But really, these movies were just manifestations of their directors' lost boyhood fantasies – Cameron's fairy tale fascination with alien-inhabited planets, Reitman's sweetly moralistic conclusion that love is all you need, Tarantino's adolescent bloodlust. Only the blistering Precious managed to do what The Hurt Locker did: tell a good story about an authentic human being whose journey into the depths of his or her own psyche illuminated some greater truth about our time.
Kathryn Bigelow directed the manliest, most adult film of 2009, about the manliest of subjects: war. No pretty blue people, no handsome, repentant studs, no zany Nazis. Just sweaty men, dirt and bombs. Bigelow offered high-impact action and ideas; she got us high as our nerves popped then left us with a rewarding emotional finish. And unlike Avatar's director, James Cameron, whom I expected to come out from behind the scenery to say, "In case you didn't get it, war is bad," or "Hey, that last scene was about how we should care more for the environment," Bigelow made her point without slamming us over the head. As The San Francisco Chronicle said, "She makes guy movies—and she makes them better than guys do."
Of course, there's no harm in silly, chick-infested fun, just like dudes can toss softballs like The Hangover into the culture and still be considered an artistically versatile gender. The problem with bubble-headed girl crap is there isn't much else for us.
Although who am I to talk, when I've written a novel that, upon publication, will undoubtedly land smack dab in the middle of chick lit-ville. I love my book; my baby makes me proud. But I do hope to continue to evolve as an artist in order to lift myself and my lady friends out of the pigeonholes we fit ourselves into. Thankfully, women like Kathryn Bigelow make playing in the big leagues seem within reach.
As of now, I'm practicing my swing.
**Reprinted from Laura K. Warrell's blog Tart&Soul at www.TartandSoul.com.