Girrrrl Power!

One of my friends mentioned the other day that he had seen the movie Rogue One, the latest Star Wars offering. He said he liked it, which I thought surprising. From the commercials, I was under the impression that it was another Girrrrl Power! movie telling us that girls can do anything they set their pretty little heads to, even if the evil white men try to stop them. Put another way, it looks like another movie that has a tiny little female in a role that was traditionally played by a tough guy leading man.

He said it had a lot of that nonsense, but the shoot ’em up stuff and special effects were good enough to let you ignore the preachy garbage. My friend is a movie goer so he has developed the ability to filter out the proselytizing so he can enjoy the entertainment portion of films. Maybe that is a skill you acquire after sitting through a certain quantity of movies or maybe it is a natural personality trait. I know I lack it, which is why I don’t watch many movies. If it is going to be preachy, I’ll just skip it.

There’s also the Star Wars element. For good or ill, the franchise has a become Star Trek for the fake nerd movement. Women who “fucking love science” seem to be big into Star Wars. I liked the movies as a kid, but I was always a Star Trek guy. I also tended toward real science fiction, the stuff you had to read. Even as a kid, Star Wars struck me as a bad western with good special effects set in space. It’s why I only got around to watching the “prequels” earlier this year when they were on free cable.

Star Wars is a good reminder that pop culture is aimed mostly at women and kids, so it is no country for old men. Peddling movies to young people is made easier by the fact they don’t know a lot. They simply have not been alive long enough to notice that this year’s blockbuster is the blockbuster from five years ago, just with different actors and explosions. They don’t know that Big Bang Theory is just Friends, with nerds instead of hot looking Manhattanites. This stuff is all new to them so they eagerly buy it up.

Women are also easy targets for pop culture because women are hard wired to notice what other women are doing. It’s why the fashion industry exists. Most men wear the same styles their whole life. Women change every year. That’s because of biology. Hollywood has figured this out so they put out films with female leads in the newest styles and fashions. Since the New Religion says all girls are really kick-ass ninja warriors, we get lots of films where 90-pound pixie ninjas with adorable haircuts.

The odious John Podhoretz claims that Hollywood figured out that action films would always attract male viewers so they decided to cast females in the lead to bring in the females. Podhoretz is an example of reversion to the mean, his father being an exceptionally smart man, but he may be correct here. This sounds like the sort of thing a corporate studio would do, thinking it is brilliant. Whether it works or not will never be tested because the committee said it was brilliant and the matter is closed. It strikes me as plausible, at least.

No matter the reason, the thing about modern movies is the habit of putting females in roles that should be played by men. Unlike the habit of casting a black guy in the smart guy role, this feminizing of the male lead never works as intended. There are smart black guys in the real world. There are no 90-pound females beating up full sized bad guys using nothing but ninja moves. That’s never happened. It’s never going to happen either. No one comes away thinking it will ever happen, other than the crazies in the cult.

The other day, I watched a movie called Sicario, which is about Mexican drug dealers and the US efforts to catch them. The movie is well done and a good two hours of entertainment. The one problem is they put a tiny little nymph in the lead role. The viewer is supposed to accept that this tiny little girl is not just a member of a tactical team, but recruited to be part of what amounts to an off-the-books Seal Team. Most of her screen time is her brooding and crying over the fact the boys don’t play by the rules.

Of course, the writers, directors and producers of our entertainments have to work within the rules the censors give them. We’re supposed to believe the censors were all sent packing, but they never went away. It’s just that they were replaced with ideological enforcers from the Cult. Instead of a prim faced Christian lady editing the scripts, it is a vinegar drinking lesbian from the Womyn’s Studies Department. The people making a living in Hollywood like their jobs so they play along as that is the path of least resistance.

The result is a paucity of male leads in movies these days. This probably has something to do with the collapse of the male audience for movies. Guys are not all that interested in Girrrlll Power!. Young males are spending their leisure time blowing stuff up and killing people in video games. It’s why the lunatics have been making war on gaming. They will not sleep until the last pale penis person is hunted down and forced to submit to the New Religion. Given the results thus far, it does appear that the effort has failed.

Maybe that means the Girrrrl Power! era is coming to a close. Movie makers need to make money so they may be forced to bring back the normal male leads. Maybe the next big thing in movies will be men who are not sobbing pussies, but old fashioned tough guys doing the hard work of being men. I hope so as I’m getting old and it will not be long before I’m spending my days in the movie theater with the other geezers, before we head to Denny’s for a 4:00 PM dinner.

110 thoughts on “Girrrrl Power!

  1. Funny, as Star Trek (TOS) was pitched as a ‘wagon train to the stars’, but Star Wars gets the Western label. From what I have seen of it (which isn’t much), Star Wars is hardly Sci Fi at all, it’s pure fantasy that just happens to be set in space, which does not automatically qualify it as science fiction IMHO—the story is not centered around the technology’s impact on the characters in-universe (but it has robots and FTL so, I guess that does qualify it enough in most minds). If you replace each instance of ‘The Force’ with ‘magic’ and change ‘Jedi’ to ‘mage’ the story is still the same. At least Trek is a tiiiiiiny bit more hard science fiction, but not by much in some incarnations. I suppose that’s why SF/fantasy is often combined as a genre, the lines are so blurred.

    Anyway, yes. I personally find the whole ‘grrrl power’/’strong female lead’ to be overkill in recent movies, though I am willing to suspend disbelief for a woman beating up a big dude if the setting allows other fantastic concepts. A “real-world” setting (or fantasy setting where real-world laws of the universe apply, except there happens to be wizards/monsters—but otherwise the weakling dude gets trashed by his foe because he is not something special and since he is smaller and weaker and unskilled, he loses; while somehow a female with the same stats as Weakling Dude can win the same battle…)? Not so much (unless we find out she is The Chosen One, then that’s workable).

