Monday, May 14, 2012

And The Hero of The Best Story of the Year Is a...GIRL?

It's May...and it's time to get out our planning schedules to determine which movies we'll be clamoring to see in the theaters. Of course, The Avengers has already set the bar high--all those heroes, all that wit, all that action. But I'm not worried. I know the movie that's going to kick every other summer blockbuster's ass. And it's only got one hero.

Or heroine, as it were.

What? The best movie of the summer has a GIRL as its hero?

In a word: YES.

It's called BRAVE, and it's Pixar's newest edition, and of course, everyone is worried how having a GIRL hero is going to translate into dollars, since, well, boys don't like girls and won't watch them in their movies, but girls aren't as narrow-minded about their entertainment.

But there's bows and arrows and some crude humor...and a great adventure--I think the boys will be surprised at how heroic a girl can be. I cannot wait!

In the meantime though, I'm going to work on making my heroine the star of her own book. She should be anyway, but being the boy-crazy author I've always been, I've always been much more interested in the hero--his eyes, his hair, his deep-gravelly voice. And never forget his dark and shadowy past that only the heroine can heal. Bah humbug.

My heroine has a tortured past too! Here she is, just trying to star in her own life and her own father wishes she'd been born a boy--and because she wasn't, wants to marry her off to the man he's always thought of as a son. What's a girl got to do to get some recognition for her skills? And my heroine, Nellie, has some major skills; it's just they not ladylike. Most importantly, she doesn't need a man to give her importance in her life!

I'm sure the heroine of BRAVE will save the day, but still find a guy who wants to play equals with her and not overshadow her; and that's the kind of hero I'm trying to evolve for my dear Nellie, but it's still going to be some work. Broderick is a product of his time.

What movies are you looking forward to this summer? And are your favorite blockbusters finding their ways into your writing? How so?


Maureen said...

Well, I've seen the Avengers...wondrous. Saw The Raven...Cusack was great, the rest was eh. Saw Pirates, Band of Misfits, great annimation, the book was better. I'll go see Dark Shadows...

And Brave looks great, as does MIB III... Not sure there is really anything else I'm looking forward to...

I get the challenge of the right hero for an alpha female. It's hard to put together a romantic sidekick that is the flipside of what we've been led to believe is the norm. Alpha guy with beta sidekick. Or maybe alpha sidekick, but still... SHE'S the sidekick.

I believe I did the reverse in The Changed World. Alpha female, male sidekick..I sure the hell tried to do it that way.

quantum said...

I confess to some confusion here!
Surely a romance has both hero and heroine, unless its a lesbian romance.
The heroine can be dominant though, but I still wouldn't call her a hero. LOL

I really like books with a dominant heroine. Elizabeth Moon comes to mind with 'The Deed of Paksenarion' which is not a romance. Amanda Quick with her lady paleontologist in 'Ravished' also comes imediately to mind as a romance with a very strong heroine.

Afraid I don't go to the cinema any more, though I do watch the occasional film on TV.
I'll have to wait untill 'Brave' reaches the small screen.
It sounds rather good!

Maureen, I thought that Miranda was pretty alpha in your 'Caribean Spell'. Is it going to be published soon? It would make a great film, especially the scenes where she re-charges her batteries!

Maureen said...

I tend to see Miranda as a strong beta, mainly because Jack had to be the alpha! But yeah, of course you'd like to see her recharge scenes! ;-)

TerriOsburn said...

Kiddo went to see Avengers on Saturday. She wasn't excited about it but enjoyed it quite a bit. She keeps telling me about and all I've gotten is that the good guys bicker and fight amongst themselves as much as the bad guys. Eh. I think I'd find that annoying. But then I've never watched Iron Man, Thor, or Captain America.

I can't wait to see Brave. I love that she's joining the games to fight for her own hand. And it sounds like it'll make ya think about yer own fate. (Sorry, I had to type like I hear it in the commercials. LOL!)

No idea if the movies are making it into my books. The two upcoming films I really want to see, that I can imagine influencing my work, are People Like Us and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Really looking forward to the latter.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

I think Brave looks great! But I have to admit I hardly ever go to the movies. I always wait to get the DVD's from Netflix. VERY few movies get me into the theater. Not because I don't want to see them, but it's a $$ thing and a time issue. No time!

I did recently go see Chimpanzee from Disney the week it opened because part of the proceeds of ticket sales went to the Jane Goodall Foundation. An excellent little documentary and amazing look at the family units of chimps.

Thinking about it from a writer's standpoint, it was amazing to me how much you could understand in their facial expressions.

You could tell when they were thinking, planning, scared, happy, etc. No words. All right there in the face.

