Well, friends, we made it. We have finally emerged from the darkness of the movie graveyard, that fetid period in cinematic time lasting from January through mid- to late-March. That horrid and frightening time during which no good movies are released, and we wander adrift in a sea of shitty D-grade rom-coms, not-great kids movies and movies that desperately needed to be released as far from the following year’s Oscar time as humanly possible.
It’s been a rough time. It’s been a painful, scary world filled with nothing but Valentine’s Day and Leap Year, Extraordinary Measures and Edge of Darkness. A time of desperately wanting to love Shutter Island and Alice in Wonderland and finding myself physically unable to do so. The darkness had settled and sometimes it was hard to imagine even a flicker of light to guide us out.
That light is here now, friends. It’s April. And April means it’s time for the good movies to come out again.
I am so excited for so many upcoming movies. Iron Man 2, MacGruber, Kick-Ass, Eclipse (just making sure you guys were paying attention), there are a lot of awesome movies coming out soon. But one movie in particular has a lot of pressure on it to be amazing, and that movie is Date Night.
Date Night, for those of you who apparently are too hipster to own a television, stars Steve Carell and Tina Fey as a married couple who find themselves caught up in dangerous mistaken identity hi-jinks. In addition to those two pillars of greatness, it also stars everyone else awesome in the world, including Mark Ruffalo, James Franco, Kristen Wiig, Mila Kunis, Taraji P. Henson and my favorite McPoyle, Jimmi Simpson. Also, it’s directed by a man who appeared in the movie Zombie Nightmare, which made for a sweet episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. What I’m saying is there’s a lot of great happening right here.
I have the highest hopes for this movie to do well, and I’m sure it will. But take away the hope, take away the critical notices and take away anyone’s thoughts about it; I need this film to do well.
Tina Fey is my favorite human being. She is beyond the realm of “writer” or “performer” in a very special list of people like Neko Case and Robert Downey, Jr. who transcend labels like “favorite actor” or “favorite singer” and can only be described as My Favorite People Ever in History. I love Tina. I love what she is, I love what she does, I love all that she stands for. I love her. And it is so important that a movie she stars in do well.
Remember those ass movies I mentioned earlier, like Valentine’s Day and Leap Year? Yeah, those are apparently considered “chick flicks.” Those are what Hollywood gives women to watch. Somewhere along the line of Hollywood history, it was decided that women will only pay money to see a) a Type A bitch finally let her hair down and fall in love with the slovenly but handsome man for whom she feigns hatred, b) women fighting, be it over a man, over a wedding or over something else useless or c) someone getting cancer/a heart condition/terminal movie death disease and dying. That’s it. We like nothing else.
But not Tina. Tina doesn’t approve. That’s why she gave us Mean Girls. Mean Girls, for anyone who hasn’t seen it, is one of the single smartest movies about the high school experience ever made. It was funny, it was sweet, it was the best kind of bitchy, and it was awesome. When Lindsay Lohan eventually dies in a big pile of cocaine and restylane, the tabloid obits will credit her with making that movie great. She, of course, had nothing to do with that. It was all Tina.
Baby Mama was pretty awesome too. A bit disappointing, but its disappointing bits rang of studio interference. Like they wouldn’t let this studio picture have all the 30 Rock-level strangeness she’s so great at. But for all its flaws, it had something so necessary: two funny female leads.
If Date Night does well, maybe studios will back the fuck off and let Tina do whatever she wants. And with that could come a snowball effect of talented female writers getting to make their movies their way. And good god is that overdue.
I reject the notion that women really have a hard time finding a man just because they’re career-oriented. I reject the notion that all any strong woman needs is a care-free manchild to free her of her frigid ways. I reject the notion that my gender only matters as a worthwhile demographic when the main character is desperately searching for a man to fulfill her, and more than anything on earth I reject that heinous notion that has plagued woman-kind for decades: that women aren’t funny.
Fuck that. Kill it, Tina. And when you do, may Steve Carell be the first to say that the film’s success is completely shared and earned by both of you.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.