleep.

On Thursday I allowed myself a sleep-in—I was on holidays after all!

I set off around 11:00am after a coffee to walk to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, the most eastern point of the Australian mainland. My memory of the last time I walked to the lighthouse may have been a little skewed because I sure don’t remember it being that steep with that many steps.

Whew! After a few rest stops to catch my breath and marvel at the amazing view, complete with diving whales, I made it to the top, and that view alone was well worth the effort. After a light lunch at the Lighthouse Cafe I found a lovely spot in the sun to sit and read. I finished off Beatrice and Virgil and promptly started on the latest Sweet Valley High novel by Francine Pascal, Ten Years Later. You may scoff at the reading material but my sister taught me how to read when I was four using the Sweet Valley Kids series and we spent most of our childhood and early adulthood devouring these books, so there is a definite nostalgia element to reading this book. Don’t knock it until you try it.

After a while I thought I should make the trek back down to town. I got to the main beach and lay down on the sand and settled in for the afternoon. I headed home around 5:00pm to shower and then walked back into town for Sushi Train and a movie at the Dendy cinemas. I managed to wrangle myself a free ticket to see Bad Teacher through my cinema connections and had a crème brulee choc top. The choc top was good, the movie not so much.

Friday was my last full day, and I had booked in for another massage because I carried my bag full of books, a towel, water bottle and other assortments up to the lighthouse the previous day and my shoulders and neck suffered for it. I had booked in for 11:00am and after a breakfast of fruit toast and awful coffee—just a tip, don’t go to the 23 Hour Bakery for coffee—I received a phone call from the massage place saying they had to cancel because the masseuse was ill. Damn! There goes my peaceful relaxation. But, the massage place recommended a Thai massage place right around the corner that could probably fit me in straightaway. I hurried around to book it in and luckily I was able to get massaged on the spot. Forty-five minutes later I was floating on a cloud and I wandered out in a daze. The weather wasn’t as nice as the previous days so I wandered up and down the street before finding a sheltered place out of the wind to sit and read. I found a spot at the Beach Hotel for a couple of hours before moving on when the sun dipped behind the clouds and looked intent on staying there. Stomach rumbling I went to the famous Bay Kebab store for a delicious lamb kebab then to a cafe to have a cup of tea and do some more reading. Once the cafe closed I went back to the beach and sat in the park before heading home via In the Pink ice-creamery. That evening I stayed in my room reading and watching Juno on TV.

All in all, for anyone who needs a few days rest and relaxation, I would highly recommending taking off to Byron Bay with a suitcase full of reading material and massages booked.

—Sallie Butler.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley Review.

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.