thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

SUPER 8: Where the girls at?

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2011 at 1:34 am

SUPER 8: Where the girls at?

Phoebe Bronstein

This afternoon I went and saw Super 8, the new J.J. Abrams summer blockbuster, in the theaters and I must say I rather enjoyed it. The film is about a group of middle school boys, sort of Goonies style, who are trying to make a zombie movie when quite suddenly a train crash unleashes an alien upon the unsuspecting town. Great parts included, but were not limited to, hilarious 1970s middle school style banter, a murderous yet sympathetic alien that was mistreated by the government, an unexplicable section where all the dogs flee from the town of Lilian, and an odd reference to Three Mile Island.

However, upon leaving the theater I wondered why are there not any movies about girlfriends kicking butt and saving the world? And I do not think Sucker Punch counts. Seriously, why can’t a group of five hilarious young women protect a town from a mean and misunderstood alien? As it stands in Super 8, the only young lady, Alice, that we other young ladies might sympathize with winds up in need of saving and the romantic interest of the main young lad, Joe Lamb (delightfully played by newcomer Joel Courtney). Further, the town itself is absent of women: Joe’s mother dies before the film starts, Alice’s mother left her father long ago, and some of the other boys don’t even appear to have parents. The only grown up woman we encounter is Joe’s friend Charlie’s mom and she is the picture of 1950s housewife perfection, although her children seem a little lacking in the discipline category.

This is all to say that I am rather looking forward to Katniss kicking some butt in The Hunger Games. And I think that it just might be rather refreshing to see some bad ass young ladies minus the sex kitten leather saving the world up on the silver screen.

  1. I saw Super 8 today and had your blog post in mind while watching it. At least, my final verdict was, Alice wasn’t a sniveling helpless heroine (who can help comparing her to big sister Dakota in War of the Worlds? She handles the aliens sooooooooooooo much better). She’s the one that shows up driving the car; she’s the only one that can act; and even though she does get nabbed by an alien, I’m glad she was actively involved in a bicycle pursuit that involved her outwitting and actively rejecting her father rather than cowering under a bed and sobbing.

    On an unrelated note, my friends and I decided that the formula for this movie was Lost + ET + Goonies. Sooooooo much Lost influence there. Sigh. Oh, JJ. Why do I love your wily ways so?

    • i totally agree that alice is not a “sniveling helpless heroine” but i would just love to see a saving the world from aliens/explosions/etc. where women, or in the case of super 8 girls, do that saving. i just feel like it would be grand …

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