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Thoughts on Limitless from a superwoman perspective

31 Mar 2014 10:34 #35979 by j2001
I'm writing this post to share an opinion, and I'd love to hear from you.

I've just watched Limitless, a 2011 movie starring Bradley Cooper. For those of you who don't know, it's about a miracle (illegal) drug who makes you temporarily crazy smart. You swallow this pill, and for about a day your brain's capabilities become limitless. You can master everything in minutes and become superhumanly good at it: math, finance, languages, combat skills, anything. Your senses are heightened in a superhero-like way.

Cooper's character has almost exclusive access to this drug and uses it to become rich and powerful, and to win back (very easily) the love of his former girlfriend. Although he's not evil, he's extremely 'selfish' as in 'there's nothing but me'.

My question is: would we be ready to see such a movie (which is based on a book, by the way) with a female protagonist?

My opinion is: no. Had it been written with a woman in mind, I think it would have probably bombed at the box office. There is still an element of kindness and tenderness associated with women in movies which I think prevent them to be fit for a purely selfish main (not villainy) role. Cooper's character is boundless, he doesn't have a greater purpose or any moral grounds. There is no love, ideology, revenge or something like that. It's just 'I have the power, I want to use it'. I don't think the public is ready to see a similarly selfish woman in a positive, serious role, it just wouldn't work. Women have to show some innate kindness, and if they're evil they have to have a reason for it, and they would be villains anyway.

In Limitless, Cooper's character's girlfriend takes one pill to escape a difficult situation. Once it wears off she just says that it made her something other than herself, so she won't take it anymore. She tasted, touched and tried the power, and she rejected it for the sake of her moral. Although she's no housewife, she'd rather have her boyfriend to own the power, she's satisfied with being a regular woman engaged to a superhero. She's some sort of Lois Lane. The other two characters who try the pill are males and they both embrace it. They're males, they're lured by power.

And hey, there's nothing wrong with it. If she feels that way, she ought to go for it. But I also think it would be nice to see a female character who reacts differently, a woman who selfishly accepts the power and makes it hers. If only the public were ready.

Salt (2010), starring Angelina Jolie, is probably the only Hollywood movie that may come close to a female version of Cooper's character. But in that case there is no magic pill (if power is hard-earned then it's an entirely different matter) and, most importantly, Jolie's character has her own agenda. She's not entirely selfish, she works for the greater good, she has a purpose.

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31 Mar 2014 11:21 - 31 Mar 2014 15:45 #35981 by castor
I don't know... We get a lot of interesting asholes on the site- actually thats not the word for that-would be Bittch-and its an archetype. And when done in fiction it can be an interesting idea.

The one really intresting thing about limitless to me is

Warning: Spoiler!


In the 30s'-50s there where a lot of film noire Gun molls and other characters whose idea was that they took what they wanted. These can be fun. Muttenchops has written a lot of these/ This was part of the larger trend that it was okay to make a true villian as your main character- but as the time and around Bonny and Cylde these tended to be soften to Antiheros.

Which concidently-or perhaps was the the big womens lib movement. I have seen movies from the early period like the 60s which deal with it-and wow. You couldn't)(and probabbly) shouldn't make them like today. People sometimes say James Bond movies are mysoginist-but some of them. Its intresting how people say Breakfast of Tiffanys has one of the great female protaganists. Watch The Great race made a year before by the same director. Watch the Scenes of the "protagnist" and Natalie Wood. The joke is that The Great Leslie is supose to be perfect-but my god man.......

The joke there was she thought she was smart and capable and able to do things for her self. HAHAHAHAHA Women!!!!!!!

you are right however since then-especially in the last 25 years when its been largely shown that men and women are equal in movies that almost all women are nice But thats kind of a trend in film-. we like are protaginsits mostly bland- as budgets go up risks go down. But I would make the point-in the last couple of years you are slowly getting back to antriheros-at least motivated ones. But an unrestrained one-well a bitch?

But a serious movie that made her the protagnist and gave her power? in 2014 could you make that her the hero? Or maybe an antihero?

Maybe.

