Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Girls on film

Two new movies. Both featuring largely all-female casts. Both about lawless groups of teen girls doing bad things. Both with well-known, talented actresses. And only one I want to see based on the trailer. “The Bling Ring” and “Spring Breakers” seem, on paper, to be cut from the same cloth. One about the real-life story of a group of teens who stole from the rich and famous in Hollywood. The other is a made-up tale of spring break gone way too wild.

“The Bling Ring” by Sofia “Lost in Translation” Coppola features Hermione Emma Watson. Brightest witch of her age, indeed.

“Spring Breakers” by Harmony “Kids” Korine features Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, “Pretty Little Liars’” Ashley Benson and James Franco – so much James Franco. (Warning: Super NSFW)

Right, so what makes me excited about “The Bling Ring” and turned off by “Spring Breakers” – besides Franco’s creepy gold teeth and cornrows – is viewpoint. Granted, we only have short trailers to go off of at this point. But one seems shot, while voyeuristically, from the young women’s point of view. The other seems shot, also voyeuristically, from the unmistakable angle of male gaze. I say this not from an angry lesbian who hates men place (I love ya, fellas, just not in that way), but a women – particularly young women – should be allowed to own their sexual agency place. I’ve got no problem with skin and sex, on their own. Shake what your mama gave you all you want, girl. But it’s the “you” that matters most here. It’s perfectly OK if they want to be bad, as long as their being bad for themselves and not under the direction of or for the enjoyment of some older, powerful dude somewhere. That’s not revolutionary.

Granted, I never expected Korine’s film to be much more than a smash-and-grope exploitation fest. This is the man who employed maximum shock and awe in 1995’s “Kids,” a movie that so disturbed me I had to go eat copious amounts of warm cheese with my friends afterward to feel better. If the trailer and it’s Franco-centric narration is any indication, I’m going to have to buy a whole cheese plant to make it through this one.

Admittedly, I’m more drawn to Coppola’s work – even her laconic misses – in the first place. She brings an elegant visual style and an unhurried voice to all of her work. Plus, the movie also stars Erin Daniels and anything that brings Dana back to us is more than welcome in my world.

So, thoughts? Which teen bad girls movie will have you breaking out the popcorn and handcuffs. But, seriously. Can we talk about Emma’s tongue. I have all these feelings, and none of them are appropriate.


Kristan Hoffman said...

I feel like the next time someone asks me what "male gaze" means, I can just point them to this post. The difference between the two films is just... yeah.

And sadly, I hadn't even heard of the Bling Ring, whereas Spring Breakers has been buzzed into my awareness for months now.

(Which... look, I like all 3 of the actresses I know in SB. Maybe it'll surprise me. But based on the promo posters, I'm not holding my breath.)

(Or, you know, even planning to see the film...)

MakingSpace said...

This makes me want to move to the woods and get rid of all electronics. My daughters still watch Selena Gomez on the Disney Channel. I do not want their next experience of her (when they are old enough to notice) to be this movie. I do not want my daughters to go through even one minute of their lives thinking they have to do something, anything at all, to please, cater to, appease, or keep at bay, men who believe they have the right to own women. I am so upset that this never. seems. to. change. Damn.