The Semi-Agnostic Pedestrian Theatre of the Aggressively Confused Somnambulist presents:
I was channel-surfing some days ago, as men are wont to do, when I happened upon some film with, I later learned, Peter Weller, on one of the pay-movie channels. I saw armed thugs chasing armed thugs through the wilderness (apparently the natural habitat of the armed thug). I paused in mid-surf to attempt to determine who was chasing whom. Among the thugs was an eye-catching woman, hefting some serious firepower, and throwing things that went boom.
The chase proceeded for some time. Bullets were fired, grenades were lobbed, and spotted owls fell to the ground by the score. After about eight minutes, I finally learned who The Bad Guys were. The woman was one of them.
A tragic shame, in my estimation.
She was quite pretty, nice face, raven-haired, healthy, taut, strong, lithe, graceful, and, unfortunately, Evil. The filmmakers reinforced her Evilness by the fact that she was the one wearing the provocative outfit. The "heroine," who I so designate for the sole reason that she lived to the end of the film, was a weak, frizzy blonde with tattered clothes covered with dirt (presumably because she had been maltreated by her captors), who spent the remainder of the film cowering, sniveling, and generally being thoroughly and stereotypically helpless.
Had it been entirely up to me, I would have tossed the blonde out the nearest airlock and gone off with the pretty dark-haired one. But it was not to be, for she was Evil, and fated to die by having her head caved in by Peter Weller wielding a heavy blunt instrument (which, had the lighting been better, I might have been able to identify, but that's another flame). Ignoring the fact that she was trying to kick the fertilizer out of him, I can't imagine what he had against her.
This phenomonon -- namely, the pretty one is Evil -- is not unknown to me. I recall a film starring Clod [sic] VanDamme that also had Cory Everson in it. If you haven't seen the former Miss Olympia, she is quite a sight to behold, and was easily the prettiest thing in the film. They clad her in very fetching outfits, and she exhibited conspicuous knowledge of both armed and unarmed self-defense. Do I need to tell you whose side she was on? Yup, Evil. (The heroine, BTW, was a flathead.)
Can someone explain this to me? I will admit that issues of prettiness are entirely subjective, but certain things in contemporary films appear to be universally true. For instance, any woman who displays physical prowess (apart from exotic dancing), or who possesses high rank in the office (or indeed displays any measure of work-related competence), or who dresses exceptionally well, or regards their independence as sacrosanct, is later proven to be Evil, or is "cured" of these attributes by the end of the film. There are exceptions (Total Recall comes to mind), but by and large, the "good" women are either weak and ineffectual without the guidance and support of the male lead, or they are Evil.
Let's return to the Evil woman in the Weller flick. Perhaps I stand alone on this, but someone who attends to their health and skills so well and who has a remarkable eye for fashion is interesting to me. Did it even occur to the filmmakers that, perhaps, somewhere out there was someone who would like to invite this person to lunch and discuss their world views? I would have, not in an attempt to bed her, or indeed in an effort to turn her to Good, but out of curiosity. What drives a person to develop such skills? How were they able to break the socially imposed pattern? And how were they able to do all this and keep such a smashing body? What kind of food do they like? Do they like Mozart, Tommy Dorsey, Clannad, or Kraftwerk?
Okay, maybe I'm being a bit silly. But I daresay that the strong, capable woman had far greater depth and complexity than the weak, helpless blonde. She was better-looking besides. Perhaps she's not really Evil, but merely put to that use by her superior who, in the case of this film, was an aging, bitter, resentful male. How dare he put such a fascinating and capable person to such ill use for his own misbegotten purposes. A waste of fine talent. You want to ruin someone's life so much, go do it yourself, you incontinent sod!
Depth and competence equals Evil? I don't believe that. I don't think a lot of other people believe it, either. I'm tired of seeing written into stories ditzy airheads whose sole purpose is to get abducted or threatened with death or some other cheap plot device to move the "story" forward. Let me see a strong woman on the side of The Good Guys for once, who lives to the end of the film. Let me see a woman of agility, grace, beauty, intellect, and competence. After all, with all that in her favor, she's earned it.
Copyright © 1995 Leo L. Schwab. All Rights Reserved.Leo L. Schwab / Digital Spellweaver / email@example.com