Sushi Girl

tn_sushigirlI know they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but a movie is not a book and a cover is not always the same art as a poster so I sometimes feel okay writing off a movie because of its poster. And these days when a movie has kind of a quasi-retro poster with a sort-of-old-school-ish illustration and attempted ’70s font, I assume it’s just some bullshit by somebody who liked GRINDHOUSE like I did and thinks if they know about old movies they can make a movie like that even if they don’t have the chops. But some of you said I had to watch SUSHI GIRL, so I gave it a shot. I forgive you.

This one is by feature-directing-freshman Kern Saxton and co-writer Destin Pfaff (also an actor in the movie) and I feel like an asshole writing this but this movie is a perfect example of what I’m talking about when I say that Tarantino’s skills as a director are proven by all the other directors failing so horribly at trying to bite his style. These guys are clearly intent on creating a variation on a Tarantino-type movie, and they don’t come anywhere near matching his storytelling, his humor, his performances, his music, nothing. For example, they play the entire Isaac Hayes version of “Walk On By” for the last scene and end credits. Great song, I love it too, but Tarantino would’ve found a deeper cut. He wouldn’t hinge the entire end of the movie on a song everybody knows and that was already on the DEAD PRESIDENTS soundtrack.


It’s not like they’re incompetent. It looks pretty good, and not like a Tarantino movie. I’m sure if they did a total cleanse and came up with something of their own they could make something that I would like better. But this one hurts me.

mp_sushigirlIt’s mostly modeled after RESERVOIR DOGS. It takes place primarily at one location, where a group of thieves gather and flash back to glimpses of a diamond robbery. They argue, a guy gets taped to a chair and tortured, a random motorist gets shot, they don’t like the masks they have to wear (see, TOTALLY different from not liking their code names), there’s a Mexican standoff where they shoot each other. Come to think of it this is more ammo for my arguments in that Village Voice piece because it shows you can make a movie that’s based on RESERVOIR DOGS but not necessarily CITY ON FIRE.

The cast includes Tarantino vet Sonny Chiba and Rodriguez vets Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn and Danny Trejo (holding a machete – get it, because Machete), but all in tiny, mostly worthless cameos so the cast list looks great on IMDb. The most impressive get is Luke Skywalker himself (I mean Mark Hamill, not the guy from 2 Live Crew) who actually is a main character, hamming it up as a long-haired, bitchy, gum-chewing asshole guy. Tony Todd is sort of the main villain who has gathered everybody there. And the occasion for the gathering is this younger guy Fish getting out of prison and Todd thinks he knows what happened to the diamonds. I didn’t recognize him but it turns out Fish is played by Noah Hathaway, Atreyu from THE NEVERENDING STORY. (I’m surprised neither Sid Haig or Bill Moseley is in here, it seems like one of them is in every movie like this, but maybe this director is anti-Rob Zombie).

The number one problem with this movie is also the main thing filmatists seem to have a problem copping from Tarantino: all of the characters just seem like phonies. They talk tough but there is no feeling of authenticity to their criminality and no originality to make up for it. They just speak cliches like “I just did six years and never gave you up!” and all that shit. They all seem so sure that they are cool tough guys, but they’re just not pulling it off. Delusions of Mr. Blonde. I especially hated this asshole character, played by Andy Mackenzie:


He’s dressed up like Donal Logue from BLADE except without any humor, and he’s supposed to be awesome. Tip for co-diamond thieves squabbling with this guy: just shut his hair in a door.

The one thing I liked in the movie is the titleogical girl, played by Introducing Cortney Palm, who previously played a naked girl chased from a softcore porn shoot to a cemetery and horribly murdered in SILENT NIGHT. Here she is also naked the whole time but she’s laying on a table so the criminals can eat sushi off her. You know, that thing where they put sushi on a naked girl. Tony Todd is obsessed with Yakuza traditions (they looked them up somewhere and just gave him a bunch of speeches about it – a pretend criminal pretending to be a different kind of criminal) so he does that thing where they eat the blowfish that might kill them.

I kept wondering how long this poor girl had to actually lay there naked on the table. It would suck if she had to be there the whole time while the men keep blowing their lines. Obviously she wasn’t always there, but there are a bunch of shots where she’s just in the foreground, and she’ll blink every once in a while so I don’t think it’s a dummy and it doesn’t look green-screened. A few times there’s a close up of her face wincing at something happening in the room, but those clearly seem cut in, possibly even the same shot more than once.

Well, she’s the title character so I think you can guess that she finally gets to do something at the end, and she’s pretty good doing actual dialogue. Not everybody looks this good naked, not everybody’s willing to do it and it’s nice that when she gets to act at the end she can do that too.

I’m sorry guys, I didn’t dig this one but I know more than one of you recommened it so please let me know what I’m missing in the comments.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 at 1:15 pm and is filed under Crime, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

182 Responses to “Sushi Girl”

  1. I’m kind of surprised you didn’t enjoy this and my assumption would be you had the wrong kind of expectations. I’m not one to make those assumptions, actually I am; but you seem smarter than that. The reason I enjoyed this flick was specifically because it felt like an homage to Tarrentino and not so much trying to be a Tarrentino film. It was like they said, “We loved Reservoir Dogs, so we’re going to make a crappier version showing QT that we love his work. I thought it had some weak parts, specifically the guy wearing the wire who did too much coke; but I thought Mark Hamill was a blast in his role. At least you gave it a shot man.

    As a fan of horror, I’m shocked to see you haven’t seen (or reviewed) Eden Lake. I thought it was an incredible flick. Also check out Excision, a pretty entertaining horror-comedy.

  2. So now you have to do the Eskimo badass film I’ve been whining about for years.

    Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

    I swear Vern, you’ll like it. Ban me from your site forever if you don’t like it. I will wager you’ll like it.

  3. Eden Lake, Excision, and The Fast Runner are all terrible, by the way. Just warning you, Vern.


    sorry, I just felt like that saying when THE NEVERENDING STORY gets mentioned

  5. So is this a silly, fake 70s/80s Troma-ish G’HOUSE movie like HAUER WITH A SHOTGUN or FATHER’S DAY? Or is it one of those overly-hip Tarantino-alike crime films that were flooding the indie circuit back in the 90s, only with a misleading poster? Neither sounds particularly amazing, but I’d rather watch the former than the latter.

  6. No, it’s more like the latter. It’s not jokey or Troma-ish.

  7. In my opinion, EDEN LAKE is truly, truly awful. Heavy handed, self important and facile. As far as killer kid movies are concerned, THE CHILDREN is definitely where it’s at. One of the better horror movies of recent years, actually.

    Ryan: I’m not sure if I understand this because I haven’t seen the film, but do you really believe that the filmmakers were attempting to pay respect to RESERVOIR DOGS by making a similar but purposefully shittier version of it? That seems antithetical to all of the concepts and notions of respect as I have come to understand them.

  8. Vern: Cheers. I’ll probably skip it, then.

    Mixalot: Until you said “recent” I thought you meant THE CHILDREN (1980), where a schoolbus drives through a cloud of nuclear radiation, giving the kids the ability and inclination to flash-fry their parents. It’s not without it’s goofy charms and moments of inspired creepiness, but it is not “where it’s at” or even in the same vicinity as “it”.

  9. I hate killer kid movies. Yes, all of them.

  10. let’s just say I’ve done a little research and damn is Cortney Palm hot in this movie, ay yi yi yi

  11. Three films I heartily recommend : Lake Mungo (a creepy, left-field faux documentary – a bit of an overlooked gem),
    Revolutionary Road (in my opinion, still Sam Mendes best film),
    Dead Girl (truly fucked up – just watch).
    They’re all kinda love ’em or hate ’em but once seen, never forgotten!!
    Oh yeah, and Eden Lake is awesome too.

  12. I thought EXCISION was okay, if somewhat derivative of Lucky McKee. And I like ATANARJUAT (though it is not in any way badass). But you don’t want to throw your recommendations around willy nilly. You don’t want to be The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Except with movie recommendations.

  13. I dunno, I totally dug this movie. It was Mark Hamill’s performance that sold me, it was an entertaining combination between his Joker voice acting (which by the way is the best Joker voice acting ever IMO), and a total flaming diva. I thought it was awesome. Sure the movie was total Reservoir Dogs worship, but to me it’s no worse than enjoying a sub-genre like slashers where 80% of them are a rehashing of the exact same plot to varying degrees of success.

  14. I should mention I am not talking down to people who enjoy slashers as I am one of those guys.

  15. Am I the only one who kinda misses the adorably naive Tarantino wannabes from the 90s and early 2000s? Mostly a bunch of far-from-Hollywood dreamers who got inspired when they saw Tarantino (and to a lesser extent, Kevin Smith and the other pioneers of 90s’s indie cinema) circumvent the studio system and assert their own voice. I think they really didn’t realize that it was vision that made those guys successful, not just doing it yourself. So we got your TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES NMs, your THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU’RE DEADs, your SUICIDE KINGSs. Unwatchable or nearly so, but so cute in their innocent conviction that they’re finally getting a chance to show you the realness of their vision that the man just doesn’t understand.

  16. I really liked Suicide Kings and found it rewatchable. At least when I was 20. Dont know about now.

  17. Mr. Subtlety – I actually kinda liked those three movies you listed, but I hear what you’re saying. I’d say the fake Tarantino movies were pretty enjoyable even when they weren’t very good. So even though it got tiresome to see flashbacks and fractured time frames and cool outfits and just obscure-enough music and graphic violence and under-appreciated actors, I guess I still liked them the way I like Die Hard clones. (Interestingly Tarantino never really went back to the world of tough-talking gangsters the same way the actual Die Hard movies never really copied the Die Hard format again)

    Along with the three movies you mentioned, the Guy Ritchie movies and Boondock Saints and Love and a .45 were also pretty good without being very good. In fact, the only fake Tarantino movie I can remember not liking was Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane, which was also made by an “outsider” who’s way too serious about his conviction of realness of vision against the man, etc…. even though for some reason the internet loves the guy. (I still haven’t seen The Grey and I might like it but I haven’t really liked any of his movies yet)

  18. Mr Sublety: To be honest, I do miss the Tarantino rip-offs of the 90s. Many of them entertained me a lot more than the real Tarantino movies.

    And I also miss the independent cinema of the 90s (which you for any reason lumped together with Tarantino rip offs, as if all of these movies were the same.). Back then, directors were really striving for making fun movies with a minimum of budget! Today, it seems like they are all trying to play it save and win prestigious awards. I take movies like CLERKS, EL MARIACHI, LIVING IN OBLIVION or THE SEARCH FOR ONE-EYE JIMMY over any hipster approved mumblecore movie from the Duplass brothers and Co.

  19. Just to be clear, I wasn’t being a smarmy sarcastic bastard. I really do like those movies, although more for their obvious labor-of-love intentions than their wannabe-hip patois. Obviously a number of genuinely good movies came out of this movement, too, but there will always be a place in my heart the awkward first settlers of do-it-yourself-ville. And, even apart from their endearing certainty that they’re blowing your mind, they’re peppered with strange moments, concepts, and ideas that you could only really put in a movie when you didn’t have someone who knew better to tell you not to.

  20. I was a kid in the 90’s, so I can’t say I saw any Tarantino ripoffs, or any real Tarantino movies for that matter (although I did frequently see Uma Thurman and her lollipop starring at me from the Pulp Fiction cover when I would visit video stores and wonder what the deal with that movie was, if I only knew….)

    so most of my exposure to Tarantino is from the real deal, but I did see Love and a .45 and Smokin’ Aces, both of which are Tarantino ripoffs, but both of which I did kinda like though

    I’m with you CJ, I miss 90’s indie flicks and hate shit like the Duplass brothers or GARDEN STATE as well

  21. of course, the 90’s in general was just a great decade for movies, indie or otherwise

  22. As a fiction writer, I can’t really handle most Tarantino ripoffs. I’ve experienced firsthand how easy it is for “idiosyncratic” and “stylized” to turn into “self-indulgent” and “embarrassing” when you’re trying to write dialogue. I don’t like watching screenwriters cross that line because I’m painfully aware of how many times I’ve slipped over it myself.