So, I'm determined to try to capture more descriptions of facial tells for my writing.

MsHellion said...

Mo, I really liked Ironman (once I eventually got over that stupid cave scene and being blown over half the desert without any internal injuries)--and think Tony Stark is delicious. Snarky and awesome! Thor wasn't bad, but he's a younger guy and just kinda...well...dumb. Occasionally. I'll talk to him in 20 years when he's like Tony.

See, now you're making me think--is it possible to have an Alpha Heroine AND an Alpha Hero in the same story? You want two strong characters...but could two alphas not kill each other? No, Terri is pretty alpha...and she'd kill an alpha male if he started doing random it'd have to be some mix of beta with a touch of alpha or something. But still...could you have two alphas without killing each other?

Now I'm thinking of MR & MRS SMITH--but that was an alpha heroine, beta hero...because Brad Pitt was SOOOO Beta in that movie. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

Sorry, Q, I wasn't changing things up in that sort of way. It was that whenever I think the word "heroine" is used, it's like using the word "beta" or "sidekick"--the heroine is not the lead of a story, she's always secondary to the hero who shows up. When she is the lead, she's the lead in female life--like Jane Austen's characters--the hearth, the home, the friends network--that's where she leads. She does NOT go around kicking ass and taking names in the way a hero-hero would.

But in this story, that's exactly what she does. She's the hero/ine of a MALE-TYPE story, the MALE-TYPE adventure. I just find it fascinating in this day and age of equality and taking for granted some central rights--that CEOs still worry the movie won't be popular because a boy isn't leading this adventure. If a male was at the heart of this story, no big deal--but a girl does it, and even now, we all go, "Ooh, will that work?"

MsHellion said...

*clapping* Male bantering. Oh, I love that stuff. I should probably go see The Avengers. *LOL* I eat that kind of sarcasm up. *LOL*

EXACTLY! Taking fate into your own hands... *sighs* This is going to be a great movie.

I also want to see the Marigold movie in the worst way. I think it's coming to our independent film theater soon. I'll have to make time to see it.

TerriOsburn said...

I'm pretty sure Romance is the only genre in which the female lead is deemed a heroine. In Hunger Games, Catniss is the hero. In How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Stella is the hero. In The Help, I'm not sure who the main hero is but I can tell you it's a woman.

The hero is simply the lead character of a story. Regardless of gender. Except in Romance and only because there are two leads and it's a simple way to distinguish between the two.

TerriOsburn said...

Yep. It's a total boy's movie. You'll love it. LOL!

MsHellion said...

Sabrina, I've been seeing commercials for the Chimpanzee movie (Oscar is the one they focus on, right?)--it looks good, but I've never watched one of the documentary films. Mainly because I know something bad will happen, and when I watch something bad happen in a regular movie (like when Simba's father dies), I can continue because it's not real. But in the documentary, you know that really happened. It's just that much more sad.

MsHellion said...

Of course, Terri solves the semantics problem in three sentences. Why didn't I think of that? Damn.

But still, I think of "hero" in the Katniss sort of way...when a female is termed as "hero", it has to be for that kind of story. Life or death. (Though The Help could be pretty life and death.... Hmm.)

TerriOsburn said...

I don't think it matters what kind of story it is. Miss Marple is the hero of those books. Dorothy is the hero of Wizard of Oz. Some would say Scarlett is the hero of GWTW. Though that's a tough one, seeing as Rhett is such a strong leading character too. But that's really Scarlett's story.

Marnee Bailey said...

I can't wait to see this movie. :) I saw the first preview months ago and I've been wondering how it's going to be since. I'm going to force the older DS to go with me. LOL!

And Hells, I'm confused. Is this a new story? Tell us more!

This conversation (male vs female "hero" in romance) reminds me of that Deep Story class I took and how she classified one of the H/H as the protagonist and the other as the contagonist. In my last story, the hero was the protagonist (his actions spurred the action forward) and the heroine was working toward the same goal, but in a different way. In this story, it's the other way. The heroine is the protag. The hero is going to be going along for the ride, working towards the same goal but in a different way.

MsHellion said...

Marn, I'm not sure if I'd classify it as new. I've been working on it at least a few months (and the idea has been around for an age.) It's a suffragette and professor who hook up--she's trying to avoid being married off to her father's version of the Perfect Man (who is NOT the professor--as Terri pointed out, I like underdogs and my hero is an underdog.)

I like those terms: protagonist and they make sense to me. *LOL*

Is it wrong that it's only 10:20 am and I already want to spend the rest of my day looking at teaser trailers for a movie that won't be out for at least over another month?

