Ocean’s 8 costar Mindy Kaling has repeated a lament about crotchety male critics that Brie Larson, Sandra Bullock and others have voiced, which is basically that Rotten Tomato dudes don’t get women’s films and that their dominance is a problem in and of itself.
Kaling is quoted in a two-day-old Guardian piece. She told a junket journo that the white male critic heirarchy is “unfair”, and explained that “if I had to base my career on what white men wanted I would be very unsuccessful, so there is obviously an audience out there who want to watch things like [Ocean’s 8], what I work on, what Sarah [Paulson] works on.
“And the thing about so much of what this movie is, I think white men, critics would enjoy it, would enjoy my work, but often I think there is a critic who will damn it in a way because they don’t understand it, because they come at it at a different point of view, and they’re so powerful, Rotten Tomatoes.”
Ocean’s 8 costar Cate Blanchett: “The conversation has to change, and the media has a huge responsibility.”
Hollywood Elsewhere exception #1: If more women elbow their way into the film-critic conversation, great. But any critic worth his or her salt will tell you the same thing, which is that it’s not about gender as much as quality. A caper flick has to have the right attitude and the right kind of chops, which is to say the kind that appeal to both genders. A heist movie that chooses to deal frivolous wank-off cards can be fine, but it has to do so with charm and finesse and a certain air of confidence.
I still say that the high-water mark for this kind of thing is Peter Yates’ The Hot Rock (’71). It was totally throwaway, but it was reasonably well-plotted in an absurdist way, and it had a clear-cut comedic tone.
Hollywood Elsewhere exception #2: For what it’s worth I didn’t find Ocean’s 8 all that problematic. In my 6.7 review, I said “it doesn’t deliver much but it’s not that bad. To my profound surprise it doesn’t get into emotional stuff at all. It’s like ’emotion who?’ It deals almost nothing but dry, droll, mid-tempo cards. And I kind of liked that. Was I knocked out? No, but I felt oddly placated.”
Fueled by a mostly-female audience, Ocean’s 8 has performed reasonably well so far. Having opened the weekend before last, it currently has $79,175,170 and $37,100,000 foreign for a worldwide tally of $116,275,170.