Gone Girl – a Basic Bitch of a movie

These days the way you mock conventional boring women is to call them a “basic bitch”. Basic bitches do the things everybody does, wear the clothes everybody does, and so on (they used to be called soccer moms, or stepford wives – it’s a mean old joke that’s forever being rebranded). One thing a basic bitch does is read the bestselling books, like The Goldfinch, or Gone Girl. How fitting, then, that the movie Gone Girl is itself a Basic Bitch of a movie. It barely makes an effort, like a football team that thinks it can just show up on Sunday and win the big game. It has the basic necessities. Bestselling book, check. Big time director, check. Hollywood star, check. Big budget, check. Stupid preposterous story, check. For a suspense story, it had almost zero suspense. The subway cat scene in Inside Llewyn Davis was more suspenseful than anything in this one. It went through the motions, like the actors did. Who even made an effort here? They couldn’t even keep the main actress’s hair sensible from one scene to the next. Supposedly set in Missouri, not a single character bothered to even fake a midwestern accent. There were almost no cinematic touches of consequence besides an occasional St Louis arch or New York City brownstone. And maybe that was all part of the point, which is, what a fucking joke we all are, we moviegoers and book readers. We’ll buy any old shit they feel like selling us. They don’t even have to try. Nothing makes any sense? Who cares. Nobody tries to act? Whatever. Nothing to look at on the screen? Hey, that’s America these days, ugly, boring and all the same. Whatever. It seemed to me that everyone involved was resting on their laurels, and their laurels are kind of shabby to begin with. I’ve seen a number of the director’s films, and been impressed with just one (Fight Club) and that one ended with a sneering dismissal of its audience as well, a great big Fuck You of an ending (See? it was all a dream. See, he’s just fucking crazy) as if just saying “oh that person is crazy” is all you need to do, it’s so simple and uncomplicated and actually explains nothing. Just crazy, move along, nothing to see. Homeless people? Just crazy. Unhappy wives? Just crazy. Psycho killers? Crazy, of course. That’s all you have to say, all you have to know. She was crazy. That other guy? He was crazy. Not crazy? Then stupid or mean or both mean and stupid. Pretty much sums it up. They see us as their own basic bitches, and they’re probably right. We will buy anything. The new movie out this week? We all line up. Next week we’ll do the same. Fuck if we care. It could be Ouija. It could be Liam Neeson once again out for revenge. It could be Gone Girl. Whatever. Everybody’s doing it. We’ll do it too. It kept occurring to me that the movie lacked “integriy” – maybe the book did too but I can’t speak to that – and what I mean is that there was nothing that felt “true”. People behaved the way they did simply because they were “crazy” or “an asshole” or “stupid” or “gullible”. Everyone was strictly a type that did what that type does. No one was actually a real peerson, with any of the depth that entails. No one is merely a puppet that behaves according to some simple rules. The Punch and Judy dolls were exemplative of this lack of any core. The director and the author were pulling strings, for effect, to shock/entertain/whatever. As Lisa Thatcher said recently in a review of a Fincher film, it’s as if cinema itself has nothing to say. Certainly the people who made this movie had nothing to say. It’s just a show, a spectacle, superficial nothingness. Your basic bitch of a movie.

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4 thoughts on “Gone Girl – a Basic Bitch of a movie

      • First of all, not only is it incredibly offensive to perpetuate terms like “basic bitch” but ironically enough actions like yours are the very inspiration behind the story of Gone Girl.
        Second of all, there is nothing basic about this films, and even less so about the book. Show me one story that has this type of villain that is also a woman. It doesn’t exist. The likes of the Katherine Tremmels and women “fooling” you into a fatal attraction can’t even compare. Isn’t it a little sad that the only memorable female villains I have for comparison are 20-30 years of movie history old now.
        Gone Girl was brave enough to confront both male and female issues at the same time. On one hand the wife is struggling with feminine issues that literally affect the lives of every woman in the world, while the husband is dealing with both media and police prejudice that “it’s always the boyfriend/husband.”
        This movie is one of a kind. Though maybe you’re just too much of an “average, lazy, boring, cowardly, woman-fearing man,” to see it.
        I feel sorry for any “basic bitches” in your life for having to know you. We’ll all try to be “cool girls” for you from now on.
        Have a great day 🙂

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  1. I’ve been told that there’s some actual character development in the book which helps explain some of the psychology of the characters. Clearly you’ve read the book. I haven’t, and I said so in the post. In the movie there is practically no character development. This is what I meant about it being “lazy”. The writer, who was also the novelist, seemed to take for granted that everyone who saw it would have already read the book and known the back stories. All I saw was that her parents had turned her life into a series of books, which she resented. I’m sure there was more to it in the book, but not in the movie. That was all we learned about her. In the movie, there’s almost nothing about his background. He was a writer who lost his job. That’s all they showed. As a couple, they started out happy, then things went downhill.

    It’s true I was being flippant with the “basic bitch” comment. I don’t know any basic bitches and I don’t know any cool girls either. My concept of women is that they are people. It’s about time that movies and television are providing more and more varied roles for women, and I agree that’s a good thing. My favorite TV show is Orphan Black, partly for that reason, but also because it’s intelligent and interesting and doesn’t have such simplistic superficial character types such as the lowlife white trash scum girl or the stupid pregnant neighbor or the shrill vapid Nancy Grace clone or the underage student sex toy – other female roles in Gone Girl not nearly as groundbreaking or rare as the psycho killer.

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