Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Other Woman (2014)

Year 9, Day 32 - 2/1/17 - Movie #2,532

BEFORE: Finally, February is here - we're only really about 1/3 of the way through winter, though, if you think about it.  But at least when we hit February 1, we can start thinking about things like Valentine's Day and Super Bowl Sunday, or both, and there are things to celebrate - plus we can start counting the days until spring-like weather returns.

It's also the start of Turner Classic Movies' "31 Days of Oscar" programming, in advance of the Academy Awards ceremony (on February 26 this year) - and I was probably a little hard on TCM's method of organization for their 2017 films when I mentioned it a few weeks ago.  They're showing films alphabetically this year, which you have to admit does show an appalling lack of creativity, when they've been so inventive in the past.  But this blog simply wouldn't be possible without TCM, they're my main source for the classics, so I should cut them some slack.  Besides, I'm doing something similar in my process of replacing my old audio cassettes from the 1980's and 90's by buying either digital files (or used CDs if the albums I want to replace are not available on iTunes).  I started with 10cc and Aerosmith a couple months ago and I worked my way through Boston, Bowie, David Byrne, etc.  This month I hit the letter "C" and I've been re-listening to The Cars, Cheap Trick, Joe Cocker and now Elvis Costello.  It feels great to re-discover this old music and finally be able to listen to it on my phone - so I guess I'm a damn hypocrite.

But sometimes I feel like an analog person in this new digital world - I can't always get into the spirit of digital music, streaming movies and downloadable comic books.  Because, silly me, sometimes I like owning things, collecting them, holding them.  Am I a greedy consumer or just nostalgic for a simpler time, when you could walk into a record store or a comic shop, browse and select items, pay for them, and go home and enjoy your new finds, then add them to your collection of things.  Now, in some cases I'll admit I have too many things already, and I really shouldn't buy more, but I appreciate the real-ness, this tactile sensation of holding something, admiring the cover art, opening the front page or removing the shrink-wrap and digging in.  My wife wonders why I spend so much time after ripping the songs from a CD to find the album artwork on-line and dragging that into the iTunes application - it's so I can see the cover art (it's small, but it's THERE) pop up on my phone, it's the last vestige of an almost-forgotten time.

So. here's today's and tomorrow's schedule for TCM's Oscar programming - I can at least use this to track how far I've come in the last 9 years, and determine how much further I have to go.  But I do have to call TCM out - when they said there would be "a different letter every day", that's just impossible, because there are 31 days to program, and only 26 letters, the last time I checked.  So their slogan is inaccurate.  

TCM Schedule - Wednesday, February 1
6:00 AM Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940
8:00 AM Adam's Rib (1949)
10:00 AM The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944)
12:15 PM The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
2:00 PM After the Thin Man (1936)
4:00 PM Agatha (1979)
6:00 PM Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
8:00 PM All About Eve (1950)
10:30 PM An American in Paris (1951)
12:30 AM Annie Hall (1977)
2:15 AM Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
5:30 AM The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Thursday, February 2
7:30 AM Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
9:30 AM Auntie Mame (1958)
12:00 PM Baby Doll (1956)
2:00 PM The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
4:00 PM Bachelor Mother (1939)
6:00 PM The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
8:00 PM The Band Wagon (1953)
10:00 PM The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
12:15 AM Barry Lyndon (1975)
3:30 AM The Battle of Algiers (1966)
5:45 AM Battleground (1949)

For today, Day 1, I've seen 8 of the 12 films, which is pretty good - I haven't seen "Adventures of Mark Twain", "Agatha", "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" or "The Asphalt Jungle".  For Day 2, I've only seen two films, "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer" and "Barry Lyndon", but I'm going to record "The Band Wagon", because I'm tackling Fred Astaire films later this month.  So I'm going to count my score so far as 11 out of 23.

Now, for the continuation of my own February chain, Leslie Mann carries over from "How to Be Single".  But didn't I already watch a film called "The Other Woman"? Yep, I did, there was a film with the same title released in 2009 that starred Natalie Portman.  But that film seems to have changed its name, according to the IMDB it's not called "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits", which by comparison is a terrible title.  I understand that every studio wants to avoid confusion in the marketplace, but it's very possible for two films to have the same title.  Besides, the film that had the title first should get to keep it, right?

