Tag Archives: Don't Worry Darling

The Films the Oscars Forgot, Part 1

You’re going to have years when someone isn’t represented in the Oscar nominees. All five Best Directors being men? Nine out of 10 Best Picture nominees being directed by men? You’re going to have years like that, just like you’re going to have years when all five Best Director nominees are women and nine out of 10 Best Picture nominees are directed by women. That’s just the way variance works and – wait, what?!? There’s never been a year like that for women? Only four out of 65 Best Director nominees since 2010 have been women, and that’s such a statistical uptick we’ve celebrated it?

Look, this is one of the few years where I feel the Oscars got the Best Picture right. Normally if they remember to nominate a movie like “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, it’s astounding they recognized it – let alone seeing it win. But the full scope of the nominees remains staggeringly narrow.

This is not an article about films by women. I’ve got some in here written and directed by men that were overlooked, too. I just took my list of best films and looked at the ones that saw no Oscar nominations whatsoever. My guideline for this isn’t: select films by women. But there’s zero way of looking at the Oscars and understanding their guideline as anything but: overlook films by women. Just four out of 65 nominees. When I do an article about the best films the Oscars overlook, what do you think’s going to come up?

We constantly complain about a lack of originality in Hollywood, while overwhelmingly watching films from the same narrow band of perspectives that have been platformed for a century in filmmaking. What do you think’s going to happen?

The Oscars are recognizing more than they did before, and that means being more inclusive than before. But getting one step of the work done doesn’t mean all the work’s done. It can be true that the winner this year was the right choice, and that the nominations as a whole still have a mountain of work to do.

These are the best films that didn’t get a single Oscar nomination, and many of them deserved nominations in any fair fight. You’ve also got a film or two that didn’t meet eligibility requirements, which are a mish-mash that already disqualify an enormous number of independent, streaming, and international titles.

Mad God

written & directed by Phil Tippett

We’ll start off with my most controversial pick, and I mean just among myself. My own internal monologue is asking me, “Are you sure?” and it’s responding, “Damn straight”. That’s because “Mad God” is a test of patience and fortitude, an unimaginably painstaking stop motion film from Phil Tippett.

The man is a legend in visual effects, having done the stop motion and miniatures for the original Star Wars trilogy, “Dragonslayer”, and “RoboCop”, and the visual effects for “Willow”, “Jurassic Park”, and “Starship Troopers”. He evolved from an animation director of stop motion and optical effects to one overseeing CGI. 30 years in the making, “Mad God” mixes these with puppetry and live action.

What’s “Mad God” about? A courier descends from the heavens to journey through layered histories of worlds that have each destroyed themselves. If you’ve ever seen a contemporary art installation that one of you’s going to love and be moved by and the other is going to be repulsed by and immediately leave, this is that. If you don’t have the stomach for gross and gore, don’t touch the film. One of its medical scenes is as close as I’ve come to feeling like a night terror’s been realized on screen.

I’m not usually one for that kind of thing, so why do I still like this? Its episodic journey through dense environments of violence and brutality doesn’t feel egotistical or fetishized; it feels reflective of the horrors we read about every day. It feels understanding of our smallness in the face of genocides, systemic abuses, and disasters.

My greatest fear is that this is all humanity is, that anything good or kind I do, or that anything anyone’s done to dodge or minimize harm doesn’t matter. My fear is that in numbers we constantly regress into destroying ourselves, that not enough rise against this cruelty for long enough to make a difference. Part of me knows that each kindness, protest, and the work of activism adds up to a mountain of effort that avalanches into momentum. Part of me knows that each cruelty, abuse, and con does the same. “Mad God” envisions that fear in all its horror. It even asks, “What if that’s all there is?” It doesn’t feel good, but it gives me a space to confront and process it.

That’s what the best contemporary art accomplishes. It creates a hall of mirrors to start reflecting pieces of ourselves inside. Where “Mad God” pushes even beyond this is in considering our creations of divinity. Regardless of whether a particular divinity is real, we certainly do a job of projecting ourselves onto it. “Mad God” works as both a cocktail of human horrors and a creation myth of universes each doomed to self-destruction. To beget something as violent as humanity’s been, how grotesque must divinity be if we’re made in its image? To beget a divinity that licenses and allows our cruelty, how much cruelty must we project onto it in order to justify permitting our own? If divinity is that hall of mirrors, what the hell are we reflecting?

