What the world really needs is more rotten films made by emotional cripples. Let the ladies direct!

13 Feb


I went with a friend this past weekend to see Django Unchained and it was the usual magnificence one expects from Quentin Tarantino.  I’ve always been a big fan of Tarantino, ever since the brilliance of Reservoir Dogs.  As a film theory major, I am well acquainted with the notion of fractured narratives, and I sat through the boring-ass “brilliance” of Roshomon, just like every other film theory degree student the world over.  Because there is nothing a barista at Starbucks needs more than a thorough knowledge of Japanese films.


But Reservoir Dogs?  Oh my!  From the first frame to the last, it was a wild ride across time and space that showed American film audiences in particular that they weren’t too dumb to enjoy what is essentially an art-house film.  Tarantino translated the avant-guarde into the mainstream, and for that, he deserves every accolade a filmmaker can possibly get.  Tarantino has been nominated for Best Director twice, and best screenwriter three times, taking the statue for writing Pulp Fiction.


He followed Reservoir Dogs with Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill films, all hugely successful and established himself as a legendary filmmaker.  Django Unchained is his latest salvo in the war to win Best Director of All Time, and I’d say Tarantino has a good shot at it.

Know why?

Well, duh!  It’s because he doesn’t have to compete with all the awesome lady directors who are being held in a cage by the evil patriarchy that won’t let them get out there and put their own lady stamp on the celluloid world.


So says Jezebel.


In an unintentionally hilarious whinefest of an article, 21 year old Eden Sher recounts her experience working as an actress in Hollywood (yeah, I’ve never heard of her either) and her short forays into the world of directing.


I was neither fearless nor powerful. The first day of shooting, my mannerisms undermined my authority. I was directing, technically, but every order I gave came with an apology: to my director of photography when I wanted him to reshoot something, to my lead actress any time I wanted her to slightly tweak her performance, even to my sound guy when he accidentally stuck his boom mic in the shot (“I’m sorry to ask you to fix this big mistake…”). I had turned into this fearful, powerless, shrunken speck of a human, and it took me fourteen hours to realize how I was behaving.


In all fairness to Eden, she is well aware of the fact that there are no lady directors because, well, there are no ladies that WANT to direct.  Not many of them, at any rate.

It isn’t just that capable women are being turned away from the job. Capable women aren’t even applying for the job. The most important missing factor in ladies directing is ladies believing they can direct at all.


Believing, Eden?  Or wanting?

Being a director is not for the faint of heart.  You are responsible for an astonishing amount of money and you must answer to your investors, who won’t be shy about telling you are creating a piece of shit movie.  You must take huge risks to make your work stand out from the crowd. You need a rock-solid sense of yourself and your vision and what you wish to convey.  You need to command your crew with absolute authority and since you are on a tight timeline and time is money, you can’t stand around apologizing and dickering with unruly crewmates.







Oh hello James Cameron!


Like it or not, for better or for worse, there are far more men than women who possess the qualities needed to survive and thrive as a director in the movie industry.  Women who DO have what it takes WILL find opportunity, and always have.  And what do they do with that opportunity?

Let’s see.

Top Ten Female Directors in Hollywood, according to Moviefone.

  1. Kathryn Bigelow – James Cameron’s ex-wife (nuff said)
  2. Amy Heckerling – made a film about teenage girls shopping in LA
  3. Julie Taymor – makes weird films about music and Shakespeare
  4. Nicole Holofcener – chick flicks but you’ve probably never heard of them
  5. Catherine Hardwicke – makes films about teenagers and directed the first Twilight but was replaced
  6. Jane Campion – made a stunning film about a piano
  7. Soffia Coppola – Francis Ford’s daughter (nuff said)
  8. Mia Nair – adapts famous British novels for the screen
  9. Nora Ephron – fabulous chick flicks and rom-coms
  10. Nancy Meyers – chick flicks


Some of those ladies made some really good films, but not one of them has any claim to greatness.  They did not produce films that drove forward tremendous innovations in cinema.  Not one of them produced a film that was a global blockbuster, transporting audiences around the world into their own personal visions.  Not one of them addressed compelling histories and biographies of important events and people.  Not one of them set a new standard for technological achievement.

Not one.

Let’s take a look at some male directors, shall we?

  1. Stephen Spielberg
  2. James Cameron
  3. George Lucas
  4. Quentin Tarantino
  5. Michael Bay
  6. Martin Scorcese
  7. Francis Ford Coppola
  8. Joel Coen
  9. Tim Burton
  10. Ang Lee

Show me one woman who has achieved anything like Avatar or Star Wars or Saving Private Ryan.  I don’t need to recount the films these men made because you already know them. These men ARE cinema.

Even when women get the opportunity to front a multi-million dollar budget and command a crew, they use that opportunity to make small, personal, usually romantic films (except for Bigelow, but she had quite the mentor, didn’t she?). And there is NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.