  23. The 90´s was a decade allright.

  24. Y’know, I actually love GARDEN STATE a lot. Although I also blame it for ruining the modern independent movie. In that regard it was the PULP FICTION of the 00s (although, like I already mentioned, the Tarantino rip offs from the 90s were way more fun than todays mumblecore hipster indie film festival circuit movies).

    I still hope that indie directors remember how to have fun again. Especially now, that you can make impressive looking movies on a shoestring budget, with a consumer lever HD camcorder and open source editing and animation software. But for any reason, the only people who seem to be aware of this, use it to make shitty YouTube videos, that are all over the blogosphere for a week or two and are then completely forgotten.

    To be honest, I think the only modern indie filmmaker whose work I enjoy (and I know that I seem to be the only one) is Jareth Hess. He is often dismissed as “Wes Anderson light”, but I like how he mixes the dry style of modern indie cinema with the over the top insanity of the 90s.

  25. Back in the day, i tried to write stuff that mimicked Tarantino. But it was an embarassingly epic fail for two reason.
    First; swedish is a lame language that is hard to write good dialogue for.
    Second: It was the worst of ideas.

  26. Man, am I the only guy here who likes the Duplass brothers? Mark has a likeable, appealing screen presence in everything from Zero Dark Thirty to The League, and even though Mumblecore gets a bad rap, I’d argue hardly any of their films fall under that category. (The same way as I mentioned above, Tarantino’s movies are rarely about gangsters anymore)

    I think the agreed-upon definition of mumblecore is amateur actors (mostly white, mostly aimless young twentysomethings) sitting around saying improvised-sounding dialogue in a movie with little to no plot. I’d argue only The Puffy Chair falls under that category, and it was pretty enjoyable. Baghead was a fun slasher whodunit, The Do-Deca Pentathlon seems EXACTLY like a low-budget Will Ferrell movie, and Jeff Who Lives at Home was a great feel-good movie that also gave Rae Dawn Chong her best role since Commando.

    But yeah, I can’t get with Hannah takes the Stairs or any of Lena Dunham’s work, sorry. When people say they hate mumblecore I think of those movies and I know what they mean.

  27. “and Jeff Who Lives at Home was a great feel-good movie that also gave Rae Dawn Chong her best role since Commando.”
    “great feel-good movie”


  28. Oh man, JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME had some of the ugliest camerawork I’ve ever seen. A wobbly, handheld mess with infuriating random zooms. I couldn’t get through it.

    I like Lena Dunham though. I was lukewarm on TINY FURNITURE but I like GIRLS a lot.

  29. My sexiest comment is I can’t stand seeing Lena Dunham on every magazine cover right now because she’s sooooo ugly.

  30. “Sexiest”

    Ha! Nice Freudian slip, there.

  31. Sternshein: I guess that’s supposed to be some sort of joke? I don’t know, maybe you can host the Oscars next year.

  32. Man, I guess I’m in the minority about Jeff Who Lives at Home! I thought it was really charming and optimistic and positive and I wasn’t bothered by the shakycam/zooming (post-action?) because I was engrossed in the story and also it seemed relatively restrained compared to Cyrus, which I saw right before it.

    Back to Sushi Girl – I’ve never heard of it until this review but it’s kind of weird how so many low budget/straight to video movies have the “Grindhouse” aesthetic either in the film or in their posters/cover art, (a la Hobo with a Shotgun or Bitch Slap or Cherry Bomb or any number of weird movies you can find on Netflix Instant) considering that Grindhouse was a pretty big flop. I’m not sure what that says about Grindhouse or the film industry in general when a purposely crappy movie ends up being so influential.

  33. There’s not enough liquor on the planet to make this leetle piggy seem pokeworthy:

    I’ve seen Girls once, and that was one time too many. The roots of its success can be attributed to Dunham following the lead of Stephenie Meyer, who was lucky/clever enough to make her protagonist an ugly white girl in her late teens/early twenties (in Dunham’s case, slightly older), thus creating a heroine that ugly white girl pariahs could & did identify with on a vast scale.

  34. so at last, the topic of Girls and Lena Dunham spreads here

    my thought is, I have never seen the show and don’t really care too, so I have no real opinion either way

    anyway “considering that Grindhouse was a pretty big flop. ”

    maybe it flopped in theaters, but it’s one of the few true cult classics of the last several years though

  35. Fuck, why did I mention GIRLS? Sorry, everyone. Amazing Larry, first your appalling racism and now this. Please fuck right off and don’t come back. The problem with troglodytes like you is that they drown out people with legitimate criticisms about the show.

    neal: CYRUS is worse?! Is that possible?

  36. Almost everyone I know was super excited about G’HOUSE, but by the time it limped it’s sorry way to our shores it had been split into two separate movies with the fake trailers removed entirely. It’s pretty weird that such an anomalous failure has birthed two (more?) separate spin-off movies, and a whole host of others trying to bite it’s style. Even if they’re derivative, I still prefer those cheesy, oft-misleading, hand-painted retro posters to a crappy photoshop collage.

  37. I saw Grindhouse in theaters and it was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had in a movie theater

    answer me this though, why is GIRLS so controversial? what exactly is on the show that’s got everyone’s panties in a twist? as far as I know it’s just a sitcom about twenty somethings, is there something I’m missing?

    also, when did Amazing Larry say something racist? I must have missed that

  38. Crusty— OK, let’s backtrack a bit and clear the air, shall we? So, I previously posted comments to the effect of calling out Django Unchained for its one-sided (and incorrect) depiction of white people being soley at fault for the perpetration of slavery in the United States, then (to back this up) posted a link to a website you and others mistook for being white supremacist in nature.

    If you take a closer look at that site, you’ll notice it began in April 2012, right around the time the U.S. news coverage of the Trayvon Martin incident reached its apex. It’s origin is probably a reaction to that particular media frenzy. I’m sure there are plenty of white supremacist websites on the Internet; THAT isn’t one of them.

    So, how is any of that “appalling racism”? Am I not allowed an opinion of the overall demeanor of Django Unchained that is politically incorrect? Is anyone allowed an opinion of Django Unchained that disagrees with its depiction of slavery? Not by your way of thinking, it would seem.

    And FYI, telling me to “fuck off” is not going to have the desired effect, but probably the opposite.

  39. Not to stir up this hornet’s next or anything, but the events of DJANGO UNCHAINED revolved solely around the most wealthy and elite of slaveowners in the South who were, well, white folks. Also, you may recall that Django assumed the role of a “black slaver” during a key part of the film. That is, a black man involved in the slave trade. That is, not a white man. So the film acknowledges that there were also black people involved with the slave trade.

    And as I recall, this country was being run by white people at the time. The founding fathers (who, if memory serves, were also white) owned slaves themselves. Just who was perpetuating slavery in the United States?

  40. Larry, you’re seriously going to suggest that THIS site–the site you linked to in the DJANGO comments, hidden behind a link obscurer–THIS site doesn’t strike you as the least bit racist or white supremacist:


    Fuckin’ hell, they link to Stormfront and the BNP!

  41. Griff, the thing about GIRLS is that it IS another show about pretty (and rich) Twentysomethings, plus it is a show about girls (so a lot of sexism is involved from the hater’s side), its star/creator doesn’t look like a skinny supermodel, but runs around naked a lot (I think she is cute, btw, but I always preferred the Velmas over the Daphnes), at one point she made a joke about being “the voice of a generation”, which some people mistook for arrogance although the punchline was that she doesn’t speak for anybody because nobody gives a shit about her, and in the end Lena Dunham apparently financed her career with a huge trustfund and has famous relative, which rubs people the wrong way too.

  42. Amazing Larry, let’s face it: that was NOT what we were hoping you had to share with the rest of us.

    No matter how you try to defend the “I don’t want to watch DJANGO UNCHAINED because it seems pretty anti-slavery, here is a racist websight where crazy people try to argue that slavery was actually not that bad” argument it’s not something you will ever live down here. I know you’re a long time commenter and I always appreciated your input, but every time I see your screen name now that’s the first thing I think of. That you don’t see the problem with that websight makes it worse. That you are now defending it by saying “oh, it was just made by white people who were upset that a guy was in trouble just because he murdered a black teenager in cold blood because he assumed he was a criminal” also does not help your case.

    I gotta be honest, it is a big test for my philosophy. I don’t believe in excluding people. I don’t want to kick you out. I’d rather we be friends and try to learn from each other. But I fucking hate that you wrote that shit. In real life I would never be friends with somebody who said something like that unless they later said they were wrong and had changed. It’s not “politically incorrect.” It’s from the wrong god damn century. Come on man. You must’ve run into this before if you ever said that shit out loud. It’s kinda insane that we are still being polite to you after that shit.

    But aside from that, cut with the “I wouldn’t fuck that” shit. That was horrible. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t want to fuck you either, even if she didn’t read the DJANGO UNCHAINED thread. If she does fuck you, I will personally mail a print-out of the thread to her as a warning.

    Please Larry and everyone, do not post shit like that about somebody is ugly and you don’t want to fuck them. I’m not gonna delete it this time but it’s embarrassing to me that it’s on here. This is not that type of websight for dumb assholes.

    And I’m never gonna watch Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure again.

  43. Too one-sided. You thought it was too one-sided. ABOUT SLAVERY. For fuck’s sake.

  44. OK, I can see my work here is done. Vern, whatever it was you just posted… I took one glance at it and realized it was probably a dressing-down, and hence did not read any of it. A private email would’ve been a better way to make your point.

    It’s been fun, and with that in mind, I leave you with a link that is probably worth perusing at length:


    Having read all of this guy’s reviews, it seems like his slant on the material is less reverent than yours, Vern… but no less entertaining. Still, the “Steven Seagalstics” part at the end of each review seems rather familiar.

    Carry on…

  45. Maybe you should’ve sent Lena Dunham a private email then. Anyway, see ya.

  46. Whoops, sorry if I exacerbated things with my “fuck off” remark. I try to maintain a Billy Jack like composure online but sometimes I feel compelled to take my shoes off. Sorry for taking things down a notch. Not too sorry, though.

    CJ: All well said. That “voice of a generation” line struck me as such an obvious piece of Starship Troopers like satire I was hella surprised when I saw people taking it at face vale.

  47. gee, this is a real bummer, I liked you Larry :(

    can’t we all just let bygones be bygones? I’ve seen endless racist shit on the internet that makes anything Amazing Larry said seem tame, while I’m not defending his statements, you’re not a full on white supremacist, are you Larry?

    but for real, it makes me sad to see us fighting like this, maybe race is just not a topic that should be brought up on sites like this if you want to keep the mood light, it’s just too loaded of a subject, especially on the internet

    and sometimes in life you do have to accept that some people hold beliefs that may be totally against what you think, but you just have to accept it, living in the south I’m sorry to say that I have an uncle who’s not afraid to say the word “nigger” and while I hate that, I still love the guy, I mean he’s family and he’s for lack of a better word a “redneck” and I understand the context of his life, often times our beliefs choose us, not the other way around, everyone is a product of the environment and the times they live in

    I missed out on the Django discussion because I have not seen it yet (due to being sick with the flu when it was in theaters) and I had no idea what was going on, but again I ask, can we just let bygones be bygones?

  48. Griff, we tried that for a while, but the fucker kept on coming…

  49. Despite what a lot of people around the world seem to think, there’s no such thing as “two sides” to racism, sexism and violence. And I don’t think we should get too understanding of those who believe this.

