Project X or: Vasectomy the Movie!

This isn’t what I would consider a “review” (more a rant) and that’s why I am putting this on my personal blog. It also CONTAINS SPOILERS for Project X. It really shouldn’t be a big deal considering it’s an incredibly predictable film where you could guess what happens by watching any trailer.

I took four film classes in college. I figured it would be the most entertaining way for me to earn twelve credit hours since I love movies and have a decent ability to bullshit about them. I had the same professor for each class and she liked me because, “I was capable of being funny and making good points at the same time.” I personally think she liked that I participated in class when many others declined, and I would disagree with people to stir the pot. I’m pretty sure she had a double major in film and feminist studies1 so mostly our discussions revolved around a feminist’s view of films. Considering the classes were probably 70% female and the guys would rarely participate, I would often be arguing the counterpoint alone against a horde of ladies. I coined the term “Meninism2” to describe my male point of view on the movies we watched and to attempt to bring in more guys to join my cause. Most of the time it ended up being me arguing that movies needed to be taken more at face value and less as symbolism. It seems to me that if you look into anything hard enough you can find any hidden gender/racial/social meaning you want to fit your argument.

All that being said, movies are generally bullshit for women in the industry and as viewers. I imagine most people could not name more than two females that are either directors or writers3. That means that the majority of movies are made from the brains of a group of collaborating men. While some do a good job with women’s characters,4 most seem incapable or unwilling to create a female with depth. Too often they are used only to nag, entice, or be saved by the male character and lack any development of their own. Using female characters this way isn’t always sexist, but it’s almost always frustrating. Gratefully there are signs that changes are taking place. Movies driven almost entirely by women like Mean Girls, The Help, and Bridesmaids are getting made and receiving praise from critics and theater-goers alike. Katheryn Bigelow broke the gender barrier for the Academy Award for Best Director and Diablo Cody is proving herself in the screenplay department.5 These women only help bolster the diversity of films being made and improve the product as a whole.

While I was debating the women in my film class about feminist issues they thought they saw in film and actively acknowledging the boys club that is the movie industry, I was relatively sure I hadn’t seen a movie that was totally misogynistic. Most movies that have anti-women tones6 in them have things that “meninists” could complain about as a way of degrading men. Yes the women are often getting it in a worse way, but I’d never seen a movie that was completely one sided….until Project X.

Project X is a movie that has been universally panned by most critics and only liked by people that are too young to know better, or older people that should know better. I didn’t go into this movie expecting anything great. I knew it was one of those high school sex/party movies that are sometimes good but mostly poor. It was rated ‘R’ which I approved of before hand. Even though that means there would be topless women7 it feels way more unrealistic with the way teenagers actually talk if it’s rated PG-13. Although if this movie is a realistic view of how male teenagers actually talk to women, I will run and get a vasectomy tomorrow for fear that I would have to bring up a daughter in this world.

The movie doesn’t start out terrible. Even though there is a douche character named Costa that constantly call girls bitches and talk about them like they are walking dick sheaths instead of people, the girls just laugh and ignore his existence. He feels like the typical blowhard who is trying to convince people how cool he is by constantly saying how cool he is. He’s the one throwing the party and it’s basically just him wanting to not be unpopular anymore. Had the movie been good they would have given this character development where he would realize what an asshole he is when people still thought he was a joke at the party. Instead they glorified his behavior. He puts up signs that say, “Must be naked to enter” and points it out to the first girl who tries to get in the pool. Instead of giving him the disgusted looks he was receiving just hours before at school or coyly asking him, “Then what about your trunks?” she just shrugs and takes her top off. Then a bunch of other stupid woman do the same because some asshole said so.

Note to women: Don’t take your top off when a guy you don’t like or know says to.

That’s only the beginning for old Costa though. His friend Thomas (it’s his birthday party and his parent’s house) ends up hooking up with a girl named Kirby that he has been friends with for awhile and legitimately likes. Costa manages to convince him that it would be in his best interest to attempt to get with a different girl because Kirby “has always been there” and that the party is about being better than that. Because he is an idiot Thomas decides to go after the girl who we are led to believe is the hottest girl in the school.

It’s important to not that when Thomas asked this hot girl to come to the party she had no idea who he was and seemed uninterested in him as a person. However she has been flirting with him most of the night and when he takes her up to his room she immediately takes her clothes off and mounts him. We aren’t given a reason for why she has been into him all night or suddenly wants to jump his bones, but it feels like it was because his party was a huge hit and she wanted to be the “girl that hooked up with the guy who threw the coolest party.” Keep reaching for the stars ladies!

