Sunday, April 01, 2007

Little Miss Crap

Either I am getting old or Hollywood really is CloudCuckooLand. This morning I watched "Little Miss Sunshine".

In case you spent most of 2006 under a rock, "Sunshine" was last year's "little movie that could". A small, independent, Sundance darling that went on to earn almost $100 million worldwide, a Best Picture Oscar nomination, a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Abigail Breslin and a Best Supporting Actor win for Alan Arkin.

Ok, a disclaimer here. The movie I saw was dubbed in Italian, so I freely admit that I probably missed a lot of the "humor" of the film. However, the scene that offended me required no translation.

The plot of the movie is that the dysfunctional Hoover family makes a road trip to California so that young Olive can participate in the finals of the beauty pageant from which the movie derives its name. Never mind that little Olive is homely and lacks any discernible talent.

Now, I don't have any problem with the movie's persistence theme; the idea that if you stick with something you will eventually have success. No, my problem is with Olive's "talent " performance.

In the movie, Olive's "talent" is to perform a strip tease to Rick Jame's "Super Freak". In typical Hollywood fashion, there is an uptight, conservative (read intolerant) pageant official (played by Beth Grant who excels at playing these kinds of characters; she played essentially the same character in "Donnie Darko") who objects to 9 year-old Olive gyrating on stage in a sequin tank top, hot pants and knee pads - a young Christina Aguilera in the making!

Of course, this is Hollywood. So, predictably the uptight pageant official is shouted down for her intolerance and the rest of the Hoover clan joins Olive on stage, bumping and grinding along with her in a show of solidarity. The audience ends up cheering young Olive's gumption.

This is exactly the same kind of message imparted by shows such as "Will and Grace" and "Dharma and Greg". In those shows, the "uptight" characters (Will and Greg, respectively) are always shown to be in the wrong for questioning the actions of other characters (usually Jack and Dharma respectively) and for not unconditionally supporting them. In friendships and families alike, support is one thing, but unconditional support is another.

I would depend on my friends to tell me that I am loony or sick for wanting to pursue a career as a child pornographer (and in this example, both). My friends would be doing me a grave disservice by encouraging me in such a venture.

Message to Hollywood: objectivity exists and 9 year-olds stripping is wrong!


bill said...

Oh man, I LOVED "Little Miss Sunshine," and didn't "get" any of that conservative stereotyping buzz (and you know how easily annoyed by it I am!). Must have been the subtitles.

Alain DeWitt said...


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

I admitted in my post that I missed a lot of the plot and context of the movie. Perhaps you can enlighten me as to why Olive was performing a strip tease and not doing yo-yo tricks.