Oh baby, it’s so sexy when you chain me to the radiator

BlackSnakeMoan.jpg
From the acclaimed misogynist director of Hustle & Flow comes a new movie in which Samuel L. Jackson chains a skeletal Christina Ricci to his radiator and attempts to “cure her of promiscuity.” I saw the trailer a few months ago and found it hard to believe. But seeing the film’s website, which is up now, I realize they’re completely serious. It’s not even done in a pulp-y style.
Ricci told MTV her character is “a girl who suffers physical flashbacks to a childhood rape. Some women and young girls freak out, panic, and need to cut themselves. [My character] needs to cause herself the same kind of pain when she has panic attacks by having anonymous sex.”
Sounds like being chained up in only her underwear and then preached to is exactly the kind of healing process this character needs.
The creepiest thing about the movie, or at least its marketing, is that it’s not only about selling Ricci’s body. It’s about selling the idea of sex with a girl who’s been abused and who’s clearly got a lot of problems. There’s even an interactive feature (if you click on “experience” in the upper left corner — click here for a screenshot) that allows you to drag two pills across the screen and then watch a video of Ricci collapsing. Now she’s yours for the violating! Plus, the “page loading” graphics that appear every time you click feature her silhouette struggling against the chain. A recurring image in the film as well, I’d imagine.


I’m sure this is going to go over well with the Axe-wearing crowd, but don’t you worry, girls! There are also features for you, such as the “Hard Out Here for a Nymph” quiz (screenshot here), which basically glamorizes Ricci’s emotionally disturbed, abused, and drug-addled. state. (It’s also a nice reference to the hit Oscar-winning song from Hustle & Flow.) If your quiz results prove how slutty you are, the game will tell you “You ain’t right yet” – which is apparently Samuel L. Jacksons refrain as he keeps Ricci chained up. Handily, the site also provides you with code so you can embed your “nymph” score in your MySpace page.
Too bad it’s a bit late for you to send your special someone an official Black Snake Moan Valentine’s Day e-cards, which allows you to upload a photo of yourself so that YOU appear chained to the radiator in a midriff top and cutoffs. Why say “I love you” when you can say: “They say if you love something / you gotta set it free/ but you and I know / that ain’t right. / This Valentine’s Day / if you love someone / chain ‘em up / then they’ll know how much / you really care.” (I wish I was making this shit up.)
To cheer myself up, I created a belated v-day card that features the aforementioned misogynist director’s face on Ricci’s body:
brewervalentine.JPG
The Sundance reviewer pointed out that the film looks and feels a lot like Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll, in which a rural Southern man tries to seduce his best friend’s “distraught but sensually aroused” child bride. (Compare the movie poster to this still of Ricci.) Most reviewers agree that, like Baby Doll, Black Snake Moan is long on scandal and short on substance. I don’t know if I’ll have the stomach to actually watch this whole movie, but I’m not surprised at that assessment.

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104 Comments

  1. EG
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    The whole concept of this movie is nauseating. Making kidnapping sexy, eroticizing the abuse of an already traumatized girl–and that’s not even touching on the appalling racist voyeurism of having Samuel Jackson being the disciplinarian.
    “Sounds like being chained up in only her underwear and then preached to is exactly the kind of healing process this character needs.”
    Word.

  2. String_Bean_Jen
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Wow, thank you for the analysis. I was extremely disturbed when I saw a commercial for this film during prime time TV, and have been meaning to look it up ever since. It seemed so disturbing that I couldn’t believe they were showing it during prime time. The subject matter is so intense that I’m surprised this film can be advertised on the likes of NBC/CBS/ABC at all.
    I am extremely disappointed in Christina Ricci, certainly an icon of her generation for any outcast growing up. She stood out in the vanilla masses of Hollywood, and now it is difficult to distinguish her from the next frail starlet. Where once she was amazing and complex in “Buffalo 66″ and “Sleepy Hollow,” now she is being abused in more than one way in this shudder-inducing film.
    Do you think she thinks of this as a thought-provoking, important role?

  3. Posted February 27, 2007 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    From the trailer, it looks like this movie is about a male who ‘cures’ a woman of her active sexuality by chaining her up in his house, imprisoning her in the domestic sphere. There’s even a clip of her being yanked back on the chain like a disobedient pet. At one point Ricci’s character Rae tells Jackson’s Lazarus, “You can take this chain off me now,â€? to which he replies, “No, you ain’t right yet.â€?
    And the title, Black Snake Moan? Only slightly sexual. Really have to think about that.

