PRETTY HURTS: WE TALK AMY SCHUMER'S NEW FLICK
Everybody's favorite problematic white feminist made a movie about loving yourself. How'd that turn out? Should you see it? Your intrepid HEAUXS editors spent Saturday afternoon at the movies so we could tell you all about it.
ADRIENNE: What'd you think about this movie, y'all? Honestly, I thought it was sort of a snooze.
JEREMY: I thought it was fine? The trailer looked kinda funny. Then the movie was more “watch this on your couch when you’re sick” rather than “please pay $900 to watch this in a recliner in a movie theater.” It wasn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but I didn’t love it.
ADRIENNE: I could see the blandness of this movie being comforting if you were ill.
ELIZABETH: Let’s start with the movie's premise. It’s about a full grown woman whose biggest dream is to be a RECEPTIONIST at a MAKEUP company in 2018. How does someone even begin to pitch that script. What breaks my heart about the movie is that it had a big opportunity to make an important statement about self esteem, confidence, and embracing who you are. The ending, as anyone would predict, delivers that message about embracing who you are but everything else felt wrong. The story is 10 hours too long. Why was that movie so long?
ADRIENNE: It felt long as hell. I mean how many times did she go to spin class? Like five times.
JEREMY: SO LONG. SO MUCH SPINNING.
ELIZABETH: I also want to address the fact that this story does not even discuss intersectionality or diversity. I could not have been more bored by this white girl who is so sad to be an average looking woman and then has to be cruel to her girlfriends to rise up. GTFOH.
JEREMY: Can you really address that stuff when you’ve got a white girl as the main character though? Especially THIS white girl.
ELIZABETH: But we don’t even get a token Asian or a black girl bestie. This gets me deep into my feelings because I think a film like this had an opportunity to talk about the complexities of self-image for women. WOC have a different struggle about our bodies and faces because America’s beauty standard is a white person one. How differently would this film look if it was told with a smattering of varied perspectives for all ladies of all backgrounds. #intersectionalitybitch
ADRIENNE: I totally agree, I'm so bored with white women feeling bad about their appearance / bodies. And I'm a white woman. And I'm bored as hell with myself when I do it.
JEREMY: I think you guys are being too hard on it, seriously. I think seeing Amy Schumer triggers something in people (specifically women people). You want her to do all this work. We don’t expect that from all women in movies. And we certainly don’t expect it from similar dumb 80s-ish movies starring dudes. I sorta liked that it did a sorta 80s thing we don’t really see anymore. Mostly it was just too GD long. CONDENSE, MFs.
ELIZABETH: I’m going to challenge you to look at this slightly differently, Jeremy. Recently, I saw Love, Simon. When I grew up in the 80s, I saw a shit ton of movies about gay men being in BDSM clubs or some seedy ass NYC nightclub and gay men were portrayed as nasty, dark, and evil. Then in the 90s, it was all about the out and swishy queers, which was better in some ways, definitely leaned more comedic. But, now, in 2018, we have Love, Simon that tells us a different story about how you can see yourself on screen. I felt empowered and moved and enthralled by this new version of queerness and one I wished I would have had this when I was a girl. I Feel Pretty, not Amy Schumer, did not deliver like that. If Hollywood keeps insisting on selling me a story about female empowerment, which they do in this case, then please, give me a Love, Simon and keep your I Feel Pretty. Women get to be outraged because we want to be heard and see our real stories on screen, too.
ADRIENNE: TAKE ME TO CHURCH, ELIZABETH! (Also, I loved Love, Simon and omg Simon is so fucking cute, I just want to watch his face all day.)
JEREMY: Fair. You got me. I totally see what you mean. I’m just making sure we aren’t hating this movie because SCHUMES. I feel that a lot of how people respond to her movies is because SHE is in the movie and we pile shit on to a movie because we are pissed at her or whatever. But you’re right. It’s 2018. We should expect AND GET more. But you guys, why are women so troubled by Amy Schumer? I ask because I don’t hate Amy Schumer. I think she’s funny, and most of the time I enjoy her. There. I said it. I was honestly sorta troubled this week by everybody screaming about this movie before even seeing it. She gets in trouble for thinking or saying or even pretending (or not) that she’s fat or pretty or anything else. Who owns these adjectives? Isn’t being pissed at her for speaking for fat or ugly people … the same as calling someone fat or ugly or pretty or skinny or weird or whatever? I’m over hating Schumer.
ELIZABETH: I don’t have a problem with Amy Schumer, but what I will say is, “GIRL BYE!” She had her 15 minutes and did what she had to do, now move on or REINVENT. You can’t be mad at a woman trying to get her check, but I am pissed at Hollywood for trying to paint her as American Feminism. What I do think she controls is her messaging. She has been saying that I Feel Pretty is about self esteem and not looks, but really? I mean the whole thing is about how she wants to be prettier and how if she was prettier she could live the life that she wants. It was even more agonizing to watch her character berate a beautiful woman about being dumped because the woman was so beautiful. Renee, Amy’s character, actually says to this gorgeous gal, “How can you be dumped because you’re so beautiful?” It wasn’t, “How could someone dump you because you’re smart and you were so kind to me on my first day of spinning and again at the drugstore, and you’re wonderfully friendly?” That’s where Amy falls short for me. She didn’t write the character or the movie, but don’t try to sell me a different version of what it is.
ADRIENNE: Agreed. Pretty, beautiful, whatever, is the commodity this movie is selling. The entire B plot is about makeup for regular people to be more….beautiful? SNOOZE.
