While the topic of women’s rights doesnât have the box office draw of a bunch of dudes getting wasted at a bachelor party, say, or a bride-to-be getting diarrhea in the middle of the street, there are many excellent movies that cover various aspects of the War on Women (either directly or metaphorically)âworkplace discrimination, violence against women, restricted access to abortion, sexual harassment, and all that fun stuff. So when you make a bag of popcorn for one of these movies, not only will you be entertained, youâll also be spending some quality time thinking about womenâs rights. In other words, you can feel virtuous about that time on the couch. Youâre welcome!
10. WORKING GIRL (1988)
What was it about the eighties? Sure, we enjoyed ERIN BROCKOVICH kicking ass in a push-up bra in 2000 (especially the â634 sexual favorsâ scene), and pretty-in-pink Reese Witherspoon certainly put a few sexist lawyers in their place in 2000âs LEGALLY BLONDE. But for a comedy about women not being taken seriously in the workplaceâwhether itâs due to their looks, their background, their catty and competitive female boss, etc.âyou canât beat WORKING GIRL, with Melanie Griffith riding the Staten Island ferry to the tune of Carly Simonâs âLet the River Run.â The film almost (almost) convinced us that actress Melanie Griffith is just pretending to be a total airhead. Of course, this being the eighties, the kick-ass heroine spends a remarkable amount of time in her skivvies, and says things like, âI have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?â Okay, Jessica Rabbit. Still, we are forever indebted to this film for reminding men everywhere that itchy scratchy âsexyâ lingerie is not at the top of most womenâs birthday wish lists.
9. ANTICHRIST (2009)
In the world of director Lars Von Trier, the battle of the sexes is a literal oneâgory, violent, and almost unbearable to watch. ANTICHRIST was a polarizing film: some viewers found it unforgivably misogynistic, while others found it a gorgeous meditation on guilt, grief, and sexâand the intertwining of the three. Itâs an arthouse horror film, which means you get smashed testicles (Willem Defoeâs) and a self-butchered clitoris (Charlotte Gainsbourgâs), and yet the violence is meant to serve a higher purpose: demonstrating the meaningless of everything. Or maybe itâs a lesson in just desserts for a man who is obnoxiously sure he knows whatâs best for his little wife. Either way, Von Trierâs message is clear: the battle of the sexes will not end well for anyone. In case you need another reminderâless bloody, but emotionally, just as goryâmay we suggest IN THE COMPANY OF MEN (1997). ANTICHRIST airs Friday November 16th at 12 am on the Sundance Channel.
8. THE ACCUSED (1988)
THE ACCUSED did more to undermine the âshe was asking for itâ bullshit rape âdefenseâ than any other movie to date. In it, Jodie Foster (who won the Best Actress Oscar that year) plays Sarah Tobias, a poor, uneducated woman who goes to a bar in a mini skirt, gets high, and then gets gang-raped, while a bunch of other men cheer on the attack. If you came of age around the time this movie was released, as we did, you probably still get chills remembering it. (Which is probably why the 2007 movie THE BRAVE ONE got made. It wasnât anything to write home about, but how awesome was it watching Jodie Foster grab a gun to avenge her own sexual assault and the murder of her husband? Pretty awesome, if you ask us.) THE ACCUSED is the ne plus ultra of rape movies; other titles lean more toward the rape-and-revenge genreâso satisfying to watch, even if feminist critics are divided on the topic. Some of our favorites in this area are THELMA AND LOUISE (1991), THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011), IRREVERSIBLE (2002), RAPE ME (2000), EXTREMITIES (1986), and SUDDEN IMPACT (1983), the Dirty Harry film that spawned the catchphrase, âGo ahead, make my day.â
7. BLUE VELVET (1986)
Is Isabella Rossellini, as nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens, a femme fatale, a damsel in distress, a symbol of domestic violence, or the Oedipal mother every son secretly wants to fuck? And does Kyle MacLachlan, as college student Jeffrey, want to save Dorothy or fuck her or hit her or be mothered by herâor all of the above? It depends on which critic you ask. Suffice it say, this role conveys the incredibly complicated relationship Hollywood (and beyond) has with female sexuality. In the end, Jeffrey falls for sweet-faced Sandy (Laura Dern), who dreams about robins as a sign of hope. Which certainly didn’t earn David Lynch any Feminist of the Year awards. Still, it’s hard to blame someone for choosing robins after they’ve lived in Lynch’s world for a while.
6. THE BURNING BED (1984)
Sometimes the war on women is perpetrated by an army of one, a person who is supposed to love and honor his wife/girlfriend. Recent statistics suggest that one in four women has experienced domestic violence and that between one and three million women experience abuse by a former or current partner every year. Which makes this 1984 made-for-tv movie — starring Farrah Fawcett and based on a 1980 non-fiction book — still depressingly relevant. It tells the story of the thirteen years of brutal abuse Francine Hughes suffered at the hands of her husband before she set fire to their house, killed him and was ultimately found not guilty for it by reason of temporary insanity. It’s one of the most realistic and therefore chilling portrayals of domestic violence made for the screen, small or big. For better or worse, Hollywood canât seem to get enough of domestic violence storylines. To list just a few: WHATâS LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT, ONCE WERE WARRIORS, BOYS ON THE SIDE, SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY, THE COLOR PURPLE, ENOUGH, FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, KINDERGARTEN COP (seriously!), RAGING BULL, THIS BOYâS LIFE, WHERE THE HEART IS… Man, weâre depressed just reciting that list.