  50. Griff, a big part of what I like about this site is that Vern and commenters aren’t afraid to talk about tricky issues of politics and race. Lose that and we lose what makes this place special.

  51. (Obvious “What does it take to change the essence of a man” joke.)

  52. Vern and Amazing Larry need to play the hand slapping game now

  53. Sorry everybody. I hate when I get possessed by a troll. So, sushi is a great food. Ya know, to keep things on point.

  54. I think Girls is a good TV show.

  55. I did think that Sushi Girl was a decent enough tribute to Reservoir Dogs. I don’t believe their intent was to make a “shittier version of Res Dogs”, but they made a film that was similar thematically to “…Dogs”, and did they best they could with the resources they had. To me, Mark Hamill put it over the top with his character, and I was able to accept it and enjoy it for what it was. Which was a C version of Res Dogs that had some high points.

    I really enjoyed Eden Lake and found it to be very gripping. Yes, I get that people are worn out on “killer kid” movies, but Eden Lake has been around for awhile now I believe. I haven’t seen The Children, but I’ll check it out just to see where you’re coming from. Eden Lake was one of the few horror movies where, at the end, I felt for the main character. It is typically in my “Top 5” of horror films that I recommend to people. Which, for the record, are: Martyrs, Inside, Eden Lake, The Loved Ones, The Divide. While I understand not all of those are loved by the masses, I think they’re a great look at non-mainstream horror flicks. Oh, I would also add Mother’s Day (which I thought was INCREDIBLE)

    I thought Excision was funny and original. I found Anna Lynne Mccord to be fantastic in her role. She’s typically attractive, and they do a great job of changing it up. I thought it was funny in parts, and also was one of the few movies I wanted to see extend the ending by 5-9 minutes as I just wanted to know what the next thing to happen would be. It was unconventional and weird.

    I thought Dead Girl was decent, but it was another movie I thought could have benefited from a bit more exposition into the aftermath of the events of the movie. I have my own interpretations on what happened with “Dead Girl”.

  56. Whoa, this thread went in an unexpected direction.

    Bigotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia all come from a place of ignorance, and if you don’t address that ignorance when you encounter it that is almost like condoning it. The reality is we have all had beliefs or ideas that are rooted in ignorance and stereotypes or are just gross unjust generalizations. They may not come from a hateful place and are born in ignorance but they can be just as hurtful and damaging. I hope Amazing Larry doesn’t take Vern’s comments as a personal attack, but instead thinks long and hard how his posts/comments frame him as a person and how ignorant and hateful they come across.

  57. Ryan, what was left for interpretation in DEAD GIRL? It has been a while since I have seen it, but if I remember correctly the film’s message about men’s objectification of women is pretty on the nose.

  58. Here is an interesting question, how is the role of sushi girl handled in the film? It seems like the majority of the running time she’s lying there naked and dudes are eating off her. That seems like a pretty demeaning situation for a girl to be in. So perhaps the conversation about Lena Dunham is appropriate because the film is asking the audience to look at their preconceived notions of beauty and the inherent sexism involved when men talk about women.

    I’m assuming she pulls a Jigsaw at the end and gets up and kills everybody following a speech?

  59. Yep, that’s exactly what she does. It’s the intriguing part of the movie. You know she’s gonna do something, and you have to wait until the end to see it and find out who she is. I wouldn’t go as far as saying “the film is asking the audience to look at their preconceived notions of beauty and the inherent sexism involved when men talk about women,” but we are supposed to empathize with her being in this degrading situation.

  60. I think GRINDHOUSE, although not a huge box office hit, gave a visual language to a group of fans (can’t use the term artists) who were hopped-up on that first wave of DVD cult mania (1999-2005) and itching to get in the ring themselves. I feel like they didn’t know how to articulate their new found fandom into a visual language until they saw the marketing and language of GRINDHOUSE. As a result we have endless posters/DVD covers with torn edges and poster folds and movies like HOBO. I for one can’t wait until we move past this era of “fan films”, but I fear the accessibility of affordable professional video equipment will doom us for a while.

    In other words a bunch of fans with nothing much to say found an easy aesthetic to rip-off.

    That’s my theory on this wave of “grindhouse” imagery.

  61. Wes– I think you’re absolutely correct. GRINDHOUSE gave potential filmmakers (and –probably far more importantly– potential financiers) a vocabulary with which to articulate the kind of film they wanted to make. It gave them a genre which was easy to explain and categorize, which always makes the sell much, much easier. Lots of people who wanted to make ridiculous throwbacks movies would have been laughed out of producer’s offices before GRINDHOUSE. Once they had a term for it, it seemed like a business model, not a fan film.

  62. I’m sorry for further continuing this racism/bigotry derail, but I just wanted to say that Charles is 100% percent correct. Tolerance is passive acceptance, which is why I find it necessary to confront bigotry with zero tolerance. No offense Griff, but you should really know that your “this guys racist bullshit is somewhat mild when compared to straight-up white supremacists, so could we maybe just ignore it?” argument is just wrong and ultimately just makes people like Larry think that their bigotry is acceptable.

  63. Can we talk about their playing the entire duration of the title song DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER to open this movie?

  64. Playing one song in it’s entirety can be very effective…playing two (or more) seems like indulgence. Or a way to pad out a thin script into a slightly longer film.

    To continue my 50% hit-rate of commenting on posters, I thought the poster was better than the film, which makes me wish the poster artist had spent his/her time on a better film. Would love to see a Django Unchained poster in this style, for instance.

    p.s. Glad we made some progress on the racist comments front. Respect to your philosophy Vern; respect to your diplomacy Griff; respect to your ‘zero tolerance of intolerance’ Flash.
    p.p.s To partially redress the balance of comments, I think Lena Dunham is cute.

  65. I was thinking about this the other day. My comment I made about Lena Dunham was entirely something that should be kept internal. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to deride sexist (or racist) comments while also copping to enjoying clearly exploitation cinema that does the exact same stuff written about in the comments? Food for thought or am I just attempting to make myself feel better for my post?

    Also, how is it that nobody here seems to like Hobo with a Shotgun when it was a fun movie with an awesome performance from Rutger Hauer?

  66. Sternshein – I’m with you on Hobo With A Shotgun. Thought Rutger was on top form and it was very enjoyable. I would have thought this would be the natural web-hangout for people who would enjoyed it; maybe it’s just us.

  67. And the posters are great – particularly this one :


  68. I love HOBO unabashedly. It’s probably the vilest, most depraved GRINDHOUSE genre movie of the whole lot, but it also has a surprising amount of heart. Hauer is in absolutely top form –as Tango correctly points out– and goes above and beyond what was necessary (a simple over-the-top crazy performance) to instill his character with surprising and subtle depth and vulnerability. Unlike a lot of these other jokey Grindhouse wannabes, HOBO wants to be a real movie, not an ironic “movie.” It just happens to also want to be the most irresponsible, offensive, outrageous thing you’ve ever seen, too. But the latter is forgiven because of the earnestness of the former.

    Honestly, some spark of genuine care will go a long way, both in art and in real life.

  69. Tango –
    It’s by Jeff Proctor. He also has a great poster for the movie Zombie:


    Jeez- long link

    Also, fuck the racist bullshit. I’ve made a few minor enemies on the south side of Chicago by asking people not to use offensive slurs around me. They think I’m too good for that…I sure am.

  70. Darth – cheers buddie, I thought it might have been Geoff Darrow; I’ll be looking into this Jeff Proctor feller.

    I neeeeed that Zombie poster for my living room !

  71. People like “amazing larry” take the net and forums like this downhill. Inhuman comments by a yellow bastard who
    snickers in the backround. Get lost asshole!

  72. You know, I’ve always had serious issues when it comes to talking about beauty, so perhaps this is the best place to discuss it. I too think Lena Dunham is pretty, as I do many other women who are considered non-Hollywood types or “unconventionally” pretty, or “quirky.” There’s the first part of my problem.

    I feel like I can’t express my admiration of these women without some qualifier. I have to explain that they are pretty despite not having this look, or pretty for this category. I don’t think I’m trying to say it’s in the eye of the beholder either, because I’m not saying any of the “conventional” types are less beautiful to me either. I don’t want to have to take something away from one pretty girl in order to say another one is also pretty.

    But I’ll tell you what really pisses me off. When I say someone is pretty, then someone else says, “Well, she’s cute.” Like they’re correcting me. Like they’re saying, “I’ll give you cute but you can’t have beautiful. Beautiful is reserved for these other people.” People I know do that with real life friends of ours, not just images of stars we don’t know.

    Then I feel bad for even trying to say someone is pretty at all. Isn’t that still objectifying her just as badly as the people who say she’s not, when I should just be appreciating the person she is and the work she’s accomplished?

    I’m no saint. I’m not saying everyone is pretty, but I would certainly never announce that I’m not attracted to a certain person and I don’t want to paint it like I’m some highly evolved being devoid of physical attachments. I do lament that we’ve created a society where otherwise good people have no compunction about judging someone’s appearance, be it a celebrity on the red carpet or a person walking down the street. That’s probably a different conversation though.

    I feel like I am an appreciator of beauty and I want to put positive things back into the world. I want to tell women how much I appreciate them, but that’s messed up. Besides any dating rules about why you shouldn’t compliment a woman, it becomes just plain inappropriate to start talking about a woman’s physical appearance no matter how nice you say it. On the one hand, who am I to tell a stranger she’s pretty, as if she needs my validation? On the other hand, it seems creepy like I’m evaluating her.

    At this point I’m so confused I think the only woman I can say anything about is my future daughter, so I can hopefully build up her self-esteem. Anyone else is either none of my business or I’m just going to make things worse. I thank SUSHI GIRL for giving me the opportunity to get this off my chest and ask for help. Also I think Mary Lynn Rajskub may be the hottest woman alive.

    I also love HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. I was one of the early supporters if you recall.

  73. caruso_stalker217

    March 1st, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Well, pretty or ugly, all women at one time or another have had massive diarrhea attacks. It’s what binds us all together.

    Really bad shits.

  74. caruso_stalker217

    March 1st, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Also, I think Joie Lee is beautiful and doesn’t look like her brother in drag.

  75. Fred is a better man than I.

    I do get a feeling most of us are ugly mofos though lol

  76. I think the crucial aspect of what Fred is saying is that our culture is pretty nutso when it comes to appearance and perceived beauty. If a woman isn’t beautiful, we take it personally. We get ANGRY. Jada Pinkett Smith’s epic tweet* on why we should fuck off and not become histrionic over how her daughter cuts her hair is good stuff.

    Another issue is simply the fact that everybody thinks that everybody else wants to hear their opinion, because the internet. I can’t tell you how many times (and I’m guilty of this as well) people weigh in on a film or something just to let everybody know whether or not they approve of it, without actually throwing down any ideas or discussion thereof. “No, it’s shit, and you should kill yourself for thinking otherwise” type rottentomatoes** banter. All matters of good taste aside, I don’t give a shit who Amazing Larry thinks is fuckable, but I am curious about WHY people think the way that they think.

    *can stuff you say on facebook be considered a tweet?

    **rottentomatoes exacerbates the problem because it’s primary purpose is to tally up the pro and con votes. It focuses the discussion on yay or nay and makes it even less likely that people will actually, you know, tell you what they really think.

  77. I’ve never seen any of Dunham’s work, so sadly, the only basis on which I’m qualified to judge her is her appearance. (I think she’s kind of cute, for the record. Because clearly somebody’s keeping score.) But considering all of the woman-hating douchebags she’s managed to piss off—from resentful virgins who get squicked out by chicks who aren’t wearing chainmail bikinis to frathog date-rapists who think it’s every female’s duty to make herself fuckable for them—she’s clearly doing something right.