    The problem too with many of these heroines is that they feel ‘tacked on’ to a story that is about a male character in all ways except nominally, and that forces the audience out of their suspension of disbelief. And no, kids, it isn’t just that the character is ‘defying gender stereotypes’ or ‘acting outside the gender binary’ or whatever. Like it or not, all the characters in a story have to operate within certain rules the author establishes about the setting, and we’re left to fill in the rest (and relate to the characters) by applying what we know of the universe and how we interact in the real world. If your universe has female characters acting as a ‘traditional’ (I prefer the term ‘archetypical’) male lead, an author might say they are purposely going against type to try and *change* the archetypes (or “destroy the patriarchy” or whatever)—that’s fine, fair enough; but any time you work against type, you have to expect your audience will feel dissonance if not given in-universe justification.
    Maybe that works to the story’s advantage, or maybe it goes seamlessly unnoticed, but too often there’s this flashing marquee above the character going “LOOK AT ME! I DON’T FIT SOMEHOW, AND YOU SHOULD LIKE ME AND ACCEPT ME AUTOMATICALLY BECAUSE OF IT! [And you’re a *insert typical sjw accusation here* if you don’t!]” This often makes the difference between the obvious “grrrl pwr” lead—made worse with a preachy message—and a lead who happens to be female and can subvert the tropes without calling attention to it. The breaking of the convention turns into the objective and ruins the story, and everyone is expected to laud whatever it is as ‘groundbreaking’ when it came off as hamfisted social commentary that’s already been done a million times before.

    That’s another issue—the frequency of these types of characters. Maybe it was different the first time, even if the story didn’t work on its own merits, at least it was a novel idea—but 10000 of these characters later, in the same year, and the flaws become all the more obvious.

    And let’s talk about what makes the ones that are successful, because there are many examples—the difference is almost universally the motive behind the story. Often this is the message of the story itself, but sometimes it has nothing to do with it. For example, most people can spot a story that was designed as product placement first and story second. Nowadays obvious instances of this have become rarer than generations past, which means the authors/creators of the property have done a good job in creating an engaging story that has taken on a life of its own. When the motive behind creation is to sell the audience a moral or a particular set of values, it becomes more difficult to separate the motive from the message and the story too often gets clunky, preachy, or just downright annoying when the creators fail. Even on a small scale, it makes audiences roll their eyes because people don’t like being told how they’re supposed to feel about a narrative, much less insulted. If you start off with the idea that you want a story about a character who is part of x group and build from there (especially if the antagonistic forces in the story are all motivated by opposition of the ‘x’ that defines the protagonist), you’re almost certainly going to fail.

    What sounds better to you:
    A story about a teenager who overcomes a Tragic Past and decides to accept the role of hero, learning and practicing the skills needed to counter the evil-ish entity at the end of the quest while simultaneously maturing as a person and forging new bonds over the course of the story, despite having said Tragic Past (that ultimately will require confrontation and healing resolution if the Final Battle is to be won, for extra points).

    A story about a preteen princess who grows up unable to train as a knight in her magicish vaguely medieval land because misogyny, even though she has physical prowess, when her clueless father the king is betrayed by his power-hungry, evil white male advisor, who also has talked down to her in the past btw, what a sexist jerk! He kills all the loyal knights and that leaves only the evil white guys that, in this universe, bear a particular resemblance to Nazis, interestingly enough. They proceed to take over the kingdom and Oppress The People. The princess escaped into hiding and even with all the odds stacked against her, finds a new life as a Knight in a small village where people are Tolerant and Good, and some of them are brown. The smart, athletic Princess– excuse me– Knight, is really good at cutting down men twice her size and standing up for the Oppressed, and, with minimal training and lots of naysayers who feel their privilege challenged, grows into a Knight badass enough to go out questing to take back her kingdom. She reluctantly allows a single guy to tag along, explaining that she does NOT need rescuing, and has to save his butt multiple times in several take-that quippy scenes. Some people might find her abrasive attitude and snarky comments to be offensive, but that’s THEIR problem. She is NO princess, for the 38th time. She reminds you of this for the 39th time while slaying the evil white backstabber, because he belittles her for being one with no one to rescue her, just like he used to do. Oooh, love those callbacks. She has no problems installing a new order of variegated, mostly-female knights. The Token Guy grovels and is allowed to join, despite uselessness in the final battle. There is NO romance, and that point is driven home repeatedly because a Strong Female don’t need no man.

  2. He said it had a lot of that nonsense, but the shoot ’em up stuff and special effects were good enough to let you ignore the preachy garbage.

    That’s why you download it. steal Hollywood blind, don’t give them a penny.

  3. Geez, Z-man. It’s like you were sitting a row in front of me when I saw The Force Awakens. I hated it and swore off what remained of my Star Wars interest (apart from the soundtracks) forever. 80% grrrl power nonsense, 10% sweet nostalgia for a real movie hero, sidekick, and noble steed, and 10% predictable, silly nonsense when he’s killed off in the most ignominious, seen-from-a-mile-away manner anyone could have devised. Ugh!

  4. Hollywood makes movies that will attract worldwide audiences.

    The USA audience has not exceeded the remainder of the world for decades.

    • Well you just provided the answer to the problem. If they did make movies for Americans, then the number would much higher and I bet the ROTW would not change much.

  5. Sicario … very good movie. Woman lead? I forget. I really like Benicio del Toro. And his tough guy act was great, especially when it takes out the family and killer of his family decked out in all black SWAT gear. A thing of beauty as justice was served.

    Yep, I have to agree with you on the Girrrrl Power thang. About the only memorable movie I really enjoyed watching was Kick-Ass with Chloe what’shername. Cute as a button and “kick ass!” Good action, over the top costumes (I guess that fits the tribe that does the dress up thing … forget what it is called).

    But yeah, the women in lead of a bunch of guys got tiring pretty damn quick. Especially when it is a Black woman in a government agency like the FBI or some other alphabet soup group where you know the primary qual’s are skin color to meet someone’s quota for “Attaboy’s”.

    Like you, I won’t even bother if it smells of PC or similar type social engineering. I just want to be entertained and no where in my equation does that mean being lectured to about how the world “should” be. Just give it to me straight, as it was or as it is, or even with Space Wars Treking the Sky, as it might be. Just leave the socialism at home, please. I think Hollywood forgot they are in the entertainment business and not the propaganda business (WWII times excepted).

    • Sicario blew me away with the cinematography. Extremely well done. The cast was very good EXCEPT the lead female role and her black buddy sidekick. That never made sense to me and that plot-line made no sense. Pure SJW crap. It’s a shame because the rest of the movie was excellent. The PC/SJW preachy folks just can’t help infecting movies and screenplays with their bile.