THE PLOT: After discovering her boyfriend is married, Carly soon meets the wife he's been betraying. And when yet another love affair is discovered, all three women team up to plot revenge on the three-timing S.O.B.

AFTER: It's funny, I just watched Dakota Johnson in last night's film, and tonight her father, Don Johnson, makes an appearance.  Just a coincidence -

The first time I was aware of this film, my boss had seen it and written a blog post about it, which I had to type up, and he took the time to discuss the subliminal advertising used on the poster.  He'd convinced himself that the way Cameron Diaz was holding her hands in front of her made it look like there was a hole in her skirt, and everyone could see her shaved genitalia.  Only that's not even a thing, nobody wears a skirt with a hole in it, so why would anyone think that?  I had to break it to him that he was probably the only person who saw that in the poster image, and what did that say about him?

You're probably aware of the Bechdel Test, to pass this test a film has to feature a minimum of two women, and they have to have a conversation with each other that is not about men.  This film fails that test utterly and completely, as the ONLY thing that the women characters can talk about is men - or, rather, MAN, since they're all married to or sleeping with the same man.  And for the purposes of this film, a man sleeping with two or more women at the same time is just the WORST.  I mean, worse than Hitler, worse than Pol Pot or Saddam Hussein, how dare this man hurt every woman everywhere, symbolically at least, just by playing around.  He definitely deserves to die.

OK, I'm exaggerating, but only slightly - because this sin of adultery is bad, but it's also quite common, right?  I mean, ladies, men only are able to let you down because you come in to the relationship with impossible standards, you know what I mean?  No man could possibly live up to them, so they're all doomed to fail - so why even try to remain faithful?  Because failing to stay faithful is the WORST sin possible, and this man now deserves every bit of suffering that comes his way, which includes, but is not limited to, physical harm, loss of hair, tricking him into thinking he has an STD, secretly giving him estrogen so he'll grow breasts, and slipping him a super-laxative so he'll poop himself in public.  God, I wish I were kidding here.

Does the punishment even fit the crime?  I mean, OK, so he stole ideas, he got rich, and he got laid, like a lot.  Does that mean he deserves physical torture and financial ruin?  What if the gender roles were reversed, what then?  In that case, the empowerment of women and revenge against men would suddenly take on a different feeling, wouldn't it?  Would a man have the right to physically abuse a woman who cheated on him?  Of course not, so it shouldn't be considered OK in this case, either.  If these women really wanted to get back at him, they should have just had a bunch of hot lesbian sex with each other, filmed it and sent him the video, torturing him by letting him see something he could no longer enjoy.  But hey, call me crazy.  The closest this film came to that was having Leslie Mann's character drunkenly kiss Cameron Diaz's character, but then it never went any further.  What a shame.

My point is that women are not portrayed well here - the cheated-on wife becomes a basket case because she has no rational way to deal with the situation at first.  And we're supposed to believe that she's some kind of business genius, and her husband has been stealing her ideas and making millions from them?  Sure, because every business genius is also an insecure lunatic and an emotional wreck.  And the second girlfriend is just plain dumb as a post - so how is that flattering?

NITPICK POINT: When the wife and girlfriend team up to follow the husband and catch him with the other girlfriend, they do so from the wife's brother's beach house, which seems like WAY too much of a coincidence, unless the brother suddenly bought that house in the exact right spot to make that happen.  What gives?  I realize that the Hamptons may be a small, insular community, but if you think about this, it means that when the husband was looking for somewhere discreet to take his girlfriend, he chose a beachfront location right next to where his brother-in-law lives.  That's either ballsy or stupid, but I'm going with stupid, because it probably just means that a screenwriter got lazy.   I mean, there are a LOT of beaches. 

Also starring Cameron Diaz (last seen in "The Counsellor"), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (last seen in "Oblivion"), Don Johnson (last seen in Django Unchained"), Kate Upton (last seen in "Tower Heist"), Taylor Kinney (last seen in "Zero Dark Thirty"), Nicki Minaj (last heard in "Ice Age: Continental Drift"), Victor Cruz, David Thornton.

RATING: 3 out of 10 off-shore accounts

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