March 30, 2014

Brass knuckles... the feminine version.



Poster for a new, mainstream movie, pointed to by JohnJEnright in the comments on this morning's post about brass knuckles. He says:
I suppose this is a good example of where one can be funny about female-on-male violence, because it is male-on-female violence that is normally viewed as the bigger historical problem. 
Yes, and part of it is also that we don't believe women really are going to inflict serious harm, even though obviously they can and sometimes do. The man is often displayed as manly precisely because he endures a woman's beating him. It was an old movie/TV cliché for a woman to pound on a man's chest furiously until she broke down crying and then he would hug and comfort her. Another comedy meme is attempted violence, especially where the effort to harm another backfires on the would-be assailant. That's why "Home Alone" was funny. It's also supposed to be funny when the target of the violence deserves it enough. This is often done badly, and I'll bet that "The Other Woman" is one of these female revenge fantasies where — speaking of beating — they beat us over the head with how much we're supposed to hate this male victim whose pain and fear is supposed to amuse us.

27 comments:

Sorun said...

The IMDb link has Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as the leading male (Jaime Lannister in "Game of Thrones". I suspect the plot is more than just hating on some guy, since the women in the audience are going to be sympathetic to such a good-looking man. Danny Devito, OTOH, would be more deserving of a plain old ass-whooping.

betamax3000 said...

Crazy Street Corner Guy Off His Meds Says:

A woman and her boyfriend are arguing on the street, something about someone f**king up something and now everything is f**ked up, they go back and forth as people walk by pretending not to notice. My nerves get tight, my nerves are tight and I start to yell Scripture at them, it is the only thing I can do, I am possessed by a Righteous Spirit and I start to yell out Scripture. I grab the collar of the man's jacket and I get right in their faces with the Word of God, my spittle hits their faces and I tell them a Flood is coming and that they deserve to be washed away with the others, I tell them how they will choke on the cold water and how they will drown without Mercy. I hope I am here to see the Flood come.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

The gun auction website I frequently browse has had in the last few months a massive increase in posts selling designer knuckles, virtually all coming from the same dealer. As a firearms collector I find this distasteful, and I'm not sure why. Partly it's because the designs are so tacky. Maybe it's because I associate such things with lowlifes. What I didn't realize until today is that some segment of the population views knuckles as a fashion statement.

David said...

"Storyline
After realizing she is not her boyfriend's primary lover, a woman teams up with his wife and plots mutual revenge."

Mutual revenge against whom?

I can see a decent film based on a confused circle of vengeance but the notion that the two women would "team up" is a bit preposterous. Sisterhood is not that powerful.

ddh said...

Kate Upton is likely to be the target of the violence inflicted by Cameron Diaz.

SOJO said...

Am I the only one who feels for the graphic artist on deadline tasked with coming up with a novel image for what looks to be more pedestrian rom com than "Thelma and Louise" or "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"?

Scott M said...

I would hate to raise boys in this little epoch. Oh, wait. I am. Yeah...sucks.

dbp said...

Not a revenge fantasy, but one movie which showed the use of a brass knuckle to good comedic effect was Foul Play.

The part played by Goldie Hawn has a militant feminist friend who argues that she needs brass knuckles, an electronic siren and mace. Goldie is skeptical but does accept these offered items.

Later in the movie, when she has been kidnapped by the bad guys, she attracts one thug to the room she was kept in, with the siren. Then, right after he silences it with a boot heel, she steps in front of him and sprays him in the face with the mace. Finally, in spite of her friend's suggestion of the best target, gives the thug a roundhouse punch to the face.

Just in case we missed the use of the brass knuckles, she drops them to the floor before fleeing the scene.

Tom said...

9-5 was a funny movie - so the genre can be funny. But imagine this movie with the genders reversed in the title? Just imagine? And comment...

Wayworn Wanderer said...

It's OK as long as the violence is against me.

Sam L. said...

Clearly a movie i will not fail to miss...