  6. There are a few things you need to know about making your next movie. If you include these, your movie will be a success:

    1) The world uses bullets that when shot at a fleeing car, can only shatter the back window;

    2) All scientists used to wear white coats, but now must wearily take off their glasses and look troubled about what they are doing/thinking;

    3) The smartest people are the black actors, the most evil ones will usually be white;

    4) People can outrun explosions but only if they are the good guy;

    5) All wisdom will come for the mouths of 8-10 year-old children, or at least they ask the questions that adults can never bring themselves to face;

    6) All people — women especially — can jump off very high buildings and land in a squat position (with one hand on the floor, and looking up ready for battle) and never, ever feel it in their knees. Not ever.

  7. “There are no 90-pound females beating up full sized bad guys using nothing but ninja moves.”

    That’s why they call it “fantasy.”

    But if you’d rather look at Vin Diesel, be my guest.

  8. I watched some Star Trek eps when they came out, but realized they were just animating a lesson/message, and gave it up.

  9. (For the record, this is what pops into my head whenever a discussion about the movies happens anywhere: )

    “No matter the reason, the thing about modern movies is the habit of putting females in roles that should be played by men. Unlike the habit of casting a black guy in the smart guy role, this feminizing of the male lead never works as intended.”

    The problem with movies today is that they won’t let you lose yourself in the experience. Somewhere, somehow no matter how much you are willing to turn off your brain and just go with the flow, the movie has to throw something at you that just makes you break out of the spell. (Take Star Trek Into Darkness as an example; putting aside everything else wrong with that movie, they basically preface a massive fight with the Klingons by having Uhura bitch at Spock over *his emotional distance* in their relationship!)

    Years ago when the kick-ass female lead was still rare it at least made some sense in the story when it popped up- Ripley in Aliens or Sarah Connor in the first Terminator for instance. They won but despite it all and as part of real development in the story. And when you bring this up, the crazies will always counter with “you just don’t want a female lead!” or “you just can’t handle a kick-ass woman!” but nothing takes you out of a movie more than shattering your sense of disbelief in the story. Its one thing to go into a Wonder Woman movie and see her single-handedly beating up half the Kaiser’s army; I’m expecting that to happen given that she’s not a normal person but a super-powered Greek goddess. Or going to the upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie; Scarlett Johansson is supposed to be playing a cyborg robot with identity issues. Of course a goddamn robot is going to beat up a 250lb flesh and blood man! Nobody complains about movies or stories like that. But everywhere else its just more annoying than anything.

    “Maybe that means the Girrrrl Power! era is coming to a close. Movie makers need to make money so they may be forced to bring back the normal male leads.”

    The problem they have is finding actors who can fit what they want; there are a few but not enough to fill the gap. How many more franchises can they lean on the cast of the Expendables for?

  10. There are two moderately implausible girl power moments in it, but I just finished Man in the High Castle season 2. Between the dirigibles, the rockets, and this, I’m beginning to wonder what’s going on in Bezos’s mind. Its proven to be quite interesting

  11. Z you only hit the tip of the ice berg. ‘Prime Time’ TV has been rife with this non sense for years.

  12. Pingback: Forced to submit to the New Religion | IowaDawg's Very Own Blawg

  13. Not being a movie dilantette, I must mention one rather macho character:

    Lord Vader.
    Good grief. The full Dark Side Vader.
    He is a murder machine. Walking Death.

    Heck yes, I loved this one.
    It’s the “Wrath of Khan” of Star Wars!

  14. The propaganda coming out of Hollywood is almost as bad as the propaganda coming out of the Obama administration. It is fun to see the propaganda backfire as it did today. Russia made a laughing stock out of the mainstream media and the Obama administration. I write about the idiocy in Washington in

    Hopefully the Hollywood propaganda will backfire on their pocketbooks.

    • Well said! I attempted to leave you a comment saying so on your blog, but I was blocked as “being a suspected bot.”
      Huh. Here I always thought I was human, but you never know, do you?

  15. PE was a required course when I went to college & there were many options. I chose Judo & it turned out it was Judo-based but taught by ex-military & it leaned more to hand-to-hand combat & less formal Judo. My first Judo lessons but it came naturally, I liked it & did well for a beginner. Judo is based upon leverage rather than strength so if you can get your opponent in position you can throw him down without too much strength. Thus, sparring (randori) partners were random & not size matched. I weighed 205 & had done much weight lifting for HS football & was put against a small guy weighing ~130 or so, but he had previous training earning a colored belt (don’t recall) & was very, very good, frequently used by the teacher for demonstration of perfect technique. Anyway, I was good enough & big enough so he couldn’t throw me. And he was good enough I couldn’t throw him. So round & round we went till I decided I couldn’t beat this guy using Judo so I just picked him up sideways & threw him down – winning the match over his protests that was not Judo, but the teacher let it count.

    I think of that when I see these cute little girls beating up big guys. It is just so unlikely.

    I also saw a HS fight between a golden gloves boxer & a much bigger boy who was getting the worst of it until he finally charged, taking some hits, but got his hands on the boxer & it was all down hill for the boxer fighting on the ground.

    As some fems admit, “Size really does matter.”

    • I think it was really more a matter of “improvise, adapt, overcome.” Size really did not matter. It was using what is upstairs that counts.

  16. If movie producers want to highlight the power of women, they need only look to some of the greatest figures in history rather than made up science-fiction characters. Ruth in the Old Testament, Catherine the Great of Russia, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria of Great Britain, Isabella I of Spain, Catherine De Medici of France and most recently Golda Meir of Israel. These are the obvious top contenders. And I’m sure many of you could add a number of American women who have also been great leaders and heroines in the course of American history.

    It is insulting that Hollywood feels it must create great strong fictional women because they can’t stand the idea that in real life, there were women who actually were great leaders. Instead, they must create fictional characters who fit some liberal-cultural construct of what women “should be”. As those of us who have studied history know, there are plenty of powerful women who provided great leadership, strength and wisdom when their people needed them the most. And they did so in the midst of male dominated cultures that had little or no concern towards women’s rights or equality.

    • I liked the Elizabeth movie with Helen Mirren. It would be funny to see the knots a Golda Meir movie would tie the Hollywood types into.

