The trailer for the new all-female “Ocean’s 11” reboot was unveiled this week. The Hollywood Reporter called it "the capstone 2017 needed." Most regular people called it awful and stupid.
What else could it be other than awful and stupid? It’s a reboot of a remake of a remake, which means it already has all the fun and freshness of dried vomit. The feminist twist just gives it an extra touch of preachiness and pandering, like a vomit stain that comes to life and lectures you about the patriarchy.
But I expect it won’t be any worse than the fantastically terrible and pointless female “Ghostbusters” film from a few years ago. That one set the bar for the others, a group that will soon include a female remake of “Lord of the Flies,” and a female remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” and a female remake of “The Rocketeer.” There's also a female remake of some movie called "License to Drive," originally starring Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. The movie is being described as a "female version of 'Superbad.'" I was going to joke that they’re even planning a female “Expendables” but then I checked and apparently they really are planning a female “Expendables.”
What’s next? Why not a remake of the 2010 remake of the 1969 adaptation of “True Grit”? You could put a butt-kicking blond woman — Charlize Theron, let’s say, or Scarlett Johansson — in John Wayne’s original role as Rooster Cogburn. Or perhaps we could have a female “Die Hard” with Melissa McCarthy as Jean McClane, John’s sassy younger cousin. Instead of killing the bad guys she could just annoy them to death. It would be so empowering!
Sorry, “empowering” may be the wrong word. I think the term I’m searching for is “ridiculous.” Also, “childish,” “silly,” “demeaning,” and “disingenuous.”
I realize, of course, that I’m not allowed to criticize the girl power reboot trend without being accused of misogyny. Surely there is a feminist writer for Jezebel searching Twitter as we speak for evidence of a “sexist outcry” against the female “Ocean’s” film. I’m sure this article will be cited as Exhibit A. But this is not an outcry. I don’t care enough to be a part of an outcry. I just think it’s dumb, that’s all. Really dumb. And, whatever it is supposed to accomplish for the female cause, it certainly does the opposite.
What message does Hollywood send when it injects women into male roles? What it says, as far as I can tell, is that women aren’t interesting enough to build a new and original movie around. It says that actresses must leach off the charm and wit that the original male actors brought to the story. It says that a woman can’t create her own iconic character and must stand on the shoulders of roles already made iconic by men. It says, most of all, that female moviegoers are shallow and easily manipulated, and will flock to see a film just because it has women in it.
I don’t believe any of those things, personally. I think it’s perfectly possible to make great films with great female roles. Not “female films,” just films. Films that happen to have women in them. But Hollywood apparently disagrees. It would rather pander to women than tell authentic stories about them.
Hollywood panders to men, too, but never in such an absurd way. It’s not going to recast female characters as men because it knows men would have no interest in such a stunt. A movie studio would never come along and say: “Hey, fellas! Remember that movie ‘Mean Girls’? Look! We made ‘Mean Boys’! It’s got dudes in it! That’s what you wanted, isn’t it? You just want to see dudes in things, right?”
I think most women have about as much interest in the female “Ocean’s Eleven” or the female “Lord of the Flies” as men would have in a male “Mean Girls.” But Hollywood thinks less of women, apparently. It would rather score feminist points the cheap and boring way than make the effort to create original movies with women in unique roles. It's pretty sad. Hollywood has long had a very cynical view of women, and obviously that has not changed.