I could see a story about a woman who gains-or has unlimited power slowly taking over the world and being mean and unforgiving on the way to the top working. Yes it would probabbly involve a certain amount of softening by the climax- but that could work.

I mentioned in another post a study by the MPAA in which they pointed out-Women make most of the audience to films-and by and large they really like to see female superheros and female protagonists. There is a reason Movies like Gravity and the Hunger games do well-women come out to see them. I think they would very much like to see women be strong and powerful.

Maybe there is an element i think is at interesting- one man who shes nice to, someone who is nice to you but isn't a nice person.

Any movie you can think of works if you give it the right budget-and i am not sure you could do that as a 100 milion dollar action movie-but then limitless wasn't that either. When it tried to be a superhero movie it wasn't particularly good at it. If i where writing it i would maybe tone down those elements.

But I do think somethings there, and i do disagree with your point. there was a joke on saturday night live: Bitches get things done.
Last edit: 31 Mar 2014 15:45 by castor.

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31 Mar 2014 19:58 #35982 by lfan
The female version of this will be released in August with Luc Besson's Lucy, starring Scarlett Johanson.

ELF

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31 Mar 2014 20:14 #35983 by j2001

lfan wrote: The female version of this will be released in August with Luc Besson's Lucy, starring Scarlett Johanson.

ELF


Very interesting, I've just read the plot summary. Very, very interesting. I guess you can always rely on Besson's admiration for strong, powerful women.
But will she really be ruthless and selfish? Will she be free of any bond with any other human, and completely devoid of morals? Or will she have the usual love interest who reaches her heart and tames her?
I've only seen Nikita and The Fifth Element from Besson's filmography, and their main female characters were very emotional.
But I can't wait to see for myself. :) Thanks for pointing that out, larafan.

@castor: I agree that Limitless's ending is by far the most interesting thing in the movie. It's so brutal and honest I don't think I ever saw something like that in a major Hollywood movie. Completely devoid of hypocrisy.
You say that most moviegoers are women, but are you sure that they like to see superhumanly strong/smart/whatev female characters? Of course they wouldn't like housewives but I have a hard time believing the average female moviegoer would love superwomen. I think they're fine with independent, psychologically strong women in career.

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31 Mar 2014 22:27 - 01 Apr 2014 06:50 #35984 by castor
[quote="j
@castor: I agree that Limitless's ending is by far the most interesting thing in the movie. It's so brutal and honest I don't think I ever saw something like that in a major Hollywood movie. Completely devoid of hypocrisy.
You say that most moviegoers are women, but are you sure that they like to see superhumanly strong/smart/whatev female characters? Of course they wouldn't like housewives but I have a hard time believing the average female moviegoer would love superwomen. I think they're fine with independent, psychologically strong women in career.[/color][/quote]

This based on this survey-where you can see anylsyis on a couple of places on line

www.mpaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/...s-2013_032514-v2.pdf

(i got mine from the AVclub).

Short Anwser- Women are 52% of the movie going audiences. no one can really dispute that.

The most popular movie overall last year was Hunger Games which is basically a female superhero movie(argue argue). Movies and the survey suggest that majority of that audience was women. It is a movie about a hyper skilled badass who saves the world. And women went to see it in droves.

This is has been the case for decades-i remember when titanic came out it was the most sucseful movie ever then because- well women went to see it. When movies are scuseful its because women go out to see it-simple as that. Now they haven't always flocked to female lead movies-but well....

Then You get stuff like Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel which are both in the top 5-male superheros-but neither of which have very male audiences-its pretty even. In superheros movies the returns tend to be equal-its not just men.

Then you get stuff Like Frozen[which if you count 2014 returns may end up being the most popular movie released in 2013- its still playing) , which is basically a female superhero movie-and the most sucseful annimated movie of all time. I am not going to say to the group go out and see it- but let it go. It is all about a women who has to hide her incredible superpowers, then gets rejected for it, who then has to use it to save her kingdom.

Also in the top 10 (7) We have Gravity which is a female lead(and for about 2/3s Female only) Scifi movie movie. Audiences had no trouble with it.

