I have not been as excited about a film in years as I am about the all-female Ghostbusters. Expect to see me queuing up at midnight to be the first in the cinema. So when news broke about the all-female Ocean’s Eleven remake, my face just about exploded with joy. This trend for all-female movie remakes is what I’ve been waiting for all my life, and I hope it doesn’t go anywhere soon.
It has always seriously bugged me that films about women are automatically considered “women’s films”, especially when the reverse doesn’t apply. Films like Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the entire Harry Potter series are equally beloved by all genders—but if Harriet Potter, Martina McFly or Fern Bueller had taken the leads, you can guarantee they would have been boxed strictly in the “girls” category.
I was pissed off when I went to Pitch Perfect 2 with a friend at the cinema and he showed me texts from his male friends teasing him for having seen it; I was frustrated when my guy friends laughed off my recommendations of The Princess Bride based just on the name; I was downright angry when Suffragette was described as “not a guys’ film”. These films are every bit as funny, exciting and important as their male equivalents—so why should they be just for girls?
The problem, of course, is that so few films are made about women that they are automatically seen as niche, and not for mainstream popularity. In 2014, a whopping 88% of film protagonists were men, and so our guy friends (having no shortage of films directed at them) were happy to let us go see Maleficent alone. And yet women still make up the majority of cinema audiences—so why don’t the movies reflect this?
That’s why I’m left doing a happy dance every time effort is made to redress this nonsensical imbalance, and to work towards a future where the genders of film casts (as well as their ethnicities, sexualities, body shapes etc) actually reflect those of their audience.
Which leads me back to all-female movie remakes. The reason I find these so particularly exciting is that they’re a chance to really prove to everyone that films about women can hold as much universal appeal as films about men—by using those winning formulas that everyone’s already admitted they loved. Everyone who claimed Ghostbusters was their favourite film back in the ‘80s is going to have to get hyped about this remake, or expose themselves as a subconscious misogynist. And if “11 men rob a casino” sounded like a good plot to you, then you’re going to have to think of a pretty good reason for why “11 women rob a casino” could be in any way inferior.
So all-female remakes are awesome news, and I’m hoping Hollywood keeps ‘em coming. Here are four more films that could be pretty spectacular if women took the leads.
Why do men get all the fun when it comes to movie portrayals of college life? Sure, Legally Blonde made sorority life look kind of incredible, but I’d still rather be drinking at a toga party than running on a pink treadmill. An all-female Animal House could be an absolute riot, and I’d love to see hilarious women like Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba and Jennifer Lawrence in the leading roles.
Jaws is simultaneously one of my favourite and least favourite films of all time. I’ve been completely terrified of the sea ever since I even heard of the movie; now that I’ve seen it, I can’t even have a bath without checking for sharks first. It’s a horrible film. But it’s also completely brilliant, and the best scenes for me always revolve around the hilarious rivalry between the three main characters. If this movie involved three competitive women heading to sea in pursuit of a hideously outsized shark, I think I’d like it even better—and I know exactly who’s right for the job.
For the witty but angry oceanographer Matt Hooper, whose fascination with sharks overpowers the terror that any sane person should feel in his situation, I can see Naya Rivera. And the eccentric and ostentatious Quint could only be Ari Graynor, who manages to make me fall in love with her in everything she’s in, no matter how irritating her character.
And finally—who should take the “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” honours? The woman who keeps leaping to mind for me here is Laverne Cox, who’s more than proved on Orange is the New Black that she’s got the acting chops to pull off this tortured protagonist. Sidenote: I’ve been saying for a while that I’m excited for trans actors not just to win trans roles but to win cis roles—but Cox’s recent words on our obsession with trans people “passing” made me rethink this. Either way, whether Brody would be rewritten as a cisgender or transgender woman, I feel like Cox could really do this starring role justice.
Right, so we’ve all agreed that women are funny now, right? Good, glad that’s cleared up. Now let’s cast five women in the super-goofy Super Troopers. I’m thinking Xosha Roquemore, Ellie Kemper, June Diane Raphael, Casey Wilson and Nicole Byers might just be able to do something the original Super Troopers never could: actually make me laugh. (Oooooh controversial opinion.)
I mean, this is obvious. Mindy Kaling is Ron Burgundy (Rhonda Burgundy?). Just try and tell me I’m wrong. Also joining us on the news team: Amy Schumer as Briana Fantana, Kristen Wiig as Champ (I ran out of gender-swapped names there)—and how about ex-Disney star Brenda Song as their lamp-loving sidekick? I’d watch it; that’s for sure.