True grit only for underage girls

studio speak fantasy of girls under 21...

In “Sucker Punch,” I had been looking forward to a movie with a “strong female action character.”   Yet, this movie turns out to be one where the escapist fantasy of the girl herself is into a whorehouse where the best lapdancer can escape the brothel. Hmm…new warfare strategy? Should be used on the Taliban I say.

One can’t help notice that in this movie, as in the upcoming “Hanna,” as with “True Grit” and “Winter’s Bone,” the strength shown by the heroines being extolled are all under 21.

Like real life, one may say?  Shall we switch on the TV or open a paper or visit a college campus to see how “together” most under 21’s are? Does Snooki ring any bells…Or, let’s look back to our underage years. Or not.

...and over 21...

Yes, it has everything to do with the audience studios think will cough up money for, according to whom, the only strong woman over 30 people apparently want to see is Angelina Jolie. Or Sandy Bullock.  But the funny thing about studio speak is that it is spoken only in the studios. Often, it has nothing to do with good business sense or common sense or reality.

As per audience focus groups (meaning people who can be at malls in the middle of weekdays), in studio speak if you’re under 21, ideals are entrapped women in bustiers and fishnets with escapist fantasies as a prostitute and who’s inner voice is an older, white male.  If you’re over 21, ideally you can’t hold a relationship together and secretly dream of a wedding and kids (and the more successful you are, the more miserable your personal life), and your inner voice is a neurotic, white screeching woman. (what about trapped with a kid in the burbs in fishnets fantasizing about being in a brothel whose inner voice is Woody Allen?)

In case it’s just that sex sells, let’s look at a list of this week’s top 10 box office movies: Limitless (man discovers limitless brain potential); Lincoln Lawyer (slimy man redeems and thru justice); Adjustment Bureau (man discovers team who decide people’s fate); Rango (a lizard goes on a journey of self discovery). In common? All mature characters; all male; all 30 or over; and all box office hits.  What…no shirts off for hotties Bradley, Matt, or Matt? No sexuality used to fight the bad guys? Although a fedora does look outstanding on Matt Damon. And you do get the pleasure of Johnny Depp’s voice though not the rest of him in Rango.

If Hollywood really is just about money, and it is, then execs should take a look at the box office returns for the bombs versus ones that make it or critical cache. Not too many fishnets found among the winners at the box office or Oscars…at least not as primary weapon of choice.

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