Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Femmy Friggin' Christmas

If you were a Robin Williams fan and hoping he went out on a high note... well, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn was actually pretty good, so you're not entirely out of luck. A Merry Friggin' Christmas, however, has been both panned and shunned, and with good cause! A quick glance through its comments / reviews section on Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB brings up justified complaints about everything from flat jokes to jagged melodrama. The whole flick was a cut-and-pasted stream of holiday "family reconciliation" tripe. We've all seen a hundred like it.

Well, surely it must have some redeeming qualities. Maybe, like many such a moldy cheese-fest, what it lacks in cleverness it makes up for in social awareness and promoting equality and understanding. Sure enough, since it's a family dramedy, it presents a truly progressive view of its core issue of gender relations - by Hollywood standards, anyway.

I mean, just look at the egalitarian way in which the dumb, blundering males fuck up every single step of their little odyssey while the enlightened, nearly prescient women provide sage advice, which, hahaha, wouldn't you know it, those dumb pig-headed males are just too dumb and pig-headed to obey. Look at the egalitarian way all the dysfunction in the family comes from the boorish or unrealistic male half while everything good comes from those pristine, saintly women suffering through being saddled with such wastes of space as husbands.
Look at the wonderful climax, in which the women manage to save Christmas even though, hahahahah, wouldn't you know it, everything the men tried, every plan and plot and all their best efforts resulted in a pile of shit. Literally. Just how did those magnificent, beatific paragons of wisdom and kindness fix everything, you ask? By getting drunk off their asses and bitching about men until they fall asleep, obviously! Leave the rest to the deusa ex machina.
Even at their worst, women are everything good. Even at their best, men are shit. Right?

And, you know what, fuck this movie... in itself. Yes, it really does seem to have been an utterly forgettable, by the numbers contract-filler for the actors. Remember what I said before, though? We really have all seen a hundred others like it, in every respect. The real problem is that we don't even notice the utterly vicious sexism with which it's imbued. We expect it. We swallow it, plot-hook, gag-line and hope-sinker. We take such abuse as our due. For the past two generations, it's been part of the background noise of our entire lives. From the early nineties onwards we've lived with the stereotype of the dumb slob of a husband being kept out of trouble by a brilliant, kind and competent wife. Men are pigs. Men are stupid. Men are evil. Men deserve whatever abuse women care to throw at them. We just absolutely know it.

This is our social reality today. We can watch shows from sixty years ago and admit that the whiny, incompetent, bumbling, utterly dependent female characters represented a derogatory mindset, that Looosey always havin' ta do sum 'splainin' to her husband put her in an unnecessarily and unrealistically subservient position. When the same brand of sexism is trotted out in the name of women, though, we don't bat an eyelash.

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