Normally I wouldn’t give a cynical piece of schlock like the latest Hollywood reboot like Charlie’s Angels a second thought. In fact, I hadn’t given it any thought whatsoever until I saw it flop completely at the box office to my complete lack of surprise.

But it was the inane and insipid comments from the “film’s” writer and director, Elizabeth Banks, that really caught my attention.

Michael McCaffrey writing for pulled them all together in one really good article which goes over the string of ‘Woke Flops’ at the box office of the past few years. But this one is the choice one, highlighting how complete Ms. Banks’ solipsism is.

“Look, people have to buy tickets to this movie, too. This movie has to make money. If this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.”

It didn’t.

And it isn’t because men don’t go see women in action movies. Lest we forget that the first Charlie’s Angels foray on film (not a uniquely terrible experience, unlike its sequel) was a surprise hit in 2000 making more than $264 million worldwide.

McCaffrey points out recent successes like Wonder Woman ($821 million) and the inexplicable response to Captain Marvel ($1.128 billion). In fact, I would say that of all these films that explicitly pander to feminism and are more woke than stroke, Captain Marvel is the only real success.

And I would chalk that up to the timing of the juggernaut that was Marvel Studious than it was the strength of the movie itself.

Which leads me to Ms. Banks’ second honker of a comment.

“They (men) will go and see a comic book movie with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel because that’s a male genre.”

Nope. Sorry. I’m one of the world’s biggest DC comics nerds going. I suffered through seasons 4 through 6 of Arrow for pity’s sake. I’ve earned my stripes. And under no circumstances could you have dragged me into a theater to see Halle Berry stink up the screen as Catwoman ($82 million).

A movie so terrible it is forever linked in my mind with one of the greatest lines in film criticism’s history, from Walter Chaw at

A scene where she rubs catnip rapturously over her face is destined to become as legendary as a one-on-one basketball courtship sequence between she {Berry} and {Benjamin} Bratt that’s shot with such blazing, incandescent incompetence that dogs will try to roll in it.

He may have been wrong about the scene in question, but his line about it, for me, is near perfection. Mr. Chaw himself is so woke that I’m sure he would be horrified to find his work being quoted by a deplorable sub-human like me. But, what can I say, the guy has a way with words.

All of this must seem churlish of me at this point to point these things out to someone with such obvious first-world problems like Elizabeth Banks.

But, trust me, there’s a larger point to be made here.

The truth is that people don’t go to the movies to be talked down to. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, selling free-range eggs at a farmer’s market or a $90 million movie, your customer doesn’t like being being treated with condescension. Worse, they don’t like being treated with derision.

And Ms. Banks’ comments about her movie and what it says are both of those things writ large.

At the end of the day it is your job to figure out who your audience is and tailor your product to hit that audience. And what Ms. Banks just found out is that the audience for her brand of bad-ass women who need a man like a fish needs a bicycle is pretty friggin’ small.

You can’t build your Story based on your political propaganda, in this case, feminism, and expect people to respond to it. And the reason is that it simply isn’t true at the symbolic level. And people don’t watch movies at the conscious level. It’s all sub-conscious.

Even the Communist writers in the 1950’s (brilliantly lampooned in the Coen Brothers’ Hail Caesar!) knew that they had to embed their message as sub-text, as setting, rather than as the foundations of Story otherwise it wouldn’t get past the executives, who understood their audiences very very well.

The audience always knows when they are being talked down to.

And even though Captain Marvel made more than a billion dollars, I’m hard-pressed among my geek-heavy group of friends to find anyone who actually liked it. They went because it was the next Marvel movie and they were invested in them.

Let’s see if Captain Wokeness can lead where Tony Stark did. My guess, not happening.

There was string of these films that were put on the schedule in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017. And they are a clear example of Hollywood trying to regain some trust with its audience, saying, “See! We don’t all treat women like shit! Believe us!”

But that’s even worse than just making honest movies with women leads. It’s pandering and pathetic. It’s the response of beta-male accountants and scared executives. Many of these movies came out this year and last and they have all flopped.

No one wants what they’re selling.

Because no one believes Hollywood is sincere.

Trust is a fickle thing in the marketplace. The Free Market is a cruel place. All it takes is one mistake, one real breach of trust and your audience will abandon you.

And this over-the-top push to marginalize men by modern feminists is resulting in a very strong backlash, not just from incels eating Fritos in their mom’s basement. It’s coming from women as well who don’t want to see their mates and their sons treated with such obvious disdain.

It’s coming from women who don’t want to be pandered to.

This is the thing feminists like Ms. Banks will never understand. Feminism is not sexy. In fact it’s really a turn-off. It isn’t cool and it certainly isn’t life-affirming. Being a bad-ass woman isn’t enough.

There is a world of difference between Ellen Ripley from Aliens and any of the chicks from Charlie’s Angels.

Being pro-female doesn’t mean being anti-male but that’s where we are in 2019. And it is destroying our ability as a society to even discuss these issues rationally.

Do you realize how hard it was to get through to people just how wonderful last year’s Mary Poppins Returns ($349 million) was? The expectation that it would betray the original was so high and that Disney would ‘turn her into a tranny’ or whatever that people just stayed home.

And this was one of the single best movies I’ve seen in years, hands down.

Being male isn’t inherently toxic. Yes, they are toxic males. But what’s equally true is that there are toxic females. No, not all females are toxic.

Toxic, destructive female archetypes are just as prevalent and prominent in our mythologies as the destructive male archetypes.

Push the envelope too far, break the fundamental trust between audience and producer and the backlash will be severe. That was Paul Feig’s problem with his all-female Ghostbusters.

He’s still making excuses for it.

Make an irrelevant piece of fluff like Charlie’s Angels into a third-wave feminist manifesto and you shouldn’t be surprised when its met with crickets.

People are so fed up with this stuff, rightly or wrongly, that they aren’t giving anyone a pass anymore. They will simply stay away and spend that money on something, anything else.

Hollywood, like the rest of corporate America, is going to learn really quick that pandering to a very select group of people living on borrowed money in California and New York isn’t a long-term growth strategy.

Moments like these tell me that we’re getting pretty close to Peak Woke because there’s not even any outrage about this.  They can’t turn this failure into an indictment of horrid men.  

Though cheerless harpies like Ms. Banks will certainly try.  

See you at the auto show, Lizzie.

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