Friday Film Review: Nine to Five

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Here we are!  This is my last post on this blog, and I’m very excited that I’m reviewing Nine to Five for it.

First off, if you’re one of those people that, for some inexplicable reason, do not like Dolly Parton, I don’t even know what to say to you.  Shit like that breaks my heart.  She is literally everything that is amazing about Nashville.

This movie revolves around three women working in an office.  Judy (Jane Fonda), a newly divorced lady, has snagged a new job at the office and is working/being trained by Violet (Lily Tomlin), a widow and mother of four kids.  There is also Doralee (Dolly Parton), the sassy personal assistant to the boss, Frank Hart (Dabney Coleman).  The movie is about sexism (and, if you’re paying close attention, racism, ableism, and ageism) and Frank is pretty much just one of the worst bosses around.  He only hires [young/pretty] women, and rules them like slaves from 9-5.

On a technical aspect, there’s nothing that really stands out to me with the film.  It’s a pretty straightforward 80s film.  I liked the opening sequence, because they focused on everyone’s shoes, and all the women had to wear heels as part of workplace attire.  And anyone who’s ever worn heels, you know, it’s kind of the worst thing ever when you have to do it for more than a couple of hours.  And just from looking at the sequence, about half the people looked like women going to work – so a lot.  The women looked stressed, they are getting their kids to school, and they are rushing off to barely make it to work on time, all the while, Parton’s “Nine to Five” song plays in the background, and clearly lays out everything we are about to see.  There’s also a weird murder fantasy sequence, that’s hilarious, as a result of the girls smoking pot (and, most importantly, bonding).

In some ways, this film is mind-blowingly revolutionary.  I’ve seen plenty of films that take a really close look at sexism in everyday life, but not a lot of mainstream ones.  They are few, and very far, between.  Even now, I see movies that aren’t a whole lot different than movies during times where people claim “things were different.”  Hell, it’s rare to have a film starring women, even now.  Ask any Hollywood producer, or a female director – female-lead films are something they hate touching.  So, if you’re afraid of watching this movie because you think it might be boring or a “chick flick,” go away, I don’t want to talk to you.  This film was awesome.

And in other ways, this film shows how far we’ve actually come (it’s not very far).  I worked for YEARS in offices, and dealt with a lot of the same stuff these girls dealt with.  I’ve been sexually harassed.  I’ve been verbally abused.  I’ve trained people to move up over me.  I’ve created projects that my boss took credit for, including materials that went national.  And I’ve been denied promotions, even when they were promised to me, and even though I might have trained everyone in that department, and wrote their training manual.  It hurts.  My feelings actually hurt FOR the characters in the movie.  Because it’s still there.  Maybe it’s less likely for some of the things in the film (at least without repercussions) but it’s all still there, looming over anyone who isn’t a straight white guy.

Then there’s Doralee.  Her character comments on the all too familiar thing girls tend to deal with – sex-based gossip.  She tells her husband, “I’m as nice as I know how to be to every single person down at that office.  Everybody treats me like a bastard at a family reunion.”  Doralee, girl, I can relate.  And she IS one of the sweetest sounding people ever.  So people assume she’s a whore and dumb.  But we, as an audience get to see all the gossip before we really meet her, and with her tight sweater and fluffy blond hair, I know some probably made knee-jerk judgements.  Actually, when Judy first meets Doralee, she subtly touches her own breasts in a weird, judgmental, yet self-conscious gesture.  I’ve actually seen people do that with me (hey, I’ve knocked things over in stores with my knockers, so I’m hyper aware of people’s reactions to my chest).  It was like, a genius thing.  I don’t know if that was a writing thing, or a Fonda thing, but it was beautiful.

All the actors were amazing.  Tomlin is one of my all-time favorites, and she just shined in this role.  She’s intelligent, independent, strong, and yes, just a little crazy.  She shows that even the most level-headed people will snap after a while.  And she’s pretty level-headed.  She can take just about anything in stride, shown by the scene where she’s taking calls, and without skipping a beat, is able to navigate her children’s arguments via a phone call in the midst of madness.

My only criticism of this film is Judy’s character.  I feel like she was the main character, but was the least developed.  It was like, “oh, her hubby left her for a secretary so now she hates secretaries.  Oh, now they are friends, she was wrong about all of them, okay bye.”  They could have done better.  Fonda is a great actor.