  4. TokyoPearl
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    For lack of anything else to say, that is so messed up…
    I’m highly disgusted.

  5. Posted February 27, 2007 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t a joke? Really? And who was the graphic designer on that poster? You’ve got Samuel L. Jackson with a type of halo on his head next to a pic that looks like that Catholic Sacred Heart (the chains make it look as though it is bleeding) and the supplicant woman below him.
    And then all the drop-downs: Mess Around, Get Some. This is so so disturbing. I’m sure we’ll get someone saying, “You should watch the movie before making any judgment.” But when you market something like this, it’s too blatantly sexist and sadistic to even bother.
    Is he supposed to be her savior in some weird way? Is that why the imagery?

  6. UltraMagnus
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Yes. Let’s not forget the racial overtones of having an old, literally crazy lookin’ black man chain up a young white girl in his house! No no! Nothing at all with THAT. humph.
    I didn’t like “Hustle & Flow” thought it was WAY overrated, especially since I’d grown up visiting Memphis all my childhood, (the critics liked to refer to Memphis as “exotic” sometimes) and I couldn’t find sympathy for the “pimp” character at all. Often times we know why women become prostitutes, however he had a chance to explore why men become pimps and it never surfaced, which made me like the film a lot less.
    I would be dissappointed in Sam Jackson, however he had the balls to do “Snakes on a Plane” so I will give him a free pass for that.

  7. amanda
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    wait a minute…This publicity campaign is appalling. But. We should see the movie before we decide that its content is also truly appalling, regardless of how we view the director’s previous work. we know that trailers, posters, and promo material in general doesn’t always truck with the content or message of a film. Once the promotional machine gets a hold of a film with anything resembling controversial sexual content, films that aren’t primarily about it get warped into soft-core porn for the sake of attracting as many numbskull ticket-buyers as possible. Remember the furor when people discovered that Eyes Wide Shut wasn’t primarily an orgy movie?
    maybe for now we should concentrate on the practice of selling films with the humiliated female body.

  8. UltraMagnus
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Amanda, you need to check out the poster for Hostel 2 then.
    I’d sent the link to Jessica already but I’ll post it here, it seems appropriate, though it’s totally NSFW:
    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/31691
    Sorry for the long URL but I don’t know how to do the HTML links here.

  9. donna darko
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    no thank you. next someone will say the cristina ricci character is empowering herself by exorcising her demons this way.

  10. UltraMagnus
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    “next someone will say the cristina ricci character is empowering herself by exorcising her demons this way.”
    *snicker* ;)

  11. Nick Simmonds
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Aw, hell. I had only heard the soundtrack, and I was really optimistic about this one. I guess I still have some shred of hope that the movie isn’t terrible, but the marketing certainly is.
    I may still buy the soundtrack. No, wait, I’ll just go pirate it.

  12. donna darko
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    very empowerful, UM.

  13. donna darko
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    nick, just pirate the movie too. rae is just a tramp. that’s what the synopsis on the movie’s website calls her character.

  14. Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Oh, but donna, she IS being empowered. After all, the only place women can have power is in a house, so by keeping her at home, the Samuel Jackson is actually empowering her!

  15. donna darko
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    he’s blessing her with his black snake moan.

  16. Melissa Rose
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Wow…I should’ve known, but this should have a trigger warning.
    That’s truly creepy.

  17. Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I first saw a preview for this movie months ago, but when I started seeing Samuel L. Jackson all over the place but no commercials, I was beginning to think that production was cut off. The commercial I saw 2 days ago proved me wrong.
    This indeed looks like a disturbing exercise in popular BDSM fascination turned female-objectification. Ever since middle school I’ve noticed that every situational sex joke on tv or in the movies revolves around somebody making jokes about handcuffs, whips, or being tied up. It’s a popular trend that lends far too easily to misogynistic exploits such as what we’re seeing with Black Snake Moan.
    Ugh, just look at the title. “Black Snake Moan.” Because there’s no greater way to attract an audience than to enforce the stereotype that black men have 14 inch cocks and white women are all about the black cock. They’re all a bunch of Lisa Lampanelli’s, only not joking.
    I’m not going to watch anything with Samuel L. Jackson anymore.

