I just watched The Internship without writing out my thoughts in list form. I apologize for that (sort of), but I have some damn thoughts now. You know, to make up for it.
HBO Go has been showing off about this movie about two old guys who go to Google for a summer long internship program thing. They’ve been showing us (in us I’m including those of us who literally pay for cable just for HBO Go because I don’t even have my cable box hooked up (and it’s not because I can’t figure it out because I fixed my iPhone screen myself you guys!)) previews for ages, and I googled when they’d finally show me the whole movie (googled for real, not a pun) and found out that it was coming online at 6 pm tonight so at 6:03 tonight I was pushing play.
Being a single lady has made me extremely exciting.
First of all, this movie is obviously a commercial for Google. I tried to find out if Google was involved in the making of and couldn’t nail it down, but if they weren’t then Vince Vaughn and the other screenwriter super duper want to work there. Or want to bang the owner. Or something. In summary, two men in their forties (?) get into this summer internship program and bring real life skills to a group that is otherwise comprised entirely of kids who fit into one of many nerd stereotypes. And Google is awesome.
I didn’t like Google when I went there for an interview day thing. The movie has been said to be accurate by actual interns who work there, and based on my very short experience I don’t see any reason to disagree. The movie makes a big deal of the free food and the nap pods. It also acknowledges that people who work there don’t necessarily leave campus, which I found appealingly honest, since everything they offer in the Boulder office seems designed to negate any excuse (other than children) for setting foot outside during … ever. Still, in the movie the jobs at the end are the holy grail. It could be any company, but it’s Google. It’s a real company and Vince Vaughn actually says, “It’s ranked as the number one company in the country to work for”. Owen Wilson actually says, “Picture the greatest amusement park you’ve ever been to as a kid. Now imagine nothing like it and a million times better”.
Bechdel test wise (two named women talk to each other about something other than a dude), total failure. I’m going to say there are three named female characters, but they sure as hell never talk to each other. Mako Mori test wise (named woman gets her own arc that isn’t in support of a dude’s arc), I’m going to say pass. There’s a girl (used intentionally, she is meant to be a girl) on the main characters’ team who struggles with issues of intelligence and embracing her sexuality and while romance is sort of the climax of her arc it’s not necessarily the whole story. I buy it.
I haven’t even gotten to my main topic yet, btw, so you might want to get up to pee or something. Or get some wine. I’ve had some.
Here’s my thesis. Finally.
Older men are supposed to be disappointed in themselves to be attractive now.
Vince Vaughn’s character has a weird issue where he can’t do anything right all the way to the end. Owen Wilson’s character, when told by Rose Byrne’s character that she ‘didn’t expect to like him’, says ‘I didn’t expect for you to like me either’. The movie gives us a tiny bit of back story on Vince. Terrible credit, house foreclosed on, etc. Nothing at all on Owen. We don’t know what’s back there – failed marriage(s)? Widowed? Perpetually single? Gigantic douchebag for all of his thirties?
The whole movie is about them alternately falling down and shoring each other up.
When I was in ninth grade, I finally got to date Ben. I had been in preteen-love with Ben since I moved to that school district – so, like, TWO YEARS. He’d been in preteen-love with my best friend for awhile in eighth grade and they’d dated and every day had been like a serrated knife doing a tango in my intestines.
Pre-teen love is pretty fucking brutal.
When I was in ninth (actually, maybe tenth?) grade, somehow Ben came around. I think he’d gotten less cool and I’d gotten cooler. Possibly the half shaved head he was rocking had gone out of style. Anyway, the WHOLE TIME (I’m talking weeks here) that we were dating, he would talk about how I was definitely going to leave him because he wasn’t good enough for me.
Then I left him.
It was a lot because it was high school, but it was partially because I was tired of listening to that shit and he sort of convinced me that it was true. He wasn’t good enough for me, dammit. You know who was good enough for me? The kid who was living with his aunt and uncle because he got expelled from his home school district for drugs and fighting!
Ah, high school.
I have this sense that that’s changed, though. It might just be for 35+? But now I think men are sort of expected to state that they’re not good enough. Movies have definitely set the expectation, but I’m perpetuating it. I’m listening to shit from male friends now that fourteen year old Emma would have found vomit worthy. (Fourteen year old Emma pretended to puke a lot.)
If this is an expression of insecurity that men have always had, then I embrace this disclosure. Everyone should be able to tell their friends and romantic partners when they’re feeling like they’re not good enough.
If this is some entertainment pendulum that’s just swinging away from men hiding their emotions, I guess I embrace that too.
It feels like neither, though. It feels like a move on the part of the entertainment industry to bring in more female viewers without actually bringing in more women’s stories. See, if men go through emotional upheaval, then why would we need to cast more women?? Cause what ladies like is the feeeeeelings.
Men having emotional arcs: good. Them doing it at the expense of more fully realized female characters: bullshit.
I don’t have a lot more evidence for this theory, but I’ll collect some and get back to you.