Do I Really Hate Anne Hathaway?

Every awards season certain directors, actors, and movies are relentlessly picked apart by the media and public. Sometimes this prompts interesting think pieces but most often the big awards season stories are tiresome. (Case in point: Ben Affleck’s alleged Oscar snub.) But the constant scrutinization of Anne Hathaway has been endlessly fascinating.

While other Oscar-nominated actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain are widely adored, Hathaway can do nothing right. Not her interviews, her red carpet appearances, or her acceptance speeches. (Especially her acceptance speeches.) She has been constantly lambasted. In recent memory, no other actress who is the frontrunner to win an Oscar has been this polarizing. Let’s call this the Anne Hathaway Conundrum.

hathaway
Poor Anne Hathaway. She tries so hard.

What has Hathaway done so egregiously wrong to generate so much disdain? On the surface, nothing. She is a two-time Oscar nominee. She consistently makes decent movies although she has appeared in a few duds. (It’s okay, Anne. Everyone was in Valentine’s Day.) She had one barely memorable tabloid scandal, which is admirable given that she became a major star in the last decade. She is intelligent, well-spoken, and passionate. (Just watch her speech after receiving a Human Rights Campaign award in 2008.) She is clearly talented and she even escaped from that Oscars hosting debacle relatively unscathed. So Anne Hathaway seems to be a perfectly tolerable person and actress. Right?

Wrong.

For no apparent reason, people do not like Hathaway. Despite my ability to recognize her many good qualities, I also kind of dislike Anne Hathaway. Maybe “dislike” is the wrong word; I just don’t care for Anne Hathaway.

Since I must over-analyze everything, I need to understand what really bothers me about Anne Hathaway. Therefore I spent the last week watching and revisiting almost every movie Hathaway has appeared in, starting with The Princess Diaries up until The Dark Knight Rises. (But not Les Miserables. You cannot pay me to see Les Mis. My friend tried and it didn’t work.) Here it goes.

Lead the charge, Mia.
Lead the way, Mia.

Continue reading “Do I Really Hate Anne Hathaway?”

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Notes on Sex and the City: Why I Am No Longer ‘Carried’ Away

There was a time when Carrie Bradshaw was flat-chested. That was 12 years ago when Sex and the City first aired on HBO and introduced us to four refreshingly realistic female characters – Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. As someone who wasn’t “allowed” to watch Sex and the City (but did anyway), this series played a small but critical role in my understanding of how women are represented on television. These four women were successful and flawed. They struggled to balance careers and family. Their marriages and relationships failed. But no matter what they always stuck together.

With the second Sex and the City movie set to premiere on May 27, I’ve started contemplating the development of these four characters. How have they changed since we first met them?

For starters, the production costs between the series and the movie franchise are definitely higher. Just compare the first season DVD cover to the poster for Sex and the City 2. Carrie suddenly has cleavage (and opera glasses? Maybe to see that Big is terrible for once and for all).

Of course characters, especially those who have existed as part of our cultural dialogue for as long as Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, have evolved over time. This happens to real women too.

What is perhaps most apparent from this picture is how Sex and the City has developed into a franchise and a star vehicle for Sarah Jessica Parker. Carrie Bradshaw is Sex and the City. 

The first season of the series emphasized the friendship of these four women. In its current installment places Carrie and her relationship with Big at the center. The other women have fallen into the background, relegated to being Carrie’s sideshows and lesser narratives. Most strikingly with Miranda.

As a young woman coming to terms with societies traditional expectations for women (children, family) is never simple. Miranda’s struggles were always most relatable to me. I could see my future in Miranda’s story. She was one character with an impressive career built from her academic and professional accomplishments, who then becomes a working mother. Her presence was always an anomaly and a gift to this franchise. With the Sex and the City films though, Miranda’s marriage and status as a working mother are simply background noise while we’re told that Carrie’s venture into the wedding industrial complex and her search for true love is what matters.

I am no longer a starry-eyed teenager dreaming of my future. While I love that Sex and the City is female-driven star vehicle (and earnestly support it for that reason), I accept that this franchise does not reflect the story of all women. SATC always has and always will be a fantasy of the American female experience.

Happy Susan Boyle Anniversary

Exactly one year ago, we were introduced to a middle-aged Scottish woman with a powerful voice. The instance when Susan Boyle walked onto the stage for Britain’s Got Talent was a moment destined for YouTube history. She proved countless people (namely Simon Cowell) wrong and has gone on to win the hearts of many fans. The road to success surely hasn’t been easy for Boyle, but her story – as a reality show contestant, as a viral sensation, as a tabloid fixture – will stand the test of time.

Her performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” still gives me chills. Lin Yu Chan, you have nothing on SuBo.

Late Night Wars: Letterman Explains It All

David Letterman has shared his opinions on the grand mess that is also known as NBC. He’s probably the only person who can save us all from the Late Night Wars.

Of course, Conan O’Brien’s official statement on the matter is more to the point:

“For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news,” O’Brien said in a statement. “I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.”

[Read the full statement here]

I don’t know what’s going to happen to NBC’s Late Night line-up but it sure has been interesting to watch unfold.

Notes on a Scandal: Why Is Miley Embarrassed?

In these past few months of Jamie-Lynn Spears pregnancy, Lindsay Lohan rehab stays, and Britney Spears frequent trips to crazy town, I’ve kind of considered Miley Cyrus to be young Hollywood’s savior.(Yes, I’ve repeated this to myself and yes, I do think I’ve lost my mind).

So I was shocked to read that Miley had posed for some topless, artistic photos for Vanity Fair (shot by Annie Leibovitz). When apologizing Miley said: “For Vanity Fair, I was so honored and thrilled to work with Annie. I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.”

Considering that Miley was so embarassed… wait, let me rephrase that. Considering that her parents/handlers/people dependent on her for an income were scared shitless that Hannah Montana’s squeeky clean image might be tarnished and the kiddies would no longer be allowed to attend her shows, I was curious what all the fuss was about.

Here is it:
miley cryus leibowitz
Seriously Miley Cyrus? With the way you’ve been apologizing for this picture, I thought you were topless with bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a cigeratte in the other. But this photo… ISN’T SCANDALOUS.

Don’t get me wrong. No half-nekkid picture of a 15 year old girl, no matter how artistic it may be, is a good thing. But considering how controversial Annie Leibovitz other photos have been, this is not a bad portrait. She’s not overtly sexualized in any way; in a way her expression is reminiscent of the poster art for Les Mis.

Honestly, it’s worse that you can count practically every rib in her body. Considering how body image is represented in American media today, Miley Cyrus shouldn’t be concerned with how covered up she may or may not be in a photo, but with how skinny she looks in that photo. That’s more important to think about when you’re a role model for millions of tween girls.

A memo to Miley’s parents/people who supposedly watch out for her: If you wanted to protect her image, allowing Annie Leibowitz to shoot the portrait probably wasn’t the best idea. Plus, someone approved these photos and something tells me it was you. I don’t think Vanity Fair would have taken these photos of Miley Cyrus had her parents/people objected. So if anyone is to blame, it’s them.

One final memo: Her performance of “See You Again” is 1000 times worse than that picture, especially at 2:20.

Get over the picture Miley and stop apologizing. Your image is safe until you stop wearing underpants.