Many of the films we celebrate each year are versions of stories we’ve seen before. I’ve seen no version of “Mad God” before. It is, perhaps, deeply flawed. It is certainly repulsive. While there are influences or fitting stop motion companion pieces to it, such as Mark Osborne’s short “More”, Fred Stuhr’s music video for Tool’s “Sober”, or Jan Svankmajer’s surreal “Alice”, “Mad God” is something for which there is no other version. That makes it the best and worst example of what it is, and what it amounts to is a truth about humanity at large that I sometimes fear overbears the other truths we carry.

Petite Maman

written & directed by Celine Sciamma

Nelly is 8. Her grandmother has died. Her parents clean out her grandmother’s home, filled with memories of her mother’s youth. Nelly has little to do, so plays in the woods. She meets another little girl, Marion. Somehow, Nelly has met her own mother, when she was Nelly’s age.

The concept is explored slowly and simply. The two girls aren’t there to ask sci-fi questions about time travel or come up with a solution to their mystery. There’s no ticking clock or magical quandary. They build a hut from tree branches, play board games, and put on a play for no one else but themselves. In these simple activities rests a profound and needed connection, one that speaks to Nelly’s fracturing family and Marion’s own well-being.

Celine Sciamma is the writer and director of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and “Girlhood”. I’d argue she’s our best director working today, but that’s for another article. Suffice to say “Petite Maman” is her lightest touch yet. Sciamma can sit you in moments that are passing and forgettable in ways that make you realize how human and deeply caring they are. An observation from a child can describe the situation of an adult more succinctly than our greatest writers. The smallest and most ordinary act can be a towering expression of love.

Sciamma explores a child’s fear and confidence as the shape of her world changes. She explores how generations can care for each other, yet be incapable of communicating the impact of loss between them. She explores how a child sees a parent’s chronic illness, and comes to understand it with maturity. “Petite Maman” feels like every moment of it really happens, that this tale is as natural as a windy day.

The film presents what happens as real, confirmed by other characters in different ways. Yet even if it is metaphor or imaginary friend, that demarcation becomes unimportant because it represents something real to a child. It represents what they are going through. That internal reality has to be the film’s and thus ours as well. Anything else wouldn’t be a true window into Nelly’s experience.

Sciamma doesn’t overwhelm you; she gives you the space to overwhelm yourself. These acts and expressions of care often go unrecognized in our lives. She simply recognizes them with us. She opens a window onto other people’s lives so that we might understand our own better. I leave all her films feeling gentler and, I truly think, understanding kindness better.

The Woman King

directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
written by Dana Stevens, Maria Bello

“The Woman King” easily stands beside other historical epics in terms of visuals, design, acting, story – everything you want out of the genre. The African Kingdom of Dahomey is at a crossroads, on the precipice of war with its neighbors and debating its participation in the slave trade even as European nations encroach. Viola Davis plays Nanisca, the general of the nation’s all-women fighting corps.

Thuso Mbedu’s Nawi is given up by her father to the army and undergoes grueling training to become a soldier as war breaks out. Under the tutelage of Lashana Lynch’s veteran Izogie, she learns to manage her training in conjunction with her independent streak. There are battle scenes, political intrigue, even a forbidden love story. It’s all well done, and none of it pretends that the era can only be presented in muddled gray-blues the way our historical epics about Europe are.

Why didn’t “The Woman King” get more recognition? It suffered a concerted effort from right-wing social media to de-legitimize its launch. Click on any video or article about it and you can see a deluge of comments criticizing the film for pretending Dahomey didn’t have slaves of its own. Except this is wrong. Not only is Dahomey depicted having slaves of its own, whether it should continue participating in the slave trade is the entire plot of the movie. Yet the controversy allowed conservative media to make the argument that if Black filmmakers were erasing an African country’s history of slavery (they didn’t), why shouldn’t white people be allowed to do the same? This is an argument easily disproved by watching the actual movie, or even just the opening text crawl of the movie, but the average Fox News viewer or Kiwi Farms poster isn’t going to do that when they could just spend that time getting angry about something they made up.