Going down the top 25 we see a lot of films with female leads-all of which are in which they are in some form of power. We have the Female Cop movie the Heat at 10, caper comedy Where the Millers at 11(in which a powerful lead plays to be a housewife), and the similar Identity Thief at 19. This is picking and choosing here to a degre but there in there but there are plenty of films.

And while there not female superhero protagonist lead you got the heavily strong female Despicable Me(number 3), Oz: The Great and powerful[which is all about a normal guy dealing in a power struggle between witches) (9), Hobbit(13) which marketing campaign heavily featured badass elf Evangiline Lilly. They here also part of Ensambles, In Star Trek, Thor( Sif was a big part of the campaign), and the Fast Furious 6(which has future Wonder Woman).

And in Man of Steel-well even the conventional press people thought Faora was a better villian then Zod.

In short powerful women in 2013 did very well at the box office-and as mentioned they did well largely by attracting a female audience or getting 50% or close.

Now 52% isn't a whopper of a percentile-but it is something often overlooked. As someone who works in LA you would be surprised how often its forgotten.

The limitiess situation-where shes an amoral bitch or something-that i am not sure.

But a strong female protanigst who wants to kick ass.

Yeah i am pretty sure about that.
Last edit: 01 Apr 2014 06:50 by castor.

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01 Apr 2014 00:48 - 01 Apr 2014 01:12 #35985 by Raa
I had an idea for a story after seeing this movie. I'm not that good at written or I would have done this sooner.

It picks up as he meets her for lunch. Everyone in the restaurant is unsettled, including Copper after a couple minutes. She asks if he got her, her requested. He hands her a bag with 2 cylinders of tustin steel. Each cylinder has their initials on it. The meal goes on as normal, except for they are both speaking different languages every other sentence.

After lunch he kisses her good bye as she gets in a cab. As she pulls away, his mind starts to clear. The last hour was the first time in months that he felt confused and dazed. On the way back to the office, he was thinking about lunch with he wife. He did not understand how he missed it, but everyone around them were in a high state of arousal, including himself.

Something heavy in his jacket pocket just hit is abs. He found the bag he just gave his wife a hour earlier. He pulled out 2 highly polished tustin steel balls with their initials on it and a note. The note said. "How you like the cylinders. I made another enhancement pill. Seeing the affect my enhancements had on you during lunch was more enjoyable. Make sure you bring the balls home tonight. I have plans for them and for you!"

Later that night.

As he walking into their home, he heard her voice call to him. "I'm downstairs in the billiards room." At just the sound of her voice, he was getting hard.

He walked down the stairs to find her bent over the billiards table. Standing at the far left corner of the table from him, she was about to break the table. He noticed the red 4 inches heals accented her incredible strong looking tan legs. "Up her my love." Her words drew his attention to her green eyes looking at his. He has never seen that intense sexual look come from her before.

A loud crack pulled his eyes away from hers as the que ball hit the other balls. He watched as all the orders went into different pockets in order from 1-16 and 8 being last. "I win!" she said as she stand up.

For the first time this evening he noticed what she was wear, or a better statement of what she was not wearing. She only had the heals on. He has remember every centimeter of her body. The body in front of him was not what he recalled. Her body now was prefect.

"Give me the balls!" He flipped the 2 balls over to him very poorly. But she moved so fast caught both balls in one hand. After putting the pool stick between her very large breast, she placed a ball in each one of her hands.

With a pouty face, she said "Looks like I can't hold everything at once. Can you take the pool stick?"

Walking over to her with a painfully tight pants, he grab the pool stick with one hand to remove it. He noticed it is not a normal wooden stick, it was a stick made out of tustin . At first it did not move. Confused he decided to use both hands.

"Well my love l guess you can't take the pool stick. I'll just have to do something to be able to hold everything." At that she crushed each steel ball to the point of liquid rolling down from her hands. Flexing her pecs bought to bear incredible force to the stick VIA her breasts. So much force the steel stick started to bend. Putting 1 finger on each side of the top and bottom of the stick. Her fingers easily pushed the steel around her breasts to form a figure 8 around them.

