The Media and Angelina Jolie

Last Tuesday, Angelina Jolie revealed in a NY Times op-ed that after testing positive for the BRCA1 gene, she had undergone a preventative double mastectomy. As a woman whose career is based on the commodification of her body, Jolie has done more for the stigmatization surrounding breast cancer, gene testing, and reconstructive surgery with just one statement:

“On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”

As someone who lives off of celebrity news, I didn’t know about Jolie’s mastectomy until Wednesday afternoon. A full 24 hours had passed by the time I got around to reading the op-ed and the discussions about the impact of Jolie’s revelation. The People and Time magazine covers (pictured below) were already in place for the next week.


I did something unusual after seeing these two magazines in the drugstore. I purchased them. There is something monumentally impactful and fascinating about these magazines. Side-by-side, the differences between how these two publications address this story are astounding. It is soft news vs. hard news; feminized media vs. de-feminized media. Moreover, we see the remarkable nature of Angelina Jolie’s star image. She easily toes the line between all types of media. Continue reading “The Media and Angelina Jolie”

Films Watched: August 2012

This post should probably be titled “Oh right, I have a blog”.

Okay, wow. In the seven years I’ve been writing this blog, I have never completely checked out and stopped updating it before. (At least not without a good reason.) Then August happened and I suddenly had absolutely no desire to post anything. None. Zero. Zilch. I don’t even really want to be blogging right now but I’m forcing myself to because, in theory, someone is reading this. (I’m blogging through my writer’s block right now. Bear with me.) The strange thing is I don’t know what I did last month instead of blogging. I definitely wasted hours on the Internet and I watched some good movies. But I wasn’t invested in writing. Anyways, these things happen and if you have read this far, then you may be interested in the movies I watched last month.

Continue reading “Films Watched: August 2012”

Films Watched: January 22 to 28

Here is what I watched this week.  (I’m beginning to see why Netflix keeps recommending me “films with strong female leads”.) Continue reading “Films Watched: January 22 to 28”

Rediscovering Hal Ashby

A directors cut version of Hal Ashby’s Lookin’ to Get Out will be released tomorrow. When the film was originally released in 1982, Ashby had bouts with Paramount. The director recut the film for himself before it was recut by the studio. Jon Voight, who wrote produced and starred in the film, recently discovered Ashby’s version of the film.

Voight explains: “Hal was working on two other films at the time (of the movie’s release), and there was a lot of drama. Our film was handed over to other editors, and the result was a crippled movie. We were very hurt by the reception…Finally, this is the film he intended. It’s like a message in a bottle.”

Ashby also directed Harold and Maude, Shampoo, The Last Detail, Coming Home and Being There. These films, especially Harold and Maude, have a major cult following but surprisingly few people discuss Ashby, the director. For example, I have seen these movies but never noted the director until I read this article in The Star Ledger.

Stephen Whitty also discusses a new biography about Ashby in this article. Being Hal Ashby by Nick Dawson profiles the director who had a contentious relationship with the studios and died at age 59 in 1988.

While it might not be the loudest movement in Hollywood, the rediscovery of Ashby’s work is something to be admired. I am currently reading Dawson’s biography and am looking forward to rewatching Ashby’s films with this fresh perspective.

Angelina Jolie: Still a Serious Actress?

In this video on, critics Lisa Schwarzbaum and Owen Gleiberman debate the film career of Angelina Jolie. Does she shine better when she has “guns in her hands and high boots” in action movies such as Wanted? Or is she best in more serious films such as A Mighty Heart or the upcoming Changeling?

But my question is: Does Angelina even have a serious film career anymore? Has her personal life with Brad Pitt and their ever growing family made anyone who just glances at the latest tabloid cover completely forget that she has won an Oscar?

I find that I will read any issue of People Magazine with the Jolie-Pitt clan on the cover. (Why not?) I still prefer Angelina Jolie, the actress.

The humantarian aspect of her life is great. But at the end of the day, Angelina Jolie is the reason a movie is good and there is no reason for me to not see a good movie. And for that reason, I don’t care if Angelina Jolie is in an action movie or a serious film. If it’s a good movie, it doesn’t matter what the genre it is (most of the time) and I will see it.

But I’m curious what you think about Angelina Jolie. Sound off below!