The astroturfing didn’t stop there – conservatives went on about how the women army unit of Dahomey lost in both battles it fought, in 1890 and 1892, as if the two-and-a-half years Europeans had bothered to record was somehow a representative history of a unit that was in service for more than 200 years. If I looked at two later years of Vietnam and extrapolated that it meant the United States’ military was a joke that had never won any battle or war, I’d be laughed out of any room where someone hadn’t already punched me in the face. So why would we do the same to someone else’s history (hint: cause racism!)

Yet this concerted effort across conservative media and mainstream social media hamstrung the film, discouraged audiences, and blunted enough support to turn American awards bodies away (“The Woman King” did fine overseas at the BAFTAs with two nominations, for instance). We accept deeply inaccurate historical films all the time. There’s virtually no scene in “Braveheart” that isn’t rife with inaccuracies (Robert the Bruce, who betrays William Wallace in the film, never betrayed him and was the actual figure celebrated in Scottish history as Braveheart; none of its battles happen the way they’re presented; the princess Wallace gets pregnant was three years old at the time; there’s a whole list of this). In fact, “The Woman King” is probably on the more accurate side of historical epics – not that this is saying all that much given the genre. So why do we suddenly care if a historical epic has inaccuracies? (hint: cause racism!)

Choose to watch the film, however, and you get a lively, engaging, visually exciting, and terrifically acted drama.


directed by Dan Trachtenberg
written by Patrick Aison, Dan Trachtenberg, Jim Thomas

With apologies to whichever guns you think are top or most mavericky, “Prey” is the best Western action movie since “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”. This is due to the film’s focus on character development and plot. What’s all that nonsense doing in a modern action movie? Hearkening back to an age when action-adventure movies didn’t leave off the ‘adventure’ side of things. I like my action-action movies and my action-romances and my join the Navy-join the Navy movies, but action-adventure still has a very compelling place.

The fifth main entry in the “Predator” series is the best by far, and a remarkably technically accomplished one. If you’re not familiar with the franchise, it tells the story of an alien race that treats the Earth as a hunting ground, complete with the kind of trophy killing our hunters take part in. Humans inevitably prove one of the most sought after prey. Landing in the Great Plains of 1719, the Predator quickly starts hunting people, Comanche and colonizer alike.

“Prey” features a mostly indigenous cast. Amber Midthunder plays Naru, a Comanche woman who bucks gender roles by wanting to hunt. She’s a good tracker, but also doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. “Prey” is intriguing because it doesn’t pose an Arnold Schwarzenegger commando, Danny Glover cop, or squad of elite military getting overwhelmed by Predators. It poses a talented but still inexperienced hunter against something unfathomable. She’s prone to make costly mistakes, but she’s also quick to observe and learn. This ratchets up the tension, and “Prey” does the best job in the series of having us notice things the hero can use right as she does.

There’s also a lesson taken from “Alien” here – the inherent tension of a woman making the right decision and men assuming she knows so little they should immediately do the opposite regardless of whether it’s smart. That speaks to something real. No matter how much you’re trained as a soldier or hunter, the one thing men are trained in even earlier is to automatically dismiss what women tell us. “Prey” portrays the cost of this bluntly.

It still may seem ridiculous to suggest a “Predator” movie is one of the best films of the year, but it really is that good. No nomination for its cinematography, which relies almost entirely on natural light, is one of the biggest oversights of the Oscars. The pacing is extraordinary and genuinely communicates the threat of a Predator as something unknowable and difficult to quantify, maddening in its otherworldly incomprehensibility. It makes the creature more than an action movie villain, it makes the Predator a horror movie stalker.

This is all paired with a surprisingly complex and moving metaphor for the horrors of colonization and genocide. It manages to take how we feel in opposition to an inhuman hunter of people and reflect it onto how we should feel for an inhumane one. There’s a scene of slaughtered buffalo as far as the eye can see, killed to starve out Native American tribes and skinned to deny them a resource and trade good – something that is real and did happen far beyond the already unfathomable extent shown in the movie. A Predator suddenly seems far less otherworldly and cruel by comparison. It’s one of the best scenes in a film this year, and it’s hardly the only pointed moment “Prey” brings to bear.

It’s a complex and thoughtful movie that delivers on action, adventure, pace, atmosphere, character, and goes above and beyond when it comes to theme and implication. You can watch it in English or a Comanche dub.