Now, as for the boss, I’m not going to really go into that.  Watch the movie, it’s pretty obvious.  He’s a very 2-dimensional character that serves a purpose beyond the actual character.  We don’t need him to be a person.  Women are so flat in movies most of the time, that making him flat was a statement in itself.  The only big difference, is that society doesn’t notice that female characters are flat, that they are only defined by their romantic relationships (or lack thereof), by having/not having children, and most importantly, by their bodies.  They are not making a statement by doing this.  They do this to spotlight the male characters.  I wonder why rape culture is so prevalent?

I did mention very briefly that this film also alludes to other unresolved human rights’ issues.  While they don’t state anything outright, because they are only dealing with WHITE feminism, they still note it.  We see African Americans unable to advance, and when things “change” in the movie, you should notice that there was a lack of diversity in many ways.  You don’t notice, until it’s there/not there anymore.

So, if you are one of those people that don’t believe everyone should be paid equally for the same work, and be afforded dignity with their occupations, AND you see this movie – you are just an asshole.  Because your arguments are idiotic, and they were the same arguments they used to argue against anti-sexual harassment, healthcare, overtime, childcare, etc.  It’s frustrating.  People like that frustrate me.  And hurt my feelings.  I get lots of hurt feelings.

But seriously, watch this movie.  It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s an easy movie to watch.

Favorite Line:
“And if I wanna have an affair, or play sex games, or do M&M’s, you can’t stop me!” – Judy

Favorite Scene:
I really like the scene where Frank is pursuing Doralee in the office.  It’s the first time I’ve seen a scene like that in a movie, and didn’t get intense anxiety.  Because Doralee is the most calming character with a gun I’ve ever seen.

IMDB Stats:
Director: Colin Higgins
Year: 1980
Rating: PG (although, it’s like, old-school PG – there is a lot of naughty language, and like, drug-use, so if your kids aren’t used to that, proceed with caution)

Currently streaming on Netflix.

That’s all folks!  I’ve enjoyed writing for you all, and I’m even more excited for all the things that I’ve got going for the future.  Happy blogging!

xo – Meg

 

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WARNING: This is a Super Girly Post!

So yesterday, I decided to bake cookies for my dogs.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally one of those people who are obsessed with their animals and treat them like human children.  However, I never ever dreamed I’d be baking cookies for them.  But they ran out of bedtime treats.  We didn’t have any money to get any for a while.  So… naturally… I baked some for them.

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Yup.  I managed to find cookie cutters in my house in the shapes of puppies and kitties.  For anyone that’s curious about the recipe, I got it here.  I used this particular one because I had all the ingredients and it looked easy (it was).  I modified it to be gluten free (because I’m gluten free, and do not own wheat flour) by using Pamela’s Artisan multi-purpose flour, and coconut flour.  I also had to add more water to get that sticky texture and to make it less crumbly.  That was all.  I burned the last batch, and was worried I’d have to throw them out, but then I realized they were dogs and would still love them.

So now on to girly things.  Now, I consider myself to be very progressive and whatnot, and I hate gendering things, however, for this post, it’s all about the girl stuff.  Feminine.  Anyone who identifies as woman.  That sort of thing.  So don’t get offended if you think I’m excluding people, I just have an intense feeling to celebrate the woman stuff right now.  OK.

I’m quickly approaching “that time of the month,” and therefore have been dealing with all the aches and pains that go along with it.  However, this month, I had a light bulb go off in my head that totally changed my perception of things.  For whatever reason, I just had this flood of emotion go through me that just really loved being a woman.  I’ve never wanted to be a woman.  Even as a young girl, I wanted to grow up to be a boy.  Because girl stuff sucked.  And I thought the same as a teen.  And even as an adult, I was conditioned to hate everything about being a girl.  Periods.  Childbirth.  Menopause.  Harassment.  Unequal pay.  The list goes on.  Older women in my life did this really weird thing where they wear it all like a badge of honor.  They don’t like it necessarily, but they got through it, and everything sucked but oh well.  And maybe I’m just paranoid, but I swear I saw a glint of revenge in their eyes as soon as I went through puberty.

But you know what?  The things that matter, the things that make me a woman (not societal things), I truly do LOVE.  I LOVE the fact that my body changes with every single little change in the air.  I’m so sensitive to it all.  I feel like I won the lottery, because I am more in tune with nature because of how my body is made and reacts.  Even though I was taught the only reason to have breasts and a period was to prepare oneself for motherhood, I see it totally differently now.  Sure, yes, having children is strongly tied to those things.  But they are not the only reason for them, in my opinion.

Because I cannot have children, I have had the honor to get to know my body in a different way.  I’ve had the chance to see all the other things it can do.  I listen to it more now.  I understand it more.

