Research, Values

Values and Everyday Heroism, via Movie Review

A minute for a movie review. A+ for writing, and interesting morsels on values and everyday heroism.

Pre-justification #1: The focus of this blog is art, but artists, curators and critics can be concerned with culture at large.

Pre-justification #2: Movie reviews can be useful examples of beautifully concise, insightful writing. See David Denby of the New Yorker Magazine.

I don’t know which offense is more pervasive and exasperating: the issue of the portrayal of women and men in movies, or our age of irony and immaturity. Below, A.O. Scott elegantly sums up big ideas in a few sentences, in a movie review of “Knocked Up.”

“…The absence of a credible model of male adulthood is clearly one of the forces trapping Ben and his friends in their state of blithe immaturity.
Mr. Apatow’s critique of contemporary mores is easy to miss — it is obscured as much by geniality as by profanity — but it is nonetheless severe and directed at the young men who make up the core of this film’s likely audience. The culture of sexual entitlement and compulsive consumption encourages men to remain boys, for whom women serve as bedmates and babysitters. Resistance requires the kind of quixotic heroism Steve Carell showed in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” or a life-changing accident, like Alison’s serendipitous pregnancy….”

Bye-Bye, Bong. Hello, Baby.
June 1, 2007
New York Times

I have always resented how male bonding often privileges dumbed-down culture, and the permission that males seem to have in associating women with growing up, the loss of innocence and by extension, evil. Look closely and you’ll find many examples in popular culture–music (including rap and rock), movies, comics, etc. One can find similar attitudes in contemporary art — art by men-boys for men-boys, and the women who don’t mind.


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