[1987] Fatal Attraction

fatal_attraction_posterAlternatively, Fatal Attraction ended with Dan in jail. This ending, however, did not fuse climax and catharsis well enough, did not test well enough with audiences, and did not demonstrate a logic consistent with its smart world building. So the director rewrote, refilmed, and recut a version of Fatal Attraction that ended with everything in its right place: unwell Alex dead and philandering Dan without consequence. It didn’t even seem like he grew from his near miss. The blame, alternatively, has been cast onto Alex, poor, crazy Alex as the holder of bad fortune and loser of minds. Contemporary Dan is the embodiment of clueless, white, male privilege.

Well enough, Alex Forrest as a character has gotten a fair share of criticism and a few dozen thinkpieces denouncing her trope as anti-woman, anti-feminist, and wholly modernist. Unable to cope with — something — Alex descends from a career-minded single woman into total hysterical madness; over a weekend fling? When peeled back, alternatively, this characterization doesn’t hold up to immediate scrutiny. While thrilling, this type of surface-level character making, is as deep as she is manic. It means that Fatal Attraction is an expensive thrill with a character assassination at the expense of the white, male viewers whose “marriages were saved after watching this movie!” as if any of these hysterical men had any sort of gumption in the first place.

No, it means this: Fatal Attraction‘s writers trapped their perception of a woman scorned and broken bad into Alex, with every other character playing coy. That word, hysterical, is loaded with etymology related to the uterus and is taken to mean “at the whim of an emotional female,” or, anti-logical, because for millennia or more, female meant baby-bearing, illogical, subservient being. Alternatively, it means that watching Fatal Attraction thirty years later leaves a puzzling reconstruction of what it means to eschew a discussion of mental health. Alex originally kills herself, but in the theatrical cut, Dan’s wife Beth, somehow not hysterical, helps Alex kill herself. Continue reading “[1987] Fatal Attraction”

[1983] The Big Chill

The true horror of the sprint towards my own death has not yet set in. I still feel I am jogging through the spring of my own life and refer to those older than me as that – older. Maybe wiser and certainly more cynical (cynicism for cynicism’s sake, it seems), but older. Perhaps I live an insulated life, balancing school with my desire to do nothing. It creeps along.

But I do have friends and even when I don’t see my friends for long periods of time, when we do meet, it’s as though nothing has changed. We’re older, collectively, and we no longer complain about the same things, but we have each other and we have our stories to find comfort in them. Since we’ve left each other’s daily company, we’ve had time to breathe, and while we don’t share the same experiences, we experience together. The dynamic seems to be cyclical in that we continue to learn from one another’s separate experiences. Though separated by 200 miles, we have phones, email, social media and any other way to replicate the experience of being together. It doesn’t take an event to get us together. The Big Chill replicates 70% of my experience. Continue reading “[1983] The Big Chill”