So I had to return my copy to the library weeks ago and wasn’t able to get it back in time, so I might be a little fuzzy on details.
Overall, I found that there were a lot of good moments in the collection, and a few that bugged me. Three things really stood out for me.
First, I loved the interpretation of Ghostbusters, and the how she drew attention to the gender relationships. What was particularly noticeable to me was how she focused on the positive aspects, of the male relationships, and the male-female ones. It’s not often someone notices positive male friendships as the focus of anything, and that’s as important as looking at the females. There aren’t any female friendships in the original though, since there’s really only one female character of note, but even Dana gets some attention in a good way. Even though in some ways she’s the stereotypical damsel character, Freeman points out that Dana isn’t there just for sex appeal; she actually gets treated as a person. When one of the men is rude to her, she gets an apology. I would love to see her thoughts on the new female Ghostbusters.
I appreciated how Freeman points out the focus on female teenage reality in movies of the 80s, but I’m not sure I liked how she kinda glorified the attention to things like sex (Dirty Dancing) and violence (Carrie). While it’s true that these things are often now overlooked or sugarcoated in movies, that doesn’t mean the grittier more open presence is always a good thing. With Dirty Dancing, it’s great that Baby is somewhat empowered and pursues what she wants, including sex. But at the same time, I personally am not comfortable with praising those qualities without question. The socio-economic privilege that the female lead in that movie has seems to suggest that she can do anything she wants without consequence, while the other female character who pursues similar things, like sex, who is not of the same level of privilege suffers all kinds of problematic consequences like nearly dying.
I also have to say, I did not agree with the love of Ferris Bueller. I liked a lot of what Freeman had to say about the levels of reality and breaking the wall in that movie, but Ferris himself has always irritated me. He was a jerk to his friends when I saw the movie for the first time as a tween, and he’s an entitled spoiled brat when I look back after nearly a decade of teaching. He’s the worst elements of a millennial almost 20 years before that idea even existed. And the worst part of it is, that no one else except the villain seems to notice. Even his friends just let him treat them badly, and no one cares and Ferris gets away with everything, leaving everyone else to deal with any consequences.