If the trailer is any indication, it appears the only good part of the new Ghostbusters movie is going to be the controversially gender-swapped cast. Similarly, the new Rogue One trailer has a handful of internet dipshits clutching their pearls because there's yet another female Star Wars lead who isn't wearing a bikini or dying in childbirth.
Despite this tiny backlash, most of us are A-OK with Hollywood's push to create more strong and funny female role models for the kids. (Lord knows I'm happy to know that my niece can enjoy the same calculated merchandising tie-ins I did as a child.) But with that in mind, why stop at blockbusters? Maybe you haven't noticed, but almost every popular genre comes with its own bizarre gender hang-ups begging to be picked apart -- if only because it's boring not to.
#7. Romantic Comedies Are Sexist As Hell (For Both Genders)
20th Century Fox
Romantic comedies aren't watched for realism but rather to pander to our depraved hope and emotions. They're like pornos for the heart, which is why so many of them utilize the same tired tropes over and over -- such as the male lead stopping a wedding at the last minute.
Optimus Prime is more realistic than this scene.
How many damn times does this happen? Along with The Graduate, there's Spaceballs, The Wedding Singer, Shrek, Made Of Honor, Wedding Crashers, and Wayne's World spoofing the trope itself. I'm sure there are other fictional wedding examples popping into your head right now -- all of which are being crashed exclusively by men. Because women are apparently so goddamn wishy-washy that they're looking for an upgrade right until the vows are done.
Even The Wedding Planner, a film about a woman pursuing an engaged man, somehow manages to end with that man trying to stop her wedding. It's like somewhere a room full of executives decided that wasting a bunch of catering food was the most romantic thing for a guy to do ... especially since every man is a child-like jerkoff in desperate need of a woman's touch.
He's basically that face-changing assassin from Game Of Thrones.
Don't get me wrong, Judd Apatow (who might be reading this); I love movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Superbad like they were my own balls. But somewhere down the line this genre decided that for men to grow as characters, they also have to abandon their own friends and hobbies. Steve Carell has to sell off his action figure collection, Seth Rogen has to stop hanging out with his stoner friends, and even Superbad ends with the two sets of friends splitting apart to pursue the opposite sex.
You could argue that these bumbling doofs comically needed a change in life -- but that's exactly the problem. In the real world, getting stoned and collecting dolls is a common interest you would seek out in a mate. But the romantic comedy world ramps these activities so high that they become debilitating. Jimmy Fallon can't simply enjoy the Red Sox in Fever Pitch; he has to be stupid-obsessed with them so it's considered romantic to give up his season tickets. In the real world, that kind of ultimatum is the sign of a failing relationship. As is this:
"Alragh, alragh, alragh!"
That's from Failure To Launch -- a chilling, dystopian world where men are such hopeless chucklefucks that Sarah Jessica Parker professionally tricks them into moving out of their parents' homes. When Ramblin' Matt McConaughey learns that the woman he's dating was hired to sex him into getting over his dead fiancee (what the fuck, movie?), his friends and family tie him up until he forgives her for it. That's seriously the plot of a lighthearted rom-com and not some Roman Polanski thriller.
#6. Female Superheroes Are Almost Always Morally Corrupt
There's never an occasion where dressing up like a futuristic circus barker and punching people to death wouldn't be considered morally ambiguous. More than ever are men of the Iron, Super, or Bat variety walking the line between hero and world-destroyer. Daredevil, The Punisher, and Wolverine constantly battle with the concept of killing, and of course there are the lovable thieves like Star-Lord and Ant-Man also trying to do good in the universe. All of these male characters are morally corrupt, right? So how come the only serious betrayers and line-crossers have boobs?
20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Marvel Studios
And lack their own solo movies?
Show me a male superhero who worked for the enemy, like Hawkeye or Cyclops, and I'll show you yet another brainwashing subplot. Meanwhile, Jean Grey not only willingly turns on her fellow X-Men, she kills Professor X with her out-of-control powers. Catwoman works for the enemy in both of her Batman appearances -- and before becoming an Avenger, Scarlet Witch causes them to nearly implode with crimson mind tricks.