  18. Convexexile
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    This is what Ricci says in defense of the film in an interview in Nylon, after claiming the film is not misogynistic.
    “I’m worried that people won’t understand that the nature of a girl like this is to exploit herself; it’s not a case of the filmmakers being exploitative,” she explains. “My worst nightmare is to have people think I would be part of something like that. I loved the script because Rae was such a perfect example of the kind of girl who was abused and in order to never be powerless again takes control of her abuse by abusing herself….So I thought this was a great opportunity to show somebody like that in a deeper way. And, I just feel so bad for her, you know?”
    On wearing a 40 lb chain that left her covered in bruises: “It’s so gratifying. You feel like you’re really doing you’re job, really earning your money.”
    Just thought I’d throw that out there for discussion.

  19. UltraMagnus
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Ricci is also a girl who’s had severe body issues and is now “comfortable” with herself at a whopping size 0 and in an interview in Los Angeles magazine admitted to thoughts of plastic surgery in order to change her “unique” looks.
    She also wanted the role so badly she sent half naked photos of herself to the director and producer.

  20. donna darko
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    “girl who was abused and in order to never be powerless again takes control of her abuse by abusing herself”
    what did i tell ya?

  21. Bob Oso
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I am thinking that Amanda has a point. My reading of the publicity is that Jackson and Ricci do NOT have sex, not that this is a selling point or proof that the film is at heart actually feminist. Clearly the purient portion of the ad campaign promises Black/White sex sex sex. Disturbing yes very. Maybe we could pool our resources and rent it from Netflix and arrive at a definitive view.

  22. Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    (Warning: long-winded comment ahead :) )
    I’m having a very hard time reserving judgment on this one, because even if the movie itself can be used to reinforce feminist values, it’s being marketed as pure porn, which means that the INTENT of it, at least, is decidedly non-feminist. I want to vomit disease-infected blood on the producers.
    That said, and I may be taking my life into my own hands here, I was struck by how much of a progressive message I could read into Hostel (though I make no representations as to whether this was intentional on the part of the filmmakers, or purely the result of my obsessive desire to make everything in the world prove me right :) ). Hostel is a deeply, deeply, DEEPLY disturbing and disgusting movie. There were several parts where I very nearly threw up. But as I thought about it, I realized that the movie contains (again, no knowledge re intent) a really powerful message about objectification of people (only a tiny step from women in particular) and that it does so in a way that is at the same time heavy-handed yet unlikely to philosophically turn away the very people we need to reach.
    Taken at face value, Hostel is only the latest in a long line of movies trying to desensitize us to violence against fellow human beings. But on another level, I think it demonstrates very nicely the connection between objectification, de-personification, and violence. Again, quite possibly projecting here — but at the very least, if the message is there, we can put it to use, can’t we?
    I guess the thing to do here is post ***SPOILER ALERT***? Even though I think everyone pretty much knows what happens in the movie.
    An early scene in the movie shows three young idiot prickish high school/college-age boys delighting over how they’re about to get laid by all the “easy” women and prostitutes in Amsterdam, get all the pot they want without trouble from the cops, etc. It’s a really stupid scene and it made me hate the boys. On the train, they run into an older man who gives them a “tip” about where to find the best/easiest/something girls (some smallish eastern European country). They’re grateful until one of them realizes the guy is vaguely hitting on him. He’s instantly repulsed and tells the guy off. Later on, we see the objectification of the teen taken to terrifying heights as the old man ends up torturing and killing the kid who brushed him off.
    There are lots of creeptastic scenes like this, but I think the best/creepiest scene is where one of the three boys escapes from the torture dungeon and is able to pass, briefly, as one of the torturers, who it turns out are in fact rich “customers” who pay a premium for the right to maim and kill innocent foreigners plucked up from the streets (American kids fetch the highest price). In describing the draw of the business to the escaped kid, the man explains it by talking about (if I recall correctly) how he progressed from paying prostitutes for sex, to beating prostitutes, to this business. He relates the power that he feels in seeing the abject terror in a young girl’s eyes to sexual stimulation, and the dialogue draws a clear connection between the slow dehumanization that occurs when people are used for sex, such that ultimately people are devalued completely, to the point that their lives themselves are worthless in the eyes of their oppressors.
    Now, obviously, watching this scene kinda made me want to do some killing of my own. But as my rage subsided and I thought about it, I actually appreciated how unflinchingly and brutally honest the film is. Whether they meant to or not, the filmmakers just spelled out an incredible feminist message: sexually objectifying people intrinsically plays to our violent and hateful impulses. Sexual objectification, in essence, IS violence.
    Maybe this isn’t as exciting to everyone else, but I was blown away that this mainstream movie, beloved by American teenage male audiences, could have hidden in plain sight such an AWESOME and powerful feminist message. I have no idea if this could even possibly be the case with a movie like BSM (huh, I just realized it’s only missing a “D” — wonder if that’s intentional), that so blatantly plays on anti-woman, anti-black stereotypes to market itself (whereas Hostel’s draw was more to the straight-up slasher/horror crowd). But I’m willing to entertain the possibility that, at the very least, we could turn this movie on its head with enough education.

