Salutations from the East Coast! My name is Monica and I'll be your resident "Backlot Bitch" for the next few months. Or more, if you like me. If you really, really like me.
Why "Backlot Bitch"? Well, it's alliteration, and literary devices. But really, I've always loved the history of old Hollywood and the studio backlots were once the hubs of the industry. As I've grown up though, like many others here, I've learned that the Hollywood fairy tale wasn't meant for everyone—and it still isn't easily accessible to everyone. And that's where I come in, and call out the bull. It's 2012, and the Oscars are only slightly more diverse than they were 50 years ago. I can still count the number of well-made mainstream movies with female protagonists on two hands. Why are we still dealing with whitewashing casting and charater stereotypes from the twenties? Why hasn't this changed? What can be done about the systemic exclusion of anyone who isn't white, heterosexual, cisgendered, and able-bodied?
Within Hollywood now, there's still a huge dearth of material that not only features disability as a normal, everyday topic, (which of course it is), but does so in a thoughtful, comical manner. Most depictions of disability in cinema continue to fall back on insidious stereotypes of disability as tragedy (The Elephant Man, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane), or someone "overcoming" their impairment to become some supercrip hero (Forrest Gump, My Left Foot). Unlike those movies, Sleepwalk With Me illustrates how Mike's disability ends up being an asset, not a liability. There is genuine humor with disability, and this particular film is an honest, earnest and entertaining reflection of that truth.
Lourdes Portillo has a decades-long film career. Her films, which tend to focus on Chicano and Latino culture and identity, range from realism to avant-garde, fiction to personal narrative, with every kind of genre-bending in between. Portillo continues her work today as a member of Xochitl Productions, a film production and distribution company that expands the dialogue around Latino and Chicano issues and identity. This past June, the Museum of Modern Art presented her work in a retrospective titled La Cineasta Inquisitiva. Here is a video montage Women Make Movies put together of some of her works, including Corpus, Columbus on Trial, Las Madres, and Señorita Extraviada. Even these snippets show the varied style of her work and how she deftly played with and melded genre. Click through for more!
Now, there's no denying that Joe Manganiello is, as Jack Donaghy would say, "keeping it tight." No matter your type, he's an attractive guy with something to offer in the bod department. However, judging by the boners (and ladyboners) the media publicly have for this guy, we may have crossed the border from "He's Hotville" into "Objectificationland." It's like we're taking all of that collective 50 Shades of Grey sexual frustration out on him!
My character's name is "Big Dick" Richie, but you can call me Dick.
Though Merida is indeed a teenage princess whose parents want her to live a traditional life and get married, through knowledge, determination, and honest communication with her mother (and some magic—this is a Disney princess movie, after all), she subverts the princess paradigm. Well, sort of.
When people come to know I'm an Indian feminist (from India even! That, somehow, is always an extra bonus), after a quick round of, "What do you think about child marriage/sex-selective abortions/sati?" inevitably the question of the film Fire comes up. Hilariously, people are offended that I don't quite have an opinion or any interest in assessing whether Fire is "really" queer or if it's simply a story about loneliness (anyone who has ever been a token feminist knows what a blasphemy it is to not have an opinion on the 0.3 topics your opinion is demanded on), and that I'd rather talk about the events the film spurred on.