Magic, Magic Mike

[Yes, I have been gone from the blog for exactly one month. No, there’s no good reason. Just didn’t have much to say. I’m back now. Moving on…]

Unless you’re blind, deaf, otherwise oblivious, AND living in a cave somewhere in West Virginia (no offense, all ye Mountaineers), you’re probably aware of the earth-shaking event that will take place later this month. Though I’m not sure what the release date is (Edit: It’s June 29th…the Google-Fu is strong with this one), sometime in the next 9 or 10 days, this amazing movie called Magic Mike will be hitting theaters. Though I probably won’t go to the movies to see this (I’ll wait until it’s cheaper and available on cable), I’m cheering this movie on all the way and I’ll tell you why:

Because women deserve this.

For the better part of 40 years, basically every studio-produced, mass-appeal, American film has had so much T&A in it that it both boggles the mind and causes unsuspecting young males to enter puberty prematurely. And that doesn’t bother me, because a) I’m just not that big into movies, and b) I prefer comedies, which may or may not feature nudity but almost always do so in a way that is more chuckle-inducing than it is tantalizing. But seriously: I remember being a kid and my dad settling in to watch a James Bond marathon on a Saturday night on TNT (and yes, perhaps my parents let me watch some things that weren’t always super age-appropriate). I was always left dumb-freaking-founded at how much play 007 could get in the space of 120 minutes of screen time. Especially when Bond was played by Timothy Dalton…for the love of Pete…barf. The ‘stache ruined him. Let’s all just stop, pause, and accept that Sean Connery OWNED Bond in the same way Phelps owns the backstroke. Amen.

But seriously – even DALTON (bleeeh) could and would snag 3-5 women in the space of one poorly written screenplay, and in the mind of an eight year old me, that just didn’t add up. Women were always being exploited or stripped down for the filmgoer, and it just boggled my mind that the inverse never seemed to happen. I mean sure, I traipsed over to the theater with my best friend in college to enjoy a giggly viewing of Troy, which featured Brad Pitt’s bare butt and copious man muscles betwixt close up shots of Eric Bana’s face. Not a problem for me. But other than that one highlight in the early 2000s, nothing. Just an endless string of films that should’ve all been titled “Jessica Biel Shows Her Boobs Again…Wait, Now It’s Anne Hathaway…Wait, Now It’s Megan Fox…Wait, Miley Cyrus is Legal Now?”

But as often happens, they don’t make things like they used to. And sometime late in college, I was home one afternoon and American Gigolo was on TV. Oh. My. For one thing, I’ve always had an affinity for Richard Gere (from Gigolo to Pretty Woman to First Knight to Runaway Bride to Everyotherfreakinmoviehedidever). He’s just TOPS. But Gigolo was kind of revolutionary from a social and cultural standpoint because this time the person being exploited and stripped down was A DUDE! HUZZZAH! It’s about time, America! (“Wait, what year was this made, mom?” “Um…well, before you were born, I’m pretty sure.” “WHAAAAAT?” “What, you think your generation just invented sex? You kids…”)

Inappropriate mother-daughter conversations and ill-advised viewing choices aside, Gigolo did something amazing, and that was this: It turned the gender-in-film game upside down oh so briefly, and gave us a glimpse of the future. If only for just the duration of one film, it gave women hope that one day men could feel just as objectified as we do every time another “Mission Impossible” movie comes out. Again, like I said, I don’t really care because I hate basically every Tom Cruise movie except Jerry Maguire and whatever those other two from the 80s were when 95% of his acting consisted of putting on and taking off sunglasses. I digress.

And let me be clear: From my limited understanding of what the “plot” (ha) and “storyline” (haha) of Magic Mike is, it won’t be an Oscar winner or breakdown any huge gender stereotypes. However, it at least seems to try to take the typical “Poor loser trying to break even and realize their dreams takes a side gig pole dancing” plot and just make the “loser” in question an actual dude. Because seriously, it’s about time. And I really love that the casting agents on this film didn’t pick “guy’s guys” for the starring roles. I mean, guys’ guys are okay – Statham would’ve been a great choice for this film, too (can we make some quick edits, Soderbergh?). But no, they went for broke and hired the exact people that women would’ve asked for – Channing/Charming Tatum, Matthew McConaghwahtever (Does his name matter? No.), that hot guy from White Collar who is actually gay in real life, and some dude from “True Blood.” Brilliance, I tell you! Sheer brilliance! I mean, it is brilliant, that some casting agents and a director and a couple of other people finally got together and said “I don’t want to see Jessica Alba in a bikini anymore. Let’s do something different.”

So, will I be at the opening of Magic Mike, June 29th, with bells on (and perhaps a few other things, if I’m really into, if you know what I mean…), hooting and hollering with my girlfriends in the third row after a few too many rounds of cosmopolitans at the Ruby Tuesday’s bar?

Heck, no, people. I have a crazed toddler at home, minimal date night opportunities, and a husband I can actually sleep with (unlike those delicious hunks of man meat on that movie screen, who – though pretty – are still inedible on a variety of levels both figurative and literal). But you bet I’ll be cheering those girls on. Drink your cosmos and cheer “Take it off!” ladies, as loud as you can. This is our moment. ;-D