I'm sick, and on Saturday night there's not much to choose from with TV. There was a remake of an old movie (I liked the original) on television, so I turned it on. (Sadly, its been years since it was released so my reaction is a bit late).
About halfway through, I found myself wondering WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK HAVE THEY DONE TO THE STEPFORD WIVES?!!!
Full Spoilers for both versions of the movie below
Seriously, the first movie was fucking brilliant, subtle, and scary. I expected any remake to be bad because everyone already knows the twist, but I did not expect:
1) Joanna to be a REALITY TELEVISION EXECUTIVE. Dear gawd, in the 70s she was a normal sympathetic woman -- this movie starts with a show that details a marriage breaking up on her reality show (a show where the man and the woman get split up, spend wild weekends away from each other -- and the example shows a man who is faithful and a woman who leaves him).
2) Joanna's friend (played by Bette Midler) is a sloppy writer. Now, in the 70s she was a bit messy, but in this fucking movie she keeps the house like a disaster area. Another perfectly normal character from the 70s taken to an extreme.
3) The friend who'd been there the longest, the first to go. In this movie, that friend is a gay man who fits the gay yuppie stereotype to a tee. It really pissed me off that he got Stepford treatment and then put up for Senate, and nothing in the movie pointed out what a huge fucking injustice it was that the man getting redone was put up as a career guy and all of the women were remade to be housewives. Its like they consciously thought "Hey, gay men are too feminine, so let's have him redone to be really masculine and uptight" and just threw that in along with some joke about Republican candidates. It was flippant, and worthy of more examination than "that's the way it is."
4) The men in town were played up FUCKING SYMPATHETIC. What the HELL?! They're REPLACING THE WOMEN WITH ROBOTS and its somehow presented as OKAY?!!? They are cold-blooded bastards who care only about their own comfort. They are selfish as possible. They're a bunch of animals. These are fucking monsters and in the first movie they were played as the monsters they were.
5) THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A HORROR MOVIE!!!!!! IT IS SUPPOSED TO SCARE THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF YOU!! They don't even try to be scary.
So anyway, I make it as far as the grocery scene that ends the first movie, and the damned thing goes on. There's a twist. Joanna's not a robot, her husband Walter is not evil and together they join forces to take out the evil male mad scientist -- Only, the mad scientist is not the mastermind.
The mad scientist is a robot (everyone else was dealing with implanted brainchips, but this guy was a full robot), created to be his wife's perfect man. Glenn Close is the mastermind.
I'm not sure how to digest this movie. I mean, I spent most of the movie getting extremely pissed off at the entire thing. The five points outlined above do a lot to dilute the power of that poetic justice at the end. Especially since, even though none of the women were physically hurt (though they were all career women who have essentially had their lives slip away from them as they were under Stepford brain-whammy), all the men got off extremely easy in the end. Basically the moviemakers made a "whipped husband" joke.
Also, I have trouble forgiving any movie that gets me that pissed off just to end with fucking insane Glenn Close. Can she even play sane? Has anyone ever seen her play sane?
I think it would have worked as a parody of the first movie, if it had been presented that way. It was presented as a remake, so I got myself worked up over a movie that, in the end, turned out to be nothing of substance.
Certainly not worth the trouble. Hollywood can't even be competently misogynistic anymore.