Don’t Worry Darling

directed by Olivia Wilde
written by Katie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke

“Don’t Worry Darling” is the tale of gossip websites pitting two women against each other despite evidence to the contrary. It’s the story of yet another conservative astroturfing campaign being way more successful in de-legitimizing a woman than you’d like to believe they’re capable of. It obsesses over what day several years ago Olivia Wilde might have started dating her actor Harry Styles because we care when women do this, but shrug our shoulders when a significant portion of male directors do.

But there’s a film, too! One of the best of the year even! Did you know that? “Don’t Worry Darling” isn’t just another opportunity to de-legitimize and trap a woman in a make-believe world where men dictate reality, it’s also a complex cyberpunk tale about…well, crap…de-legitimizing and trapping a woman in a make-believe world where men dictate reality.

None of that’s a spoiler. Unlike apples-to-oranges “The Matrix” comparisons, “Don’t Worry Darling” is a cyberpunk movie that acknowledges the last 20+ years of cyberpunk filmmaking and assumes you already know how all that works. Instead, it becomes a Hitchcockian take on the genre that studies how Florence Pugh’s Alice can recognize and escape a false world. The film picks apart male supremacy movements with expert precision and doesn’t forget to highlight the extent to which complicity enables oppression.

Read any of the news about this film, and you’d think it’s more important who director Olivia Wilde is dating, or – despite a complete lack of evidence – whether that dating means she cheated on her husband (like we know for certain Steven Spielberg and James Cameron did to their wives with their actresses to our utter lack of giving a shit, as well as continuing to nominate them regularly including both their films this year. But a woman might have possibly done it maybe but also maybe not, so get the klaxons klaxoning).

Wilde leveled one of the most important films aimed at dismantling male supremacist bullshit in years, and the MRA and far right convinced people left, right, and center that her relationship history meant her film was unimportant and unworthy. How far we’ve come. We like to imagine we’re immune to the next Trump when we conform to the groundwork of it every day. Luckily, artists like Wilde are making films meant to shine a spotlight on this treatment – if only we’d watch them, and by ‘we’ I mean men as well.

Read Part 2, featuring another five films the Oscars forgot.

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Olivia Wilde Got F*cked Over by Conservative Astroturfing

Have you seen “Don’t Worry Darling”? It’s a great film that had a lot of awards buzz before gossip rags got hold of director Olivia Wilde’s private life. It wouldn’t be the first film to heap up awards buzz only to fizzle out after premiering, but most of those movies didn’t have to deal with a media frenzy to dismantle and de-legitimize a woman director.

We can debate whether the film is good or not. I think it is. It should’ve gotten some nominations on the awards circuit, and possibly even a few nominations at the Oscars. The biggest criticism against the movie itself is that its “Matrix”-like twist is apparent from the start, but that overlooks that the movie’s intention is pretty clearly to make it apparent from the start.

We don’t look at “Inception” and say it did a bad job of hiding that some of the story takes place in people’s minds, mainly because the movie tells us in the opening scene that some of the story takes place in people’s minds. I don’t know why we would criticize “Don’t Worry Darling” for taking place outside reality when it makes this crystal clear early in the story through editing and visual effects. It’s not made to do the same thing as “The Matrix”, it’s made to speak to an audience that already knows how “The Matrix” and films like it operate. Escaping a world you know is fake from the beginning is an entire subgenre of cyberpunk, and I’ve never seen any other film or novel in that subgenre criticized for assuming its audience is already familiar with the genre basics.

Take it another way. We don’t criticize mysteries from “Columbo” to “Poker Face” for telling us who the murderer is at the opening. That’s the format. It’s the difference between a whodunnit and a howcatchem. It feels disingenuous to criticize the subgenre for letting us know we’re in a notional reality when that is the format of the subgenre. That’s the difference between a “Matrix” and a “Don’t Worry Darling”. It’s not an isthisreal, it’s a howescapeit.

That’s boring, Gabe, get to the juicy gossip bits! Fine, let’s talk about the dismantling of the public perception of Olivia Wilde. After all, her publicity work for the film started with getting served custody papers at CinemaCon, as she was speaking in front of a crowd of 3,000 that included producers, distributors, and journalists. What a horrible thing to have happen to h– I mean for her to have done somehow in a way that’s her fault I guess?

