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May 29, 2008

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bill

Don't be curious. That movie is a plague. No, I haven't seen it, but I know I'm right.

Dan

I could have been talked into seeing it until I found out it was two and a half hours long. Two and a half! An (alleged) comedy! It's a rare movie, period, that can sustain a running time like that and considering how hollow the show was, I'm unsurprised the reviews coming back are resoundingly negative.

Glenn Kenny

Two and a half hours, huh? Wow. Screw it—they shoulda gone for four. Hell, they shoulda had Bela Tarr direct the thing. A ten minute opening shot of Carrie trying to superglue the heel onto one of her Manolos in a rainstorm—that woulda been just the thing...

Nathan Duke

The opening shot of Bela Tarr's "Sex and the City" would be followed by a 15-minute sequence - all one-shot, of course - in which the four leads enter a dilapidated tavern and engage a drunken dance that increasingly gets out-of-hand as an Eastern European accordion tune plays on a loop.

Dan

Honestly, if Bela Tarr had directed it, I'd be there opening day.

T.Holly

If you strapped Wells down and showed him pictures of naked, barefoot and pregnant woman, his brain would light afire with glee.

demimonde

"And I couldn't help but wonder, is man just a lowly cog in the merciless grinding machine that is fate, are our destinies foretold by demons who cackle at our helplessness, or can the smallest spark of redemption -- call it love, or family, or art -- save us?"

Aaron Aradillas

Not to sound contrarian for contrarian's sake, but what's with the hostiltiy toward Sex and the City?

Personally, I was always a fan. I wasn't a fanatic, but I thought the writing and acting was surprisingly bright. Everyone knows light comedy is not easy. The ensemble acting on the show was pretty impressive. I'll gladly take SATC over the numerous Nora Ephron rom-coms that pretended to have a feminist undercurrent.

I mean the show was about 4 independent professional women who refused to feel guilty about liking sex or shopping. How shocking!

Like the underrated Entourage, SATC is a deeply moving portrayal of friendship.

The sexist-snobbish streak running through most reviews is a little sad.

Glenn Kenny

Just as Marshall Thieu fulminated to Lester Bangs that Jethro Tull had "no rebop," so I shall insist that "SATC" has no mise en scene! Ha! How's that for snobbism?

More seriously, I'll repeat something My Lovely Wife said about the show: "These characters have no values. None!"

Dan

Aaron, I can only speak for myself, but honestly there's a lot about the show itself that can be offputting to people, and I'm not talking about the usual suspects.

I myself became pretty uncomfortable as I noticed the show's formula: the centerpiece of the episode is always the humiliation, sometimes the sexual humiliation, of one or more of the women. This can be as basic as a pratfall into a pond or as elaborate as one of the women being essentially left naked in the middle of the street. I'm not a big fan of humiliation comedy in the first place, but it's that little extra edge of misogyny, especially when the show's creators and stars all started claiming their success was somehow a victory for feminism, that really makes a difference for me.

Add to this that I have met far too many young women who do not view the show as a light comedy but rather as a combination philosophical primer/dating guide, and, well, a backlash was all but inevitable.

Aaron Aradillas

Well, just because the show has been embraced by women who view it as instructional doesn't necessarily disqualify the its strengths. Do I dismiss DePalm's Scarface because it has been embraced by hip-hop culture?

One could conclude you only endorse "humiliation" as long as it is made clear it is not nice. Blue Velvet is pretty misogynistic and relies heavily on humiliation for its power.

(I am in no way comparing SATC with Blue Velvet, but am merely using it as an example.)

Josh

Like the odious Entourage, the show was an unapologetic, unexamined celebration of conspicuous consumption, white privilege, and solipsism.

Aaron, "Hip-hop culture," by contrast, is pretty rich and varied, and should not be so easily dismissed as potentially diminishing one's respect for DePalma's Scarface. Perhaps you meant "gangsta rap?" Even then, it's a pretty weak analogy.

Dan

Well, I'll take it in order:

1) Does the show have its good points? Sure. Does it have its bad points? Sure. Does one overwhelm the other? It depends on your tastes and perspective, I suppose. Personally, I've always thought the show was well-directed and acted, and had great production values, but never transcended Darren Star's network-TV mindset. That's really what's giving me pause about seeing this movie: the idea of ANY sitcom dragged out to five times its length is...discomfiting.

2) I don't know that "Scarface" is a great example because a) as amusing as it is, it's really an awful movie that thinks it's art, whereas SATC at least acknowledges it's fluff most of the time and b) all those rappers who idolize seem to have rather missed the point that Brian DePalma and Oliver Stone were trying to get across with a brick. The same cannot be said of the Carrie-idolizers, although I do agree that whether that's a flaw of the show or a flaw in that section of the audience pretty much comes down to "chicken or egg?"

Either way, I can see why it would rub people, especially women who are assumed to be in the audience for the movie and aren't, the wrong way. I posted in my blog about the film's length (and some of my personal objections to the show) and the women who commented were pretty unanimous in their hatred of the show.

Preston

"Just as Marshall Thieu fulminated to Lester Bangs that Jethro Tull had "no rebop," so I shall insist that "SATC" has no mise en scene! Ha! How's that for snobbism?"

ohhhh myyy g****d! I never liked snobbism before...

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