    • The best answer I have seen to any line of attack about ‘you just don’t want a female lead’ or ‘you don’t want to see strong women’.

      I would pay good money to see a Golda Meir biopic. Socialist Zionist or not, my kind of powerful broad.

  17. I do not consider myself a prude, but I AM old enough not to care for gratuitous and salacious explicit sex scenes (that do not advance the plot – if I wanted porn I’d watch it), crude language, and special effects-enhanced violence on-screen. My preference is for good drama (or comedy), well-written dialogue, character development, and good acting that totally subsumes the actor into the role, such that I forget who the actor is.

    I checked: in the last 12 months, the only movie that I’ve seen in an actual movie theater was Sully, which I quite enjoyed. Mostly, I binge-watch library DVDs of tv/cable series that have gotten good reviews, like Justified, Firefly, Homeland, etc. The most-recently issued BBC Masterpiece Theater version of “Poldark” (with Aidan Turner) is excellent. I’ve been watching the “Castle” series but it’s gone on too long and the plot lines are too repetitive. (Note: I don’t have a TV/cable so am relegated to the DVD-thing.)

    Hollywood? Why bother? Where’s the creativity? It’s all comic book dramatizations, Disney child/adult animated SJW tales, and sequels/prequels.

    • Here here. I fast forward through the sex scenes. I’m 50. I know how it all works and I still have an imagination. Spare me the 10 minute love scene. It adds nothing to a movie. Just show the hero and heroine headed off to the bedroom and skip ahead to the rest of the story. I get it.

      • @ thezman – Yes, exactly. In “Saving Private Ryan” as horrible and gory as it was, it made sense and I had no problem with it. Same with “Fury”. But movies like “Saw” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” are blood and gore for the sake of being disgusting.

        However if you go back to some of the older war movies such as “The Bridges at Toko-Ri”, “Battle of Britain” or even the more recent “Pearl Harbor” the fighting scenes were very well done without tossing body parts around. As you say about bedroom scenes, I don’t need to see a head explode to know someone was killed.

      • Well, I at least want to see them carrying butterscotch sundae syrup and brussel sprouts down the hall.

        What? Why are all of you looking at me like that? 😉

    • Well…

      Fun 70’s and 80’s movies like “Slapshot” and “Animal House” often threw in some fun gratuitous toples scenes. I can’t deny enjoying those.

    • …dang, I forgot one of the better ones: Longmire. I had read the books long before they were dramatized, but was not disappointed in the series.

      I’d love to see a series made of the C.J. Box “Joe Pickett” books. …now, who should play Nate Romanowski??? 😉

    • Reacher. Jack Reacher. A sequel is due out soon. Excellent plot and acting. And Rosamund Pike, Yowzer!!

      • Didn’t see the first Reacher. Hate whatzizname. Was told that he did a fairly good job of being Reacher, but am still afraid that I’d be disappointed.

        • A great story by Lee Child. I would say “give it a try.” The plot is good enough and the acting not bad that you will pretty much forget it is Tom Cruz. Very patriotic character, and a Deplorable to the core.

          • Maybe I will give that one a chance. When the first one came out, I remember seeing a reviewer somewhere praise it for being the first action her movie in which the main character is obviously liberal. I forget what was the basis for that conclusion. I assume Reacher was fighting health insurance company villains.

  18. I rather liked Sicario.

    I took it as a meditation on the costs alike of national security and of policing an imperial frontier, especially an increasingly permeable one. I could imagine that operation carried on by legionaries just as easily.

    Indeed, it is illustrative of the costs of a poorly defended border and could be usefully taken in tandem with “No Country for Old Men” in that vein.

    As the American empire declines, so its border reverts to its earlier, open frontier form. The New West becomes a bloodier version of the Old, after an interval of civilization.

    The Rhine, the Danube, the Indus, the Wall, the Rio Grande. It’s all one.

    For those who have had a fantasy fiction bent, consider Robert E Howard’s very best Conan story, in which Conan is a supporting character- Beyond the Black River. It is a meditation on these themes.

    • Sicario wasn’t bad. I agree with the comments above. Try making a Dirty Harry movie today and see how far that goes. I suspect many of the scenes today would be banned for racial profiling, stereotyping, chauvinistic and homophobic comments.

      I wish they had done a third installation of the “Chronicles of Riddick” and “Hellboy”. Good fun action sci-fi! In my opinion, a good story line that stands on its own doesn’t need sex, foul language or gory violence. When those three start showing up in any movie, you know it’s going to be a weak production.

  19. Yep, the “girl power” thing drives me *nuts*! I get how some people like it for the different spin it puts on the film, some for the “see girls can do anything boys can do” politics and preachiness, while I just think it renders the whole movie pointless and silly, and even worse, tears down role models that boys want and need for their own growth. Even my wife, who is fairly conservative herself, thinks I’m over the top with my talent for finding preaching and anti-male, anti-Christian, anti-white bias just about everywhere. Maybe, but it’s one of those things that, once seen, cannot be unseen. It does destroy my ability to enjoy pop culture in just about every way, and that might be a bit of a loss … but I’m not so sure, really. Whatever – I didn’t leave pop culture, it left me. See ya.

    I have found most movies of the last 20 years nearly unwatchable (although “Sideways”, “Hangover”, “Bridesmaids”, and “Gone Baby Gone” were pretty good, I thought). For relief I try to watch anything made in the 40s/50s/60s on cable, with some 70s and 80s thrown in. It is truly amazing how different the characters are, the writing, the cultural assumptions and overall messages of these movies, it’s literally an entirely different world than what we see today. Better, in pretty much every way. Men are men, women are women, and they’re all fine with that. Huh.

    TV shows have followed a similar path – I like to watch reruns of “That 70s Show” and there is just no way some of those jokes would fly today, and that was only 10-15 years ago! Yikes.

  20. Don’t forget that Hollywood has also abandoned the cultivation of true “leading man” actors! The male actors now are all slender, semi-androgynous types who couldn’t lead a much more than a gay pride parade.

    Not a single masculine, craggy face or muscled torso among them, unless the producers paid for real muscles ala “300”!.

