Posted by: DD | April 2, 2008

no. 629 – A Heavy Post About Lightening Up

I remember when I first saw the previews for the movie Juno. I really wanted to see it because it looked funny. My only worry (and certainly not a “real” one) was sitting in a theater watching some pregnant girl and trying not to involuntarily throw popcorn at the screen and think “lucky bitch”.

I never got to see the movie. The hype that started surrounding the whole adoption issue irked me, to say the least. I didn’t expect a movie to expand my opinion or educate me on birth-mothers and adoption processes, but that’s what it turned into for just about everyone in blogging who has been touched, whether negatively or positively, by adoption.

My desire to see the movie was based on my wish to be entertained. I had hoped that my husband, who probably considered the movie a “chick flick”, would come with me and we would get a babysitter for XBoy and we would eat stale, salty popcorn iced in fake butter, eat Mike & Ike’s and drink enough soda to send us to the bathroom at least twice. Ahhhh, Paradise.

That didn’t come to pass because I had been inundated with the controversy. How could I sit and watch that movie passively?

Now there’s another movie coming out: Baby Mama, about surrogacy. I love Tina Fey. I love Amy Poehler. Both brilliant comediennes. But already it has started. You may have seen the Newsweek article on surrogacy that was recently on MSN’s home page. I actually came away after reading it without the icky taste in my mouth I normally get when news articles try to discuss topics of infertility. The article on donor eggs made my skin crawl in comparison.

In the former article, it does reference briefly the stereotyping that surrounds surrogacy and how the movie, Baby Mama, caricatures that with the casting: “She hires a working-class gal (Amy Poehler) to be her surrogate. The client is a savvy, smart and well-to-do health-store-chain exec while Poehler is an unemployed, deceitful wild child who wants easy money.”

To me, this is pure Hollywood razzlematazzle to exploit how many people think. If the film industry wants to provide more reality, then they would promote a documentary. Those interested in a more accurate portrayal would then go see said documentary. If you want fact, don’t spend your hard-earned money and see a movie that happens to be categorized as a “comedy”, e.g. Juno.

If I really thought I could get an education and opinions from the entertainment industry then I would find myself believing that ancient Romans spoke English; that a form of martial arts would allow me to fly; and that hobbits walk the face of the Earth.

I would never expect Hollywood to provide me anything but a bang for my buck. Education isn’t their responsibility and to blame them or have higher expectations from the entertainment industry is like pointing a finger: when you do, there are always three pointing back at you. Simple reminders as to who is really responsible for knowing the difference between fact and fiction.

We should welcome a laugh whenever possible and we deserve to have simple joys, even if that means giggling at the joke that no one else gets. Infertility is a fucked-up joke, and you can’t tell me that while you are reading through your list of blogs that someone along the way doesn’t make you smile, or even guffaw outright, while describing something infertility-related.

Reality can be too painful as it is. Enjoy the improbable and the ludicrous. Take a break from that reality once in a while and eat some overpriced and crappy popcorn.

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Responses

  1. Is it wrong to admit that I would agree to sit though *any* movie at this point if it meant a baby sitter and stale popcorn?

  2. I’m with Milenka, but I gotta say: if the Tina Fey movie looks too thought-provoking, the Harold & Kumar sequel is coming out the same weekend. I’m just saying…

  3. We just saw Drillbit Taylor. I liked it. A lot. What does that say about my state of mind??

  4. Soooo…… What’s up? You distract me with all this Juno babble. Grrrr……

  5. I tend to ignore the current events drama in most movies. I saw Juno. I might have been a little more prone to tears at a couple of parts due to my personal experiences or it might have been those first trimester hormones. But I didn’t walk away thinking any differently or more deeply about birth or adoption. I just thought it was a cute/funny movie.

    I rented Martian Child several months ago. Adoption being the central theme but I rented it because I thought it might be entertaining not because it might be relevant to me. My thoughts on it were “Eh”. It was fine but not outstanding. My work as a social worker made me appreciate how hard the dad worked to make the relationship work and how rare for a foster parent to stick it out…but I didn’t delve any deeper than that.

    Why am I rambling about all of this? I don’t know.

  6. I love movies and can watch almost anything. My only requirement is that it make me feel good which means I end up seeing a lot of total crap.

  7. I love movies and can watch almost anything. My only requirement is that it make me feel good which means I end up seeing a lot of total crap.

  8. After writing that BlogHer post last week about Baby Mama, Josh asked me if we were going to see it. And the answer is yes. I mean, I can question why everyone seems to want to weave IF into movies and television lately and still want to see Tina Fey. We saw Juno. We saw Then She Found Me. We’ll go see Baby Mama when it comes out. We’ll eat popcorn. We’ll probably also sneak in our own bottled water…gasp!

  9. I was hoping that Juno wouldn’t screw around too much with the whole adoption angle. I actually was brought to tears several times during the movie (sans benefit of pg hormones), because I felt that Jennifer Garner’s character really did portray my own feelings of wanting that child So Damn Much. It hurt to watch, and I already finally had my baby; brought it all back like yesterday.

    I honestly didn’t focus too much on how they handled the whole adoption thing (I agree, it is *just* a movie, for heaven’s sakes). I do wholeheartedly recommend it. Maybe just wait until you can handle a few good cries as I feel strongly it will probably dredge up those feeling for you, too.

  10. Dear DD, I couldn’t agree more.

  11. Great post, I totally 100% agree with you.

  12. Well, you know how I feel about the movies in question…and yes, seeing a comedy can be a relief and fun, hell I like Hogan’s Heroes too, but only because I know that real Nazis weren’t like Colonel Klink.

    I knew it was a joke.

    The issue to me isn’t that sensitive subjects are in the movies and inaccurate so much as they are about the fact that this is the only portrayal the general public will EVER see. There isn’t a critical mass of coverage involved, and so the stereotypes these movies portray are very very damaging.

    Another comparison I can make is the difference between Gone with the Wind where all the slaves are supposedly well-treated and happy and like being owned, and Roots, where the American public finally had to face the history of slavery and notice the suffering of African Americans.

    Both are entertaining, but Roots did it surrounded by a critical mass of information that meant the public knew the difference between a truth and a lie. They could laugh and cry and celebrate honestly.

    GWTW on the other hand, could never ever be made today. Too many people know the truth. I would submit that GWTW set back race relations in the US by decades because it perpetuated so many lies.

    As for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in Baby Mama, I can only hope that since they are well-known comedians who are involved heavily in slapstick comedy that the public will be more tuned in that this isn’t a realistic portrayal.

    DD, you and your readers know the truth about adoption and infertility. So you and your readers could see it and I know it would be okay. But for others?

    Never overestimate the stupidity of the average person. I cannot tell you the number of hideous things that people have said to me in the wake of Juno. You and your readers would be sick if I repeated them.


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