There is no conspiracy against women directing films.  Most women working in the industry don’t WANT to direct, and those that do are mostly interested in little films that deal with the emotional entanglements of women.  This is the same issue as women on the boards or in the corner office of Fortune 500 companies. There is no “glass ceiling” keeping the ladies out.  THEY DON’T WANT TO BE THERE.

For women like Eden, who want to direct I say this:  go for it, chickie.  If you’re any good, you’ll find a way to make it happen.


But to all the people wondering where all the women directors are, I have this to say:  they’re doing something else.  Something they WANT to do, and all the shrieking in the world isn’t going to change women’s basic orientation to the world, nor should that even be a goal.  If feminism is a political theory that encourages women to do what they want to do, then it also needs to accept what they DON’T want to do.


Since 1903, when The Great Train Robbery was first cobbled together, there have been women working in Hollywood. No one stopped them from achieving greatness.

Greatness isn’t something women achieve through the lens of a camera.



Who knows?  Maybe Eden will be a woman who DOES achieve cinematic greatness.  She would be the first, then.  In all likelihood, she will hit her late 20’s, find a husband, have a baby and nothing in the world but that little person will ever matter to her again.  Tends to be the way things go, no?  But maybe not.   Maybe Eden will be that woman.  The one who transforms the art of filmmaking and transports audiences into realms previously unimagined.  Maybe.

I’m not holding my breath.

Lots of love,


20 Responses to “What the world really needs is more rotten films made by emotional cripples. Let the ladies direct!”

  1. Alex February 13, 2013 at 15:08 #

    tried to look at the jezebel article at school and they blocked it! said it was an “adult” site. which i find surprising since i can come on here during school, either they’ve seen jezebel and know it’s not a good influence,or they just don’t research right


  2. Odysseus February 13, 2013 at 16:30 #

    In recent years technology has also made it possible for someone who is hard working, entrepreneurial, and talented to bypass all the existing film infrastructure and make their own movies as well made as the big guys if they’re willing to work on it and actually have the talent for such.


  3. Erudite Knight February 13, 2013 at 17:22 #

    Sounds like misogyny at work, why arent we giving women a fair chance at directing too!?!?!?


  4. Leap of a Beta February 13, 2013 at 18:04 #

    I really don’t think women comprehend what kind of leadership/balls it takes to have a vision in your head, then have others blindly trust in you, and get that same vision out for the world to see. If they understood they’d realize its a miracle it happens at all. Especially anything edgy, thus controversial with a need to convince both to trust and that your vision is the truth


  5. Kai February 13, 2013 at 18:08 #

    This reminds me of the journalists always complaining that there aren’t 50% women in politics – yet never running themselves. Women get elected in about the same proportion as men *when they run*, but fewer women run in the first place. Then women who would never consider being a politician complain there aren’t enough.
    At least this girl has actually gone out and tried to direct (even if she’s not very good at it) rather than expecting other women to do something she wants to happen.
    Certain jobs require certain aptitudes, and aptitudes are not evenly spread between men and women overall. She seems to have hit on exactly why there aren’t more women directors. The problem is seeing that as a problem.


  6. zykos February 13, 2013 at 18:48 #

    The chick’s 21, she’s been acting since she was 8 (that’s where her ’12 years experience’ in the industry come from). So she’s barely old enough to drink, and was given the chance to direct, yet she’s still complaining? This girl has probably never had any obstacle in her life, and her acting and directing “career” have probably more to do with the fact that she was born and raised in LA, and that she’s a pretty white female than any outstanding talent, yet she is so blind to her privilege that she still believes women are discriminated against. The sense of entitlement is mind-boggling.


  7. Kai February 13, 2013 at 18:58 #

    Unrelated to this post:
    I haven’t even read it yet, but this is bound to be full of ‘awesome’…


  8. lizliz123 February 13, 2013 at 19:15 #

    Django Unchained. I still think Leonardo Dicaprio looks like a teenager with a rapid aging disease.

    That’s all I got on the topic of filmography….


  9. lizliz123 February 13, 2013 at 19:16 #

    OH great now I am lizliz123? Liz was taken. Why did I sign up for this wordpress thing? Think I’ll drop it.


  10. zykos February 13, 2013 at 20:06 #

    Go to the user settings, you can change the way you appear: Settings > Public Profile > Public Display Name.


  11. Liz February 13, 2013 at 20:52 #

    Not wordpress, I meant gravatar. Gah….I’ve ruined things by creating a profile.


  12. Liz February 13, 2013 at 21:11 #

    Thanks Zycos,


  13. Anonymous February 13, 2013 at 22:22 #

    I think Liz is a lovely name 😉


  14. allamagoosa February 13, 2013 at 22:24 #

    I’ve heard of two of those females directors. Jane Campion directed the only romance movie I actually like and Nora Ephron I’ve just heard of. No idea what she’s directed.


  15. angelowal February 13, 2013 at 23:04 #

    Here’s a bit about Nora Ephron. She was rather accomplished, in my opinion.