  21. ”but I was always a Star Trek guy. I also tended toward real science fiction, the stuff you had to read. Even as a kid, Star Wars struck me as a bad western with good special effects set in space.”
    Ironically, Star Trek has always been ”the western set in space”, even Gene Roddenberry dubbed it ”Wagon Train to the stars” when pitching the show. Not to mention that many of the writers and actors were TV western regulars at the time.
    That said, the first two movies of the SW franchise were good, then it’s been all downhill from there. I hadn’t seen Phantom Menace (episode I) until it aired on TV. I fell asleep about 30-45 minutes into it. That ended any further interest in the prequels – not to mention the sequels.

    • “Firefly” was an attempt to make a real space western. It has huge nerd credibility even today, which might be considered a black mark.

      But it’s leading man Nathan Fillion carried off the funny/cocky version of trad manliness pretty well, and Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb was a fan favourite in the non-crap-taking male role.

      Yeah, it has some ironic gen-X tendencies that suited me. But looked at without too much distortion it is the SF property friendliest to traditional American conservatism, western or southern sensibility, or indeed anything like Toryism. The sequel film Serenity is the Toriest SF thing ever screened. Mal Reynolds paraphrase from a pivotal moment, “Sooner or later the Alliance comes back round to the idea that they can make people better. And I do not hold to that.”

      I am willing to bet almost no part of its primary fan base sees in the film the sensibility of an English Tory, a Confederate agrarian, a western settler, or a reactionary ideologue. But it is all right there, front and centre. The Alliance has its positive features- I like civilization, high culture, cities and public order too, and there are many forms of empire I can gleefully get behind. But the Alliance is progressive social engineering under arms and the resistance is the resistant wing of the deplorables.

      • I liked Firefly. It was funky and weird, without trying to be funky and weird. I don’t ask for a lot from movies. I just don’t ant to be lectured or insulted. Otherwise, I can put up with a lot. Firefly was just an honest attempt to entertain in an innovative way.

      • Loved Firefly. Outlaw do-gooders. Defending/helping common-man worthies who cannot help themselves. Fly in, rescue the defenseless, fly out. Sort of like The Lone Ranger, but no white horse or silver bullets.

        And funny, witty, dialog, carried off very well.

        • The other problem the SW franchise has is even more fundamental. From the start, Lucas saw it as (quite literally) a movie-length toy commercial. SW (ep 4, 1st) was literally designed that way. It helped get the first made, and made Lucas substantial bank but it also put it in a box it can’t escape, plugging the spin off products comes first, everything else second. It’s why they emphasize action scenes, as well as the ”you go girl”/multicultural stuff, gotta have as big a potential market as possible for those toys don’tcha know. Something no other print or video SF need worry about. For example, with the Treks, there were little in the way of spinoff products until the TV show was already cancelled.

  22. Rogue One does do something that SW hasn’t done well in the past- convey the sense of a war movie.

    It has intelligence operations, covert assassination missions, Rebel intelligence officers ordering people to do dangerous and dark things, other such officers taking those orders without question, and the implication that they have done many such things in the past.

    It has hard faced generals making tough calls.

    It has fog of war and decisions made under duress or the exigency of circumstances, including to take advantage of sudden opportunities caused by the random element or indeed by mutinous forces.

    It has the implication that the Rebels have done bad enough things to be terrorists, at least some of the time. It has a rebel extremist wing led by Forest Whitaker that explicitly are terrorists and stage what amount to IED ambushes. Albeit against military targets. But military targets in crowded market streets, all the same. It does by representation on screen what Lucas attempted to do with half-assed, not even narratively consistent dialogue in Revenge of the Sith- actually slightly evoke current events.

    Of course, mileage varies. When the reboot BattleStar Galactica had Colonel Tigh’s human rebels using suicide bombers against the Cylon occupiers, the American audience was plainly meant to try to come to terms with the Iraqi insurgency and consider its virtues and the validity of the suicide tactic. For those of us already capable of considering the virtues of the Iraqi insurgency from an Iraqi point of view and still remembering we were not Iraqis, and of contemplating extremist measures for forces in extremis, and who noted that the Cylons were machines who had nearly exterminated humanity, and that human collaborators were collaborating with machines who nearly exterminated humanity, the gambit fell a little flat. Or to put it another way, the French Resistance sometimes WERE terrorists, just as the Germans said. Illegal forces operating outside legal authority, against an armistice treaty, outside the Hague Convention, and carrying out attacks on undefended targets in civilian spaces. Check. Still our side.

    Sorry for the digression. Rogue One does manage to paint the 20 year long rebellion a bit more realistically. That’s not nothing.

    It’s ground battle scene may not be all that realistic, but better and longer than ever before in SW. The space battle scene is still carried on at absurdly close range, but still the best in SW history.

    The actors are still a tad wooden compared with the original trilogy, but better than in the prequels or in The Force Awakens. The plot allows them no real character development, unlike the original trilogy and like the Force Awakens, but the actors do a much better job than those in The Force Awakens of inhabiting and giving some life to the characters as they exist. None is remotely as annoying as Kylo Ren, the pitiful Vader analogue last year, or the idiot African American guy who spent the whole of TFA looking like a confused idiot.

    The female lead is important because of an in-story familial connection, and has roots in generations of scrappy female characters thrust into hard lives by childhood abandonment and then into dangerous situations by circumstances. Her role as a driver of the story is more modest and plausible than was the case with TFA last year, and only at selected moments. She’s tough, but she’s not an obvious Jedi candidate like last year. And she has plenty of ensemble help with comparable screen time.

    The Rebels, notably have white generals and a white [female] leader, the long-canonical Senator Mon Mothma. No change there. Jimmy Smits remains the Senator from Hispanics, but that’s not new. He’s a pretty white Hispanic.

    On that, the rebel squad Rogue One is Diverse, but in roughly the way an American infantry squad in WW2 movies is diverse- there’s tokens for multiple groups. And more than two white dudes. The senior officer is played by Diego Luna, a member of the white Mexican upper middle classes with what appear to be super duper full blooded sangre Azul Castilian features. One imagines him at the court of Philip II without difficulty.

    Sorry to go on. I recognize the film is of its time and has structural weaknesses, but it is less of its time and less weak than I expected. I was entertained. Also, the Empire uses its most magnificent WMD more than once, demonstrating the weapon has some practical scalability. And these are rendered in loving detail by the effects wizards. Good times.

