Jul 10, 2010

Movie Review: KNIGHT AND DAY

Knight and Day: C

I went only to get out of the heat, I promise. But it's Saturday, and in case you need a mindless movie — men shooting and exploding, women posing, blinking, and shrieking — I admit I had fun with this flick, and the big screen will add a lot.

Tom Cruise's action hero is a rogue FBI agent (Well, has he really gone rogue? We kind of like our rogues, but we can’t be having them as clean-cut heroes, can we?). Cameron Diaz is the girl he bumps into and swoon-i-fies.

To me, Knight and Day is no dumber than 007, and Cameron Diaz offers a beauty that looks healthier, more realistic, less cartoonish and less slutty than James Bond’s babes (on both the good and the evil teams).

My big question is not why the movie isn’t better art—did somebody expect a serious film? But I do wonder why I haven’t heard serious bellowing from serious feminists about the anti-serious woman Cameron Diaz plays. Her shrieking helplessness, moronic moves, cutesy poses, and underlying good girl are a throwback to the 1950s.

Maybe we’ve reached the point where such a blatant dismissal of women is too obvious and absurd to be worth a shout, especially when she’s abducted and governed by an equally ridiculous hero — a savvy, winking, pretty (I guess), athletic, dead-eye, in-all-ways-flawless, in fact, super-human male warrior. And by the way, like you or me, he's been wronged by The Man. (But he's only pissed off in a focused, seemly way).

So maybe the movie’s regressive treatment of gender roles is good news—the glass ceiling now has so many cracks from up-fired bullets of women that we can let down our guard. However, the box office success here makes me wonder just how our youth see males and females. Is this just a lark for them? Did they know they were checking their brains at the door, or are they being instructed on how to be in the world? But that’s too serious. Isn’t it?



gothpunkuncle said...

It's not your sort of thing -- if I'm not mistaken -- but how would Tank Girl compare in terms of a gender stereotype in an action flick?

Banjo52 said...

GPU, I assume you mean girl in photo, at ball game. I was trying to be discreet, so I don't know if I'm qualified to answer. But I really wonder if the two are related. Does Ms. Diaz have Cincinnati connections?

Maybe this is interesting: I wasn't sure who Cameron Diaz was till I saw this girl and realized she reminded me of somebody.

gothpunkuncle said...

Oh no... I'm talking about my secret and tragic crush, Lori Petty:


Any suggestions on good versions of "Shady Grove"? Oddly enough, I've been liking the Kingston Trio's, but I can never view them with a straight face after having seen A Mighty Wind.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Maybe a lot of movie goers have learned to watch this genre of movie on autopilot - for the action and nothing else? I notice my friends agreeing amoungst themselves that Tom Cruise is not to be taken seriously anymore - and anything with Ms. Diaz is eye candy. Obviously she has done serious work, but do her 'Charlie's Angels', etc. type roles and her headlines/affairs keep her off the serious page, as a Meryl Streep or Emma Thompson?

Sometimes the movie is more about the actors and their baggage than about the movie itself.

"Did someone expect a serious film?" Nah.... it's summertime!

Alice said...

I had similar reactions to Knight & Day. Went to please my hubby who goes to my kind of movies to please me, and I wound up, surprisingly, liking it a lot. Interesting points you make; I've no answers.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

"But I do wonder why I haven’t heard serious bellowing from serious feminists about the anti-serious woman Cameron Diaz plays"

We serious feminist don't go to Tom Cruise movies

(insert winky icon here)

Banjo52 said...

GPU, if it's Lori Petty (now that I've seen who or what she is), at least we won't have to duke it out over your little hottie the way we usually do. I could go on . . .

Flat and Scruggs did my first version of "Shady Grove." I still like it, but it's also the only one that rings clear in my head, tho' I've heard others that I liked. I had no idea Kingston Trio did it. I'll check on that at youtube.

Not to harp on June Carter Cash, but her take on "The Golden Vanity" (re-named) is the first one I've liked much since Odetta's. How's that for an unlikely pair. Wonder if they did anything together.

Banjo52 said...

Brenda, yeah, Streep, Thompson, Helen Mirren, and some others are in a league of their own. Toss in Charlize Theron? Jessica Lange (where has SHE been?)? Even Jennifer Anniston and Halle Berry had a couple of impressive roles, in my opinion.

I hate to say it because I love her (work), but is Catherine Keener ever NOT Catherine Keener?

Since I stumbled onto the idea (myself?), I'm interested in how few movie icons, even those I like, can be called serious actors: Clint Eastwood? Morgan Freeman? John Goodman? Redford? Clooney? Newman? Danny Glover. Michael Douglas. Not so much. Likable as they are, they are always themselves.

Even Cruise, Nicolas Cage, and Mel Gibson (as Hamlet) have more range, don't they? And certainly Fishburne, Brannagh, Phillip Seymour Hoffman--hey, where does Dustin Hoffman fit? Oliver Platt?

What about Kevin Spacey? Scary guy usually, compelling presence, but is he ever NOT Kevin Spacey?

I'm blanking on examples--there are plenty more. I suppose it boils down to movie star vs. actor.

Alice, yes, and welcome, and I might have liked it better than a C. But popcorn is mandatory.

PA, great line. At least Cruise is agile, very good at jumping on sofas. And he did stretch a bit as a trench coat bad guy against Jamie Fox's good guy a couple years ago (what was that title?--a cop movie).

This could go on and on, couldn't it.

The guy who plays Dexter on TV--star or actor? Isn't it a reprise of his role on Six Feet Under? I love both shows, and he's good. But isn't he "just" himself?

Why do I feel as if I'm about to be strung up?

Brenda's Arizona said...

GPU - how about Doc Watson? He does a lovely Shady Grove!

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