Friday, December 1, 2023

Toxic masculinity at the film festival

Back in my old life, back before 'keeping my young children alive' became my one and only priority, film festivals were a big fucking deal in my life. I would look forward to them every year, and there was always one movie that was instantly an obvious must-see.

And I remember once in the 90s, telling my mates that the one film that had all the buzz this year was this thing called In The Company Of Men and we all had to go check it out. And while it was a pretty good film, I still feel bad about that forced recommendation, because man, those guys in that film are such complete cunts.

It's well made, of course. Neil LaBute is an extremely talented writer, and the actors are absolutely terrific - it was the first time I ever saw Aaron Eckhart use that massive jaw for sinister effect, and I still wonder how the wonderful Stacy Edwards didn't become a superstar.

But the main characters are such utter shitheads, playing bullshit juvenile power games that can really harm people, and nobody had a good time watching that. Nobody in my group of friends anyway. They all agreed that it was worth seeing, but it was a fucking downer of a way to spend a Friday night, and I also couldn't quite shake the feeling that my insistence that we all had to see it was the same sort of entitled toxic masculinity the movie was ripping into.

There's been so many films about these kinds of cunts since then, and it's never stopped being depressing how many dickhead alpha bros see them as a guidebook, not a warning. But this sort of movie is still essential, because the world does, unfortunately, need constant reminders about why these people are so shitty. But they're not the sort of thing you should ever force anybody to watch.

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