  23. elektrodot
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    law fairy, i appreciate your view on that movie even if i did think it was frat boy porn with some shitty “gore” (in qoutes because ive seen some gore and that aint it). i can see how you got that analysis from it but im gonna have to say, i think the director was going for nothing more than the afore mentioned qualities of the movie and maybe a joke or two about americans being jerks, hence why they were more expensive cuz everyone wanted to kill them.
    black snake moan looks horrendous. i cant beleive something like that is out…god i can just imagine the people that would go to see it…when i went to a movie and saw the long preview for this it seemed as if most of the people were uncomfortable and were like “uhh wtf” when in came on.

  24. donna darko
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    you must be at 120 wpm, LF!!!!!
    the realism of hostel is plausible, LF.
    “Clearly the purient portion of the ad campaign promises Black/White sex sex sex”
    the prurience was a sexually abused girl chained to a radiator. secondarily was the age and creepiness of jackson. tertiary was his race.

  25. sadie_sabot
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I saw a preview for this last year and was so appalled. Apart from the blatant sexism which has been discussed here, I was really disturbed by the racial imagery. The preview looked like something that would be used to whip a white mob into a lynching frnezy. In the preview I saw, it is even implied that Jackson’s character rapes Ricci’s character while she is unconscious. And as we all know, allegations of black men raping white women (or, hell, *looking* at them) has led to the murder of countless black men in the usa.
    I will not be seeing this movie.
    (I blogged about it then…
    http://sadie-sabot.livejournal.com/22227.html?mode=reply)

  26. keshmeshi
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Why am I not surprised that the director of a movie about a “sympathetic” pimp is a white guy? Basically meaning that it’s mainly people who never have any contact with that kind of life who feel free to glamourize it.
    Black Snake Moan reminds me of an obscure French film I saw several years ago. In the film, a woman was chained to a radiator by her abusive husband. She managed to detach it from the wall and used it to beat him to death. I confess to being very satisfied with that outcome.

  27. UltraMagnus
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Law Fairy,
    I didn’t get out of Hostel what you did (it was pretty much, horrific American males get what’s coming to them) and in the end the girls who lead them to the torture in the first place are run over which I got a “that’ll teach those bitches” message.
    Then again, I’m not into torture porn nor Eli Roth and as a horror fan I thought the “gore” was minimal at beast (though that’s not what I was looking for, it’s just that the movie was touted as being the goriest thing to come around in years) and the plot non-existent. You really did have a half an hour of frat porn (OMG, look at the neked boobies! Foreign girls are so much more open than American girls!) and then some outlandish violence.
    I’ll stick with my 80s John Carpenter.

  28. donna darko
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    the first thing that creeped me out was a sexually abused, blonde christina ricci and i was only speaking for myself as far as BSM was presented to me on feministing. men or women will see sex or race first depending on their demographic.

  29. donna darko
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    some people say “saw” was a brilliant film while i thought it was the worse movie ever made.

  30. jeff
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think the fact that it’s being marketed as porn makes it un-feminist (since I don’t think porn is inheritly un-feminist). I think the kicker is that it’s being marketed as porn, along with the context – that is, the plot, and the reality that surrounds it.
    That said, I don’t think the plot (or at least what we know of it) makes it un-feminist either. We have no idea how the film will handle the situation – we don’t know that the people involved in the film condone “fixing” a person by chaining them up any more than the Coen Brothers condone having your wife kidnapped to make an easy million from your father-in-law. That will depend on how the whole movie plays.
    It seems the problem is really in the combination – the fact that it’s made clear from the marketing that there is both a sick situation, and that it’s “hot”.

