Tina Kakadelis
YA Author

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Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

Shower Me With Praise Because I'm Moderately Successful at Keeping Up One New Year's Resolution

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So, I've been terrible about keeping one of my New Year's Resolutions. The one about posting here more often. Clearly, that hasn't been at the forefront of my life. However, I have been CRUSHING my New Year's Resolution of watching one movie a day. Some of them have been total disasters, but some of them have been fine. A few have been outstanding. Curious as to what nonsense I've been watching? Here we go:

01/01 - I, Tonya

01/02 - National Treasure

01/03 - The Beguiled

01/04 - Black Mirror: San Junipero

01/05 - Lovesong

01/06 - It Comes at Night

01/07 - The Babysitter

01/08 - Columbus

01/09 - In the Fade

01/10 - Lady Bird

01/11 - Excess Baggage

01/12 - Proud Mary

01/13 - Insidious: The Last Key

01/14 - Black Mirror: Hang the DJ

01/15 - Cinderella (1997)

01/16 - John Tucker Must Die

01/17 - Fifty Shades of Grey

01/18 - Fifty Shades Darker

01/19 - Get Out

01/20 - Beware the Slenderman

01/21 - Step Sisters

01/22 - Molly's Game

01/23 - Phantom Thread

01/24 - The Post

01/25 - Deidra & Laney Rob a Train

01/26 - Her Story

01/27 - The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom

01/28 - Paddington

01/29 - The Humbling

01/30 - Paddington 2

01/31 - 20th Century Women

Y'know, as I've been watching these movies, they didn't seem so odd day by day, but  looking at them all together is wild. It's such a weird collection of movies.

I also truly cannot believe that I am now part of the population of people who have seen both Fifty Shades movies. I'm sorry, Mom and Dad. Although, many months ago, on this very blog, I asked if anyone knew where the cover of Springsteen's I'm on Fire played into the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie and I now have my answer, so I guess that's good? Also, I truly can't imagine what it must've been like to watch them in the theatre and sober. I was very drunk.

I thought it'd be interesting to kind of see the breakdown of the movies that I've watched in terms of female directors. I didn't set out to watch movies with female directors, but I think after this month, I'm going to make a conscious effort to find more films done by women.

Of the thirty-one films I've watched, only nine were directed by women. Those nine are: The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom, Her Story, Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, Beware the Slenderman, Fifty Shades of Grey, John Tucker Must Die, Lady Bird, Lovesong, and The Beguiled.

That's an underwhelming 29%.

If we look at female writers, we've got ten. That's only 33%. (I calculated it out of thirty because one of the movies was a documentary, so that doesn't have a writing credit.)

However, if we look at how many of the movies have female main characters, that's much higher. Twenty-three out of the thirty-one films had well-written female main characters. A whopping 74%. The ones I didn't feel had strong female leads were Paddington, Paddington 2, The Humbling, The Post, Get Out, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and It Comes at Night.

I don't define a strong female lead as a character who is physically strong, but as the person who the majority of action revolves around and who is nuanced just like real women are. Some of these movies, like Get Out and both Paddingtons, didn't necessarily have bad female representation, it's just that the women weren't the main characters. They were still multi-dimensional and well-written, but Paddington was very much about Paddington and Get Out was very much about Chris. The women simply weren't the leads.

As far as actual bad representation, I'd say The Humbling for sure and The Post and It Comes at Night maybe. My issues with The Humbling are too numerous to include in one simple blog post. However, Greta Gerwig's Pegeen is reduced to the odd role of Al Pacino's love interest. Can we stop with this trend of old dudes dating young women, please??? Riley Keough is yet again relegated to a minimal love interest role with minimal importance in It Comes at Night. Somebody put her in a good movie, for the love of god.

Somehow, I ended up rooting for Christian Grey in the second Fifty Shades movie, so I don't even know what's going on anymore. I wasn't alone. The friend I watched it with was also pro-Christian Grey. We're both still very confused about this revelation.

When it comes to The Post, you're probably wondering how a Meryl Streep role ended up here. However, my issues lie more with the writing than Streep's performance.

If we're being honest here, Tom Hanks was the main character of the movie. That's just the facts and it's a shame because The Post could've been a really great Kay Graham biopic that showed her growth through the company rather than focusing on a very small part.

My issue is that by the time Kay has to make the decision about publishing the Pentagon Papers, she's been in charge for many years. If you read the actual history of her decision to publish the papers, she wasn't nervous at all. I highly doubt she was the blubbering, nervous wreck the movie made her out to be. And what a shame that was. Instead of writing her as the strong woman she was, she got minimized into this meek woman.

Plus, isn't this story really the story of The New York Times? I mean, they were the ones to publish the Pentagon Papers first and it was really Daniel Ellsberg who was facing the most serious penalties. I feel like the reason Spielberg took the angle from Kay's side is so that he could kind of jump on the bandwagon of having strong female leads. Well, I just didn't buy it. There was a thoughtful movie in there about a woman in charge of a newspaper faced with not only a difficult choice, but the reality of being a woman in charge of a company in the sixties and seventies.

I just wish he would've made that movie.

Alright, I should probably wrap this up because ya girl has tickets to see Aladdin at the Pantages tonight and I gotta catch up on Black Lightning before I go. Maybe I'll get better at updating my blog, but we'll see. Maybe I'll take notes during each movie I watch. Maybe that sounds like a lot of effort, but who's to say where the future will lead us. Okay I'll leave you with these last thoughts:

Top Three Best Movies I Hadn't Seen Before: Columbus, In the Fade, and I, Tonya

Top Three Movies I've Already Seen: Lady Bird20th Century Women, and San Junipero

Favorite Line from a Movie: "Some people just aren't built happy." - Lady Bird

Bottom Two Worst Movies: The Humbling and Insidious: The Last Key

Movie That Surprised Me in a Good Way: Phantom Thread

Movie That Let Me Down: The Post

If you want to keep up with this dumb New Year's Resolution in real time and read my snarky one-liner reviews, hit me up on Letterboxd.