Chris Arabia said...

Domestic battery is funny as long as the right person gets battered? Evidently. In the real word, women are much more likely to have their domestic cases dropped or to win at trial (based on my experience, which is fairly extensive).

Possession of brass knuckles is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada with maximum penalty of 364 days in county jail. And yes, I know of someone (a female, no less) currently in the midst of being prosecuted to brass knuckles found in her car during a search.

Saint Croix said...

Danny DeVito specializes in revenge fantasies. The only one that works--and it's dark but very funny--is War of the Roses. You have these two innocent people and they get madder and madder and madder at each other. It's brilliant.

"Home Alone" was funny.

Kids being smarter than adults is an ancient meme in anything aimed at children.

There are movies where women are the powerful bad guy. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, for instance. (Ironically, Danny DeVito has a small role in that!)

Ann Althouse said...

"Domestic battery is funny as long as the right person gets battered?"

No one is saying that.

It's hard to write and perform comedy, so it couldn't possibly ever be that X is funny as long as Y.

The post is talking about ways something that's not funny in real life can be funny.

George Carlin has a routine about how ANYTHING can be funny if you know how to craft a joke, in which he makes his point with a rape joke.

Some things are more likely to be funny than others, but most people can't write comedy, even on easy subjects.

The post is more about increasing your odds of being funny. It's more likely to be funny for an physically weak person to attack a physically strong person, etc.

Saint Croix said...

In general man-woman conflicts were far funnier in the screwball era, when the artists could play against the sexual repression of the culture. Bringing Up Baby is the perfect example of that. She's stalking Cary Grant and ruining his life and it's so damn funny.

See also The Lady Eve. "I need him like the ax needs the turkey." Brilliant.

Scott M said...

It's hard to write and perform comedy, so it couldn't possibly ever be that X is funny as long as Y.

Wasn't it just earlier this week that you thought doing a conservative version of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report would be easy?

Ann Althouse said...

"Wasn't it just earlier this week that you thought doing a conservative version of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report would be easy?"

If you think I said that, why not quote me?

What I said was that Colbert shouldn't be faulted for expressing his own viewpoint and not being unbiased.

Let someone else do the conservative version, but I never said it would be easy!

Scott M said...

"So… let someone else make fun of the liberal fool.

Where is that show?

I think it's been tried and not done well. It should be easy."

This was from the thread about the Daily Show and Colbert Report, to which I pointed out how difficult it is to write comedy, let alone produce great content on a daily basis.

Jason said...

One of these days, Alice! POW!!!! Right in the kisser!!!!

Jason said...

TO THE MOON, ALICE!!!

Jason said...

I'm alright with the violence in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Some people truly do have it coming.

And there was no attempt to make it comedic.

Peter said...

It's also supposed to be funny when the target of the violence deserves it enough.

Movies (old and new) are full of justified violence: there's plenty of violence in movies, and it's sharply divided between bad-guy violence, and good-guy/gal violence- violence that is, for one reason or another, morally justified. How else does one make a violent plot?

Is the violence in "High Noon" justified? "Taxi Driver"?

The question here perhaps is, can this violence be morally justified?

Seeing Red said...

So this is a movie about women scorned?

Know where the money is and a good divorce attorney. This is a stupid premise. Man cheats on wife and the mistress/girlfriend is surprised he cheats on her?

With a younger model?

Bubblehead blonde and the wife really doesn't care, she stayed married. See Clinton, William and Hillary.

jr565 said...

On the commercial they are giving the man estrogen, and he thinks he's getting breasts. And that's funny.
Reverse the genders and see how acceptable it would be.

Will Cate said...

Kate Upton? Really? I was unaware that the S.I. eye-candy possessed star-billing thespian skills. Guess her casting is just to attract some quantifiable male audience.

Scott M said...

What's wrong with her? She's beautiful, she's rich, she's got huge... tracts of land.

Will Cate said...

Oh I agree -- from that perspective, no, nothing is wrong with her.