Maureen said...

I can wrap my head around the protagonist and contagonist...but it is a challenge to have an alpha female with a beta sidekick. Comic sidekicks are historically done, but a romantic sidekick? Not so often. I do feel I did it in my UF...made the sidekick a bit of a clown, with a sense of humor, but perfectly willing to kick ass...

As for the Avengers...yup, lots of male on male bickering, but it's sweet to see them drop it all and pull it together when necessary. RDJ is delicious and the play between him and the rest is classic. Fav scene? Between the Hulk and's fast, blink and you'll miss it... ;-)

MsHellion said...

Perhaps we should avoid alpha-beta labels for this one instance. *LOL* It IS too hard to imagine. :)

Protagonist and Contagonist allows for strong personalities on both sides without making one of them "weaker" than the other. :)

P. Kirby said...

Because of money and time, I rarely go to the cinema to see movies. Given that I call myself a feminist, I really should go see Brave. It looks so very promising.

We will be seeing The Avengers in theater. I'm a big fan of Joss Whedon, and I love his snappy, snarky dialogue. When he gets it right--Buffy, Firefly--he's a master with ensemble casts. Adore Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark; looking forward to the Capt'n and Thor throwdown, and...totally a member of Loki's army.

Also looking forward to the Alien prequel, Prometheus. Batman, The Dark Night Rises is looking really awesome. The latest Spiderman may be okay, though I think it's way too early for a reboot that storyline. But I'm all about the boy movies.

In general, my heroines are borderline alphas (if not outright alphas), with my guys often moving into beta land. Current female protagonist starts off overwhelmed by her sich--thrown into an Alternate Universe where her new guy is apparently a supervillain--but she shakes that off rather quickly. The widow of a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan, she isn't content to sit on the sidelines while another love gets killed. By and large, this is her story, even though it's told through both POVs.

TerriOsburn said...

I never think of myself this way, but you all are making me feel downright girly today. LOL! Am I the only boy movie non-lover here??

I tried watching Iron Man I. Couldn't stand it. Even with RDJ. I prefer him as Holmes. The only boy-movie Marvel stuff I've ever liked is Batman.

Chance - Would that be the scene where they win then Hulk extends his arm and sends someone flying? :) Kiddo told me about that one.

Maureen said...

Yup! And grins about it!

P. Kirby said...

Terri sayeth: I never think of myself this way, but you all are making me feel downright girly today. LOL! Am I the only boy movie non-lover here??

My mom, who in no way girly, isn't that much of an action/SF/F movie fan. She'll watch 'em, but they aren't her thing. Recently, she tried to drag me to that chimpanzee documentary. I'm like, "Why on Earth would I pay money to see something I can watch for free on PBS? Bleh." My mother-in-law isn't very girly either, but she's utterly baffled by boy movies. Her response to The Matrix: "Are they robots?"

Maureen said...

Are all action movies boy-movies? Hmmmm!

TerriOsburn said...

I don't think Mr. & Mrs. Smith is. But some would say that's a Romance with action. Maybe. (I can't make myself watch that entire film either. LOL!)

I do love How To Train Your Dragon. That's a boy-movie. And the pirate movies. Again, those my lean more toward women. Hmmm.... The new Holmes movies?

Wait. Those are essentially period pieces. Attractive to women. As my mom would say, ya got me by the ass.

MsHellion said...

Pat--I've heard that about Joss Whedon, and what I really like him for is his dialogue--he's so funny. Sure he's got the action, but his snappy dialogue is what keeps me coming back.

We should have a Pirate Outing for BRAVE! *LOL* It'll be like our version of a flash mob...we'll all go at the same time. *LOL*

Let's hear it for alpha heroines!!!

P. Kirby said...

Are all action movies boy-movies? Hmmmm!

I'd argue, no. But then I'm using the term "boy movies" because getting into a long discussion about tiresome gender stereotypes falls into thread derail.

I would say that the inclusion of significant amounts of action tends to broaden the audience. I.e., you can get people who disdain romance to watch a film with a romantic subplot IF there are loads of explosions, car chases, spaceships, CGI, etc.

MsHellion said...

Terri--I don't think of you as a non-boy-action disliker. I mean, we know how little I think of Spiderman--and I'm not a fan of the batmans, esp the new one (mostly because I'm not a fan of Christian Bale and won't move past it!). The Marvel comic movies I like can fit on one finger--IRONMAN. I did enjoy Thor, and the Green Lantern wasn't bad.

You liked the Sherlock that's action. I thought you liked Star Wars and Indiana Jones--those are boy movies.

MsHellion said...