At no point does Thomas have any trepidation about hooking up with this girl because he has feelings for another, and because this movie is terribly written Kirby walks in on them mid hook-up. Thomas chases after her but she tells him off and as an audience we finally get the sense that at least one young woman in Pasadena has some self-respect…until the next day at school. After their classmates surround them and cheer them for throwing such a sweet rager, Thomas tracks down Kirby and gives her the lamest pick up line ever said in a movie. Surely Kirby, our last bastion of hope for a future culture based in gender equality, will see through his bullshit. Alas, she just smiles and kisses him because boys will be boys and obviously he’s a great guy.

Note to women: If you walk in on a girl straddling the guy who “likes you” as he gets a handful of boob, you should not smile and kiss him the second he says something corny to you the next day.

Those weren’t the only instances of misogyny within the film. Every girl I didn’t mention was nameless and either topless, dancing seductively, or in the act of background coitus. While there weren’t any moments that felt rapey there certainly weren’t any moments where the girls didn’t act like nymphs that had freshly skipped out of the forest to be seeded by many a noble 17 year old.

Project X ruined my last weekend. Not because I had to watch a disgusting movie and not because I wasted two hours trying to type a review on it before I frustratingly gave up. It ruined my weekend because there were women in my theater that were laughing and enjoying themselves while watching this shit. The guys who were yucking it up don’t deserve a pass, but they at least have some shred of an excuse. It’s 15 year old male sex-fantasy, and they want the hottest women to desire them without them having to do anything that takes as much effort as trying. Why any woman would be OK with this movie actually upsets me. It reminds me of a political science class where I got in an argument with a girl who said she didn’t think a woman could be president because “Woman are way too emotional.” It shocks me that an American woman in the 21st century could be cool with something that so blatantly puts them down as a gender.

But what do I know…I’m just a big dumb man.

Note to women: I’m not a big dumb man.

———————————————-

1. It was either that or she wrote her grad paper on feminism in film.

2. My professor thought this was quite funny.

3.I consider myself “in the know” and I could only name 5 off the top of my head. Although I looked more up and was mad at a few that I should have known.

4. Woody Allen is good at creating realistic women that are every bit the equal (or better) of his male characters. Quentin Tarantino also portrays women quite well. They are often ass-kicking and incredibly sexy (without needing to expose a lot of skin).

5. I’m not really that big of a fan of Cody. Her movies haven’t appealed to me very much and I disliked Juno and Young Adult. That being said I think she creates good characters and original scripts and as long as she keeps that up I will keep giving her movies a chance.

6. Women getting abused, objectified, and insulted

7. To every man that is currently shaking his head in disgust: It should be known I’m not against topless women in general, but how often does it work in movies story-wise? Rarely and often it’s in the most banal circumstances. It’s more of a distraction and in an age where one can access naked women at their computer any time it feels like the film makers admitting that their movie sucks. “Maybe they won’t notice how terrible this scene is if we include boobs.” I also get the same feeling I do when I go to strip clubs. I get really sad and wish these poor girls didn’t have to do this to make money. Yes I realize how condescending it is too assume these women don’t have a choice in the matter.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Y’know, I was considering seeing this movie. I must confess to a certain fascination with extremity, and the movie looks, if nothing else, extreme. I have a feeling I will dislike it immensely. Your rant suggests the movie is as damaging to progressive gender relations as the Twilight series, but targeting the opposite gender. I’ve been appalled by the Twilight phenomenon. Not only are the stories badly written, but there is a disheartening (and somewhat hidden) message – girls, you have no real reason to exist until there is some man to be the object of your obsession. I’ve only read the first novel, and seen the first movie, but I’ve read a great deal about the subsequent installments. There is never any mention of what Bella wants to do with her life, and I get the feeling that this is intentional. The idea of what Bella wants to do with her life is irrelevant because she has “intriguing” men with which to involve herself.

    Reply

    • I definitely think it would be damaging to progressive gender relationships if it ended up being as popular as the Twilight series. As it stands it’s a movie that will ultimately be forgotten that illustrates that many people still don’t seem to be bothered with pointless misogyny when it happens in a film.

      Guys and girls alike laughed at this movie and some enjoy it and defend it online. Most of their defenses for it are that it shouldn’t be taken seriously and is supposed to be an extreme scenario of what actually could happen. I just wish they would have made a female character or two that was extreme in any sort of non-detrimental way.

      Reply

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