  78. I’m still curious enough to watch this film, but Vern has cemented what I’ve suspected about the film since it came up on my radar.

    I haven’t posted here in months, though I’m trying to keep up with all the reviews, films and comments.
    Finally saw Django Unchained sometime near the end of January, subsequently read the review and the shitstorm that followed.

    Interestingly enough I was in Seattle the first weekend of January and I came across a bullshit leaflet (with links to Larry’s favorite website) declaring a race war to protect the virtue of white women, I tore down said pamphlet and disposed of it like I would with any trash. Weeks later when I came across the same webpage being linked on one of my favorite sites I was pretty bummed, since then I’ve been regularly disappointed with posts on various threads.

    I apologize for continuing to discuss Girls here, I’ve only glimpsed the show (Girlfriend digs it) but couldn’t stomach the spoiled protagonists and their scumbag sense of self-entitlement; however, every time I’ve voiced my negative opinion of the show in public, it’s always assumed that it’s because I find Lena Dunham unattractive(coupled with her propensity for being naked and in sexually explicit situations). I’ve come to realize that fans of the show assume this, because it’s the most common attack leveled at the show by men.

    I really dig Vern’s writing, and I think 85% of the active participants in the comments are ridiculously entertaining and/or informative, but I’m trying to grasp how fast the thread jumped from Tarantino rip-offs too Mumblecore cinema which in turn lead to mention of Dunham, flow to Sternshein’s regrettable anecdote, before speeding into Larry’s full on Bullshit post.

    Fred- your last post here was awesome, we could probably all study from the book of Franchise Fred on this one before we Bombard the comments with our specifics of Beauty or lack thereof.

    sorry for the long semi-rant fella’s

  79. Holy shit! Windows! I thought you were dead! Didn’t I set you on fire with the flamethrower?!…….. wait a minute. You’re not Windows! You’re another one of those damn Things!

  80. “Interestingly enough I was in Seattle the first weekend of January and I came across a bullshit leaflet (with links to Larry’s favorite website) declaring a race war to protect the virtue of white women, I tore down said pamphlet and disposed of it like I would with any trash.”

    spooky, what’s going on these days?

  81. I think a lack of women in comment sections almost everywhere has given rise to a kind of locker-room mentality on the wider (ie not facebook) internet. This sight could definitely use more female input.

    Also does it not seem kinda strange to anyone that almost all mainstream movies/TV aimed squarely at women are always basically about sex and relationship type stuff? What the fuck is with that? Do women just not give a shit about anything beyond getting/keeping a man? I suppose that must be it…

  82. Although I share your sense that it may be true, I wonder how you could possibly quantify the notion of who is what, gender wise, on this or any other forum.

  83. Yeah you’re right, I suppose I can’t quantify it. I just get the vague sense that males outnumber females on the internet by like 20 -1. I’m probably wrong now I think about it.

  84. actually, I would say your probably not

    I would say that probably 90% of women that use the internet primarily use only Facebook

  85. Around here, sure, not a lot of women. Generally, badass movies dripping in testosterone don’t really find too large a female audience (though sometimes you might be surprised).

    But sometimes the place does act like a locker room. Weird thing: somebody calls Lena Dunham an “unpokeable little piggy” and we all immediately understand that this is objectification, that she’s a person and her worth is not determined by whether she makes your dick hard or not. But have it go the other way, where people are talking about Amy Adams, say, and people don’t realize that it’s the same damn thing.

  86. Griff – ferfucksakes dude, what kind of insight do you possess on the subject of female internet activity?

    I know how ridiculous this sounds, but what you just said is pretty fucking sexist, and making stupid declarations like the one above, or the one regarding Liz Hurley’s breasts in the “Weight of Water”, aren’t helping you have a healthy relatable understanding of women who aren’t your kin.

  87. well, all my mom does is surf Facebook

    at any rate, there aren’t many women at the sites I visit, like here, but then again the interest is so fucking massive maybe it is a little hubristic to make a claim like that

  88. caruso_stalker217

    March 2nd, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    I’m guessing there are dozens of needlepoint forums out there that are seriously lacking in sausage.

    Just a hunch.

  89. M. Casey – well, in my defense I don’t think it’s exactly “the same damn thing.” When I’m writing about TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE or something and I can’t hide thinking Amy Adams is adorable at least it’s a tangent on a discussion of her work and acknowledging her talents as an actor. In The Infamous Amazing Larry Example he just brings up the poor lady out of the blue to call her ugly and fat and break the horrible news to her that unfortunately he does not want to “poke that,” as if she had presented herself to the world for the express purpose of demanding that we “poke that” and he is standing his ground. Which in my opinion is not accurate.

    But I do hear you, and some of these things lately like the Seth McFarlane boobs song, which I thought was really degrading for several reasons, have made me more self conscious about these topics and rethink whether or not I should ever mention when I think someone in a movie is attractive. As a result I did not mention a certain shot in this movie.

    Griff: I don’t know where you got that Facebook idea, unless some dude told you that on Facebook

  90. I have a Facebook, but I barely spend any time on it, social networking in general is as dull as dishwater to me, I felt the same way about Myspace back in the day

  91. well that and knowing that my mom is gonna read whatever I post there certainly keeps me the hell away

  92. Windows, Neal2Zod, renfield, Mr. Majestyk and even Sternshein, thank you. I wasn’t sure if I should go there but now I know I made the right choice sharing that. (Caruso_Stalker, your diarrhea line gave me a good chuckle, but I’d still think she was pretty on the toilet. I’m that sensitive.)

    I certainly hope the answer isn’t we can never show our appreciation for beauty ever again. It’s a very confusing thing. I sincerely come from a place where it warms my heart that our icons work out so much or fashion themselves in a way to be pleasing. Or that they’re just naturally blessed and I want to express appreciation for that. Or that I see something unique, or just that I’m happy to know they exist.

    But it does occur to me that nobody wants to be appreciated just for how they look. Even if it’s their job to be pretty, and especially if it’s just a person on the street or in my life, they want to be appreciated for the entire content of their character and their accomplishments. So no matter how sincere my love is, I guess the onus is on me to dig deeper. If I just want to enjoy a pretty face, maybe I have to keep that appreciation to myself, like the deer in STAND BY ME, something the universe just shared with me alone.

    The Boobs song, is it possible that was a joke about how inappropriate it would be to do a song like that? But then why still make the women the subject of it… What will it take to change the essence of men?

  93. Chopper Sullivan

    March 3rd, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Just because someone makes a dickhead comment doesn’t mean you have to run in the opposite direction to prove you’re not sexist.

    And the joke of the Boobs song was that it was inappropriate. It went too long and was kind of lame. but it’s hard for me to consider it degrading, especially since there were several women who participated in it.

  94. As if women don’t participate in stuff that degrades women. Are you familiar with pornography?

  95. It’s probably unproductive and unprofessional to throw in “hubba hubbas” in film reviews. I’ve heard women mention that it can be annoying. Plus it makes Mode7 and Griff think the internet is one giant boy’s club.

    That said, sometimes it’s germaine to the film. Film uses beauty and ugliness to manipulate you. We all talked about how hot Ryan Gosling was in DRIVE.

  96. caruso_stalker217

    March 3rd, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Well… he was very hot in that film.

  97. I’ll be honest. I don’t want to live in a world where we can’t acknowledge each other’s good looks anymore, without being labelled as creepy pervert. There is a HUGE difference between “I think she is pretty” and “Hey baby, nice tits, I want to fuck you hard.”

  98. Man, I kinda regret bringing up Lena Dunham here but I’m glad it spawned the discussion it did, because I think looks and beauty and sexism is something that is finally being discussed (perhaps overly discussed?) in Hollywood and I’m glad we’re discussing it.

    This brings me to that weird poll that made headlines last week about “Kristen Stewart named unsexiest actress”. I think it’s really bizarre the lack of criticism this “news story” received, even from feminist sites like Jezebel, who just mentioned it with an almost “ha ha” tone, because nobody likes Kristen Stewart I guess. The whole list was full of very safe-to-pick-on, very white (with the exception of Lucy Liu, what the hell she’s doing on the list is beyond me) actresses like Sarah Jessica Parker, or formerly tabloidy/disgraced actresses like Denise Richards or Lindsay Lohan or Mischa Barton.

    I guess my outrage over this poll was not that it was “sexist”, but because nobody in the press seemed to question it. Can you imagine the outrage if Lena Dunham or Melissa McCarthy or Queen Latifah ended up on this poll? There would be a huge discussion of what fucking value this poll has or what it says about the men polled and what Hollywood has done to warp our mindsets. But because it gets topped by a skinny, white, rich actress who has a ton of negative press, it gets dismissed as a humor piece and nobody really questions how fucked this whole poll is.

    Anyways, not really sure what I’m saying, just had to vent a little there.

  99. It’s not that I think women don’t use the internet just as much as men, I just think women aren’t as inclined to get involved in comment sections. Maybe the perception that most of them are boy’s clubs is the reason why.

  100. The original Paul

    March 3rd, 2013 at 9:55 am

    My thoughts on the whole “objectification of women” subject:

    1) Pornography isn’t degrading to women (well, most of it). When women don’t CHOOSE to appear in porn then that’s an entirely different thing. Creeps making upskirt videos for example. But if a woman’s doing a job of her choice and getting paid for it, what does it matter how people enjoy what she does? Is any non-intellectual form of entertainment degrading to women if it stars a woman?

    2) Polls of the type mentioned above by Neal, and tabloid paperazzi taking pictures of celebrities in swimsuits on their holidays, etc, ARE degrading. The woman in question didn’t ask to be objectified, she has no power over it. It’s a control thing.

    And yeah, it depresses the hell out of me that some of this stuff goes on and nobody seems to question it.

  101. Chopper Sullivan

    March 3rd, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Professionalism and productivity aren’t necessarily the first things I look for in a film review. I value insight and honesty more. Honesty doesn’t mean you have to be a dick, but you can acknowledge that the pretty girl who’s trying to be pretty in a film is in fact pretty.

  102. Aw hell, Vern, this just illustrates that if I want to call somebody out, I should make sure I have all my ducks in a row and not do it half-assed, because I wasn’t talking about you. In your review you mention that that Adams’s character is meant to be shown in one way, but her beauty and charm work against it sometimes. I don’t think anyone would say that there was anything wrong with that.

    What I was referring to was a comment, which I now can’t find, to the effect that the biggest problem with THE MASTER was how it took away from how gorgeous Amy Adams usually is. (I hope I didn’t just imagine it.) My point is, if that’s the ONLY thing someone is going to say about Amy Adams–how hot or not she is in a movie–isn’t that kind of ridiculous? She’s a skilled actress but even if she wasn’t, a person is more than their collected body parts. And there are a lot of comments of that nature scattered around the sight.

    What I’m saying, poorly, is that if we value the contribution of women around here, and on the internet in general, we should all try to be just a little more respectful of them as people and not just sex objects. Amy Adams is beautiful but it’s only shitty if that’s all you think about her. And I hope my tone is more “let’s be nice guys” than “YOU ASSHOLES” because this place isn’t too bad but I still cringe when I see a comment like “Jane March was hot of fuck. Lesley Down Warren was sexy too. I wanted to fuck her so bad after this film.”

  103. I know that the boobs song was framed as “wouldn’t this be inappropriate if…” But the women who make up half of the industry still had to sit at their industry awards show and be made fun of for being nude in movies. It wasn’t just a matter of objectifying them but it also had a “ha ha, I got you” tone to it as if it made them hoes or something. I just thought it was shitty.

    But I kind of think all the casual sexism jokes were McFarlane overcompensating for being so into musicals.

    Anyway I appreciate this discussion, everybody. It’s been more interesting than what I had to say about SUSHI GIRL.

