It might not be screening until June next year but that hasn’t stopped women of almost every age, colour and creed excitedly celebrating the Ocean’s 8 trailer. Starring Sandra Bullock in the George Clooney role, and Cate Blanchett in the Brad Pitt one, it features plenty of what we need right now: relief. Certainly, there is more than this. There’s Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna and Sarah Paulson; there’s witty banter, there’s action, there’s jewellery and clothes and there’s not one single sex pervert in sight. We need this right now. We need a movie to show that yes, women can go get what they want, (even if it is, ahem, a jewellery heist) but more importantly, women can have fun.
Women? Fun? Don’t we know that already? It would appear not, as a glance at the comments below the YouTube trailer would suggest.
“Seeking attention with bullshit diversity. It’s gonna suck balls. Don’t even bother”.
“All female cast. Insta garbage (historically)”.
“Another movie the feminists ruined”.
”Looks like they decided to make all the women all confident badasses. That was a mistake.”
“They need to stop shoving these forced all women movies on us”
“Ghostbusters teach you nothing ? Look at the dislikes already ? Internet you know what to do.”
It would appear that these commenters, like so many before them, have no idea that all-female casts are kind of exactly what half the population wants. All-female casts, and the aforementioned fun. We need fun so desperately right now, it’s not even funny how badly we need fun. It’s been quite a year for women; a year in which the rest of the populace finally clicked to what we’ve been enduring for millennia. Sexual assault, sexual harassment, dream killers, rape, workplace harassment. The populace clicked and expressed outrage and shock, but so far nothing much has changed. A handful of careers are over. For now. But nobody has been charged with anything, and Matt Damon, original star of the original remake of Ocean’s 11 is still wondering why we don’t celebrate men more.
Ocean’s 8 shouldn’t have to be a perfect film – Ocean’s 11 certainly wasn’t. Go back and watch it. It’s cheesy; it’s cliched and the acting – from Clooney and Pitt in particular – is average. Let’s not even mention Ocean’s 12 and 13. But none of it mattered. What mattered was that a group of good-looking, sweet-talking, movie star men were banding together and getting up to no good.
It’s interesting that all-male casts don’t have to be extraordinary, they can just be average. Because all-male casts aren’t considered special, they’re the generic default.
It’s just a tad reminiscent of what happened late last year. You know that thing that set the backlash ball rolling in the first place: the first woman to run for President of the United States lost the election.
Hillary Clinton was far from perfect, but because she’s a woman she was held to a higher standard than every other candidate. And in the end, even accounting for voter suppression, the college electoral vote and collusion with Russia, the American people sent a clear message: they’d rather have an unstable, unqualified, racist, sexual harassing narcissist in the top spot than a woman.
Similarly, women aren’t yet allowed to make fun-loving, slightly pointless movies. If there’s a female cast, it had better be super important and statement-making, like Wonder Woman; or Big Little Lies. It should tell us something about how strong women are, and how seriously we’ve fought against patriarchal constraints. If it is trying to be funny, it has to be the right type of funny – not Bridesmaids funny, where there’s pooping and burping involved. And not Ghostbusters funny where the gags don’t always land. No, it has to be expertly hilarious and shiny and perfect. You know, like Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel, or Louis CK’s I Love you Daddy. Yeah, just exactly as funny and topical and brilliant as that.