There’s been so much crap going on in the world, and, honestly, I just don’t have the wherewithal to talk about it. I thought about bloggin’ about it, but no dice. So today, I will ramble about the ancient film “What Women Want” and what it got wrong. Pretty much all the women are terrible caricatures with no interiority despite literal access to their innermost thoughts, but there are some pretty grievous errors.
- We see an office building in the morning. Women are bustling everywhere and thinkin’ lady thoughts. Yet not a one is thinking about finding the most private bathroom for pooping. This is a thought that I had almost everyday at my corporate job. Mel Gibson’s character should’ve experienced this as a giant, collective shout between 8 AM and 9 AM.
- There’s a point where he walks past a lady running and she’s busy calculating her calories for the day and how much she’s burning, silly lady thoughts, etc. Maybe there are runners who do this, but I’ve never met them. The runners I know, even the calorie conscious ones, think about their average time, what their stretch goals are, and goddamnit not being lapped by that other person who always runs here. (I’m more of a sporadic runner, and I end up concocting elaborate fantasies to keep myself running, such as pretending I’m pulling a sledge full of supplies for an Antarctic expedition.)
- There’s that scene when people are brainstorming how to sell aspirin to ladies or something. One woman thinks about using it to avoid sex, and Mel floats it as a selling point. Oh the lols. How is it that none of the women in this group think, “I’m going to expire from vicarious embarrassment,” “This is why I should’ve finished my dissertation,” or, at the very least, “How do I never work with this douche again?”
- Lack of back burner anxiety. Anxiety takes up a lot of brain RAM, and at least a few times a day, many women are thinking about whether or not they should park in that parking garage after dark, if they’re going to run into the creepy clerk at the convenience store, if they should change to flats if they’re going downtown by themselves, if today is the day they stand up to that jerk a couple desks away or if it’s not worth the risk, if there’s going to be work repercussions if they go home when their kid is sick, if they’re striking the right balance of confident yet deferential, etc. If someone could really read women’s thoughts, I would think that there would be a constant thrum of these background thoughts, at least for some women. Yet all the anxiety women have in this movie is cute, trite, and trivial, even that one lady with suicidal thoughts whose only role is to be saved by Mel Gibson. Much of it also revolves around this random guy. Speaking of which…
- All these women are thinking about Mel Gibson. Really? I know this is when he was still a sought after actor and not a raving anti-Semite, but really? The truth is, even when you’re around them, other people are usually not thinking about you. (Except, you know, when you surprise them by being a gross douchebag in a brainstorming session.) Rather than realizing that he hurts people by being a chauvinistic boor, Mel would realize that despite all his success he’s just not that important in the grand scheme of things, that while believing himself to be some kind of great playboy, he’s hardly even a blip on the radar for most of the people he interacts with. The better movie would be his ongoing existential crisis.