  104. Sorry to continue the non-SUSHI GIRL discussion (but Vern voiced tacit approval so …) but:

    Paul, I would say that I’m sure lots of pornography is made in a respectful, non-exploitative manner, but various things I’ve heard and read have led me to believe that the industry is often quite ruthless to the female participants. I realize that women *choose* to appear in porn, but that doesn’t mean the legislature surrounding porn is adequate from country to country, or even if it is, adequately enforced, etc.

  105. Yeah Vern, who knew that Sushi Girl (a movie I think most of us have probably never even heard of) might possibly end up on the “Most Commented On” list?

    Here’s a piece in defense of McFarlane from The Advocate. I agree with alot of their points, including the defense of the boob song.


    I don’t know, it kind of reminds me of how people have said if Larry the Cable Guy and Sarah Silverman told the same offensive joke, Larry would be criticized for being hateful or racist while Silverman would have been praised for deconstructing the joke or for making us question what it means, etc… I’m no big fan of McFarlane but I actually think that’s what he was trying to do, with obviously mixed results.

  106. M. Casey, “Let’s be nice” is exactly what I’m going for. Being the change I want to see in the world and all. I believe that was Gandhi’s way of saying “What does it take to change the essence of a man?”

    Neal2Zod, I never heard of that poll you mentioned but it’s it’s exactly the type of culture I have a problem with. The thing is, they can only sell that if enough people are buying it, so the way I see it the problem is all the hateful people who want to buy into this critical culture. Perhaps it’s a weird thing to say from a professional film critic on a film critic website, but one thing I strive for, and I think Vern achieves tremendously, is evaluating without necessarily criticizing. It’s striving for excellence, and it is necessary to learn lessons when excellence is not met, but that “ha ha, I got you” approach is pretty transparent. I think Vern’s HOWARD THE DUCK review is a masterpiece of a negative review that’s never once mean.

    So appreciating beauty? I guess it comes down to judging a situation appropriately. If I know someone well and we have a relationship or friendship, then the one compliment I give them may be appropriate in the large context of our relationship and all the other non physical ways we interact. Maybe even if a celebrity I meet is looking particularly fetching, it’s appropriate to tell her so because she did get dressed up just for that occasion to be seen, photographed and written about. In a friendly way, not a sleazy way.

    One question is, what’s the response to those horrible haters, things like that sleazy poll Neal mentions? I mean, if someone’s talking shit about Lena Dunham, do I say something nice to counteract and be positive? Or is that just engaging in it? It seems ignoring it completely doesn’t do enough to right the balance.

    I did think the Sushi Girl was lovely and I appreciated her willingness to share said beauty in such a context. Hamill was entertaining. Nice to see him give his all to a live-action character.

  107. I don’t know, I still think that calling that Oscar boob song a piece of satire, that tried to deconstruct sexism, is a little bit like using the Michael Richards defense. (“I called them by the n-word, because I was making fun of racism!”) On the other hand I don’t think that MacFarlane hates women or tried to degrade them. It was more a thoughtless try to be edgy.

    (Oh, and the audience didn’t groan because they like Mel Gibson, the groaned because you were at least two years too late with your joke!)

  108. Chopper Sullivan

    March 3rd, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I didn’t take it as “You’re hoes for showing your boobs” as much as just a childish “Hehe, boobies.” I thought was that it was meant to be silly and stupid, not mean spirited or edgy. Either way it didn’t really work.

    I wasn’t a fan of MacFarlane, because he did try some stupid attempts to roast the crowd like Ricky Gervais did at the Golden Globes. I give it a pass though because it’s truly a thankless job. You can’t really be funny for fear of offending people and the fact that the show isn’t about you. It’s why Billy Crystal doing his cornball schtick works better because he’s safe and charming rather than actually funny.

  109. It always seems suspect to me when guys complain “Hey, can’t I just COMPLIMENT a woman any more?” Unless it’s a special occasion and it’s clear that she’s gone to a special effort, complimenting a woman on her appearance is purely self-serving and just serves to remind her that yet another person is judging her on her appearance. If you really want to compliment someone, maybe you should dig a little deeper.

    If MacFarlane was trying to make a larger satirical point with his boobs song then he did a lousy job of it. It’s not like he indulges in offensive, regressive behaviour so he can point out the hypocrisies and contradictions in it. Most of the just says offensive things and it’s supposed to be funny because he doesn’t REALLY mean it.

  110. Here’s something that really breaks my heart: Perfectly lovely women saying they accept that they’re not the conventional type of beauty, as if the healthy way of coping is just to learn to live with not being beautiful. I don’t even want to name check the famous women who have said it because I don’t want to judge them on appearance, but wouldn’t the empowering way to look at it be: “I own my beauty.” If someone else doesn’t share in that appreciation, that’s a shame they’re missing out.

    Fair point, CrustaceanHate. I’m very concerned about it. I just feel so icky whenever my male friends, or female really, start talking about who’s hot, even the positive stuff feels judgmental and objectifying. I’m just not totally sold on keeping mum though. Maybe I just feel like I have to be proactive, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

  111. And again, why is our society suddenly so scared of complimenting others on their looks? It’s apparently creepy and self serving when I say something like that about women and I have to add “No homo”* when I say something like that about another guy.

    Face it. EVERYBODY judges each other by their appereance, if you like it or not. I don’t condone endless articles about how a red carpet dress made some celebrity “look fat” either, but acknowleding someone elses beauty is actually pretty normal and not something that we shouldn’t be ashamed of. What do you wanna do? Tell everybody to only wear dirty T-Shirts and baggy sweatpants from now on and pour acid over pretty people’s faces, to prevent that their beauty gets exploited by self serving perverts who might like what they see and start saying things like: “That’s a good looking person” in public?

    *Which I don’t do. I don’t give a fuck if people think I’m gay.

  112. In the context of film reviews, I think there’s a place for acknowledging an actor or actress’ looks in a respectful way. There are lots of movies whose success hinges to a certain degree on the attractiveness of one or more of its characters. For example, nine out of ten Drew Barrymore movies simply don’t work if you aren’t predisposed to think that Ms. Barrymore is adorable, so a good reviewer would acknowledge that in a way that wasn’t insulting but managed to be more or a “Your mileage may vary” kind of thing. Movies have always been about good-looking people. It’s part of their appeal. Not being able to acknowledge the physical presence of a performer in a medium that’s largely based on it seems to rob a reviewer of a valid criterion for discussion. Also, let’s be frank: Most actors or actresses wouldn’t have chosen that line of work in the first place if they didn’t already know they were attractive. It’s not cool to reduce an individual to the sum of their outward appearance, but it would be a big elephant in the room not to bring up how their appearance affects a movie when appropriate.

    But don’t bring your dick into it. Ever. Your dick is not a film critic. Your dick has nothing interesting to add to the discussion.

    Rule of thumb: “Such & Such is so pleasing to the eye that she elevated the movie around her” is okay. “She made me want to put parts of me into parts of her” is not okay.

  113. CJ:

    “What do you wanna do? Tell everybody to only wear dirty T-Shirts and baggy sweatpants from now on and pour acid over pretty people’s faces, to prevent that their beauty gets exploited by self serving perverts who might like what they see and start saying things like: “That’s a good looking person” in public?”

    There’s a difference between, like, if my friend and I comment on a woman’s looks privately between the two of us, than if we whistle at her across the street or something. I think maybe the issue with movie reviews and comments sections is that they’re a form of public discourse and whatever rules of decorum we would apply on the street, we might apply here. Everybody could heard what Amazing Larry said :).

    But your post is interesting and reminds me of that Vonnegut short story where all the smart people have to hear jarringly loud noises played at irregular intervals to keep them distracted, so that everybody is the same level of intelligence.

  114. Yes, I agree, acting like a sitcom construction worker in public is awful, but still, I don’t think we should be ashamed for acknowleding someone elses beauty in a tasteful manner. I’m all for focusing on talent first, but nobody should be labelled as a pervert for writing one or two sentences about how nice Jennifer Lawrence looks. It’s not about that you say it, but when and most of all HOW you say it! Even in the negative way, a “No, I don’t find her really attractive” is in the right context still nicer than “I wouldn’t want to fuck that ugly pig”, which is an awful thing to say in every context. (And I remember that we had several civilized “What’s the deal about Megan Fox” discussions on here before.)

  115. On the other hand, why is it so important that we be able to make value judgments about other people’s physical appearance (even if it’s a “tasteful” positive judgment)? What good is it adding to your social life or to the society/culture in general? I’d like to hear a positive reason for accepting such behavior before I agree that it’s a convention we should preserve. Speaking from personal experience, I think my urge to make value judgments, positive or negative, about other people’ physical appearance is mostly motivated by an instinct to indulge my own sexual desires through objectification.

    Also, about pornography, I don’t think whether or not certain women choose to engage in it should be the deciding factor re: whether it’s demeaning or exploitative or not. Some black people participated in the slave trade, for instance. The question is what power structure creates and supports it, and what power structure it perpetuates. It’s pretty obviously created and supported by the patriarchy, and mostly serves to perpetuate the male/dominant-female/submissive hierarchy through sexual objectification.

  116. Chopper Sullivan

    March 4th, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    It’s not so much that it’s important to preserve, Eric, as much as it is being honest. Everybody judges everybody else on their physical appearance all of the time. We shouldn’t completely value someone based on their looks, but to pretend it’s not a part of being human is just lying. And when it comes to entertainment, where beauty is valued that much more, it would be silly to not acknowledge it at all. It’s not simply a matter of female objectification either. We want our leading men to be handsome, our action heroes to be physically fit badasses. Is that any better or worse than admiring the beauty of an actress?

    As for porn, here’s a good quote from pornstar Lorelei Lee:

    “Well, I’ve had very few experiences on porn sets that I would classify as “degrading.” I’ve had infinitely more degrading experiences as a waitress or a barista in a chain coffeeshop than I’ve ever had on set. That, of course, has everything to do with working conditions and nothing to do with what I’m actually doing as my job.

    I also don’t think you can take imagery out of context and say that it has inherent meaning — any interpretation of an image has to do with the social and cultural context in which it’s viewed. If we lived in a society in which women’s sexuality was celebrated, and was seen as usually proactive rather than usually passive, I don’t think people would jump so quickly to the concepts of exploitation and dehumanization when they thought of female performers.”

  117. And Amazing Larry is just being honest when he says he thinks the discussion of chattel slavery is too one-sided. Why should “just being honest” trump actually being constructive with your words and actions? Again, I’d like to hear a positive justification for objectifying physical appearance and making value judgments about it before I condone it.

    And yes, objectifying women is worse than objectifying leading men and action stars, because men are in the dominant position of the gender hierarchy and women are not. They may seem like similar actions, but objectifying women reinforces a fucked up power structure in a way that objectifying men does not. That said, we shouldn’t objectify anyone.

    Similarly, I think that quote is really missing the point. I’m not talking about whether or not particular porn stars feel degraded during their porn shoots. I’m talking about the power structures that create and are perpetuated by porn. (And I’ll gladly expand the discussion to include the power structures that create and are perpetuated by capitalism and lead to workers being degraded in many professional situations.) Thus, I think Ms. Lee is horribly misreading the social and cultural context in which porn is viewed. The objectification of female sexuality serves a male-dominated power structure. Whether its objectified as proactive or passive, it’s still feeding the same power structure.

  118. The vast majority of porn sexually objectifies women and has a misogynistic streak a mile wide, and I don’t how you could claim otherwise. I’m sure a lot of the big-name performers are well compensated and don’t feel exploited (as opposed to the silent majority who are chewed up and spat out) but they are still supporting an industry that demeans women. I’m not saying it should be banned and I’m not saying I don’t consume it sometimes, but we should at least be honest about what kind of an itch it is scratching.