She was in a custody battle with Jason Sudeikis. His spokesperson insisted that serving custody papers to her at work in front of 3,000 people in a way that could have damaged both her reputation and the marketability of her film was an honest mistake. It required the person serving her to take a COVID test days in advance and be approved for an event badge. But you know what? Let’s try that reasoning out. Perhaps those tasked with serving Wilde the papers made a decision that Sudeikis had nothing to do with. His spokesperson said so and there’s no evidence to the contrary – please keep this sentence in mind.

But Wilde also had a spat with Shia LaBeouf. She said he was fired from the project in order to retain Pugh, and he presented evidence that Wilde had asked him to stay on. Now, it’s fully possible for a director to ask someone to stay on and then later fire them. Wouldn’t even be the first time it happened to LaBeouf, but this didn’t occur to just anyone. It happened to domestic abuser and serial plagiarist Shia LaBeouf. How could we ever doubt his wor….oh dear.

But Wilde also had a hysterical shouting match with Florence Pugh that left the two at odds. This was reported by culture magazine Vulture, dependent on a source they said spent significant time on set. This became a fact in many people’s heads despite no corroboration. Meanwhile, more than 40 crew members who were also on set during this time publicly called these assertions false. The claim is that Pugh was fed up with Olivia Wilde leaving the set with supporting actor Harry Styles and being a no-show to directing her own film. No other crew has corroborated this. I’ll repeat again: more than 40 have disputed it, and put their names to it. Perhaps more to the point, Pugh’s never said anything to this effect.

Ah ah ah! But Pugh posted about her movie “Oppenheimer” the day the first trailer for “Don’t Worry Darling” dropped! Ooh! Wow! This was a huge revelation on social media. A smoking gun if ever there was one! An actress posted about a film she’s in instead of another film she’s in! When does that happen!?! Who would post about being in a Christopher Nolan film? Clear evidence that Pugh was in a fight with Wilde!

Of course…Pugh also didn’t post about her other two 2022 films that day, “The Wonder” directed by Sebastian Lelio and “Puss in Boots” directed by Joel Crawford and Januel Mercado. Oh, and she chose 2023 film “Oppenheimer” over her 2023 films “A Good Person” directed by Zach Braff and “Dune: Part Two” directed by Denis Villeneuve.

If this is irrefutable evidence that Pugh hates Wilde, one has to ask why Pugh also hates Lelio, Crawford, Mercado, Braff, and Villeneuve. What did they do? After all, we have the overwhelming evidence of an actress not posting about their films the day she posted about “Oppenheimer”, something that proves Pugh hates Wilde. Real fucking lot of Dan Browns we’ve all become.

Now, Pugh’s spokesperson said that she was simply scheduled to post about “Oppenheimer” that day. But that’s just PR, right? I mean, who would believe a celebrity’s spokesperson even if there’s no evidence to the contrar – oh shit, it’s that sentence I told you to keep in mind!

“Perhaps those tasked with serving Wilde the papers made a decision that Sudeikis had nothing to do with. His spokesperson said so and there’s no evidence to the contrary – please keep this sentence in mind.”

Shit in a hat, it’s my previous words! Look, I’m not saying we shouldn’t believe Sudeikis’ spokesperson about embarrassing an ex in front of 3,000 people at the biggest professional moment in her career. What I am saying is that if we believe Sudeikis’ spokesperson about that massive of a fuck-up yet refuse to believe Pugh’s about how a social media post is scheduled, then we’re really down the rabbit hole of double fucking standards.

Can I just insert real fast that I’m sick of psychoanalyzing people through social media posts? It’s neither news nor newsworthy, and in most cases the celebrity in question isn’t even the one making the social media posts. Their staff makes many of these and – big shock! – when they do, they’re not seeking to offer an accurate portrayal of the psychological state of their boss. They’re making posts according to schedules, sometimes by contract, and by SEO information about what keywords, image descriptions, and brand associations are trending at that moment.

As Raven Smith wrote in Vogue’s The Discourse Has Cheated Olivia Wilde: “Late-stage Twitter appears to be the frenzied analysis of a moment we’re all fairly certain is made up. We’re just jabbing at each other, jousting our hot takes. It feels harmless, but it’s not.”

I’d add that it’s also a waste of our fucking time. Your time, my time, all our fucking time – so why get into it? Why write a whole article about celebrity bullshit? Huh, wonder what media watchdog Media Matters has to say. Oh, they highlight that Wilde was targeted throughout the marketing campaign of “Don’t Worry Darling” by right-leaning pages, conservatives, and MRA-associated pages whose readers took it upon themselves to spread negative narratives across social media.