    • Forest Whitaker. That killed it for me right off the bat. During the Obozo years, the over exposure of him, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie “Rayciss” Foxx, and other black actors in the effort to “condition” everyone out of their latent racism has had the opposite effect on me. When everything “has to” have da black man in it, den I willz shine it on.

      I used to like many of these guys but now, I cringe every time I see them in another lead role. The last one was Denzel Washington, whom I greatly admire for his body of work, taking lead in “The Magnificent Seven.” I loved him in “The Equalizer” but putting him as a cowboy leading a bunch of other gunslingers down in old Mexico is a bit much to take.

      I have usually enjoyed movies by Quintin Terrantino but “Hateful 8” simply SUCKED. It was one of Samuel L. Jackson’s worst performances.

      Other SciFi type movies like the Resident Evil Trilogy and UltraViolet (Milla Jovovich), Kill Bill (Uma Thurman), are simply killer. Love the martial arts and blade fighting.

  23. Rogue One has many adolescent features common to all SW since the beginning, so I won’t belabour.

    On that struck me as interesting, and which it has in common with the execrable The Force Awakens last year, is the absence of romantic entanglements. This strikes me as a noteworthy cultural shift being reflected.

    For good or ill, Han Solo and Princess Leia carried on a flirtation by word and gesture that was at least imitative of Tracy and Hepburn or Bogart and Bacall, or Bogart and …. And then implicitly consummated the relationship. Explicitly presumably offscreen. In the prequels, Amidala and Anakin became lovers, but no aspect of their relationship ever rose above the adolescent level of painful romantic emoting and argument, both due to bad writing and bad acting. In the two modern films, adult [or any] romantic subplot is abandoned entirely.

    One might argue that this would be inappropriate in a military situation, but it commonly happened and happens just the same among adult men and women. Even if they then sublimate it for the good of the cause.

    I suspect it reflects a cultural trend from movies that were fine making adult romantic banter in a film partly aimed at youth, who would be expected to take lessons, from movies reflective of the increasingly prepubescent mindsets of their era, to films in which adult hetero romantic attraction would be assumed absent from the situations depicted either because we are all presumed pre-sexual robots, or are presumed not to think about sex outside of sterile VR conditions, or what have you current trend.

    Or an admission by SW writers that they can no longer write witty banter or believable love scenes.

  24. I’m also a Sci-Fi guy and cringe when they take a book I like and ruin it in Hollywood. (The Expanse Series turned out to be a pleasant surprise)

    I always thought of Star Wars as quasi sci-fi or steampunk. It’s Lawrence of Arabia / WWI battles with lasers. it’s silly to imagine an intergalactic civilization with laser rifles that miss, or dog fights between manned spacecraft.

    • Yep. She’s picked by the CIA/Delta team solely as a pawn, to give FBI legal cover to stateside black ops. She gets easily physically manhandled no fewer than four times by real tough guys. She is inconsequential to all the key action. I loved Sicario in part because it ISN’T a girl power tale.

  25. Most of the Ladies around where I live are definitely Christian women. Which in the way of those so called “bitter clinging” traditions, they are every day heroines to me. They are actually well respected by the men folk, the reverse being true also, but for reasons you don’t see portrayed in any media in this era I know of. But I live in about as rural and remote part of WV as can be, and it is very traditional rural America in the classic movie sense.
    This is typical as an example, my best friend, his wife loves squirrel gravy, she is always hunting on them, she cleans, dress’s them out, boils them down and strips the meat off the bones, then cans it up with a beautiful rich gravy. She will talk for weeks about having sunday morning squirrel gravy and biscuits, and have people over, its her favorite holiday. She also bags her share, along with her husband, turkeys and deer, and dresses out all the turkeys and cans that up. Her daughter loves to skin and dress out every deer all us men bag. That girl is 18 and drop dead stunning natural pretty, I think she doesn’t know how pretty she is, which makes her even prettier. She takes care of feeding and watering 42 cows, 8 pigs, two flocks of ducks, 4 coon hounds, her grandmother down the road, is a straight A student, keeps the outside water stove fed with wood, along with regular chores like housekeeping. And she always has time to play with her little nieces and nephews. This is pretty typical of the ladies around this neck of the woods. To me, thats my kind of heroine. You never here a disparaging feminist remark about men, but you will get an earful of the what for if you do stupid stuff only us men can do, and vice versa, and thats all good because it is men and woman knowing their places and boundaries that make for happiness. I look out at the world outside the place I live and sometimes it looks like it is loosing it’s collective mind. It’s like hate and disparagement has replaced everything, it is like an alien planet to me.

    • One of the obnoxious things about feminism has been the collapse of decent lady-media. I would like to read magazines about stuff like cooking and cleaning and housewifery and childrearing and advice on doing it better/faster/cheaper/prettier/more easily. There’s a lot to mine here and older women’s magazines used to actually do this. But women’s magazines have moved toward either sexualized smut, stupid trashy consumerism, or encouraging low level resentment of your husband for failing to do enough around the house. Half of these magazines I wouldn’t even bring into the house because the covers are so inappropriate! There’s nobody outside of some mommy bloggers marketing to this demographic.

      I’d love a good magazine with some nice recipes and marriage advice that isn’t designed to set you up for divorce and some advice on inexpensive home decor and some interesting articles about other mothers with a cover that’s clean enough I can leave it on the coffee table and it just doesn’t exist.

        • It’s wholesome food. The industrial food chain leaves much to be desired. Peoples pallets get accustomed to it, and naturally procured food is repugnant to their tastebuds. I can’t eat processed industrial food, I feel poisoned the next day. More so now I’m older and my body isn’t as resilient. So to go over and have a plate of hand made buttermilk lard biscuits smothered with squirrel gravy, and fried taters and ramps, it doesn’t get any better in my book.