  119. Chopper Sullivan

    March 4th, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Well, Larry was being a dick. We all understand there is a difference between being honest tactfully and being an asshole, and simply because there are people who are willing to share their asshole opinions doesn’t mean that we have to lie and pretend we don’t judge or value people based on their physical appearance. It’s not a matter of proving a positive justification to you, it’s simply a fact of life.

    I don’t really know what feeding a power structure means. Do you think porn really has some direct consequences for women in society, that they’re substantially worse off because of it? It’d be a hard point to argue I think, especially since I don’t think porn is any better or worse than any other entertainment industry when it comes to exploitation.

  120. How is being pretty any different than being born with any other kind of genetic advantage? How is giving props to someone for being intelligent any less shallow than commenting on someone’s physical appearance? Why have I never heard Tiger Woods complain that he’s more than just a backswing?

    Pretty people don’t have it too bad, in my opinion. They’re probably the last minority in the world that needs anyone standing up for them.

  121. This comments thread encapsulates why I love this web sight. What a classy place [not sarcasm].

  122. Yes, porn has direct consequences for women in society. Particularly memorable was a conversation I had with a female friend in college (eight years ago or so) where she sadly lamented “when guys want to do things they saw in porn.” I had seen very, very little pornography at the time and had no idea what she was talking about. I asked her, but she didn’t want to go into detail. It was only years later that I realized that she was apparently having experiences where guys wanted to cum on her face because they saw it in porn.

    But that’s just the most obvious stuff. I think the real problem is far more subtle. Sexual objectification is at the core of the patriarchy, and every time you feed that urge the patriarchy grows stronger. The more you look at sexually objectifying material the more likely you are to sexually objectify women in your daily life. I’d be surprised if this weren’t true for a vast majority of men.

    Chopper, you are assuming that making value judgments about people’s physical appearance is not an asshole thing to do. I am not willing to make that assumption, so I’m asking for some reason to believe it. No one’s asking you to lie. But you’d be surprised at how much better you can be if you refuse to indulge some of your less productive desires, no matter how honest they are. Works for watching pornography and objectifying females.

    Being pretty is not particularly different than a lot of other useful genetic traits. But I assume you’d agree that it would be pretty fucked up if I went around complimenting people for being able to hear or walk or see. Because it’s just the inverse of saying that people who are deaf or paralyzed or blind are somehow deficient. The intelligent/stupid dichotomy is not the same because it isn’t inherent in an oppressive power structure (debatable, I guess, but that’s my position at the moment). The attractive/unattractive one is. And the issue isn’t whether attractive people are oppressed; it’s whether the objectification of physical appearance plays a role in the oppression of females generally, which it obviously does.

  123. While I fall largely in step with Eric’s philosophy, I think there’s a legitimate point to be made that movies are somewhat inherently about heightened realities…people are prettier, or in Aaron Sorkin films they are smarter, etc. Whether or not it’s amiss to dwell on the prettiness, it’s certainly NOT off-topic to do so. Is it crucial that, every time we talk about a movie, we attempt to deconstruct the rudiments of what it is about films that attract us in the first place?

    Maybe it is. Retired net film critic Alex Jackson used to write about each film more or less as if it was the first film he’d ever seen. (he had a site called I Viddied It On The Screen but it’s unfortunately not up anymore). It was kind of mind blowing how a discussion on a film can unfold if you don’t take ANYTHING for granted, but it has it’s (probably obvious) drawbacks too.

  124. Eric– What exactly do you mean when you say “making value judgments about people’s physical appearance”? I’m not sure what a value judgment is.

  125. I’m reminded of this video cracked made to address some of their own commenters:

  126. Guys, if this thread is about trying to get me to apologize for my SOCIAL NETWORK review where I wrote “hubba hubba in my opinion, Thriller was not the only masterpiece Quincy Jones produced” may I say in my defense that I already apologized in brackets as soon as I wrote it. And if it’s about my “love letter to Mystique” X-MEN PART 2 review then that I will NOT apologize for.

  127. You have “hubba hubba”‘d Scarlett Johansson several times on this site. When will you stop harrassing poor Ms Johansson with your relentless hubba-hubba-ing?

  128. A value judgment is just a subjective assessment of worth – a judgment about value. So value judgments about physical appearance would be subjective assessments of the goodness or badness of a person’s physical appearance.

  129. Jeez, it’s like I’m suddenly back in my Women’s Studies classes in college. That’s not a complaint, I paid a lot of money to listen to those discussions, I just never thought I would get them for free from a website primarily devoted to action movies. This place constantly reminds me why I haven’t given up on human civilization yet.

  130. You know I’m pretty sure “you’d be surprised at how much better you can be if you refuse to indulge some of your less productive desires, no matter how honest they are.” was a line in Orwell’s 1984…

  131. Eric— isn’t that the whole point of physical attractiveness in the first place? I mean, what do you think it’s for?

  132. renfield, I’d hesitate to agree that movies are inherently about heightened reality. The purpose of any commercial product is to sell itself, and an artificial reality is far easier to sell, but are movies inherently commercial or inherently art? If it’s the former, is that a good thing? I think those are very important questions, and if asking them amounts to deconstructing what attracts us to movies in the first place, so be it.

  133. Why is it wrong to think somebody is ugly?

  134. It’s true we all have judgmental tedencies as human beings. That’s why so much of philosophy encourages us to stop judging. It’s not for the sake of the people we’re judging. It’s for our sake. Judging hurts. It feels bad.

    Obviously it’s an idealized goal to be completely without judgement. No one can or should be that extreme, but I think it’s a good idea to consider what kind of person it makes us to indulge those thoughts. That’s why I take it to heart when CrustaceanHate suggests I’m only complimenting women to make myself feel better. That’s probably what I’m struggling with. How does even my positive judgement help that person in any way? It’s just the opposite extreme of the same system. Judgement is a complicated process we’d do well to understand before we indulge in it.

    Judgement is an important tool we have to evaluate situations and make good decisions. Even as far as judging movies and art forms or products to provide an informed evaluation that’s useful to people. I think that may be why so many teachers advise us not to judge each other. We have a powerful tool here, that must be used for good. Turning this power of judgment on our fellow human beings is using it wrong. For our fellow human beings we should try to support and understand. Judging is for things.

    I don’t know, I hope that makes it sound less Orwellian and more like Gandhi. He was a smart guy.

  135. Franchise Fred: Except for that whole thing about Gandhi believing that Indian women who were raped had lost their value as human beings etc.

  136. That wasn’t a very swass thing to bring up, Mixalot.

  137. Chopper Sullivan

    March 5th, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Eric- Objectification is biological and unavoidable. While I value a number of traits in finding a woman attractive, it’s not going to be a woman’s charitable work or academic achievement I’m thinking of when indulging in a sexual fantasy. That’s a natural function of being a straight human male, and no amount of intellectualizing is going to change that. Unless you think I should stop jerking off altogether.

    If I see a person on the street, I’m going to make a judgment on their appearance. It’s unavoidable. How I choose to process that information or present it to other people will determine whether or not I am an asshole. I would also argue that not every judgment on a woman’s appearance is going to be sexual. If I say a woman has beautiful eyes, it may mean exactly that, and not secret code for “I want to fuck her.” Acknowledging aesthetic beauty is going to be a part of our experience in looking at entertainment, and it seems silly to me to exclude people from those determinations.

  138. Chopper, yeah, it’s unavoidable, but like Fred is saying, the choice is whether we indulge it or not. I may not be able to avoid being attracted to a certain girl, but I can certainly choose whether or not to masturbate while thinking about her later. And I can likewise choose whether I need to share my opinion with her or with the whole internet. And please bear in mind that I’m not even necessarily saying we shouldn’t do those things. I’m just asking what positive reason there is for us to do it, and NO ONE CAN ANSWER THAT QUESTION! Seems like that’s significant.

    I’m willing to accept that telling a woman she has beautiful eyes isn’t necessarily sexual, but what I’m trying to get everyone to think about is the effect this has. Our decisions about these things shouldn’t be based only on our motivations and desires; we should also try to be conscientious about the effects our actions are having on others. Does the woman you’re complimenting know that you’re not making a sexual advance? Isn’t that more important than whether you actually are or not? And even if she does know, aren’t you still objectifying her in a way that may subtly re-inforce the idea that she is an object that is judged on her appearance? Do you really have a good reason for taking that risk?

  139. I think what Chopper is saying is that your question is completely irrelevant- biology is what it is, we’re kinda stuck with it and denying what comes naturally is not a healthy thing to do. Sexuality is always gonna be expressed one way or another and repressing it leads to weird shit that we as a society could do without. Also, I think you should give women a little more credit – they’ve learned to handle men making lame sexual advances pretty well over the last few thousand years. They are the worlds leading authority.

  140. Man, now I can’t even look up to Gandhi? Sigh, Mother Teresa was against judging too, wasn’t she? Can I go with that?

  141. Is that sarcasm Fred?

  142. Fred, I hate to break it to you, but Mother Teresa was a fascist in her youth. So I guess she was pretty judgemental.

  143. So you’re telling me Mother Teresa was no Mother Teresa?

  144. The original Paul

    March 5th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I have never yet felt the urge to ask a woman if I could “cum on her face”. Evidently I’m not watching the right movies.

    And sorry if I’m unsympathetic here, Eric, but if a girl doesn’t want to do what a guy wants to do then she can refuse, or she can find a different guy. I don’t dispute the argument that pornography has become more widespread and therefore more influential on what people do with one another. But it seems to me that some people stretch a study that’s fairly limited in its scope in order to make a few broad, over-arching points that are totally unjustified. Firstly that men are collectively a group of dick-led morons who can’t tell fantasy, acting and idealisation from reality. Secondly that women are weak-willed creatures whose lot in life is to have unsatisfying sex with the right man of the time, because that’s what women do. That’s really what’s being suggested here, isn’t it? I can’t say it’s complimentary to either sex, to put it mildly. In fact it’s downright obnoxious.

    Crustacean – “The vast majority of porn sexually objectifies women and has a misogynistic streak a mile wide, and I don’t how you could claim otherwise. I’m sure a lot of the big-name performers are well compensated and don’t feel exploited (as opposed to the silent majority who are chewed up and spat out) but they are still supporting an industry that demeans women.”

    I wouldn’t know about “the vast majority” of porn. And I certainly wouldn’t argue with you on the subject of child pornography or hidden camera stuff, for example, where the participants are innocent and the objectification of their bodies becomes a matter of exploitation.

    But here’s my problem with that argument (even assuming the facts regarding the “silent majority”, etc, are correct, which would be pure assumption on my part because I have no idea where you got that data from.) You know who I mostly hear calling for “bans” on Internet pornography, etc? MEN. More specifically, men with their own moral or religious agenda. Again going on pure subjective experience here, but if you look at female commentators on the Internet, say, who bring up the subject of pornography – most of them are in favour of it! The exception is the American religious right, but women are a minority within that group.

    What I’m saying is, it’s Eric’s idea of patriarchy, flipped on its head. There are guys with their own moral agendas who want to ban pornography – and other sexualised form of art – for reasons that, at their most basic, are a desire to control those “threatening” women. And THAT’S degrading.

    I also, like Mode 7, think that by talking about the dangers of “objectifying” women, you risk reducing women to objects yourself. Women aren’t passive creatures who are at the mercy of the desires of horny men. They have their own wills and desires. They can do what they want with their bodies, and the first step to not “objectifying” them is to recognise that fact.

