What does an “Indian” look like? If you are like most Americans, your answer will fall somewhere between Disney’s Pocahontas character, Johnny Depp’s depiction of Tonto, and the Washington NFL team logo. That’s because your education, family, friends, and society have no idea what actual, living Native peoples look like thanks in large part to Hollywood film representations. The 89-minute documentary ‘Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian’ (2009) will begin to correct some of those misrepresentations floating around in your brainpan.
Many actresses, especially those in their 30s and older, find themselves relegated to playing “the mother” for much of their careers. Most of these films (like the recent indie hit ‘Boyhood’) seem to go out of their way to tell stories from anyone but the mother’s point of view. For a short time Jen McGowan’s ‘Kelly & Cal’ (also written by a woman: Amy Lowe Starbin) seems like it will be a welcome contrast to this norm.
A pioneering advocate for gender equality, co-founder of Ms. Magazine, and cultural icon, Gloria Steinem has played a prominent role in modern American history. The HBO-produced profile ‘In Her Own Words’ features thoughtful interviews with the woman herself as well as fascinating archival footage. Steinem comes across as sincere and engaging while clips of central moments in 70s women’s history capture the energy and spirit of feminist activism.
Jonathan Torgovnik, South-African based award winning photographer and filmmaker, was drawn to these women’s stories and from them created the short film, ‘Girl Soldier.’ ‘Girl Soldier’ features interviews with several ex-child soldiers from the Sierra Leone civil war—women who managed to survive their traumatic history and have now been reintegrated back into their communities.
I am not here to argue that the ‘High School Musical’ franchise is a feminist triumph. But I continue to believe that popular cultural products beloved of young women and girls receive an inordinate amount of vitriol because of misogyny, and that they merit close and generous examination for the retrieval of positive messages.
Female friendships are the bedrock of feminism. The ideal of a community of women who support, understand, and love each other is a source of succor for sisters in need and a dream towards which the feminist movement strives. There are endless power and agency in female friendships. There is purpose in those bonds, a purpose outside the pursuit of men, even if Hollywood doesn’t see it.
Check out all of the posts for our Brat Pack Theme Week here.
By any regular standards, even the 1980s, ‘Mannequin’ is a TERRIBLE movie. It never should have been green lit, let alone hit wide release. It’s often lumped in with other Brat Pack pics, thanks to the presence of Andrew McCarthy and James Spader, but it really should be categorized separately, as a romcom gone wrong. Showroom dummies that come to life after hours should be the stuff of horror movies, or episodes of ‘Doctor Who,’ not fluffy fantasies starring a nearly naked Kim Cattrall. John Hughes wouldn’t have touched this material with a ten-foot pole.
Holy fuck this movie. I started watching it like OH YEAH MY CHILDHOOD MOLLY RINGWALD ADOLESCENCE IS SO HARD and after two scenes, I put that shit on pause like, WHEN DID SOMEONE WRITE ALL THESE RACIST HOMOPHOBIC SEXIST ABLEIST RAPEY PARTS THAT WEREN’T HERE BEFORE I WOULD’VE REMEMBERED THEM.
Nostalgia is a sneaky bitch.
A Brain, an Athlete, a Basket Case, a Princess, and a Criminal: How ‘The Breakfast Club’ Archetypes Set Standards for High School in Brat Pack Cinema and Beyond
While today’s entertainment sources a lot of inspiration from Brat Pack Cinema, especially the high school-coming-of-age era of Brat Pack Cinema, we have to be very aware that we do not fall into the trap of embracing multifaceted male characters and yet only providing a Princess/Oddball dynamic with female characters. Not all of us fall into The Brain, The Athlete, The Basket Case, The Princess, and The Criminal, and while we can look to Brat Pack Cinema for inspiration to create new projects for our generation and generations to come, archetypes are suggestions, not the end-all be-all for characters in entertainment.
Although a few who had fallen under the brat pack sobriquet (like Demi Moore) continued in mainstream star-vehicles well into the 90s (and Rob Lowe, dismissed as another pretty face in the ’80s, was able to sustain a TV career into the present), most had faded from the public view by then, including Ally Sheedy (after starring in 1987′s ‘Maid to Order,’ her own ‘Weekend At Bernie’s') –though earlier in her career she, of the whole “Pack,” received some of the best reviews for her work. Sheedy went on to reinvent herself–and make good on her earlier promise–in a series of meaty roles in independent films in the late 90s: the most well known one (for which she won several awards) was Lucy Berliner in writer-director Lisa Cholodenko’s 1998 feature debut ‘High Art.’
Whatever the Brat Pack actors did with their fame in real life does not reflect the impact they ingrained on our culture. They helped put a face and a voice to teen struggles. These talented young actors gave teenagers an identity and platform for their problems that will stand the test of time. We will always thank the Brat Pack for that.