What do we call this now? Gamergated? Or astroturfed? Did she get Hillary Clintoned? Why I’m going on about this load of insulting fucking nonsense is that we look to the stories of yesterday – how 2000s gossip sites demolished the lives of women celebrities and enabled abusers to take advantage of them – and we shout “Free Britney” as we should. Then we turn around and gossip over the same misogynist shit done the same way to each other as if it’s entertainment. Let me repeat: none of the rumors or gossip about Wilde has been corroborated. Fucking none. None. Yet in the social media sphere where it’s most important to market her professional work going forward, her reputation is largely toast.

Bullshit just got shared across social media and the sharing itself became the news – not any actual evidence. Not any actual reporting. Yet when industry media breathlessly repeats the repetition of rumors about women as news, it becomes very difficult for you or me to discern what the fuck is actually going on.

We act like we beat this shit because we learned to recognize when we did nothing about it 15 years ago, as if that deserves a cookie. We act like we’re on the other side of it because Biden barely defeated Trump in an election, never mind how it got to that point in the first place. Then we turn around and slurp up the latest round of bullshit hot takes as if it won’t lead to the next ruined career, and as if our process addiction to conspiracy theories doesn’t normalize the next conspiracy theory-fed disaster. We increasingly live in a paradise of bullshit where reporting on rumors is news no one has to fact check, that we justify because the entertainment value supposedly outweighs our giving a shit. Hell, Johnny Depp successfully defended himself by saying he was so black out drunk he couldn’t remember committing domestic violence, therefore it couldn’t have happened. He’s on the Supreme Court when?

So what is the one thing we do know? The one thing we know Wilde actually did, and is corroborated. She started dating Harry Styles, the pop star who replaced LaBeouf in Wilde’s film. Now if we’re going to say this is unacceptable and should bar her from awards, should we bar her just like we barred this year’s Oscar nominee for Best Director Steven Spielberg, who met Kate Capshaw on “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. He’s had 18 Oscar nominations since, winning three and adding an honorary award. Or the director for this year’s Oscar nominee for Best Picture, James Cameron, who left his wife for Linda Hamilton? He’s had 7 nominations since, winning three. Or Martin Scorsese and Ileana Douglas? He’s had 12 nominations and one win since.

Or like Darren Aronofsky and Jennifer Lawrence? Or Joel Coen and Frances McDormand? He’s had 15 Oscar nominations since. Or Taylor Hackford and Helen Mirren, before Hackford won his Oscar? Or David Lynch and Isabella Rossellini? Lynch had two nominations and won an Honorary Award after that.

Or the Emmy winner from two years ago Thomas Kail and Michelle Williams? Or John Carpenter and Adrienne Barbeau? Or Judd Apatow who met Leslie Mann when he was producing “The Cable Guy”? Or Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor? Or Len Wiseman and Kate Beckinsale? Or Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter? You staying home from all their shit? Did I miss the meeting where we judge them and torpedo their films?

It’s like we treat this as simply dating a coworker when men do it, yet an abuse of power when women do it. I’m not going to arbitrate which is right and I’m sure it changes by situation, but I do think it should be the same standard for both.

In fact, most of what Wilde is accused of, the un-evidenced stuff that isn’t backed up in any way, many of the directors on this list have done in an evidenced, recorded way. Read the stories about some of what Scorsese has pulled on his actors. We don’t give a shit when men do it. It’s disqualifying when women probably didn’t, but maybe sorta could’ve it’s rumored.

Oh but depending on the timing, Olivia Wilde may have left Sudeikis for Styles! Or she may not have; she may have already been leaving her husband at the time. We don’t fucking know, but we’re in Psychoanalyzing Instagram Post Land, we can do what we want!

So let’s treat it just like we treat Spielberg and Cameron for leaving their wives for their actresses. Or Wiseman. Or probably a few others in this group but there’s only so much time in the day to research bullshit we only care about when a woman might have or might not have done it.

Nobody in the esteemed Academy that not too long ago gave Roman Polanski a standing ovation is turning their noses up at them. At a certain point, the question has to be asked: What the fuck are we even doing? This is absolute fucking bullshit. Sorry, that last part’s not a question. Let me rephrase. Is this absolute fucking bullshit?