  145. Yeah, but what’s the consensus on Mississippi Guard Dog style? Patriarchal or no?

  146. Fred: Sorry if I made you feel bad, but really I just want people to consider the feelings of the person they’re talking to. Is complimenting someone’s appearance going to make them feel better or is it just going to make them feel awkward and uncomfortable? Is it presented within an appropriate context or is it just reinforcing the notion that appearance is the most important quality they have to offer? I’ve got an infant daughter so I’ve been thinking about these questions a lot lately. When I dress her in an outfit my instinct is to tell her she’s a “pretty girl” or whatever, but then aren’t I just implanting the idea that “pretty” is something incredibly important? I don’t know. It’s tough.

    Paul: I don’t know why you’re talking about banning porn because I specifically said that isn’t what I wanted, but I suspect it’s men calling for it because they are the ones with the power to do so. I’m not even “against” porn, I just feel like it’s dishonest to say that it isn’t largely objectifying and misogynistic. It’s like vigilante movies or slasher movies or propagandistic Chinese kung fu movies. We can find enjoyment in them even if they push our buttons in an unhealthy way or express values that we find abhorrent, but we should also recognise that the unhealthy stuff is in there.

    Majestyk: Depends if she is the pitcher or the catcher.

  147. If porn is inherently objectifying, then it is inherently objectifying to both parties. And, given that mainstream porn most often relegates the male performer to the position of a disembodied phallus, it would be logical to conclude that porn is actually more objectifying of the male performer than the female.

    Frankly, I think there is little difference between a porn star and an athlete working in a violent sport. Is a porn shoot really more damaging than a UFC fight? I certainly don’t think so.

    The vast majority of anti-porn rhetoric (whether it be banning-centric or simply anti-usage) actually comes from a very patriarchal space and is predicated more on ideas of “proper” femininity and the desire to control women’s sexual expressions than it is on protecting anyone from anything.

    No act is inherently empowering, nor inherently demeaning. Almost every major anti-porn argument can be totally dismantled by the simple existence of gay porn. The films’ contents are largely identical whether gay or straight but gay porn totally throws out the seemingly obvious power dynamics.

  148. Do you think that the BEST SHIRTLESS PERFORMANCE category at the MTV Movie Awards this year will cause ANY kind of sexism discussion? All nominees are male (and one is an animated teddy bear), so I guess it will be shrugged off as light hearted fun instead of sexual exploitation of male actors.

  149. Also, who the fuck likes Revolutionary Road? That film is almost like an Andy Kaufman style joke. If you had released it with the title, “OSCAR MOVIE!” in big red type, I might have believed it was a straight-faced satire of self-important faux-art films. Beautifully shot, but it’s basically just emotional pornography. And, it’s depiction of female sexuality is… questionable at best.

    That said, the woman who played ‘the other woman’ was totally hubba-hubba in an interesting and unexpected way.

  150. The original Paul

    March 6th, 2013 at 5:01 am

    “Yeah, but what’s the consensus on Mississippi Guard Dog style? Patriarchal or no?”

    If I google this, I’m gonna end up regretting it, aren’t I? It’s gonna be “blue waffle” or “Cleveland steamer” all over again. Fuck that shit.

  151. CJ – Yeah I’m glad someone decided to open that whole can of worms by bringing up the double standard of grown women hooting and hollering at Magic Mike or screaming in the theater to an underage(!) Taylor Lautner in New Moon. Sure, this behavior would never be tolerated by guys (can you imagine if screenings of Showgirls were full of hollering guys?) but whatever, every situation ever brings up a “but wait, now you’re being a hypocrite!” situation. Which is why I guess this is why my official stance is pro equal-opportunity hubba hubbaing.

    Speaking of which, yes Tawdry – Zoe Kazan in Revolutionary Road is very appealing. She actually looks very different in that film than she does in everything else, but she’s beautiful in that warm Zooey Deschanel way.

  152. I’m pretty sure Mr M is referring to an informative diagram Vern posted on the old geocities sight.

  153. He Lovingly rendered it in MS Paint if I remember correctly. It was pretty funny.

  154. That’s it, Mode. I can’t find what review or Vern Tell’s It Like It Is it was in, but it was basically a statement of intent, laying out the kind of hardcore content you’d have to be cool with if you planned on continuing to read the sight. It reminded me of the intro to Ice-T’s underrated HOME INVASION album:


    It’s incredible to think that this place went from crude drawings of Mississippi Guard Dog Style (which looked like way more trouble than it was worth) to a place where a frank discussion of the objectifying/empowering qualities of pornography could happen.

  155. Neal2zod it’s not a double standard at all. A marginalized group expressing itself in a vocal manner like that is empowering. It’s why black comics can tell white jokes but white comics probably shouldn’t tell black jokes. There are larger social structures to consider. Jokes can be aimed upward but not downward. And vocal expressions of female sexuality and liberty are rebellious whereas men doing a similar action are just reaffirming privilege.

  156. “That wasn’t a very swass thing to bring up, Mixalot.” Vern, you kill me. I almost did a spit take.

    I can only speak for myself but as a man I find it hard not to objectify women. If I see an attractive woman my natural instinct is to objectify her and view her in a sexual way. However, I am conscience of my thoughts and more primal instincts and aware of how damaging or hurtful they can be. Part of what makes porn so dangerous is that for the most part it presents the performers as less than human interchangeable props that are there purely to provide physical stimulation. The objectification of porn actors combined with our own human basic instincts can create a dangerously misleading idea of sex and physical relationships that is void of any real care or human companionship. It also feeds into man’s more primal instincts to treat woman less as people and more as objects there to serve our desires.

    Tawdry, porn is more objectifying to women because it is predominantly made by straight men for straight men. I am sure gay male porn objectifies men in the same way straight porn objectifies women, but for the most part it is an industry that is built on the objectification of women and our culture’s desire to see women objectified.

  157. caruso_stalker217

    March 6th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I happen to love REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. One of my favorite comedies of the last decade.

    I’m serious.

  158. I agree with Tawdry on that. When I write a “hubba hubba” I think of it as being in the spirit of women writers occasionally mentioning their special feelings for Michael Fassbender or George Clooney or somebody, which can be done without seeming shallow or intrusive. But when I think about it I know that it’s not exactly equivalent, because our situation isn’t really the same. If women hoot and holler at Magic Mike it’s a rare occasion. We don’t usually have to worry that a co-worker or boss might do that to us at work or that random strangers will do it on the bus or sidewalk. In fact that would be unusual enough that it would probly be appreciated. So it’s not the same thing.

  159. I actually quote the Rashida Jones ‘hubba hubba’ line a lot because I think it’s sweet and appropriately subdued. Also, it’s funny and I agree with the sentinment.

    I think the only way to settle this is to get Rashida Jones’ opinion on it. Someone needs to ask her in an interview.

  160. The original Paul

    March 6th, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Charles – you do understand that the vast majority of pornography is fiction, correct?

    Then why not give the majority of pornography viewers (and I say that as someone whose use of pornography is probably way, way below what’s considered “normal”) the same amount of credit?

    I don’t think that I’m in a computer simulation because I’ve watched “The Matrix”. I don’t think it’s ok to shoot people with machine guns because I’ve played FPSs.

    So why would you think that I or anybody else wouldn’t understand that pornography is fantasy, nothing more?

  161. Jones totally flirted with me when I interviewed her.

  162. Would you care to share any reputable, scientific, peer reviewed studies that shows in an actual causal fashion that pornography is, “dangerous?” Because, I took several courses from a MacArthur genius grant winner on pornography as a film genre. And I assure you, such a study does not exist.

  163. The problem with your premise, Charles (other than the fact that it is not based on any verifiable data) is that it only works if we accept that being penetrated is demeaning. And that all men watching porn identify with the ‘top’. I haven’t asked any of my gay friends about this, but I’m sure that a good number of them probably identify with the ‘bottom’. And a good number of them probably get off on watching rough sex while fantasizing about being said, ‘bottom.’ Plus, being objectified isn’t always bad. Nor is rough sex. Nor is bdsm. Nor any other act (save for real hidden camera stuff and/or child pornography, which don’t even belong in this discussion any more than dorner belongs in a discussion of political protest).

    Your arguement is fundamentally prudish and patiarchal. The women in (modern, American professional-grade) porn CHOOSE to be there. Why can’t you accept their decisions as adults? You’re not concerned with the men, nor anyone in the gay industry because you’re rationalizing your infantization of women.

    You aren’t accounting for any data that doesn’t fit your conclusion. You’re totally ignoring fem-Dom, pegging, women-centric porn, queer porn, softcore porn, solo scenes, Henti and hundreds of other subgenres. Also, you’re ignoring the complexities of sub/Dom relationships and the trust and love necessary to read a partner’s limits while staying in character.

    Have you ever watched porn with your pants on? Basic film analysis demonstrates that the predominant form of pornography (pov gonzo films) is more objectifying of the male performers because they are made to be literally disembodied penises. Period.

    And while the type of Penies seen in porn might make one feel inadequate, I don’t see how that is fundamentally different from any other form of commercial narrative media. So, unless you’re saying that all commercial narrative media is harmful and ‘dangerous’ you really have no ground to stand on.

  164. Oh, and please define ‘straight’ because that term is very vague. It’s totally normal for men to hold hands in the Middle East, but the overwhelming majority of ‘straight’ men in America (myself included) would never do that. Most of Shakespeare’s sonnets were written to a man as private letters. The Greeks had lotsa gay sex without it meaning anything larger.

    So, which type of ‘straight’ do you mean? Any reading of history or modern culture will give you many different options.

  165. Chopper Sullivan

    March 6th, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I didn’t take a class from some guy with a whatever, but I did see the episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit where they showed a study that said the states with the most internet access per capita were the states with the least amount of sexual assault cases, and the states with the least access had the most cases. That’s not to suggest porn is valuable in pacifying sex crimes, but it seems that if porn is so dangerous, wouldn’t their be in increase in sex crimes in the states where internet porn is readily available?

    And is wanting to do something someone sees in porn, like Eric’s example of a guy wanting to cum on a girl’s face, inherently a bad thing? Isn’t that what sex is, exploring fantasies? If the guy just pulls out and does it he’s an asshole, but if it’s something the woman is willing to participate in, what’s the problem? A little degradation can be part of a healthy sex life, for both partners.

    I know there’s some sick shit out there, stuff that turns me off, and I realize mainstream porn is to real sex what the WWE is to amateur wrestling, but by painting all of porn as inherently hateful and dangerous you come close to suggesting sexual desires and fantasies are inherently hateful and dangerous as well.

  166. The Original... Paul

    March 6th, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Thank you Chopper and Tawdry. Very well put, both of you.

  167. The Original... Paul

    March 6th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    And the hilarious conclusion I come to is that Tawdry watches WAY more porn than I do. “Pegging”? Dare I even google this?

    Blue waffle, Cleveland steamer, etc… I think I’ll skip it.

  168. The teacher was a woman, actually. The classes were basically (3rd wave) feminist studies, first amendment issues, entertainment business models, gender studies, film theory and a good helping of Foucault.

    Buttman, Tristan toramino and the head of the free speech coalition were some of our guest speakers.

    I don’t actually watch much porn. It’s more that I grew up in chatsworth, which is where they make all the porn. It’s the local industry.

    And uhhh…don’t google pegging. Just read chuck palahuniuk’s short story “guts.”

  169. Tawdry, maybe my using the word “dangerously” was over melodramatic, and I am not as educated as you or as good with words so please be patient with me. To be clear I am not saying porn is evil or will turn you into a rapist, but I am saying it can be harmful and unhealthy. It objectifies all the performers involved (male, female, or transgender), and can be harmful to how the primary consumers of porn who are predominantly men form relationships with the women or men they are physically intimate with.

    Also, I am not saying people should not watch and enjoy porn in moderation, but be aware of how objectifying it is. It is kind of like drugs, it can be fun but it can also be unhealthy and there are risks involved.

  170. Fair points all. Porn addiction is real. But I think that any behavior can become an unhealthy ritual. Also, I’m not that educated because it’s stupid that I’m an expert on this topic.