But to Jeremy’s original question -- why do people hate Schumer? I think she has a history of telling racist jokes, which, ugh. And she’s been given a large platform for all her “real talk” about pussies and stuff, but then her real talk sometimes just feels like it’s from a men’s locker room? Like women want her to say something more. Like old school Roseanne was funny as hell, but also saying some real shit about womanhood and class structures.
ELIZABETH: Again, I think it’s just “time’s up, girl” when it comes to Amy. Comedy is meant to push the envelope and also make real observations about our world. For sure, Amy has had some wildly racists jokes, but so have a million other comics, I mean look at any comic in the 70s, 80s, or 90s. We loved her when she challenged the patriarchy, but now it feels like she’s selling the patriarchy in a nice compact without a makeup brush.
JEREMY: ...but what if pussy jokes are all she has? Why keep pushing her to solve all the problems in film making? I think what she’s really trying to do is make mediocre shit just like TONS of dudes and for that to be OK. I wasn’t expecting this movie to blow my weave back or challenge the ideas of beauty or anything. Though … I guess I thought it might be funny … and it was sorta funny? Just sorta funny ain’t enough.
ADRIENNE: I think what Elizabeth and I are saying is, there are better people to give the platform to. We should expect and want more from all our media and the people making it. Representation, good storytelling, laughs -- it can be done. Like how great is Insecure with Issa Rae?
But what I really want to talk about is the bikini contest.
ADRIENNE: We're you offended by it? I mean, I sort of felt bad for America? And women? I felt badly for the women who had the “hot bikini bods,” like I’m sure they were hungry and/or felt a lot of pressure to keep up that bikini bod and make it perfect. And I felt badly that they had been trotted out to be in opposition to Schumer and her body. Like as if this is what the world of women is -- the bikini bods and the rest of us? So I wasn’t offended by the movie, but more just like, deep sigh, what a world.
JEREMY: I mean I know I’m a dude, but I was like whatever. OF COURSE she’s going to do some extreme thing to play out this ridiculous movie premise. Call me insensitive but I don’t feel bad for those hot bikini ladies. I didn’t think it was hilarious that she was in competition with these professional bikini models, but it wasn’t not funny? She’s ridiculous.
I challenge the idea that whatever Amy Schumer does … is somehow speaking for all women. Why can’t Schums make a goofy movie about anying? There are tons of dudes making jack-ass movies all the time that are mediocre. Why can’t she do that as a woman? Why does she need to consult Bell Hooks before making a comedy film? I think people are more into hating on her than anything else.
ELIZABETH: That scene was fine and what made the movie so boring and expected. OF COURSE she’d have to enter a bikini contest to prove her self worth rather than entering a marathon or a robot building contest. I am all about bikini contests, like if you got it and you like it, then do it, but know you’re more than that. Hell, if that’s all you think you are and that makes you happy, bish, do it. As far as Amy, I’m not mad at her for this, she didn’t write this, but I think the writer’s could have come up with a stronger idea, stop being lame writers.
ADRIENNE: Agreed!! Such a good point re a marathon or a robotic competition or like anything pushing her brain or body in a positive way. Re Jeremy’s point, Amy doesn’t have to speak for everybody. But I do think women are their own oppressors with all this beauty stuff. And maybe dancing while pudgy is a joke best left in the 90s. And maybe there are so few female comedians given large platforms that thinking women want a little more from them.
Can we talk about Michelle Williams tho?
JEREMY: I was fully ready to jump up and slap Michelle for doing this movie … but she was actually really good. I guess all those Oscar noms mean something. She was great.
ELIZABETH: We can’t talk about her because I am still gagging at her amazing talents.
ADRIENNE: Michelle Williams was fucking everything and I’m glad she got paid and prob had some fun doing it. Like this was a cakewalk for her. And her bestie Busy Phillips was there, so Michelle was living her best life.
SPEAKING OF BUSY. Why did Busy Phillips have that truly terrible spray tan? And how much do we love Aidy Bryant?
JEREMY: I think too much tan and brown hair was supposed to help us think she isn’t GORGEOUS. Listen. I’m a big homo from way back, and Busy makes me pause and question my sexuality. So really what I’m saying is this movie is racist.
ELIZABETH: RIGHT?? Like hey -- you know what will make this girl ugly? DARK BROWN SKIN. It was gross and I am mad it. There is no reason this movie couldn’t have addressed the problematic issues with American beauty standards through the eyes of a multitude of women, but especially not one that is blue eyed and BLONDE. Was the casting director living under a rock? Don’t she not know how to read because diversity IS THE TALK these days.
ADRIENNE: They were like, we put in a Naomi Campbell cameo, we’re done. But also, I love Aidy Bryant.
OK, final verdict time. Should people see this movie? Should we be mad that this is the schlock Hollywood is selling us? GO!
ELIZABETH: The soundtrack was bumping; crazy for Michelle Williams, Lauren Hutton, and Mizz Naomi; Otherwise, skip it because you got so much more to do than watch a “pretty” girl be mean. SPOILER ALERT: She gets the dude because that’s how we validate women all the time -- worthy of being partnered.
ADRIENNE: Go to this movie if you’re bored and have low expectations. This movie feels loooong. A lot of it is predictable. And if you’re a thinking person, there are some weird logical flaws -- she really thought she looked like an entirely different person? Like she really thought her boyfriend didn't recognize her? So then that's not about how you think about yourself -- your actual face or whatever -- but again is about some weird preordained ideal, she looked like someone else completely? But then she recognized herself as herself when she goes back to being herself but then herself is good enough? What is happening? Stop thinking, eat Raisinets.
JEREMY: The movie is fineeee. It’s more of a I’m sick with the flu oh look at this thing on HBO than like something you need to spend $14 to see.