*whispers to a corner* I hated the Matrix. So glad I watched that damned thing for free...then again, not a Keanu fan either...but I don't think anyone else could have saved it. Ugh.

MsHellion said...

I still don't understand how Terri hasn't managed to sit through the entire MR & MRS SMITH! So awesome!

MsHellion said...

You're right, P. I was gender-generalizing again. *LOL*

I would say that the inclusion of significant amounts of action tends to broaden the audience. I.e., you can get people who disdain romance to watch a film with a romantic subplot IF there are loads of explosions, car chases, spaceships, CGI, etc.

But I honestly don't think a man can tell a story unless he blows something up in it--which is why I call them boy-stories.

And you can get them to watch it, but they'll BITCH about the subplot as if it was the whole point of the movie. "Oh, why did they have to have a girl in it? Why did he kiss her? She's SO USELESS!" (Huh. You would have thought I recognized my ex-boyfriend was gay sooner, wouldn't you...Huh.)

Di R said...

We have a small one screen cinema down the street (I can walk to it). I love this theater, $3.00 for an adult ticket, so for $20.00 I can get all four of us in, two popcorns, and four drinks.

I'm looking forward to Brave, also the new Snow White movie with Charlize Theron is intriguing. I've also heard a little about Malificent.

OT: Maureen~ At my conference this past weekend, I heard someone at the next table raving about The Kraken's Mirror. Everyone was writing down the title and author to look up when they got a chance.

Di R

MsHellion said...

Di, I miss our "cheapy" theater--we used to have a $1 show some years ago. Okay, this might have been 15 years ago (Lord, am I going to be this nostalgic when I'm 90 about the $1 show?!)--and it was wonderful. Now everything is pricey. We go to the matinees if we go. It's still $6 but livable. I am in AWE you can also get 2 popcorns and 4 drinks for within 20 dollars after getting four movie tickets...unless the kids are cheaper??

The Snow White movie does look VERY interesting! Dark and twisty! And geared toward the Twilight crowd, clearly. :)

THAT. IS. AWESOME! about Mo's book! *LOL* Did you namedrop that you knew her? Say, "I can get you an introduction..."

P. Kirby said...

But I honestly don't think a man can tell a story unless he blows something up in it--which is why I call them boy-stories.

Apparently, I'm a man. Who knew? ;)

*Wanders off to blow something up in latest WIP*

So good to hear that Maureen's getting good buzz!

TerriOsburn said...

The difference, Pat, is that you *could* write one if you wanted. You *choose* to include explosions and that's totally different. :)

Of course men can tell stories without blowing things up. Who do you think is writing all those romantic comedy movies? (I didn't say the story would be good, but still, no explosions.) There are plenty of stories written by men in which nothing blows up.

And that would be like saying a woman can't write a story without having to include some sappy love story. Also not true.

TerriOsburn said...

Yay for Chance!!! Whoohoo!! Where was this conference? Chance needs to go visit her fans. LOL!

MsHellion said...

No, Pat, you're all woman, I'm sure. *LOL*

Terri, generally when men write stories that don't have literal explosions, the explosion occurs in the movie theater when the women who were conned into seeing it realize how sucky it is because he too didn't know what women wanted--or he wanted to make fun of what women wanted. Or more than likely, the director didn't like the writer's version and did something else, but now the writer is blamed. *LOL*

TerriOsburn said...

Nope. The Descendants was written by men. Shakespeare In Love, men. The Oceans movies, men. (Rusty's car does blow up in the 2nd movie and they do technically blow the vaults, but I don't count that.) Princess Bride, man. There are fight scenes, but the intelligent and witty dialogue during them rules out the boy thing.

The Social Network, man. Love Actually, man.

MsHellion said...

Shakespeare in Love I'll give you--fabulous story, great quotes. I heard the Descendants wasn't very good. *LOL* And the Oceans movies does feature a couple well-done explosions; it's very guy-like in my opinion, even if it's more subtle about its explosions. I *DO* count that.

Princess Bride is a mix. That one I'll give you too. Though it has the boy thing with the side-kid constantly asking, "Gosh, KISSING? AGAIN? ICK!" at all the really good parts!

Hee, hee, I love the Social Network. "It's because you're an asshole..."

Love Actually...okay good. Even with the realistic Nicholas Sparks in there--most of the endings came out okay.

TerriOsburn said...

The Descendants won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay AND the Golden Globe for best picture and best actor.

Dude. Don't mess with my George.

Maureen said...

Oh, wow! Thanks, Di R! I needed that bit of sweet news, even if I'm late to the plate on reading it... ;-)

And I like blowing things up...I'm not a man...last I checked...