  16. A Man For All Seasons February 14, 2013 at 07:05 #

    Penny Marshall has had a number of big films (Big, League of their Own). I’m surprised she has not been mentioned. However, she’s the only one I can think of


  17. Pirran February 14, 2013 at 12:00 #

    Hilariously funny whine from the movie brat (Jezebel never relents on it’s mission to bawl the world into submission). What instantly pegged her was her categorization of the sound guy (“I’m sorry to ask you to fix this big mistake…”). Seriously?? She was directing an internet short with a crew (I would guess) who were working for peanuts and she rips into the boom mike operator for being in shot? Again, (I’m guessing) with no monitor and basic recording equipment how, THE HELL, is he supposed to know when he’s in shot if the DIRECTOR doesn’t tell him? And that’s HIS mistake?

    The air of whiny entitlement is pure Hollywood (and never a good idea to rip into crew in print who were probably doing her a favor in the first place). Incidentally, read the comments for added hilarity. It seems there are no end of Princesses who’ve been mugged by reality (sorry, Patriarchy) in Hollywood and didn’t have the talent to make it or persevere (again, apologies. What I meant to say was “were denied their opportunity as self-evidently wonderful creative artists by eveeel, eveeeel, men doing eveel things. And looking at their ass”. There. Fixed).


  18. realityforever February 14, 2013 at 14:29 #

    Of course it was Quintin Tarantino’s privileged background having to live with his
    mother in his 20s, riding the bus everyday to his minimum wage job at a video rental
    store that afforded him the ‘opportunity’ to be a genius and sell his ideas.
    Jesus Christ,

    WHEN exactly are Feminists (and most women) going to FINALLY do just the most casual research to find that 98% of all the great male inventors, artists and
    innovators came from NOTHING. There is an old saying, “Kings and Queens are not the inventors of things” which of course obviously implies that when you’re just handed
    everything in life, the very opposite effect takes place- you produce nothing.

    OCCASIONALLY someone from wealth or with famous parents succeed. But let me ask you, when was the last time you heard from Julian Lennon? Sean Lennon? Yea, they actually ARE examples of men following in their father’s footsteps, but the two of them combined are only 1/1000 or the genius of their father.

    I can give you a list everyday for years of children of famous stars and/or from
    ‘privilege’ (that word makes me vomit) who are fucking LOSERS. Let’s say we start the
    list off with Chaz Bono. I mean your average Feminist and females obsess over this stuff everyday and STILL don’t even get what’s right in front of their face. Just how retarded are they exactly? I mean, SERIOUSLY? Jesus Christ! Even mentally handicapped males are more intelligent..

    Feminists (and most American females) should have caught on to reality 20 years ago as to how the real world works- but no, here we are in 2013 and they STILL believe in
    something so incredibly stupid and even preach it to us! Watch – this entire decade will
    go by and in 2020 we’ll STILL be hearing the same old tired bullshit about how women
    aren’t succeeding because they aren’t given the ‘opportunity.’

    “WOW- so you mean that’s all it takes?!? Just to have the ‘opportunity’ to do something great or invent something? WOW! Well, I can start work on the first Quantum Computer in my garage this weekend!!

    Oh… yea… that’s right, I’m not that smart or even have any interest in science.”.
    Ever noticed that Feminism (or the way girls are taught to this day) never states. “If
    you work really, really, REALLY hard like a man than you can achieve like a man.” Jesus,

    If a teacher was to tell that to girls that teacher would be crucified- but it’s exactly
    what girls need to hear- not this warped idea that success and genius means someone else handing you everything and practically doing if for you- that’s MENTAL ILLNESS. And the portrait of a LOSER.


  19. JBfan August 19, 2013 at 00:04 #

    True, to be a director you have to be willing to put 110% into your project or you will not make it. I myself had the recent honour of creating the first ever theatre production to a small audience at the Baltic flour mills in Newcastle (entirely out of my own effort mind you).

    I worked with my team for months, kept things as organised as possible and ran a tight ship so if I suffered a setback, I would stay calm, take a deep breath, and sort it out, which works 99.999% of the time. I was producer, director, writer, and actor during that time and afterwards I was exhausted, all while balancing it with other university work, yet I was successful through entirely my own efforts.

    Granted, theatre is different to film, but not too different, and I have – as an actor – worked with both good film directors and bad film directors and I will tell you this for certain. Film making is not for the lazy, procrastinating, disorganised, spineless or bullies.

    If you don’t put in all the time and effort you have available, keep trying for a little bit extra to add to your film all the time as far as possible, remain organised 100% of the time, balance it with anything else you have to do, get people to toe the line without being a bully. but can’t take the stress, then you have no business being a film director. None.


  20. rajicangela March 14, 2015 at 16:37 #

    Ehhhh…I don’t know that Bay should be on the greats list. His movies make money, but I don’t think many would call them good. Campion and Bigelow got Oscar noms at least, though those are hardly measures of acumen. That said, I do love The Piano.

    Also, where would you put the Wachowskis JB? Technically one them is a lady and they had at least one influential film (really it depends on taste, since Speed Racer is getting belated praise for its style), albeit they were still the Wachowski Brothers when the Matrix happened.


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