Saturday, March 21, 2009

Attack of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

A new film archetype has popped up in recent years - the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She is always a spontaneous, wacky, beautiful young woman. She has no real soul; her only purpose is to fall in love with some brooding, laconic young man who's usually in the process of 'finding himself'. First appearing in smaller films, and then spreading like a cheery, sexy virus to more mainstream fare, the MPDG is a scourge. She has most recently taken the form of indie princess Zooey Deschanel in two upcoming findies (faux indies) - Gigantic, wherein she fawns over master of broodery Paul Dano, and 500 Days of Summer, which finds our vapid, non sequitur sexpot attempting  to bring Joseph Gordon-Levitt out of his shell. 

Here are the two films' respective trailers. 

Like any overused archetype, our Manic Pixie Dream Girl has gone stale, as is evident in these above film advertisements. Also what is clear, in case it was not before, is that Zooey Deschanel always plays the same exact character in every film. She's sarcastic, hilarious, apparently smart, and gorgeous in that independent record store kind of way. Furthermore, she relies far too much on her gigantic, oppressively blue eyes. She will spread her lids the same way to express every emotion from surprise to joy to sadness to anger to horniness. Those eyes must have their own acting coach. 
The Manic Pixie Dream Girl needs to go away. We are tired of depressed, shlubby guys standing around all mopey until this hollow fairy poofs in and "changes his life FOREVER!!!1!!". We are also weary of Hollywood trying to make indie films; this venture is, by its very nature, a contradiction. A true independent film is made for little to no money (and I mean no money, quite literally, not 1 or 2 million dollars), by unknowns, starring unknowns. No crew, no industry involvement. What the big studios are throwing at us are anything but independent. Big stars, big budgets, popular soundtrack, industry directors (the helmer of 500 Days of Summer got his start directing Green Day and Jesse McCartney videos), and recycled and cliched scripts. They are findies - faux indies. What would be much more artistically progressive, and less expensive (moneymoneymoney), than making these farces themselves would be to go out and find true indie film, buy them and distribute them. This is a win-win. 

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