Can men and women go to the same movie and enjoy it equally? So asks a piece in today’s Wall Street Journal:
Movie-watching has become nearly as solitary as reading. Should we be surprised that films are being crafted for ever more specific audiences, just as books have been?
Yet several of the most successful movies of the season buck the trend. Take the surprise hit “The Blind Side,” which combines a venerable female genre (the tale of a mother’s determined struggles on behalf of her ward) with reliably male subject matter (football). I’m surprised it took a smart producer so long after “Jerry Maguire” to realize that, to reach a broad audience, you can do worse than to craft a gridiron chick flick.
One of my absolutely favorite films — this from a woman who thinks of split ends as hair-related and has yet to watch a live football game — is “Any Given Sunday”, a 1999 drama starring Cameron Diaz as a ferocious pro football team owner and a sodden, raging Al Pacino as her coach. Diaz’ character is riddled with insecurity and greed; her mother is a sad, rich drunk; the wife of the quarterback is a razor-tongued shrew who couldn’t care less if her injured husband dies on the field as long as he maintains her lifestyle.
Oh, yeah, and football scenes, a terrific soundtrack, all of it with the intensity of any Oliver Stone film.
I also loved “North Dallas 40″, a 1979 film starring Nick Nolte; what hit me hardest in both were the graphic scenes of venal team physicians juicing, taping and injecting their battered bodies to keep them playing.