  171. Tawdry – did she mention me at all?

  172. “Henti”

    haha, you spelled that wrong, it’s hentai

    ….what? don’t look at me like that…

  173. Maybe I’m a little skewed in my views on porn, the same way I’m skewed about, say, the Tea Party. I’m assured that there are a number of perfectly reasonable Tea Partiers who simply have good old Jeffersonian views on state vs fed etc. Nonetheless, when I hear about shit from the Tea Party it’s usually from my liberal friends who are like “Dude listen to this fucked up rant by this Tea Partier.”

    Stuff like BangBros have came up in enough different social environments for me to assume that this is the sort of pornography that American males are by and large consuming (with the caveat that it might be Tea Party syndrome at work, as mentioned above). If that’s the case, I’m baffled by this notion of “If pornography is degrading to women, it means that you think sex itself is degrading to women.” PORN thinks that sex is degrading to women. Women get paid more to do anal or have sex with black guys because it’s supposedly dirtier, sluttier, more degrading for them to do it. (!!! oh and did I mention that I also think racism is alive and kicking in the porn industry as well? full circle).

    Does this mean that people who watch this stuff are having their minds poisoned and going out and become rapists? Nah I don’t think so. I’ve never been a blame-video-games type of guy and I think that it’s basically the same argument. A very brief google search yielded this reasonable-sounding article: http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/19/mind-reading-the-researchers-who-analyzed-all-the-porn-on-the-internet/

    But what concerns me more is the behind the scenes stuff. If women are marginalized in the working world at large, if sexual harassment is a concern in the workplace in general, how could you not think that working in a sex industry would make these issues MORE of a problem? Tawdry is obviously not talking to the same porn stars and strippers and prostitutes that I am, because the stories I hear fucking suck.

  174. I might as well throw my hat into the porn ring

    a lot of porn I find totally disgusting, but that’s just a matter of taste

    I’ll tell you what I like, there’s a website called “I feel myself” which is simply videos of women masturbating, sometimes with the help of other women, but in a tasteful way, there’s nothing fake about it or degrading, it’s just female sexuality in it’s purest form and it’s some of the hottest stuff I’ve ever seen, there’s something pure and even innocent about it (provided you don’t find sexuality to be inherently immoral, which I don’t)

    and I’ve also seen a few videos that are just real couples having real sex and it’s also hot, to me the whole point of pornography is to see something truly real, what a female orgasm is REALLY like, what a couple having sex is REALLY like, I just don’t get the point of porn that’s not 100% real, if I wanted fantasy I would look for something else

    but then you have all this other porn, you know the type, that is all about fitting as many dicks as they can in a woman and God knows what and you have to ask yourself, what kind of person finds that hot? what I find hot are women truly enjoying themselves

    what I’m trying to say is that you seek out the kind of porn that turns you on, if it doesn’t fit your tastes then you don’t watch it, porn doesn’t “create” kinks in people, it just feeds the kinks they already have, so if you watch degrading porn then you already have a problem with women, porn didn’t create that in you, it’s just feeding something that was already there

  175. Actually, girls are paid more for anal sex because it’s more taxing on the body, so most performers do it less often. And what is wrong with anal? If anal sex is degrading, then it’s degrading in gay porn too. And gay porn is often very rough. And yet both tops and bottoms watch the stuff. So, why is it demeaning? It can be demeaning, if coercion is involved, but it can also be part of about 30% of heterosexual couples sex lives.

    And a girl will get a pay bump for her first interracial (multicultural?) scene. But she also gets a bonus for her first anal scene. Or threesome. Or just first scene in general. There’s an added marketing element, so it’s just business to negotiate it. Same as an Oscar winner signing up for an action movie the next week. But for the record, women who do multicultural scenes often get their quote slashed because audiences are fucked up and pornography is one of the few places where any concern for political correctness falls away. Thus, it reflects deep undercurrents in culture.

    And other than the kicking girls out of the van, their brand is pretty vanilla. I’d also argue that the “punchline” is more an element of extending the fantasy because it breaks an unexpected boundary and the hyper spoofy fratboy antics probably appeal to men in their early to mid 30s who miss their undergrad days and want to vicariously relive them. Every episode is basically a porno video version of, “dude you remember that one time when…” But here, the big fish story is made manifest, which plays on nostalgia and encourages emotional affinity with the brand.

    I never said anything about porn meaning you think sex is degrading. I said, if you think that porn is only degrading to women (if it is degrading at all) then you are infantilizing women and reinforcing bougie sexual mores that only apply to women. What do we call that double standard? Sexism.

    And though you are joking, yes, I do count adult film stars, strippers and even a former prostitute who graduated cume laude and then spent a few years going on lavish vacations and staying in Central Park west pent houses. Now she has 80k in the bank and is working on her art.) the porn producers own a house down the street from my childhood home, are friendly with my parents and have been married for 30 years. And the stripper, I knew from poetry workshops. She’s talented.

    Are these stories typical? No. But you know what makes sex work a place for the marginalized? Marginalizing sex workers. Imagine what porn stars could do if they unionized and made a sag type deal? Attitudes like yours create the very problem you protest.

  176. “And what is wrong with anal? If anal sex is degrading, then it’s degrading in gay porn too. And gay porn is often very rough. And yet both tops and bottoms watch the stuff. So, why is it demeaning?”

    That’s exactly my point. It’s NOT demeaning, in and of itself, but the marketing and culture surrounding pornography portrays it as being degrading. BangBros is considered *vanilla* and it certainly revels in a fratboy mentality in which women are thought of as stupid whores. And that’s the vanilla stuff.

    “I said, if you think that porn is only degrading to women (if it is degrading at all) then you are infantilizing women and reinforcing bougie sexual mores that only apply to women.”

    Again, I DON’T think that sex is degrading to women, whether or not you film it. But clearly the culture and marketing surrounding porn is skewed that way. Go to youporn or equivalent site and look at how many videos have the word “bitch” in the title.

    “And though you are joking, yes,”

    Wasn’t joking. You made reference to knowing and interacting with people who work in the sex industry, and I have made similar contacts over the years. They portray the various industries to be a far more unforgiving place than you are proposing.

    “Imagine what porn stars could do if they unionized and made a sag type deal? Attitudes like yours create the very problem you protest.”

    I’m not sure what you are arguing against exactly. I’m aware that in some ways the porn industry self-regulates quite well. HIV testing, for example. In other ways, I think the fact that various sex industries are considered to be on society’s fringe creates a pretty scary environment. You say “if coercion is involved,” and if you think it isn’t, and frequently, you must be talking to different people than me.

  177. I suspect you are arguing against a straw man. “But you know what makes sex work a place for the marginalized? Marginalizing sex workers.” That’s the whole point, they are working in an industry that IS marginalized, that ISN’T afforded the same sort of legal protection a typical workplace is.

  178. This thread has gotten so far away from me.

    Crustacean, you didn’t make me feel bad. I was agreeing with you because I was already coming to those conclusions from experience. I feel better for talking about it here actually.

  179. The Original... Paul

    March 9th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    “I DON’T think that sex is degrading to women, whether or not you film it. But clearly the culture and marketing surrounding porn is skewed that way. Go to youporn or equivalent site and look at how many videos have the word “bitch” in the title.”

    Well that was depressing.

    Don’t think it invalidates my point, but it doesn’t make me feel too kindly to my gender either.

  180. It’s interesting that Lorelai Lee was mentioned above… Vern, maybe this whole discussion will get you to see out “About Cherry,” which Lee, a prolific pornstar, co-wrote.

    It’s a film about a young girl who, with a lack of other career options, decides to go into porn. Given that Lee wrote the film, the surprise is how pro-porn it really is, as “Cherry” decides to work for kink.com, a real-life site that Lee works for regularly, one that promises very extreme fetishes, but emphasizes the control the participants have on the events.

    They own a giant warehouse where they shoot their (sometimes pretty dark) stuff. Cherry seems to lean towards the lesbian and one-on-one stuff more (Lee almost exclusively does bondage and lesbian stuff now), but I found that depiction to be dishonest, and somewhat relevant to this conversation.

    The movie depicts Cherry’s life as a (dead-serious) series of disasters, but they seem to stem from an alcoholic mother (Lily Taylor), a pushover best friend (Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire) and a drug-addict jerk boyfriend (THE FRANCO*). The chief director of the films (Heather Graham) is also going through her own crisis, which is sort of a distraction, but kind of interesting in its own right.

    However, not all porn companies are kink.com (which this film is an EXCELLENT advertisement for). What I found interesting was that not only did this film completely not mention the more extreme, and probably higher money-making scenarios the site depicts (a lot of group-oriented forceful sex with questionable consent), but it doesn’t really go into the non-kink.com world of porn.

    As in, someone like Lee (who has a small role in the film as well) seems like a bright woman with a ton of agency, as she worked in porn while attending creative writing classes at NYU (where she probably met THE FRANCO). So she has apparent career opportunities, she’s smart and defiant and speaks up for herself.

    But, of course, porn IS run almost exclusively by men. So, with the exception of a few women, most porn is a woman in front of a camera held by men on a set run by men, forced to perform for the male gaze. And, of course they can say “no” and end whatever harassment is occurring. But all it takes is saying no one too many times in a few specific instances, and the less-enlightened porn performers and directors start talking, either in online forums or in person. A lot of porn actresses know this, and seem perfectly aware, unfortunately, how easy it is to end up in a compromising position doing something you’re not comfortable with.

    Think about it: some of these women are on the set of a porn with makeup people, light people, and a dude (or dudes) trying to maintain an erection. They say no, and there’s a possibility everything gets shut down. Everyone goes home angry without their pay, the male actor gets a “kill fee” instead of what he’s owed, and everyone resents her, plus it ends her career. How many women do you think entered the porn industry and said “I’m only gonna do this,” or “I’m only gonna do a little bit of that,” before their job conquered their personal and professional lives?

    When it comes to pornography, and the male fanbase, it’s not as simple as consent. Women having an ability to make a choice in those situations have the potential to get seriously burned.

    *Apparently Franco also helped put together a documentary entirely devoted to Kink.com that’s been making the festival rounds. Guy really likes his porn.

  181. Vern’s review is again spot on. SUSHI GIRL is frontrunner for worst film of 2013, yet I actually respect & sorta enjoy the genre of Tarantino rip-offism, which in this case gives us a film so committed to fulfilling that genre’s demands that it almost comes across as decent homage in places.

    Altogether a very unpleasant, very stupid film, though. Hamill is awful. It’s a matter of subjective taste, sure, but I don’t know what you guys are seeing when you say he gives a good performance here. Must be that Joker voice that excites people.

    The wired undercover cop bit is beyond stupid, like a 13 year old boy’s first draft of a DONNIE BRASCO tv series.

    Though filmed well, there is nothing of merit in any of the monologues or extended banter moments. The Andy Mackenzie character makes no sense — one minute he’s sadistically enjoying the torture and telling everyone how much he loves it, the next minute he’s screaming “I hate this fucking game!” and he’s genuinely frustrated.
    And his final beatdown of the torture victim is so illogical & poorly timed, I figure either it’s filmatic-scriptorial incompetence or it’s an example of the movie trying to make you think that that dipshit has something to hide and so must kill the guy before he suddenly talks (but that makes way less sense, b/c they all want him to talk and all gave him ample opportunity to talk, why would the longhaired meanie suddenly decide he has to hush him up?).

    Dame Sushi Girl, though her sheer existence in this movie’s plot & her placement in the compositions & action (not afraid of a stray bullet or of Tony Todd’s penchant for getting rid of loose ends, eh?) is very very stupid (though sort of an interesting twist on narrative conventions, if you don’t think about it too much), is hotness. She’s the only good thing about her movie in my opinion.

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