kmgilles: (Default)
Katie ([personal profile] kmgilles) wrote2013-07-29 05:13 am

and let go of ideas you had about nutrition and alarm clocks

i've been watching a lot of random movies on netflix recently. the major upside i've discovered (of which there are surprisingly few) is that because you didn't buy/rent/download the specific movie it's easy to try it for 5 minutes and bail, which means i'm trying things i might otherwise might

movies i haven't bailed on (but did sort of consider it, even though i had heard of it and wanted to see it) include the josh radnor written/directed/staring twee indie comedy liberal arts. it has a great cast (allison janney! among others), but i found the story kind of ... alienating? it seemed fine at first, but it became more and more apparent how cut off from the feelings of all the female characters the narrative was (also, pretty sure it failed the bechdel test). i enjoyed the storyline where radnor's character was kind of mentor-y to this random kid who was having a hard time, but it was in such stark contrast to all his scenes with his love interest ... whose story, it's worth noting, has no resolution AT ALL.

so the premise is that radnor is a 30-something who visits his alma mater and meet this sophomore, played by elizabeth olsen. after exchanging letters (!) about classical music (!!) for some time, she invites him to visit as her "gentleman caller" (!!!) because she doesn't like the 18-22 year olds she goes to school with. whatever, she's legal. but when she indicates she wants to sleep with him, he can't deal with it being her first time (a legit issue, i think. even if the age difference wasn't so huge, not everyone is going to be comfortable being someone's first time). BUT we go on to see her getting drunk at a party and aggressively making out with this guy (while meanwhile radnor is having an unromantic sexual encounter with allison janney). and there's no follow up to that - like, there's one more scene with her later where she seemingly has more perspective about growing up, but there's no actual narrative follow-up at all. and it just felt so ... like, why did we even see her at that party if there's not going to be any real follow through for what it meant for her?

and, as i said above, it seemed like all radnor's scenes with this random depressed kid (and even random stoner zac efron, or his mentor) were really emotionally deep, but his scenes with olsen were so surface. don't get me wrong, i love talking about media and the way it moved me and doing it with someone i want to bang is extra awesome, but the pattern was that we saw almost no real emotional internal life for the female characters. in the 21st century it may be weird or exceptional for male characters to ask each other about their feelings, but in the long run it's just another story about dudes having fleshed out characters and ladies getting narratively shafted.

and then there's an incredibly irritating section where radnor's character argues with olsen's character about an obvious twilight-analogue and its value. olsen's character, shortly before accusing radnor of being an elitist, says that the book "isn't tolstoy, but it isn't television." i'm always likely to be offended by people lumping all of tv in together*, so obviously it was going to bother me. i don't know what it means that radnor who has been starring in himym for a ridiculous number of years wrote this line, but it was still somehow more enraging than the idiocy of the argument the characters had about the value of twilight (where they both made such shitty arguments it was impossible to actually agree with either of them). because yeah, there's no tv that exists that's a better way to pass the time than reading THE WORST BOOK IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE (radnor's description). it isn't like there's any tv written by people who also write critically acclaimed books! nope!

i don't even know what my point is other than that this made me incredibly angry, and kind of disappointed in josh radnor.

*especially when they aren't doing it to other things, ie. a list of things that are bad: "magazines like cosmo and maxim; tv." yes that is something i really heard someone say ina talk earlier this year, and yes it did undermine my ability to take seriously anything else they said.