      • I hear you really. Women have been a greater target of cultural marxism than black people. It is just a different plantation. They don’t want women to be empowered, they want to enslave women, and destroying every vestige of self sufficiency and individualism, making womanly duties of family and industriousness, creativity, is inslavement. Mind and spirit slavery. It is how they rule souls.
        As the cultural marxist take off the gloves, every day they create more and more dirt people who begin to realize it doesn’t have to be this way, and so really, they begin to see the old ways, the legacy ways, traditional right and duty, that there is no such thing as being a bitter clinger, and there isn’t anything to loose but everything to gain what was thought lost.
        So why not stop being afraid and stand up for becoming self sufficient, be the woman, and the man you can be.
        As a guy I know said: Join the honorable resistance to the marxist scum. Garden, cook at home, teach your children, get right with the Lord. Cut expenses, avoid taxes, learn new skills, create things, grow a garden, and build savings of tangible real assets. Learn, train, stockpile, recruit, prepare, guard, protect, and defend.
        Make this your finest hour.

      • Sounds like an excellent business opportunity for someone with the financial backing and publishing knowledge. Especially with Deplorable virtues coming out of the closet with PE Trump, a lot of what Doug discusses will, I think, be making a comeback. It is needed to reverse what has been going on and is important in supplementing the “Draining of the Swamp.” That alone won’t fix much. It gets back to the culture. We have to win there too!

        • Brilliant observation LP!
          I believe it is the dimmitude of the legacy media who have set out over decades to diminish and create an image that us dirt people don’t exist, and what they do acknowledge is as we are called, Deplorable. The truth is nothing could be further from the truth. We are legion, we quietly go about our lives only desiring to be left alone and live productive happy lives full of simple pleasures. It is not asking for anything to live unmolested by these psychopaths and meddlers.

    • Wow.

      I wouldn’t last 5 minutes in that environment and would be found wanting by the men and women alike.

      Long may they live and their way of life endure.

      • It’s not the environment, it is how we become self sufficient and individualists in the environment we live in, that makes us free people.

    • They do have suburban equivalents. My wife is one. Not a shooter but a cook, plumber, carpenter, electrician; does anything she has to. Has put up with me many years, no small feat. We have a number of friends not quite as versatile but just as determined. The feminists get the media attention but real women still exist and understand real things have to be done in the world.

  26. Maybe home theater is one reason a lot of mature males have dropped out of the multiplex experience. I can sit at home and watch a pretty decent version of a film, on a screen subjectively as large as in the multiplex and in surround sound. Practically free via Netflix et al. No waiting in line for overpriced tickets and snacks. No teenagers and Negroes yakking during the film.

    But home theater is nearly an exclusively upper-middle class male phenomenon. I’ve never known or heard of a woman with a home theater system. They might watch a movie on their computer but going to the Malltown 25 is where the kicks are for them. No wonder producers would rather spend money on chick-bait movies.

    I miss movies as drama, which seem to have largely disappeared in favor of spectacle.

    • Yep – when I see a movie preview, it falls into one of four categories:
      1. See it in the theater – rarely happens
      2. See it when it hits Blu-ray
      3. Maybe watch it when it’s on cable – that’s where Rogue One landed
      4. Never internationally watch it – where I file most previews.

  27. Morning Z,
    Like you, I have mostly abandoned going to the movies.
    Occasionally, one shows up that’s not double-dipped in PC.

    Anyway, here’s one you will like and it’s almost entirely girrrl-free.
    Hell or High Water.
    A modern western with a great performance by Jeff Bridges and an excellent supporting cast.

    A Happy and Healthy New Year to you Z, and to all the Zman’s most excellent commentariat.

    • I’ll check it out. I’ve never heard of it. Another modern Western that got zero publicity, but was really good was Bone Tomahawk. Probably the weirdest Western you’ll ever see, but surprisingly good.

    • Nedd,

      I watched it last night., I was thinking of recommending it as well.
      Very good movie. Like No Country for Old Men but less violent. I would love to see Tommy Lee Jones matched up with Jeff Bridges in another Texas Ranger type movie.Maybe have Chuck Norris too. It would be awesome.
      I really enjoyed Jeff Bridges character’s insulting jokes. I winced at the un PC ball busting which is pretty rare in a movie today.I also liked Sicario but Z is right as usual. The female lead was tolerable because the rest of it was so well done. Ive only been to rural Texas once on a hunting trip but that arid , poor rough housing in enormous wide open areas is perfectly captured in NCFOM , Sicario, and Hell or High Water. You definitely feel like your on
      your own out there.

      • NO! NO! NOT Chuck Norris! If I want to see the best wooden acting available Steven Segal movies are around. Or I can go to the park and watch tai chi. I’ve seen dead mimes with more expression than Chuck Norris. YMMV, of course. Now Jeff Bridges is a treat.

    • @ Nedd – Agreed, “Hell or High Water” was very good. But I was puzzled why they set the story in real Texas towns, but actually filmed it all in New Mexico. That i didn’t understand. But I guess that’s Hollywood.

      • Everything is filmed in New Mexico now. The state offers subsidies and tax benefits to the productions, and there is now a well-established infrastructure that supports the filming process. The filming is done in areas that have great light and natural beauty, but are generic enough to pass for Texas, Wisconsin, Afghanistan, or North Africa, to cite a few recent examples.

        The lighting, staging, and filming is very exacting, generally of a quality that far exceeds the writing and often the acting. Filming in a known environment means that the studios do not need to “remake the wheel” in an unfamiliar environment.

        • @ Dutch – Thank you. This idea seems to go back to the 60’s when many westerns were actually filmed in Spain or Italy as was popular for many “spaghetti” westerns of the day.

  28. The saddest thing is, “pixie ninja” is at least plausible in sci-fi… if it’s actually sci-fi. Some sort of exoskeleton, or hell, The Force, and sure, some 90 lb girl can throw Schwarzenegger around. (I’m pretty sure they actually did this in a Terminator movie once, but who’s counting?). So doubtless this new SJWars movie goes out of its way to show us that nope, this iteration of Girl Luke Skywalker is just some gal, who probably took time out of her STEM career to kick Darth Vader’s ass…. Pathetic.

    • I hear you, and that’s what last year’s movie was like to a T. Although it is generally presumed that that girl character is in fact either a partly trained Jedi Apprentice or the blood offspring of a Skywalker, Luke or Leia, so basically she kicks ass easily because Force. And as the Sith villain was an emo loser, I could tolerate this.

