After several years, a lot of script work and much trademark frenetic verbosity, writer/director Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited Inglourious Basterds – his "bunch of guys on a mission" film set during the Second World War – finally premieres on the 21st of this month.
With a nearly all-male cast it's arguably a return to the tough-guy roots of his earlier movies Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994), where manly-men bantered over such topics as the meaning of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and the global appeal of hamburgers – regardless of whether they're measured in imperial or metric units.
Though they often repeat the contradictions inherent in representations of women in Exploitation films, and thus come from already problematic source material, the kick-ass heroines of Jackie Brown (1991), Kill Bill (2003 & 2004), and Death Proof (2007) still show visceral examples of female power that women can get excited about.
So this week we'll take an in-depth look at these characters and Tarantino's work, and hopefully have a discussion regarding the question: "Is Quentin Tarantino a feminist?"
Jean Seberg is one of those fascinating Hollywood stories that reads like the plot of a dark Hollywood movie. Her tragic story is lesser known than say, Marilyn Monroe's – though she was just as great a beauty. And her politics caused more damage to her life than that of her acting contemporaries – ultimately leading to her death at the all too young age of 40.
For those of you who saw my previous post you'll know that the 1966 classic camp film, Modesty Blaise, was shown in the early morning hours on AMC. The film, based on the eponymous character of a long-running British comic strip, is of the so bad it's bad variety. But even so, this relatively obscure movie that inspires a love-it-or-hate-it reaction, as well as the enigmatic Modesty Blaise herself, has influenced subsequent gems of popular culture including the visual style of Austin Powers, the origin story of X-Men's Ororo Munroe, and the ass-kicking women of Kill Bill. Modesty was a groundbreaking and progressive character that rivaled the other Spy-Fi icons she was so often compared to, but she remains relatively unknown to the American side of the pond and is increasingly distanced from her native audience.
How do you keep female nurses working in low-playing jobs without improving their wages or conditions? Offer them breast implants, apparently. The New York Times reported on Sunday that hospitals in Prague lure nurses to renew their contracts by offering complimentary breast implants, liposuction and tummy tucks.
"I feel better when I look in the mirror," explains one nurse, Petra Kalivodova. "We were always taught that if a nurse is nice, intelligent, loves her work and looks attractive, then patients will recover faster."
It's gross that the global nursing shortage has led to this end in Prague. Hospitals have trouble recruiting nurses because the mostly-female occupation has a bad rap: nurses in the country earn less than bus drivers and movies and other media have built up this idea that nurses must be sexy – that being attractive is actually an essential part of patients' healing.
Nursing is one of the few careers in science and healthcare that's dominated by women. And now hospitals are reinforcing retro sexy-nurse stereotypes by offering breast implants instead of wage increases?