  31. UltraMagnus
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m not going to defend “saw” as a “brilliant” film, I was quite appalled when I saw it (in theaters, quit laughing.)
    It was a rather god awful piece of film and don’t get me started on Cary Elwes’ acting. However I will defend it to a certain extent in that it had been a while since there was an R rated film for actual adults and I believe THAT’S what brought out the fan boys and girls (like myself). We’d been fed crap like The Ring and The Grudge and a whole host of other, “Asian girl with long black hair crawls around all freaky on the floor” remakes for the kiddie set and if you’ve been eating shit for a while, well, when something slightly not shit comes along you lap it up. Thus “Saw” and “Hostel” and the Rob Zombie film “Devil’s Rejects.” and then those became popular in the torture porn genre, so now that’s all we’re getting and it’s getting tired as well.

  32. Posted February 27, 2007 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    UltraMagnus–
    That’s every genre in Hollywood–something works, and everyone just copies what worked, until it is so blasé that it can no longer be tolerated.

  33. EG
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    “I’m worried that people won’t understand that the nature of a girl like this is to exploit herself…”
    Right, Ms. Ricci. And, as everybody knows, the best way to help such a girl is to turn her in to the object of sadistic fantasy. I’m always so impressed by the way Hollywood treats the trauma of rape/sexual abuse and recovery from it–so nuanced, so complex, so sensitive.

  34. EG
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Also, I have no intention of seeing the flick. They’re marketing it this way because they think doing so will net them big bucks. If it’s true, that’s depressing, but it sure as hell isn’t going to get them my money.

  35. Posted February 27, 2007 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I just can’t take Christina Ricci seriously anymore.

  36. Posted February 27, 2007 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had a similar problem since “Caspar,” F.R. Fucked-up marketing aside, I do like that Samuel L. Jackson has come full circle and turned into his Dad (The Right Reverend Doctor Ossie Davis) in Jungle Fever.

  37. Posted February 27, 2007 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Ultra, oh, I would be really surprised if the filmmakers meant for their movie to have any actual social value. I just meant, in my mind it was an example of how we can (for once!) be the ones co-opting the other side’s messages. I mean, can you imagine anything that would infuriate the makers of this (likely) racist, misogynist piece of cow dung, more than to have it held up (legitimately, using choice scenes and dialogue from the film) as a feminist movie? How cool would it be to take all the fun out of it for the perverts and freaks by showing them how it actually trumpets FEMINIST ideals?
    Obviously I don’t know if it’s possible with this movie. But to the extent it is — I am all for publicizing the feminist nature of the film. Maybe even humiliate the makers in the process and make them lose face to their fucked-up audience. Muahahahaha.

  38. Posted February 27, 2007 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Oh, gross. My husband and I saw a billboard for this movie a few weeks back and damn near drove off the road. Didn’t know much about it then but it just looked wrong.

  39. Posted February 27, 2007 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Black Snake Moan reminds me of an obscure French film I saw several years ago.
    Title, please? ;)

  40. Posted February 27, 2007 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Black Snake Moan is a song that’s 70+ years old. I guess I’m not too hip to the cause, cuz I really want to see this. Scott Bomar contributes heavily to the soundtrack – that’s good enough for me.

  41. Posted February 27, 2007 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    La Grande Illusion? Les Enfants du Paradis? À bout de souffle?

  42. Posted February 27, 2007 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a couple of paragraphs from the Salon.com review of the film’s Sundance screening.
    “The key to melodrama is to invent outlandish situations and play them straight, giving the characters as much dignity and integrity as you can. Lazarus has the purest of intentions toward Rae — better than any other guy in town, anyway — and when he finally unlocks her, it’s not clear how much she wants to leave.
    “As the cloudy-hearted Lazarus, Jackson has all the gravity and darkness you expect from him, but “Black Snake Moan” really belongs to Ricci. Rae moves through the movie like a weather system or a small but angry wild animal, spitting bile and invective wherever she goes. During and after the opening credits, she gives a trucker the finger and invites a street heckler to “kiss my Rebel coochie, faggot.” She’s playing a compulsive nymphomaniac and is nearly naked for most of the film, but the extraordinary thing about Ricci’s performance is how non-exploitative and unprurient it is.”

