In the entertainment industry, young female stars face a unique rite of passage: the performance for which they'll bare it all. It is ironic that for a young starlet to make the transformation to a "serious" performer, she is expected to show some skin.
• South Dakota is attempting to amend its 72-hour waiting period for an abortion so that weekends and holidays don't count as part of those hours, thereby lengthening the wait considerably. Perhaps they're counting on a lot of women being like, "Huh, it's Labor Day, guess I'll go through with this after all." [Think Progress]
• Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop died this week at the age of 96. This remembrance praises his rational, science-based, and nonsensational approach to public health—among other things, it notes that while Koop himself was prolife, he refused political pressure to declare that abortion caused detrimental health effects in women. [RH Reality Check]
Last night's Oscars ceremony was a hostile shitshow. Which is too bad, because if the night wasn't marred by sexist jokes, all the headlines today should have been about the fabulous Jennifer Lawrence.
She contorted faces into the red carpet cameras, face-planted up the stairs in her tricky couture gown, and confessed that she literally wrecked herself with a shot of swill on an empty stomach before the post-show press question roundup. If you aren't enamored with Jennifer Lawrence already for her steadfast refusal to take herself seriously under any circumstances, or for her acting chops, you have to concede this: when she used the arm not wrapped around her Oscar statuette to extend a middle finger on her way to the press microphone, she made the Oscars' tedious and ugly into a platform for how she actually felt.
BOOM. I love her. She might as well have been playing cupid in the Hunger Games, loosing arrows into my heart.
Lawrence has repeatedly addressed the media's reduction of the healthy female body to skin and bones with the self-effacing and defiant assertions to the mainstream women's lifestyle magazines. Elle notoriously quoted her in their December cover story, "In Hollywood, I'm obese. I'm considered a fat actress. I'm Val Kilmer in that one picture on the beach."
As for the rest of her body, she has quickly accumulated enough physical skill to become a superhuman—without obsessing solely about her body.. In her training for the Hunger Games, she had to learn archery, hand-to-hand combat, and trained without dieting, saying "You can't work when you're hungry, you know?" Director David O. Russell mentioned her endurance during her Silver Linings choreography training and and yet she "wants to punch people" who talk about how much they love working out.
Another big reason to love Lawrence: She takes on great roles. Her characters in Winter's Bone and the Hunger Games are complex and interesting. In playing the role she won for last night, Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook, it's clear she takes her job and her responsibility extremely seriously. Without as smart and compassionate an actress, Tiffany's role could easily have slipped into being a manic pixie dream girl.
In all honestly, Lawrence is one of those rare people who make it big in Hollywood and who we all still feel like could be the friend we could drive around with on a Friday night, cracking jokes about fitness clubs and wheatgrass addicts.
So, Jennifer Lawrence, brush off the haters. There are a lot of us who can't wait to see what you'll do next. We'll be your best friend/backup whenever you need it.
It's not that Silver Linings Playbook fails at what it's trying to do, exactly. It's easy to see why the film racked up Oscar nominations, including a Best Actress nod for Jennifer Lawrence. But a movie that includes mental illness, family function and dysfunction, football, romance, and sparkly dance costumes is biting off a bit more than it can chew.
I enjoyed most of X-Men: First Class. The acting, special effects, and writing were excellent, except possibly the two times Xavier tries to hit on women in bars by saying they have "groovy mutation[s]".
But then again, the whole movie had a cheesy retro vibe to it, with its Cold War setting and costumes (turtlenecks for the men, not much clothing at all for the women) giving it the feel of a cross between X-Men and a Connery-era Bond movie.