Luckily, I know the perfect movie to address the obsession with treating women this way.

Have you seen “Don’t Worry Darling”?

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New Shows + Movies by Women — November 18, 2022

As we close in on the holidays, streaming services start clearing the decks for a change in content. Space is cleared for awards contenders – both larger films from well-known directors and mid-budget films that had late summer theatrical releases (such as Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling”). Every platform wants eyes on awards contenders because these legitimize the quality of a streaming service and convince users to stay on.

Smaller, independent, and international features are replaced increasingly with holiday (read: nearly all Christmas) content. You won’t see that evidenced as much in this feature since the Christmas movie field is still so overwhelmingly directed by men.

Obviously, it’s the only time of year when eyes are going to gravitate to these films, but the other part of it is that streaming platforms get to stock up on indie and international content. Saving these up gives platforms a bit more to work with in the drier months before next summer.

Series don’t quite follow the same rules as films. Yes, holiday content will cram into these two months and high-profile work is often saved for the winter break when they know audiences will have extra time to watch, but the ratio of other work stays closer to the usual.

This week, we have new series by women from the France and the U.S., and new films by women from Nunavut and the U.S.


Fleishman is in Trouble (Hulu)
showrunner Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Jesse Eisenberg stars as a man newly separated from his wife of 15 years (Claire Danes), juggling his own life badly. Lizzy Caplan and Adam Brody also star.

Showrunner Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a journalist of 20 years. She wrote the novel on which the series is based, published in 2019.

You can watch “Fleishman is in Trouble” on Hulu. Two episodes are out now, with a new one every Thursday for a total of 8.

Reign Supreme (Netflix)
co-directed by Katell Quillevere

(There’s no English trailer, but options are available on Netflix.)

This French series follows the band NTM as hip hop arrived in France in the 1980s.

Co-creator Katelle Quillevere directs with Helier Cisterne.

You can watch “Reign Supreme” on Netflix. All 6 episodes are out.


Don’t Worry Darling (HBO Max)
directed by Olivia Wilde

Alice takes care of her 50s home while her husband’s at work for a glamorous company. Not all is as it seems, as life and reality itself start to come apart around her. Florence Pugh, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, and Harry Styles star.

Olivia Wilde started as an actress, with her breakthrough coming in “House, M.D.” Her first feature as director was the critically hailed “Booksmart” in 2019.

You can watch “Don’t Worry Darling” on HBO Max.

Slash/Back (Shudder)
directed by Nyla Innuksuk

Maika and her friends use improvised weapons and their extensive horror movie knowledge to fight back against an alien invasion in their Arctic town. Most of the cast is Inuit or First Nations.

Nyla Innuksuk directs and co-writes the Nunavut film. She’s also helped create VR experiences for Tanya Tagaq and A Tribe Called Red.

I featured “Slash/Back” just a few weeks ago when it came out to rent on VOD, but now you can also see it on Shudder.

The People We Hate at the Wedding (Amazon)
directed by Claire Scanlon

Unfriendly siblings tolerate each other in the week leading up to their half-sister’s wedding. Kristen Bell, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Ben Platt, and Allison Janney star.

Director Claire Scanlon has been involved in some of the best series comedies of the last several years, directing on “GLOW”, “Never Have I Ever”, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, and “Rutherford Falls”. She started off two decades ago as an editor in reality TV.

You can watch “The People We Hate at the Wedding” on Amazon.

Where the Crawdads Sing (Netflix)
directed by Olivia Newman

Abandoned by her family, Kya raises herself in the marsh outside of a 1950s southern town. After a prominent murder, she becomes the main suspect. Daisy Edgar-Jones stars.

Director Olivia Newman previously helmed episodes of “FBI” and “Chicago Fire”.

You can watch “Where the Crawdads Sing” on Netflix.

Christmas with You (Netflix)
directed by Gabriela Tagliavini

Aimee Garcia features as a pop star whose popularity is declining, and who must write a Christmas song or be dropped from her label. She escapes to a small town – where she finds Freddie Prinze Jr. as a single dad who just so happens to write music.

Argentinian director Gabriela Tagliavani has directed 3 films that reached #1 in Mexico and Spain.

You can watch “Christmas with You” on Netflix.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

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