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Anna Faris and Women at the Movies: Not a Pretty Picture

by Anne Thompson
April 11, 2011 6:19 AM
5 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

In last week's issue of The New Yorker, Tad Friend cleverly uses a profile of comedienne Anna Faris ("Funny Like a Guy") as a way to examine the woeful state of women's roles in Hollywood today. He interviews Stacey Snider, Amy Pascal, Judd Apatow and others as he attempts to understand why Hollywood, dominated by men, so demeans and discourages smart movies by and about women.

The article reminds us that men don't think women are funny, that the studios believe that women will go to see movies about men, but men will NEVER go to a rom-com, which therefore command much lower budgets. And an actress like Faris can only carry a modest-scale movie because she, unlike Reese Witherspoon, doesn't have pull overseas. That means that in her next picture, she should co-star with an actress who does. Who's ahead of her in the Hollywood pecking order? Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Katherine Heigl, Anne Hathaway and Natalie Portman, among others.

See the New Yorker promo video of Faris below.

Photo of Anna Faris and husband Chris Pratt courtesy of The New Yorker.

Thompson on Hollywood

Faris, to her credit, is turning down what she calls "bounce card," or thankless girl friend roles, in favor of developing and writing her own stuff, as Kristen Wiig did in the upcoming Bridesmaids, which basically tries to outdo the males as a dumb female comedy.

Only subscribers can link to all of this lengthy article online, which I read on a plane (of course). No, the New Yorker wants you to buy the issue (which makes me crazy):

(Subscribers can read the full text; others can buy access to the issue via the digital edition.)

You can't link to the full article online; I was able to copy a full page from the digital edition (which I hate), when I would much rather blockquote pieces of text, which is also better than paraphrasing. Why not use an accessible story like this to drive more readers to the site? On the other hand, the magazine is trying to increase its Facebook followers by offering exclusive Jonathan Franzen content.

Meanwhile, Faris's Scary Movie series co-star, Neve Campbell, complains that Hollywood lacks originality. Another actress continues to fight the good gender fight in Hollywood: Geena Davis (Thelma and Louise), via The Geena Davis Center on Gender and Media. And Women and Hollywood argues that Saturday Night Live botched an opportunity to do right by older actresses (as they did with Betty White) by turning Helen Mirren's appearance into a show about her boobs.

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More: Genres, Women in Film, Media, Comedy, Romance

5 Comments

  • Ryan | April 11, 2011 8:21 AMReply

    Nobody cares about this copyright issue?

  • Erica David | April 11, 2011 8:12 AMReply

    Meanwhile it seems like maybe there's hope on TV--noticed that AMC's The Killing is written by, directed by, and starring women that seem interesting -- a far cry from the condescending crap in the cineplex.

  • Reid Rosefelt | April 11, 2011 7:45 AMReply

    I am outraged that the legendary "Garfield" scene from "Smiley Face," was left out of this video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Y7VN_T7ZY8

  • Ryan | April 11, 2011 6:03 AMReply

    "I wish I could provide a link to this lengthy article..." or if you're The Playlist, you can just cut and paste the article in different posts: http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/aziz_ansari_making_a_cameo_in_whats_your_number/

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/infamous_observe_report_vomit_sex_scene_still_divisive_anna_faris_uncertain/

    I'm a big fan of The Playlist--and I do myself get frustrated when a story isn't available online--but I think it's the publication's perogative to not post the story, and if someone breaks through the New York Times pay-wall, that's one thing, but for a reputable blog like The Playlist--who is no longer independent, but monetized (I'd imagine) as part of the Indiewire network--to break up the story so they can post it, they're not only breaking copyright laws, but they're basically slapping The New Yorker across the face--as well as Tad Friend and everyone else who worked on the piece.

  • Alonso Duralde | April 11, 2011 5:39 AMReply

    "Her husband"? You mean the talented actor Chris Pratt, whom you have reduced to being mere arm candy to the famous woman -- SEXISM! (I kid.)

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