Tag Archives: feminism

A New Era for Smart Women in Comedy- Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck

24 Jul

Trainwreck_posterI don’t know about you, but I am quite enjoying this renaissance of women in comedy. Realistically, I guess it has been in the works for over a decade, with the rise to fame of Kristen Wiig,  Amy Poehler, and of course, Tina Fey. But the SNL greats don’t take it quite to the level that Amy Schumer does when it comes to revolutionarily feminist content in comedy that is somehow accessible to men and women alike. Take the intelligence of Fey, add a dash of Sarah Silverman’s raunchiness, and finish it off with Amy’s own specialty which is the no-shame-sex-talk, and you can see why Amy is the spokeswoman of my generation.

While Trainwreck is not a must-see-on-the-big-screen-because-it’s-so-visually-stunning feature, I knew I had to go see it at the theater. If Amy Schumer were the leader of a cult, I would let her talk me into joining it and proceed to give her all of my money and worldly possessions. The second-best thing I can do is pay to see her movie when it is in the theater, and hope to add to the week 1 statistics. (Unfortunately, another thing that was added to the movie’s week 1 statistics was the unfortunate shooting in Louisiana theater during its screening).

The week before, I binge-watched all unseen episodes of Inside Amy Schumer (her hilarious sketch comedy show that airs on Comedy Central). I proceeded to laugh myself to tears, and even repeat view some of the best sketches with other people (see “Football Town Nights” below, especially Amy and her ever-growing wine glass).

So now on to Trainwreck… While I didn’t laugh until I cried like I do with her show, Amy still had me loling quite a bit.

Mary Cybulski/Universal Pictures AP

Schumer and Jamea Photo by Mary Cybulski/Universal Pictures AP

From the awkward way she interacts with her nerdy nephew, to the way she condescends sports culture, Amy Schumer gets me in a way no other screenwriter/comedienne can. And the perspective on the normalization of casual sex from the female perspective is something that is severely lacking in most mainstream movies. And who can hate a movie with Bill Hader and Lebron James? I know this Ohio native can’t. And while I hate to fit a criticism into this review, it was a little too “rom-com” and not enough “raunch-com” for me. But I’ll take that with a grain of salt, considering she had to appeal to a wider audience (and I clearly prefer pushing the boundaries beyond mainstream comfort levels). Nevertheless, Schumer’s true gold still lies in her show, which, if you haven’t seen it yet, or even just the most recent season, do yourself a favor and check it out on Hulu ASAP. Just like I did with Broad City and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I am going to be seeking people out who have not seen it yet, just so I can have an excuse to watch it again.

Trainwreck is an absolute A in my book. Please, everyone, go see it. Give Amy your money. Show her that we want more. And Amy, if you’re reading this, I love you. *mouthed silently with eyes closed*

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Broad City- The Show We Have All Been Waiting for (2014)

16 Jun

BFFs, blaze buddies and daily Skype companions Abbi and Ilana star in the most wonderful show I have seen in years. Take the Broad_City_Logocrass and straightforward humor of Inside Amy Schumer, add a more connected and ongoing plot line with two best friends living in NYC (á la Flight of the Concords), plus stoner humor around every turn, and you can begin to have an idea of what this show is about.

Started by some UCB alums, and with a slew of amazing funny lady guest stars- they had me at Amy Sedaris, but Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, and Janine Garafalo also show up in an episode or two- Broad City is the feminist answer to Workaholics. This is the show that I have been waiting for and I think that many of you will agree that this refreshing take on a female-led comedy show has been a long time coming.

Ilana and Abbi

Ilana and Abbi

And don’t worry, it has been man tested and man approved. It took me three days to burn through the first (and only) season. When the boyfriend caught the last episode with me, he found that he loved it too, and I watched the entire season over again with him. Now I’m fiending for the next season, which has been greenlighted for 2015.

While the first season has already been aired, I bet Comedy Central shows reruns if you have cable, and it’s also available on Hulu Plus. I’ve been binge-watching the show on projectfree.tv.

Going back to the grading scale, I definitely give this show an A+

Check a clip below from “Hurricane Wanda!” Namaste, gracias.

 

Whores’ Glory (2011)

24 Mar

Whores'_Glory_(US_dvd_cover)Any documentaries involving real sex are going to draw in and intrigue viewers. Rather than being a gratuitous nudy romp, Whores’ Glory, directed by Michael Glawogger, shows the human side of the sex industry in three international cities: Bangladesh, India; Reynosa, Mexico and Bangkok, Thailand. The film focuses mainly on the women involved in sex work, their lives inside -and in some cases outside of- the brothels, and their motivation for working in this dangerous and usually degrading work. This movie is an interesting counterpoint, or perhaps more of a missing puzzle piece, to The Great Happiness Space, which focused on male escort clubs instead of female brothels.

I have studied about women in sex work before, (see Sex at the Margins by Laura María Agustín), so I was not surprised at the various factors that led these women to the sex industry. Nonetheless, the movie is a great sociological exposé about the men who receive their services, and the society that creates the contradictory climate where sex work is stigmatized and shunned, yet in high demand, as it has been since the beginning of civilized society. This film is a geographic and social dissertation in movie form, and yes, that means it gave me an academic boner. (Pun intended).

I found India to be the most eye-opening chapter in this three-part documentary. The caste system at play and the words of the informants in this chapter highlighted some key societal elements that lead to prostitution, at least in the case of Bangladesh. Though I would argue that the message extends far beyond those borders and sheds light on not only prostitution, but on a prevalent rape culture in many nations across the world. You may have noticed that we are beginning to open up dialogues about rape culture, most recently in the fore due to the Steubenville, Ohio rape case that has made headlines across the world.

At the Fish Tank, a brothel in Bangkok, Thailand, prostitutes sit and chat behind glass while clients take their pick from the lot by calling upon them by their assigned 2-digit number.

At the Fish Tank, a brothel in Bangkok, Thailand, prostitutes sit and chat behind glass while clients take their pick from the lot by calling upon them by their assigned number.

The madame of one of the Indian brothels talks about the vicious cycle that befalls women in sex work there:

This is our whole life. What else do we have? Think of my daughter. Because her mother is a whore, no one will marry her… When I am very old, I won’t be able to support her. She’ll have no choice. She’ll become a whore. The outside world pushes us out of the way to make room. Those people are our clients. Outside they are disgusted by us; in here, they love us and our bodies.

A barber in Bangladesh speaks out as an advocate of the brothels and an apologist for rape culture in India:

Without the… brothel district women couldn’t go out in the street without being molested. Men would be so horny they would rape them. Without those women, men would be screwing cows and goats.

A fascinating slew of vignettes make for an enlightening documentary for those viewers who still have an image of a crack-addicted street walker when they hear the word “prostitute,” Whores’ Glory is certainly worth the watch.