No, not really. You are not welcome to that at all. I have just been writing a lot recently about things that I think are really damaging and subtle and stupid and bad. I do plan to remedy this. As a personal acquaintance of mine made clear, "at a certain point, you're going to have to tell people what you actually like," and I shall - oh, I shall! Perhaps even later today! HOWEVER, I was diverted from this true and holy purpose by a visit to the AV Club this morning, in which I read an interview with Anna Faris, in which she described her character in forthcoming Seth Rogen comedy Observe and Report, and in which she said:
I’ve played a few bad characters in my day, but I think she’s the worst. She works at the makeup counter, and she’s very proud of that fact. She’s really vain, she’s really bitchy, and I always imagined she was incredibly stupid, too... She loves to have a good time. A bit of a party girl. What helped me get into the role were these long fake green press-on nails I’d put on every morning. They sort of render you helpless, so there’s something about that quality that was like, “Oh. This is a person who can’t really do anything.”Oh, and:
I’m so grateful I was cast, but when I read the script, I thought, “Well, this is Warner Brothers. This is a studio movie, so this is all gonna be softened up. It’s a comedy, right?” So when we were shooting it, even the date-rape scene—or as I refer to it, “The Tender Love-Making Scene”—I just thought, “We’ll shoot it, but it’s not gonna be in the movie. I don’t have to worry about that one.” And yet there it is.Ah, long have I awaited the comedy in which I could watch some dumb slutty stuck-up bitch get date raped by Seth Rogen. Let's check the early reviews, shall we?
Hill hits what seems like a bad-taste peak early on (Ronnie grinding away on top of an ostensibly unconscious alcohol-and-drug-addled, vomit-flecked Brandi) and just keeps climbing.'Ha ha, "ostensibly!" I love the little qualifiers that get thrown into sentences like these. For example, I am tempted at this moment to say that Seth Rogen can ostensibly eat my asshole! But not really, for my invitation is only OSTENSIBLE. Ostensible: "plausible rather than demonstrably true or real," and/or "being in such an appearance," a word never used when a writer wishes to present something as unambiguously true; puzzling here, since the writer's use of character names rather than actor names OSTENSIBLY indicates he is talking about the fictional truth of the movie, which in turn OSTENSIBLY indicates that he thinks the female character might somehow be faking unconsciousness in order to get date raped, because women, they do that sometimes.* OSTENSIBLY. THE MORE YOU KNOW.
Anyway, I could spend a little while talking about how even though this comedy is going to be intentionally dark and edgy and scary and weird, and even though I know representation is not the same as perpetuation, and even though as a lady I am somehow always supposed to be a "good sport" and "understanding," because it's not as if women could look back on the history of the world and note that it has been pretty much exclusively male-dominated, and the history of art and note that it too has been pretty much exclusively male-dominated, and note when looking at art produced by men within a male-dominated culture that a whole lot of it reflects and perpetuates male domination, because that would mean they are just terrible people who cannot hear the Music of the Spheres nor hear the Eternal Human Verities within this canon that kind of perpetually excludes or insults or misrepresents them, this is fucked up. I could talk about how I am a person who routinely makes jokes about her own experience of sexual assault, and has maybe the least mature or gentle sense of humor in the world, and I still feel that the whole "dumb bitch gets raped by comic hero" thing is indescribably foul, and yeah, maybe I could "give it a chance," maybe I could try to be "fair" about this, but maybe I just have better things to do than watch a movie that might be about a woman who gets a deserved raping, maybe I've reached the precise point at which I cannot be a "good sport" any longer and that is the point at which I am asked to pay ten fucking dollars plus however much a soda is these days for a movie that may very well insult me and every woman who's ever had an unwanted dick shoved into her body. I could talk about how, even though I got warned in advance, even though I won't be seeing the movie, the incredible frequency of rape and sexual assault in our society means that many, many victims of rape will see it, and the PTSD that often accompanies rape will mean that, for a joke, for some dipshit filmmaker's attempt at being edgy, they are going to experience all of the pain and psychological trauma associated with that experience, they are going to feel that rape all over again, there, in their seats, in the theater, and they are going to pay for the experience, and if they try to talk about what that filmmaker did to them it's probably going to get sidetracked into some conversation about the Sanctity of Art which is invariably given more consideration than their actual lives.
I could talk about all of that, but I won't. These conversations last so long and always seem to involve some guy calling me "oversensitive" or accusing me of making shit up or otherwise calling my perceptions invalid because they conflict with his own or just saying that I'm pissy and not funny and mean, and all of it makes me so tired, you guys, so unbelievably tired of stating basic facts that pretty much everyone with a shred of decency should comprehend but most people and/or movie studios and/or acclaimed Artists of Our Times just fucking don't. So, nope, not getting into it. I'm just going to enjoy the fact that I am, apparently, psychic. Because, of all the many things this is, it is not even remotely surprising.
Bonus AV Club interview quote:
When she went on the date with Ronnie, he starts talking about how she’s just too generous. She’s like, “You know what my problem is? I just give. I just give way too much. All I do is I give and I give and I give. And you know what? I’m done.” Oh, that’s such a delicious line.
