I Spy…

There are two movies out right now that I haven’t had a chance to see and still really wanted to. One is the cartoon Inside Out, which I really cannot wait to see, not just for entertainment, but because I think it will be super useful in my job as well. The other was Spy, and this morning a friend and I hit the theater to see what it was all about.

Spy has gotten really good reviews, even earning at 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty rare. (Inside Out is at 98, so…). It’s the story of an overweight female CIA agent pulled from behind her desk and into the field to kick ass and take names. Which she does. I’m sure it’s not a spoiler to say she saves the day.

I love spy movies. I love the spy movies that take themselves too seriously, as well as the ones that are almost parodies of themselves. I love the gadgets they come up with, the fight scenes, and, of course, the usually clever dialogue. And I enjoyed Spy. I did. I mean, what’s not to like about the big girl being the hero? Showing everyone that she’s not what they expected looking at her. Showing up even the most seasoned agents, sometimes BECAUSE no one expected her to.

And I think that was part of the problem. This movie was definitely making an effort to make fun of the stereotypes society has of fat people. But in doing that, they hit a little too close to home for me. Everyone in the movie, INCLUDING the main character’s best friend, expected her to fail. They assumed she would mess everything up, that she couldn’t do it. Even when she would do things well, they expected her to screw it up the next time. And I suppose it wouldn’t make a very “good” movie if everyone came to her side immediately. Everyone talked down to her, as if the extra padding on her body somehow inhibited her intelligence.

I go through life expecting people to think I’m stupid. One time I met a guy for coffee, and it came up that I had my master’s degree. He looked shocked, and said, “Wow, my estimation of you just went up a lot!” Yes. He actually said that. And it wasn’t like we’d never talked before. But for some reason he had very low expectations of me and my accomplishments. (Not to mention that it irked me that he would think more or less of me based on my education…I know some extremely intelligent and amazing people with less formal education than some of the stupidest people I’ve met with master’s degrees or beyond…but that’s a rant for another post.)

Of course there was an attractive love interest for the poor schmuck of a homely agent to be in love with as well, and he took advantage of her every step of the way. And she was mocked for her feelings, for having any inkling that someone like HIM would be attracted to someone like HER. (Sidenote, Melissa McCarthy is GORGEOUS and I love her. The only thing that made her “unloveable” was her weight. And we wonder why there is such a problem with eating disorders.)

We perpetuate these stupid stereotypes over and over again, and it’s frustrating. We put ourselves apart from other people based on generalizations that have no basis in reality. (The movie also took a couple jabs at us rednecks here in the midwest, with our knitting clubs and podunk lifestyle.)

I think there’s an art to being able to make fun of yourself, and poke fun at the strange little eccentricities in society. Goodness knows a good portion of my Twitter feed is me confessing to any number of ridiculous thoughts or actions, maybe slightly exaggerated. But there’s a balance and there’s a line.

I’m not really sure what this post is about. I liked the movie, but at the same time I had some pretty serious issues with the themes, I guess. I generally try not to think too deeply about movies, but this one struck a chord, and I do think it’s important to parse out the confusing messages movies like this can send. Of course, in the wake of recent tragedies, this all seems very small and silly.

Maybe I’ll take myself to see Inside Out tomorrow. Maybe then I’ll be better able to sort out my feelings 😉

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