She moved close to him and whispered in his ear. "Well I guess I'll need to find another stick and 2 more balls to play with tonight."
Last edit: 01 Apr 2014 01:12 by Raa.

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01 Apr 2014 01:09 #35986 by castor
Update on my previous post:

Of the top 25 movies released last years the only ones that didn't have what one might call a badass woman are:

1. Monsters University (5)- which is a kiddie movie.

2. Great Gatsby(17)- Which is a drama.

3. Conjuring(18)- Which is a horror movie with a female protagnist whoses a parinomial investigator.

4, Grownups 2(20)- Which is a bro comedy(and not really a funny one).

5. Cloudy with a chance of meatballs (24) a kids movie and

6 The Butler(25) a drama.

So we have 6 out of 25-none of which one would think would naturally feature this. Every action movie From the Wolverine, to GI Joe has women who kick ass. Theres thrillers Like now you See Me, Horror Movies Like World War z, and others. Its there.

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03 Apr 2014 20:12 #36046 by j2001

Raa wrote: I had an idea for a story after seeing this movie. I'm not that good at written or I would have done this sooner.


Cool, thanks for sharing :)

castor wrote: Short Anwser- Women are 52% of the movie going audiences. no one can really dispute that.


Indeed I wasn't arguing with that.
Although I wonder what meaningfulness can have such a percentage.
Roughly 55% of the world's population are women. Saying that women make up 52% of all moviegoers simply means that men and women go to theaters in roughly equal numbers. Not a major breakthrough, to be honest.


castor wrote: Now 52% isn't a whopper of a percentile-but it is something often overlooked. As someone who works in LA you would be surprised how often its forgotten.

The limitiess situation-where shes an amoral bitch or something-that i am not sure.

But a strong female protanigst who wants to kick ass.

Yeah i am pretty sure about that.


But I will argue with this.

Rule number one: correlation does not imply causation.

You are classifying movies based on the presence of a female character who kicks ass because you are being influenced by your (our) fetish and the subject of this topic. But you (we) have no idea why those movies could attract women since they have many other features you chose not to consider.

Hunger Games is probably the only movie among those you have mentioned that has a strong female character in a position relevant enough to think it may attract female viewers. But, for example, we could just assume that it stars Jennifer Lawrence who is currently among the most famous living actors and so a good share of people may want to watch it "because there's Jennifer" regardless of her character's features.

Frozen is a major Disney movie. Children, parents and young couples go watch it for that reason alone. I can't even image a woman saying "I'll go watch it because it's a female superhero movie." Perhaps just some tumblr users.
Besides, witches/princesses don't really count as superheroines, just like wizards/princes wouldn't count as superheroes. They have too long a tradition to be perceived as such.

Gravity - starring George Clooney.
Yeah, plenty of women going to watch it for Bullock's character.

The Heat - it's a comedy. It doesn't count either. You go watch it to have a laugh, not because you fancy female cops.

We're the Millers - wife's a stripper. You're broadening your definition of "powerful female" a bit too much if even a regular stripper now can be considered a powerful badass. And it's a comedy, even a family one. I want to see a single woman in the whole world who watched it because the wife's supposedly a badass.

Thor - lol. Are you *seriously* considering women would want to watch it because of Sif? Come on.

etc. I hope you got what I mean.

There are tons of reasons to go watch a certain movie rather than another one. You can't assume which ones are more or less important to a specific audience, and it doesn't take a genius to understand that nowadays stronger than average women are a common feature in films as we are not in the 70s anymore. But they're not superheroine movies, not by a very long shot.

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03 Apr 2014 21:17 #36047 by castor

j2001 wrote:

Raa wrote: I had an idea for a story after seeing this movie. I'm not that good at written or I would have done this sooner.


Cool, thanks for sharing :)

castor wrote: Short Anwser- Women are 52% of the movie going audiences. no one can really dispute that.