AVC: Someone who actually gives would never say something like that.
*I have looked up further information on the movie! It appears, in fact, that mid-date-rape, she "semiconsciously" (in the words of a poster who described the scene) says the words, "why are you stopping, motherfucker." Several reviewers have nonetheless described this as "sex" in which she just happens to be drugged, unconscious, and covered in her own vomit. So, if you are listening, it is not just that Observe & Report contains, by all accounts, a scene of rape; it contains, by all accounts, a scene of rape in which the victim likes it and begs for more. Enjoy!
UPDATE 1: So, I have now gotten over my revulsion and seen the red band trailer, which does, in fact, contain the rape scene. Yeah, it's evil. If you want to see it - which, it's totally fair if you don't, because TRIGGER WARNING, DUH - you can find it in this Jezebel post.
UPDATE 2: Because it's always fun to see how people squirm and/or say horrific apologistical things in situations like this - it is relevant, because it exposes how we think and talk about rape! Which is, surprise, fucked up! - I direct your attention to the following quotes from Dan Kois of the Vulture Blog. I actually want to say that Dan is trying, and he at least identifies it as rape, and I believe he may even have edited his post recently to make the language more unambiguous and condemnatory, but seriously:
By any reasonable standard of behavior, Seth Rogen's character, Ronnie Barnhardt, totally rapes Faris's Brandi. More surprising is that, in the dark world of Observe and Report, raping Brandi is one of the least unsympathetic things Ronnie Barnhardt does. The movie doesn't mitigate that sex scene at all... she certainly can't give any kind of informed consent. She's way too wasted for her yelling at Ronnie to mean anything... as horribly misdirected as it becomes, his "courtship" of Brandi is the only thing in Ronnie's life that comes partly from a place of sweetness rather than entirely from a place of darkness. (Sure, plenty of it comes from his sociopath-level desire to wield power over the world, but not all of it.) He may have no idea how to interact properly (or even legally) with a woman, but he's desperate for connection and helpless before her limited charms.
Earlier, I wrote a piece that bitched out Dan Kois without giving him credit for what he tries to do here. I don't want to repeat that mistake. He identifies it as a rape, and actually uses the key phrase "informed consent," and doesn't use the "grey area" argument. All good things. However, I do count (1) a "rape isn't the worst thing in the world" argument (um, "worst" isn't a good or useful criterion: no matter where you place it in your personal hierarchy of Violent Crimes It Would Not Be Fun To Be The Victim Of, rape is one of the more common, and a very dangerous thing to trivialize, specifically if you're playing a scene where a woman quasi-"consents" to the raping and the filmmaker arguably seeks to justify it on those grounds), (2) a "he does it because he likes her" argument, and (3) a statement that the rapist, and not the victim, is "helpless." Because, you know, it's hard not to rape women when they turn you on so much. Whoops.
"In another scene he forces himself on a makeup-counter saleswoman (Anna Faris) after a date of heavy drinking and drug use. (Before the scene is over she indicates that she had given her consent.)"
Yeah, no, semi-conscious sleep-talking does not count as consent when you are putting your penis in a drugged, unconscious person who can't actually tell what is going on and therefore cannot consent to it, sorry.
UPDATE 4: I'm not even going to post the quotes from Seth Rogen's self-congratulatory interviews in which he says that he looooves how shocked and disgusted the audience is and it's greeeeeeeeeeeeeat how Anna Faris's character blurts out something that "makes it OK." Why? Because Seth Rogen has too much damn space devoted to him already, that's why.
UPDATE 5: Worst reviews so far: Peter Travers at Rolling Stone ("Props to Hill and Rogen for believing you can play anything for a hoot, including R-rated sex and violence... Hill is fearless at pushing hot buttons: date rape, shooting up and worse") and Michael Phillips at the Chicago Tribune ("The best, riskiest bit in 'Observe and Report' involves Faris, with wee vomitous spillage drying on the pillow by her slack jaw, underneath Rogen, who cannot believe the dolt of his fondest desires is trashed enough to give him a toss"). Best review... well, I'm assuming you loved Manohla Dargis at the New York Times already, right? Because if not, you're about to:
By far the most outrageous instance of Mr. Hill’s disarming his own bombs occurs when Ronnie beds Brandi (Anna Faris, rising above the muck), a cosmetics clerk who’s impervious to his attentions until the flasher brings them together. During an ensuing date, Brandi gobbles pills, guzzles tequila and even sputters puke, prompting Ronnie to kiss her square on the messy mouth. What follows next should have been the shock of the movie: a cut to Ronnie having vigorous sex with Brandi who, from her closed eyes, slack body and the vomit trailing from her mouth to her pillow, appears to have passed out. But before the words “date rape” can form in your head, she rouses herself long enough to command Ronnie to keep going.Comedy is often cruel, of course, but before 1968, the year the movie rating system was instituted, directors couldn’t squeeze laughs from the suggestion of date rape, as Mr. Hill tries to do here... This lack of critique might make the movie seem daring. But it’s hard to see what is so bold about a film that, much like the world outside the theater, turns the pain and humiliation of other people into a consumable spectacle.
God bless you, Manohla. God bless us, every one.