I don’t feel resentment towards my body.  If it’s tired because of cramps, it’s OK to slow down and listen to it.  It’s not trying to kill me.  It’s talking to me about its cycle.  Is it different this month?  Did gorging on pizza help or did cupcakes help better?  Some yoga moves make me cry.  Why?

I’m not saying that “non-women” can’t be sensitive.  Again, I’m just having a personal celebration party.  I also really wanted to write an honest post about girly things, because I never generally feel “safe” to be feminine.  In work, it’s seen as a fault.  In school, no one would work on my films if I spouted girly, feminine things.  In fact, a teacher even told us to not make “sensitive” films (you know, ones about feelings and emotions outside of anger and aggression – even sadness was acceptable, unless it got messy).  I think it’s a sad thing, when people can’t be sensitive.  Softness does not equate weakness, just as being feminine does not mean you’re soft.  Things are way more complex than that, and I love it.

Until next time.

This Land Was Made for You and Me

My brain finally decided to meander its way back into my head.  Vacations can be rough as an “adult” person because everything seems to pile on while you’re away.  I finally caught up with my classwork and revisited my goals – I’m on track with some, and not so much with others.  That’s OK.  They’re still getting done, I’ve just had to readjust some things.  I’ve also been thinking about this blog, and I decided that on Fridays, I’m going to post a review on a film that’s either not mainstream, or is an older flick.  Let’s see if I can put my degree to use with some B movies.  Oh, and all of them will be streaming on Netflix (at least at the time of writing my blog), so everyone can share in the fun!

So I’ve been debating all morning on whether or not to write about something incredibly controversial, but incredibly important to me.  I was going to write something on the fourth of July, but man, would it have been a different post!

I’m going to bring it up.

I’m losing a lot of my rights in my country and state, and I’m pissed about it.

I don’t want to rehash everything that’s already been said, in every way possible.  That would be a waste of my time and yours.  Everyone already has their opinions on the matter, even if their opinions are completely based in falsities, it doesn’t matter.  People like to throw politics into everything and it ruins any hope of intelligent thought.  And guess what?  You know what politics helps?  Politicians.  It helps no one.  When you align yourself with any political group, you are, in essence, totally screwing yourself over.  Because they don’t care about you, and they want us (the people) to fight each other, and ignore all the shitty things they are doing to ALL OF US.  You may not believe me, but I am on everyone’s side – the side of humanity.  I just can’t side with any political thoughts.

OK, enough of that rant.

Yesterday, I was listening to “This Land is Your Land” in the car when I picked Zach up from the bus stop.  This is arguably one of the most “American” songs out there, and with the exception of “America the Beautiful,” one of our non-official anthems.  Most people know the words to this song, even when they don’t know our national anthem.  Seriously, this is one of my favorite songs, I don’t know why, but it’s just so beautiful and I love it.

What’s hilarious is that this song was written by an outspoken pro-union, communist during the depression era.  Ha!

Anyway, Zach asked me what was wrong, and I told him I needed to listen to something that reminded me why I even stay in America, let alone love it.  Because seriously, I was ready to abandon ship and move to somewhere like Norway, where women are seen as people, and I’m free to not worship anything without people looking at me like I love the dark lord.

So we both listed off things we loved.  Mostly, they were people.  People like Woody Guthrie, who loved America so much he wanted to make it better.  He saw a different America, and through his songs, we can remember a really dark time in our country (with hope).  He was hunted by the US government, and he still loved it.  You really can hear it in his lyrics.  I can name so many people like him that I admire, from the ever popular Bob Dylan to the more obscure, like Wanda Sykes or, Wil Wheaton.  But Woody really holds a large chunk of my spirit.

Now, at the end of the conversation, I wasn’t like, “Oh, the US has its problems but it could be a lot worse!”  Yes, that’s true, but it could also be a lot better.  There are over a dozen countries that rate higher in everything over us, so I’m not going to be delusional.  But I felt a little more grounded.  I really do love it here.  Sometimes I feel like I am constantly fighting an uphill battle, and I get tired.  For instance, I shouldn’t have to constantly defend myself.  I shouldn’t be accused of being disrespectful because I spoke up when someone says something wrong to me.  Damn, it’s OK if I have different opinions than you.  Stop being so insecure and dismissing mine as a sign of disrespect and subversion.

Whoops, got off track.

Anyway, I love America.  I think I’ll stay here a while longer.  Besides, I’ve never been one to shy away from a fight.

Until next time.