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Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

Movie review-lets, with bonus thoughts on Muppet gender

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Movie poster for The MuppetsWe recently watched the 2011 movie, The Muppets, which “rebooted” the characters from The Muppet Show, which ran from 1976 to 1981, and then launched a series of movies. It was fun, especially if you do remember the show. (If you don’t, as with most kids, a lot of the references would go over your head). It’s a musical, with catchy original songs and some hilarious covers, such as a barbershop quartet versions of “Smells like Teen Spirit” and chicken-clucking version of C Lo Green’s “F(orget) You”.

But I became super-distracted by something I’d never really noticed before: Almost all the freakin’ muppets are boys. You have Miss Piggy, of course, and then… Janice, in the band, who rarely says anything, and then… The chickens? Who also don’t talk. So one speaking female Muppet character.

This, my friends, would be your Smurfette principle in action: the tendency of movies for children to have only one female character amongst an ensemble of male characters.

It Happened One Night movie posterAnd speaking of sexism, we also saw It Happened One Night recently. This romantic comedy, starring Clarke Gable and Claudette Colbert, maybe didn’t always have the most enlightened view of the role of women? It does have the excuse, though, that it was made in 1934.

I don’t watch a whole lot of 1934 movies, but some movies are classics for a reason. The two stars have chemistry, the script is lively, and it’s enjoyable watching them play out the romantic comedy pattern of meet, repel, attract, obstacle, reunion.

Not really sure about the title, though, since it doesn’t all happen in one night; it takes places over a few weeks. Unless that’s a reference to the night the walls of Jericho came down? In which case, naughty, naughty!

The Libertine movie posterSpeaking of naughty, naughty, I also saw The Libertine, 2006, starring Johnny Depp as John Wilmot, notorious for writing bawdy poems and plays. The movie wasn’t a hit with audiences or critics, but it’s not that it was badly made. It just took a rather dark view of this character, and that made the movie rather less fun that it might have been. It particularly didn’t shy away from the effects of alcoholism and venereal disease in the last third of the film.

Jean’s review? “Remind me not to get syphilis.”




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