She’s the Man

She's the ManAmanda Bynes, before she seemed to follow the path of Lindsay Lohan, was one of my favorite actresses and her movies always made me believe that normal people could have extraordinary things happen to them in their lives.

Like getting to make out with Channing Tatum.

She's the Man 4She’s the Man is a hilarious movie with a true and powerful moral, just because you’re a “girl” doesn’t mean you can’t play with the big boys. When Viola Hastings learns that the girls’ soccer team will be cut she decides to try out for the boy’s team, only to be flatly refused by the sexist coach. To add insult to injury her boyfriend, Justin (Robert Hoffman), recants on all of the things he told her about how good she She's the Man 1was (including that she was better than half of the boy’s on their team), Viola comes up with the logical plan of taking on her twin brother’s identity. This is made possible, initially, because Sebastian (James Kirk) is already playing on their parent’s divorce to go to London for a music contest and asks her to pretend to be mom and say he’s sick. Viola’s plan is far more entertaining of course, so she enlists the aid of her stylist, Paul (Jonathan Sadowski) and goes to Illyria as Sebastian.

She's the Man 2It is here that Viola, as Sebastian, meets Duke Orsino (Channing Tatum) and his friends Toby (Brandon Jay McLaren) and Andrew (Clifton Murray) who are all on the soccer team. On her first day as Sebastian, she also meets the beautiful, perfect, and intelligent Olivia (Laura Ramsay). With a few more characters, as such as the bitchy Monique (Alex Breckenridge) and the awkward Eunice (Emily Perkins) we can now officially enter the love dodecahedron. And this is one that could give Degrassi a run for it’s money.

She's the Man 5Viola likes Duke who thinks she’s Sebastian, so he’s crushing hard on Olivia who is in love (or something) with Sebastian who is really Olivia who is trying to avoid Monique who is Sebastian’s (the real one) ex-girlfriend and so Viola (as Sebastian) must avoid Olivia’s affections because she wants to be on the soccer team but she (Viola) is now crushing hard on Duke who thinks she’s Sebastian. There. Did that all make sense?

On top of the twin switch, Viola must contend with her mother and her strange obsession with ignoring everything that Viola actually loves to do in favor of debutant brunches and cotillions. Viola must meet all of her commitments as Viola while still trying to prove that she is more than capable of being on the boy’s team at Illyria.

She's the Man 6Throw in a couple of fights and you have yourself an entertaining evening. This is a comedy of epic proportions that makes me absolutely hope that Amanda Bynes goes back into acting, she’s good at it and she should never stop doing it.

Random Review – Male Objectification

You might be wondering why you’re looking at these two particular movie posters, especially since Magic Mike and Fifty Shades of Grey seemingly have no commonalities. I’m afraid you’re sorely mistaken on that, and for that reason we’re going to delve into an unfortunate double standard that Hollywood, especially big budget films, perpetuates: Female Objectification versus Male Objectification.

Magic MikeFifty Shades of Grey

These two movies are very similar in what they’re supposedly trying to sell us. They’re both aimed towards women, they’re both heavy on sex or the sexualization of its characters, both of them have a far more complicated plot than “Sex: The Movie” (regardless of your opinions on Grey, it’s true no matter how many ways you throw shade… pun intended), and both of them want you to believe that this film is going to change things drastically.

Magic Mike Joe

That last thing is wrong on all accounts. Tell me, in a movie about male strippers, how many times do you recall seeing a penis? How many times do you recall seeing a pair of breasts? If you’re counting Joe Manganiello’s scene I’m discounting points (because it was off center and blurry the first time and behind a curtain in shadow the second. It doesn’t count).

On the other hand, Olivia Munn (beautiful woman that she is who’ll be portraying Psylocke next year in X-Men: Apocalypse) bares her breasts, random extras bare their breasts, and if they could’ve gotten away with it Channing Tatum’s love interest would have bared them two minutes after the credits started to roll.

Fifty ShadesWhereas Fifty Shades of Grey, a movie based on a steamy book (based on Twilight, but no one sued so no one cares) which describes Christian Grey’s penis quite well (Jamie Dornan doesn’t even disappoint in this area if his modeling career is to be believed!), discounts all of the scenes in which it would have been appropriate and then went all out and bared Dakota Johnson’s breasts on several occasions.

Here’s the thing, I like both movies, but they’ve failed this industry and its targeted demographics. Please tell me, ladies and gay men, what do you want to see in a movie targeted towards you? That’s right, the man. If your movie is targeted towards a particular demographic, cater it to them. If this movie is targeted towards a particular demographic and is rated R, then why are you going to bare anything that is not targeted towards your demographic?