  43. jpmaple
    Posted February 27, 2007 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    http://salonmedia.vo.llnwd.net/o1/mp3s/2007/feb/conversations_brewer.mp3
    I’m not defending the film, since I havn’t seen it nor am I very interested in doing so, but I think Brewer has some thoughful things to say regarding his film and speaks intelligently about his subject matter.
    Again, not that I completely agree with the films marketing tactics or validty of execution in the final cut, but it’s often not the case that a director has much control over the marketing of his/her own work, even if they were to protest the direction it was taken. The studios on the other hand, sadly, are (as the business entity they exist in) bound to want to make as much money from the film as possible, unfortunately exploiting any means they can to sell the sex of the picture and its controversies.
    I find very often it’s easy to bitch, slander, and be appalled by a poster or a movie trailer’s content and obviously controversial subject matter (quite frankly because that’s just having an honest reaction to something because it effects one’s values immensely.) I think, though, that’s it’s important not to dismiss and simply move along outraged swinging around these reactionary viewpoint without examining the matter further. Everything’s a bit more complicated than that, and if you don’t think so, then grow up, because it’s important.
    Now, like I said, I haven’t even seen the film and may, in fact, not like it or agree with it very much, who’s to really say at the moment. I just think this filmmaker has some interesting points in the linked podcast and it’s worth hearing his take on his own project before ruling him another misogynistic jackass based on a poster, trailer, and flash website content.
    (My girlfriend sends me links to entries from this site because she’s a regular reader. I signed up just to post this because I had something to say about it. Here’s to hoping it gets said.)

  44. blair
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Granted, I haven’t seen the film, and like others have said, directors and actors have little to no control over marketing, etc. But that poster practically looks like an ad for porn. ‘Everything is Hotter Down South’ You’ve got to be kidding me. Between that and the ‘Hard Out Here for a Nymph’ Quiz on the website….do they actually expect people to take this seriously? Cause when you’re making a film dealing with serious and sensitive issues related to gender, race and sexual abuse, slut jokes on your promo site are the obvious way to sell your film. I also love that the plot presents Rae’s ‘promiscuity’ as what needs to be punished and fixed, yet the film’s marketing attracts viewers by promising two hours of ogling a hot, half naked actress. Shaming and punishing female sexuality while sexually objectifying your lead actress for the audiences pleasure! Fantastic!
    For what it’s worth, my roommate and I recently discussed this film and he was similarly horrified, despite having a much higher tolerance for pop culture bullshit than I do.
    And I know, yeah, yeah, we haven’t seen it yet. But honestly, even if it gets great reviews, I won’t go simply because I don’t want to validate their marketing approach. (And whatever any of us wind up thinking of the film, I think its safe to say the marketing is vile.)

  45. Posted February 28, 2007 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around this film and it’s marketing.
    What stands out to me, though, is the number of times the trailer – and one would assume the film – holds the shot for laughs. As if a terrified woman, chained in a stranger’s house is some kind of comedy gold.
    Also, a different synopsis I read mentions that she’s abandoned by her… wait for it… mother. Surprised? Anyone?
    I’m obviously going to see this movie – hell I may write my thesis on it – but it could be the most sympathetic movie of the year, but this marketing campaign is obscene.

  46. stone biscuit
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    SO glad I’m not the only one talking about how disturbing this movie seems.

  47. jeff
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 1:04 am | Permalink
  48. manda
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    I’ve read the post, looked at the website, and read the comments. I keep thinking and thinking, but all I can come up with is:
    What the hell is wrong with people?

  49. Zettaichan
    Posted February 28, 2007 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    “What the hell is wrong with people?”
    If we all judged creative works by their subject matter and presentation alone, few people would ever read Lolita.

  50. Posted February 28, 2007 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    As I’ve said about this movie before, I was prepared to give this film a chance. Really, I was. I *liked* Hustle & Flow, I liked it A LOT. So, when I heard this was going to be an examination of the intertwining of culture/the blues/and the racial dynamics of sexuality, you know, that sounded interesting and promising.
    And then came all the…SHIT. The cards. The promo material. The posters they are handing out for free in the displays in theaters, the myspace page, the whole thing. And it just…soured me in a way I cannot explain. Am I unfairly judging this movie by its marketing? Well, maybe. Or maybe I am judging it by the fact that the director and stars have allowed such marketing to take place, maybe I am objecting to the money this is going to make from the people who’ll ADORE this marketing. I just can’t shake the bone-deep, unsettling feeling this gives me. And if that means I am missing out on a truly great work of ART…well, so be it.
    That trailer, when she is jerked to the ground, people LAUGHED when I saw that in the theater. Hardee-har-har! I aim to cure you of your wicked ways! And what is the wickedness? Sexuality? Well, I don’t know, call me a slutty tramp, but I happen to think chaining unwilling PEOPLE to radiators is somewhat *more* of a “wicked” thing. Who is going to cure Sam Jackson of that?
    Thanks for covering this, Ann, when I e-mailed Jessica about it, this was just the commentary (by you) and feedback (in comments) I was interested in! :)

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