Indeed I wasn't arguing with that.
Although I wonder what meaningfulness can have such a percentage.
Roughly 55% of the world's population are women. Saying that women make up 52% of all moviegoers simply means that men and women go to theaters in roughly equal numbers. Not a major breakthrough, to be honest.


castor wrote: Now 52% isn't a whopper of a percentile-but it is something often overlooked. As someone who works in LA you would be surprised how often its forgotten.

The limitiess situation-where shes an amoral bitch or something-that i am not sure.

But a strong female protanigst who wants to kick ass.

Yeah i am pretty sure about that.


But I will argue with this.

Rule number one: correlation does not imply causation.

You are classifying movies based on the presence of a female character who kicks ass because you are being influenced by your (our) fetish and the subject of this topic. But you (we) have no idea why those movies could attract women since they have many other features you chose not to consider.

Hunger Games is probably the only movie among those you have mentioned that has a strong female character in a position relevant enough to think it may attract female viewers. But, for example, we could just assume that it stars Jennifer Lawrence who is currently among the most famous living actors and so a good share of people may want to watch it "because there's Jennifer" regardless of her character's features.

Frozen is a major Disney movie. Children, parents and young couples go watch it for that reason alone. I can't even image a woman saying "I'll go watch it because it's a female superhero movie." Perhaps just some tumblr users.
Besides, witches/princesses don't really count as superheroines, just like wizards/princes wouldn't count as superheroes. They have too long a tradition to be perceived as such.

Gravity - starring George Clooney.
Yeah, plenty of women going to watch it for Bullock's character.

The Heat - it's a comedy. It doesn't count either. You go watch it to have a laugh, not because you fancy female cops.

We're the Millers - wife's a stripper. You're broadening your definition of "powerful female" a bit too much if even a regular stripper now can be considered a powerful badass. And it's a comedy, even a family one. I want to see a single woman in the whole world who watched it because the wife's supposedly a badass.

Thor - lol. Are you *seriously* considering women would want to watch it because of Sif? Come on.

etc. I hope you got what I mean.

There are tons of reasons to go watch a certain movie rather than another one. You can't assume which ones are more or less important to a specific audience, and it doesn't take a genius to understand that nowadays stronger than average women are a common feature in films as we are not in the 70s anymore. But they're not superheroine movies, not by a very long shot.


You have a point none of them are superhero persay---but

Hunger games-big hit. HUGE hit. Its the ultimate point. Theaterically it ended up as the biggest movie released that year, edging out(not by huge margin) iron man 3. A woman heroine beat an iron man.

Frozen - A lot of the movies hype is around the song "Let it go" , which i don't like but basic message is "Hey i am a powerful female. I should embrace it". It is a movies wizards and princesses-but its also a movie where they are the main character, and the premise is they are the most powerful characters in the world. yes this is a family movie popular with kids. So is Iron man. After decades of things like sleeping bueaty, where the main character sleeps the last half of the movie- its made more money then all of the Walt Disney produced Animated movies put together.

(and i would comment that Disney movies for the 10 years prior that weren't made by pixar did mostly crap for business, with the exception of the frog Prince which went out of its way to empahse the heroine as a competent heroine.)

Gravity- Yes George Clooney is in the poster. yes he dies pretty early in the movie. i could put this as a spoiler-but well...it wasn't a big secret. This is a Sandra Bullock Movie, in which she has to survive. Its not a superhero movie. But it is an action Sci Fi movie in which she is the hero. Audiences didn't have a problem with it.

Heat-is a cop comedy, thats delibreatly designed to look like Lethal Wepion. Agian, not a superhero movie-but one that is based on Mellisa Macarthy acting like a badass(the fact thats shes a 220 pound woman....).

Thor, Gi Joe Wolverine, Iron man- these are all male lead action movies. I wll grant you. However i will make a point here. All of them feature women fighting and beating men. I would state even 10 years ago you probabbly wouldn't see this. Your right. I am not sure a lot of people went to theaters to See Sif. But they didn't walk out either.

Your right this isn't proof-but like i said these are elements that suggest that people want to see this.

Castor

P.S you have a point about were the millers-other then the fact that comedy is largely around her not being ass nice as she thinks. but you have a point.

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