Archive | Film Matters

Lars von Trier’s Melancholia Is a Masterpiece

Lars von Trier is not a brother who provokes a neutral response. There are those who feel he can do no wrong, and then there are naysayers like me. Although I consider Dancer in the Dark one of the best movies of the last decade, I swore I’d never sit through another of his films after suffering through the school-play machinations of Dogville. A guy who so unilaterally criticizes America without ever having stepped foot on its soil deserves a similar boycott, I declared.

But now that he’s taken psychological projection to unprecedented proportions, he’s become downright fascinating.

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Why Bridesmaids Just Ain’t Funny

Question: How many feminist girls does it take to light a lightbulb?
Answer: It’s women—and that’s not funny.

You get the picture. Feminists aren’t funny. Feminist cultural criticism is even less funny. God knows complaining about Bridesmaids, which opened last month to a round of fanfare, really isn’t funny. After all, the movie has made more than $100 million at the box office at this point. Many, many women—including ones whom I adore and admire—have sung its praises to the high heavens. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that attending this film is a political act: Use your box-office dollars to compel Hollywood to put more funny women front and center. So this New Deal Sally has tried to keep mum.

Except that Bridesmaids is a disaster on the women tip. Or, to be more specific: feminist tip.

I know, I know. That’s not funny.

But for long stretches, Bridesmaids isn’t either, despite all the bruja-ha it’s been reaping. In fact, in addition to being the least funny comedy over which producer Judd Apatow ever waved his Magic Wand (vibrator joke intended, always), it’s actually kind of offensive. At the very least, it’s wrongheaded. Continue Reading →

2010 Top Ten, Sally-Come-Lately Style

I confess that I’ve experienced a very difficult few years—more hardships than joys; more losses than wins. That Age of Grief, as Jane Smiley once described one’s 30s, in which I shed the sort of illusions that our culture reinforces. Namely, that remaining young and pretty forever was a valid goal, that belonging to any kind of relationship was preferable to going it alone, that death wasn’t a regular part of life, and that things could get better without our actively making that so. Now, I’m clearer but possibly harder to bear; kinder and a hell of a lot less nice. I could say the same of the best films of this year. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy