I found it odd that although on the face of it, "The Town" seems to be a guy-centric crime/drama/thriller I seemed to enjoy it much more than the two guys who were with me. James gave it a solid B and Sam gave it a "meh".
I started thinking about the reasons it appealed to me and not James and Sam. We were pretty much in agreement about the movie's flaws yet somehow I seemed to have gotten a lot more enjoyment out of the movie overall than they did. Normally I'd just chalk it up to individual differences but when I thought about what I enjoyed in the movie, it seemed to reveal a disturbing truth.
I came to the conclusion that "The Town" is actually a well-disguised chick-flick heavily tinged with many elements that naturally appeal to woman:
-Ben Affleck gets more naked than either of the two female leads. There's a lot more eye-candy for women in this movie than men, even including the nanosecond nipple shot during the millisecond stripper scene. There are a lot of shots of Rebecca Hall looking goddessy and sweet but not to the level of raw objectification palpable in Ben Affleck's work-out scene.
-One of The Ultimate Female Fantasies is meeting a man and then inspiring him through love to change and better himself. This remains a fantasy because it rarely happens. However, meeting and connecting with Hall's character is clearly the impetus for Affleck to give up his life of crime.
-That brings us to another fantasy/unlikely scenario. A romance between a hostage and her captor. Although this isn't high on the list of female fantasies it's a well-known fact that unlikely couplings are stock element of the chick-flick and romantic comedy genre.
-When presented with two competing examples of womanhood: "the floozy" played by Blake Lively and Hall's yuppie good-girl, its no contest. Affleck picks the good-girl who is definitely the girl every sister would want for her brother. I can't speak for what men want but I know there were definitely hoots of approval in our theater after Lively's "efficient" hi-and-goodbye love scene.
-Affleck lacks the sense of moral ambiguity and heartlessness that seems to characterize true action/crime thrillers. The main character never really does anything to jeopardize audience sympathy and while this isn't what defines a chick-flick it does make up the sort of fake-edgy character that women love. A gritty anti-hero who isn't very gritty at all.
I admit "chick-flick" is a little bit of a polemic label. I do believe that Ben Affeck was just trying to make a crime movie that was infused with some sensitive performances. However, thinking about all these points all together I do think it's surprising how many things about this movie seems to fall under our idea of what appeals to women. It definitely has potential as a date night movie compromise and if anything proves that gender preferences certainly blur more than we think they do.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Once again, apologies for the delay, this time it was technical difficulties for realz. We had a computer die on us twice. We managed to extract the files before it died the second time but we did spend a lot of time mourning.
Anyway, sorry to those who've been on the edge of their seats these three months! Are you ready to find out what our #1 film of the 2000's are? Or do you know us so well already that you've already guessed?!?! Click below to find out!