Category Archives: women
An Unmarried Woman ~ Continuing my coincidental journey lately into the swinging seventies, today I’m looking at Paul Mazursky’s An Unmarried Woman starring Jill Clayburgh. As far as the late 1970s went with movies, it seemed that Clayburgh was the female Peter Fonda. She was in everything, or at least it seemed that way. This was the movie that really bolted her to superstardom with multiple award nominations. Let’s see how it holds up in the 21st century.
Inexplicably I tend to mix this movie up with the more exciting Looking for Mr. Goodbar starring Diane Keaton, another 1970s icon. The difference is that Goodbar had a plot, and was entertaining.
An Unmarried Woman, the story of a newly single woman adapting to her new lifestyle, and it’s boring. Where it is amusing (and I doubt it’s supposed to be), it appears to be a parody of itself. Where it may have been daring and innovative for 1978, it’s been done better by “Sex and the City,” which has been very recently outdated and trumped by HBO’s “Girls.”
When it’s boring, it’s painfully so. When it appears to parody itself, most of the time it’s not funny. While it may have been first in many if its conventions, without that knowledge it comes off as bad melodrama. In that same sense it’s also fairly predictable.
Frequently I wanted to just sit Jill Clayburgh down and force feed her a sandwich she’s so scary skinny in this. I can barely stand it when she’s undressed. I don’t feel turned on, I feel worried and want to comfort and ask her if she’s all right. So thin, she looks sickly.
The worst part of the movie experience is the relentlessly, horridly, overly dramatic and boring music of, believe it or not, Bill Conti. There were segments where I muted the sound and just read the closed captioning.
Now it’s not all bad. In its time, very important words, this was a groundbreaking film. Women were rarely empowered in film before An Unmarried Woman, and Jill Clayburgh’s performance inspired a new generation of actresses. Worth seeing, if only for the historical prominence, or to compare from your first viewing in the seventies. Now I’m going to hunt down Looking for Mr. Goodbar.
Next up was the Cup o’ Joe panel featuring Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada. Also in attendance were CB Cebulski, Tom Brevoort, Jim Rosemann and Jim McCann. As with all such panels, it began with a slide show. Images accompanied the announcement of the thrice-monthly Amazing Spider-Man, House of M: Avengers and the next big crossover, “X-Men: Messiah Complex.” There was also mention that Peter David would be writing She-Hulk which generated much applause. Other highlights were that Joe Q said Bendis had a man-crush on Luke Cage and Brevoort said the ‘lost’ Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four would -finally- be published in November.
The highlight of the panel was spurred by Comic Widows columnist Ray Cornwall when he asked a serious question about Marvel’s position on women in comics, with regards to the recent Mary Jane statue and “Heroes for Hentai” debacles. Somehow this prompted Joe Q to do an insulting yet entertaining imitation of Stan Lee saying, “I love hentai! They don’t call me ‘the Man’ for nothing!”
That Ray, buddy o’ mine, turned the discussion with that question. The next question came from a delightful woman concerned with the exaggerated anatomy (lips and breasts and hips) of late. Another woman questioned Marvel’s intent for making comics for female readers and why they don’t have more women on staff. Ray will be remembered, and loved by women comics fans everywhere.
Next I followed Quesada over to the Bendis interview. This was a live version of Brian Michael Bendis’ column at wizarduniverse.com, his questions for Joe Q culled reader questions online. The questioning began with talk of Joe’s weight loss. Emphatically, he’s okay, healthier than he’s been in some time.
Regarding change Quesada stated that the incest in the industry is stagnating it. Comics fans who read comics and grow up to make comics make the same comics they read as a kid. He said the industry has to evolve and find a new way of doing things because, “look around, we’re going out of business,” it’s a matter of survival. It made sense at the time he said it, but in hindsight it felt like a slam at comics traditionalists and old schoolers.
When asked about the worst pitch he had ever seen, Quesada related a story of a proposal with many characters, featuring the Silver Surfer versus Jesus Christ and had a last page revelation of the villain – who was Freddie Mercury. Seriously. Hmmm, I don’t know, I’d buy that book, how about you?
Joe Q talked about his return to comics after he had discovered girls and baseball. After over a decade he was shown copies of Dark Knight and Watchmen, giving him something to aspire to. From there he told of his first job at DC doing the Dungeons & Dragons spin-off Spelljammer, and how editor James Owsley (now Christopher Priest) hired him on a million-to-one shot, making him the luckiest s.o.b. in the industry.
When asked if there was anything he wouldn’t do, in light of Spider-Man going public and Bucky returning from the dead – Bendis chimed in with “Spider-Man will never kill anyone just to get an erection.”
On that note I should get out of here, but after the panel I got a chance to meet Bendis. He knew exactly who I was and offered props for my honesty, and he said he’d thought I was warming up to him lately. Well, that depends on the issue, doesn’t it? All in all, he seemed like a genuinely nice guy.