MPAA_R_Rating_Screen_Red_dThe simple fact is, a PG-13 movie can bare a woman’s breasts for upwards of ten seconds whereas an R-rated movie can get slapped with an NC-17 rating if it shows a man’s penis for more than five seconds. The normal arguments that moral guardians are going to make are sorely misguided. If you’re going to take your under aged (13-17) child to one of these movies and they’re scarred my male frontal nudity but not by female fronted nudity, you’re obviously holding on to a ridiculous social more that should be discontinued, taken out back, and shot like Lassie. The point of the R-rating is to show audiences anything short of full on pornography and in most cases male frontal nudity is played for laughs (I’m looking at you Seth Rogen and Jason Segel!).

Magic Mike Matt BomerWhy is it societally acceptable for women to be naked on film and there be little to no groans but one man gets naked and suddenly it’s the Inquisition? Because even in films targeted towards women (and gay men) we’re in a male dominated society that is trying to tell us to sit down and accept being shovel-fed female nudity in film and deprived of that same equal treatment of men. It’s stupid, plain and simple. We say we are, but the fact of the matter is we aren’t. Film is representative of society and as such it portrays things based on what it believes we want. Unfortunately, Hollywood is run almost entirely by white men to the point where you have to struggle to find anything outside of that “norm.” This doesn’t mean that all films are controlled by white men, but if you look at the vast majority of production studios and find the true power… It explains why even movies targeting women still need to consider the white, straight male ego.

Fifty Shades Christian Red RoomWhen I saw Fifty Shades in theaters I was distraught to find someone bringing a child (under ten) to the showing, I didn’t care that there wasn’t going to be male nudity to scar them, I was caring about the fact that this was a film that was unsuitable for someone of that age. If only because I wanted there to be male nudity in the film about sex (and romance, never forget the romance).Magic Mike strip

When I saw Magic Mike, a film ostensibly about male strippers that ultimately didn’t deliver on its promise. Yes I was pleasantly surprised that it had a decent plot and practical character development, all of which I would have accepted had it been advertised in the least, but all of which made me feel like I wasted ten bucks. I was promised a movie about male strippers. Breasts do not belong in a movie about male strippers. We’re here to objectify men and not women so why is it so hard (pun intended) to just sit back and f-ing do that in a movie advertised as Male Objectification: The Movie?

Fifty Shades Darker Magic MIke XXL

With the sequel coming out (and from what I’ve heard about XXL it also lacks any substantial in your face male nudity. I’m still going to see it because REASONS) for both movies, I think it’s time we challenge Hollywood to actually objectify the men as we’ve been told. Otherwise, I want an f-ing refund.

Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter AscendingIt may not have stunned critics and the box office but Jupiter Ascending was a fun movie in my humble opinion (and who doesn’t like looking at Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, Family Guy be damned). The film serves to deliver the most brutal of questions that humanity simple adores to ignore; are we alone in the universe. The sheer arrogance of that is mind numbingly alarming and yet movie after movie asks the question in its own unique way. Others are subtler in their approach but who needs subtlety these days when we can have explosions in space?

Have you ever imagined that your life could be better or that you were meant for greater things? Jupiter, born to a Russian immigrant, has no country as she was born in the ocean (conveniently ignoring that country and citizenship are entirely determined by parentage if location is an issue, but logistics aside it makes for an interesting inner pain and isolation that we can sympathize with). She is a maid who adores the sea of stars and planets above her because her father studied the skies and died trying to protect his telescope (rather than his pregnant wife of course). She cleans the houses of those who have everything while she and at least six (probably more) live in a small cramped house (she, her mother, and whom I assume to be her aunt share a room that could give the divorced husband’s club a run for their money).

Jupiter lives a hard life of mediocrity and unimportance until her cousin (or some other, relationships were quite murky) convinces her to donate some of her eggs for several thousand dollars. It is here where our plot truly grows to epic proportions. Three royals who have inherited planets (dozens apiece from what I recall) are passively aggressively fighting with one another over a specific part of their mother’s will; Earth.

In this universe there is such a thing as a perfectly genetic reincarnation, in other words, someone born with the exact same gene pool as someone who came before them and Jupiter is their mother reincarnate and due the Earth as per her preincarnation’s will. It is around here we meet Channing Tatum, notably lacking sleeves so that his muscles are more prominent.

We are taken across space to view just how primitive our world is compared to that of others, and in the process we learn that they are no better than us. They’re simply exaggerations of who we are and what we could become. Thankfully none of us are lucky enough to own an entire planet, the paperwork alone is ridiculous.

The movie might not have captured the hearts of critics and it may not have made hundreds of millions of dollars, but that doesn’t make it any less fun and entertaining. Simply seeing a movie to enjoy oneself isn’t a crime and Jupiter Ascending is a good movie in its own right.

Had it been released when initially marketed (much like Kingsman and Seventh Son) it might have done better. But even the Dump Months can provide us with awesome visuals and an entertaining adventure.