      This year’s action girl is more in the tradition of Ellen Ripley. She’s fit enough and toughminded enough to respond to circumstances, and becomes important solely because of circumstances. And operates in an ensemble and at no point saves the day by heroic ass kicking. Or I don’t recall that. She’s good with words and rallies some teammates with words in Leia mode in her main stellar moment. Not too implausible. She mostly succeeds with women’s skills. At least the g-rated ones.

    • That would be Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. The actress (as the Terminatrix) was Kristanna Loken, who @ 5″-11″ could practically look Arnold @ 6′-2″ in the eyes as she smacked him around.

  29. One of the weirder trends I’ve seen among women who are my age is the explosion of interest in fandom. I’m not talking about people who enjoy author X and will always buy their new books upon release. I’m talking about grown women in their twenties or thirties who dress up as movie characters and can discuss Harry Potter for goes and spend a lot of money to collect related trinkets or go to conventions. It’s very strange.

    • People need to be a part of things, I guess. Instead of belonging to church or civic groups, people are joining Harry Potter clubs. At Yale, they actually had people riding around on brooms pretending to play the game from the Potter books.

      • I guess what I find weirdest is that a lot of my female peers don’t want to be adults. My little girl dresses up as a princess and pretends quite intensely at stuff like this, which I think is normal. But to find adults totally immersed in stuff that is marketed to children baffles me. I would be embarrassed to share the same taste in movies as an elementary schooler. I remember taking a great deal of pride when I was younger in doing and looking and acting grown up, and that seems to have vanished. A friend took her 8 and 10 year old to see Rogue One at a night time screening during the school break, and they were the only children in the entire theater.

        • Even more discouraging is how our society promotes toys for girls that focus on “little princess” or other fictional-fantasy characters who don’t actually exist. Where boys are brought up with toys that represent construction workers, firemen, race car drivers and people who actually do exist and in real life careers. And then the feminists wonder why girls have problems with not being able to achieve what boys do. Is there really a question?

          • *shrugs* My daughter was yanking dresses out of the laundry basket and trying to dress herself since six months old. I’m a frumpy, not-fashionable practical sort of dresser and she didn’t get this adoration of frippery from me. She clearly has feelings about how she should look and I sure as hell didn’t program this into her with my behavior or princess toys. Some girls just want to girl.

            Also, I think you have missed the yuge push in the US into careerist toys for girls. STEM Barbie! Goldieblocks! This kind of crap has been around since I was a kid. It’s just that little girls don’t want to play lab scientist. The only career play I can remember doing regularly was mommy, schoolteacher, or shopkeeper.

          • @ Marina – I would advise caution telling your daughter’s school career guidance counselor you want your little girl to grow up being a mommy and/or homemaker. That kind of anti-feminist talk might get you sent to the re-education camps.:-)

          • Schoolteachers? I’m in America: homeschooling is legal here! I worry less about programming my daughter to be something than protecting her from what I got in school. Bright, academically inclined girls face a lot of pressure to be high achievers and I found that very, very stressful growing up. I’d rather she not deal with that. If she wants to be STEM Princess Genius, fine, but I don’t want her pressured into it.

          • She is a “Girlie girl.” And that’s ok. It’s just in the genes. My girls were pretty much the same way except the oldest went big into girls sports, ice skating, softball, but balanced that with piano and jazz vocals. The youngest is an artist and the middle one is well … trying to find her way. Middle child is a difficult spot but did Drum Corps playing Trumpet and really grew nicely through that experience.

          • @ Hercule – Well said! And Ken would be available in a nice Hi#ler Youth outfit to match since only a Nazi would buy a “Hausfrau Barbie” in the first place. 🙂

          • Not enough men left in German for that to be a viable commercial proposition. But fear not! Hitler youth might not be on the table, but Merkeljugend will do just as well – in Germany, it can be “Sklavin Barbie” and “Merkeljugend Mohammed”. Awesome, innit?

  30. you answered your own question, with the part near the end about “collapsing male attendance”. video games are indeed supplanting movies for lots of males, but also for a lot of girls. the interesting thing is that cost of production for a game is much less than for a movie, so the left’s hold on the culture is breaking.

    • Which outrageous ticket prices and concessions combined with a crappy product makes for a pretty sure way to kill off your mainline business.

      I remember back in the ’90’s I guess it would have been when a lot of theaters where not maintained. Ticket prices were not too bad but when you walk in and your feet stick to the carpet and the movie goers are making noise and are inconsiderate of others and there is no one policing the environment, well, even a fair price seems outrageous and not worth the effort.

      Then someone had the bright idea to spiff up the places, give them a facelift and make them more comfortable, add surround sound and such and up went prices accordingly which is natural. But then they over did it and swung the pendulum back the other way with greed and movie prices became second mortgages, even more so if you took the family and splurged for sodas, popcorn and candy. Somewhere along the line these idiots read a book or got consulting from someone on how to ruin a good thing in Five Easy Steps.

  31. I don’t known about that dream of going back to the movie theater. In the interval between 1970 and about 2000 I was taking my family to the movies about weekly, and the numbers matched up with church. I’m sitting here now trying to remember the last movie I ever went to. I do remember when we began to slow down. It was when we were watching a film and my boys and I figured out the plot and ending in the first five minutes and the guys sitting in front of us thanked us for ruining the movie for them. The boys went into gaming a lot more after that. Funny, but we watch Red Letter Media much more than watching movies. More fun seeing guys make fun of the deal than paying to see it.

    • I’m fond of telling people the last theater movie I watched was Blazing Saddles, 1974, Maxwell AFB theater, 35¢. Nothing but pre-80s movies on TV since then. I read Z’s post, but the mating habits of the Martian ground squirrel are as familiar to me as anything in the post.

      • The last movie I watched at a theater was “Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia”, I liked it but not very much. I avoid movies and TV, the anti-male and anti-white messages sicken me.

    • I’m the same way with Rifftrax. Never saw any of the Star Wars prequels until the Rifftrax guys recorded their mocking commentary, then I went out and bought the dvds second-hand. I’d never have seen a lot of blockbusters at all if it weren’t for Rifftrax.

    • I’ll go to the movies whenever Clint Eastwood has made a new one, but otherwise I can’t remember the last one I went to, and I’m under 40.

      The plots have all gotten so bad and derivative. The dialogue is usually stupid. Some of the guys my age down the street from me went to see Rogue One and said it was good. They are not deep thinkers.

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