See the difference? Sure, Wolverine can go a little overboard in the murder department, but it's Mystique who tries to brainsplode every non-mutant on Earth. Star-Lord starts off as a ruffian crypt-robber, but it's Gamora who's introduced as working for the villain. Thor might be redeeming past arrogance, but Black Widow is coming off murdering for the Russians. Even the out-of-control powerfuls like Hulk and Ghost Rider manage to aim that ferocity at only bad people, while Jean Grey and Rogue struggle with hurting the people they love.
20th Century Fox
"Take that, dutiful boyfriend!"
It's weird, right? Tell me it isn't weird. Point out that there are plenty of non-evil female cinematic superheroes like both Sue Storm and regular Storm, Wonder Woman, Kitty Pryde, and ... who else? Jessica Jones? Fuuuuck nope. Save for a few, the cinematic price of admission for lady heroes is to be ethically broken, whereas the men just have to decide how much ass they should kick.
#5. Movies Are Insane About Romantic Age Differences
"Mmm, I can still taste those off-brand hard candies I gave you."
But these days the film is often listed as one of the greatest love stories of all time, right there next to The Graduate, for some reason. Because while we've seemed to grow out of our naked Brooke Shields Lolita stage, we're at ground freaking zero for older ladies getting all up in a younger man.
This single film resulted in an entirely new genre of porn searches.
Now, let's all grit our teeth and swap out the genders, making Harold And Maude a film about a 79-year-old man having a sexual relationship with a woman in her 20s. Still romantic? How about Stifler's father going all American Beauty with one of his female friends? It's weird, right? (And for good reason, as the majority of statutory rape victims are young women.)
(Not a logline for a time-travel movie.)
In other words: No one wants to watch Kevin Spacey plow into a high school cheerleader like it's some magical moment, but we're far more persuaded by the gender-opposite. Ironically, however, we are totally fine with seeing actors like Kevin Spacey plow women 20 years younger than they are -- just as long as the film doesn't make a big deal of it.
So, yeah ... I guess you can say this actually happens all the damn time, just on the condition that no one acknowledges it in the actual film. It's as if the act of a younger man finding an older lady romantically attractive is deemed a miracle of the heart, while young women are naturally expected to lay their dad's friends.
#4. Any Underdog Sports Film Is Way Better With Female Athletes
My all-time-favorite sports movie has to be Slap Shot, the 1977 Paul Newman film about a podunk hockey team trying to earn fan attention by beating the God out of everyone they encounter. It's a great, all-American underdog film filled with leather pants and uncomfortable gay slurs that was later followed up with Slap Shot 2: Is That Stephen Baldwin? and Slap Shot 3: We Made Slap Shot 3.
Now available at Blockbuster ruins everywhere!
I'm not bummed they made two shitty follow-ups to King Cool's swank masterpiece; I'm bummed they made two shitty follow-ups and never took it to the logical next step.
"And then a Mighty Ducks spinoff, time permitting."
Imagine an unappreciated women's hockey team trying to make a name for themselves by resorting to ultra violence. It would be not only a fun twist but one that amplifies the original film's moral question of using violence over skill. This is actually the plot to a Futurama episode where Leela becomes a baseball novelty instead of a female role model. It's a great story about women's often-mocked role in sports and makes me wonder why every underdog sports movie isn't about women ... especially in a world where the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team is performing far better but making five times less than their male counterparts.
Why isn't Ronda Rousey already in a Rocky remake? How have we not made a Sandlot about little girls aspiring to be athletes? Fuck it, where's my goddamn lady Seabiscuit beating the statistical odds? Because female sports movies don't make enough money? Tell that to the highest-grossing baseball movie ever.
Get out of here, Tom Hanks. You're diminishing the point.
There's no excuse when every female-led sports film like Million Dollar Baby and Bend It Like Beckham goes on to make $216 million and $76 million on meager indie budgets. And yet studios continually go back to the male-dominated underdog genre like it's the safest bet in town.
This film cost more than Million Dollar Baby and made a third as much.
But this is by far not the most male-dominated genre in need of some dangerous estrogen ...