Ladies, the movies that are made with you in mind are categorically terrible. Hollywood’s just not that into you! Take back the movie night! Other slogans borderline-offensively repurposed to make a joke about “chick flicks”! Seriously, though, you should be offended. Movies for women are embarrassing. And it’s not just that I’m not the intended audience, or that I don’t get it. I actually like romantic comedies, AS JUST ONE SOMEWHAT CONDESCENDING EXAMPLE. Sure, I’m willing to believe that in some cases there is an exploration of emotional and/or experiential situations that I, as a man, cannot relate to. “Where are all the robots?” “None of their cars are on fire!” But usually that’s not even the issue. The shit is just lazy. The writing is trite. The acting is overly broad. The close ups are all of shoes. Literally. Doesn’t that bother you? I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty of movies that are supposed to appeal to “men” that aren’t equally lazy and stupid, but most movies are supposed to appeal to “men.” Sorry about that. Still, your ratios are all off. You’ve got to get your ratios together. And you can rail against the patriarchal system all you want, but more often then not these films are FWBW. The enemy within!
Hanging Up is your fault!
Hanging Up is about three sisters struggling with their dying father. Meg Ryan is a party planner, Lisa Kudrow is a daytime soap actress, and Diane Keaton runs a magazine in New York City. Meg Ryan does most of the heavy-lifting in terms of taking care of their father, Walter Matthau, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. There are a couple of flashbacks? Meg Ryan hates her mother? It’s all kind of slapped together like a first timer’s project at the Sunday afternoon scrapbooking club. Meg Ryan has been put in charge of a party at the Nixon museum, because Nixon and Walter Matthau look a like and comments can be made (screenwriting down the bones!), and the museum wants her to invite her famous magazine baroness sister to be the keynote speaker. She is so resentful of her sister’s fame, because one time her sister stole her recipe for Thanksgiving stuffing and published it in the New York Times, which is how she became famous, because that’s a way that things work. You might be surprised to discover that much as their father’s death is tearing the sisters apart, eventually it also brings them together.
Who recommended this movie?
It’s OK! I won’t hurt you. I just want to give you a thank you card:
Hanging Up is based on a novel of the same name by Delia Ephron (Nora’s sister). One of the movie’s pivotal themes is “talking on the phone,” which is such a hacky University of Phoenix On-line’s graduate program in semiotics idea of what makes for an interesting theme. “Isn’t it crazy how we spend so much of our lives talking into these electronic contraptions?” No. We’ve been doing it for literally billions of years (more or less). And even if it was interesting in theory, you have made it very not interesting in your practice. The sisters are constantly bickering and bantering back and forth on the phone, which would be boring to overhear in real life, and it’s boring here. (I can only imagine how boring it is to read). I’m not even going to post a clip of it, because you’d fall asleep before you go to the rest of the write up.
Instead I am going to post this pivotal scene in the movie:
This scene actually illustrates most of the problems with the movie:
- Terrible acting. I don’t know who that dude is, but Meg Ryan is in a ton of movies! She is very, very famous as a movie actress. And yet here she is, bumbling her way through this. “Your motivation is ‘frazzled’.”
- Nonsensical plot points. Meg Ryan’s character owns her own company and lives in a giant house with her husband and son, but she is worried about her car insurance rate? So she develops an elaborate scheme to privately pay for major repairs to a Mercedes Benz?
- Painfully trite flashbacks demonstrative of the emotional transparency of the entire movie. I’m not saying that when you are struggling with the imminent death of a parent that your fondest memories don’t play back like a Dove Soap commercial, but something tells me that when you are struggling with the imminent death of a parent, your fondest memories don’t play back like a Dove Soap commercial. Ugh.
- Laziness. Wasn’t her car blocking the doctor’s car? But he doesn’t mind that she keeps the car parked in front of him on her trip to Boring Memoryland?
All of these issues play themselves out in larger ways throughout the movie. It’s painted with the broadest strokes possible.
Diane Keaton directed it? Why did Diane Keaton direct this? She can hardly even direct herself to dress properly. “What can I say, I just prefer looking like a clown.”
I wish I had Alzheimer’s so I could forget this movie!
This is easily in the Top 5 worst movies I’ve ever seen. It’s painfully boring and obnoxiously overwrought. It was Walter Matthau’s final screen performance, which is a fucking shame. Raul Julia got off easy! Even the cinematography is awful. Everything looks smoky, because feelings are hard! And I can’t express strongly enough how unbearable that fucking cell phone motif, i.e. the driving creative engine of the whole movie, is. Can you hear me now? Bad.