One of the most validating experiences a child can have is when adults recognize and validate their emotions. It has the power to affect the rest of their lives and hopefully prevent future mental illness.
The 2015 Disney/Pixar animated film Inside Out follows a young girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). Her life is turned upside down when her parents move the family from the Midwest to San Franciso. Her emotions are guided by Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).
I was blown away by the film. I recognized myself in Riley, having also moved as a young woman, and understanding what it means to start over in a new school and a new community. I have vivid memories of feeling very awkward, unsure, and a little scared.
Instead of getting on the proverbial soapbox on the importance of mental health, the narrative guides viewers of all ages into the conversation of emotions and how important it is to talk about how we are feeling.
I think that it’s pretty safe to say that reality television has spread its tentacles into every sort of competition.
Making It aired on NBC from 2018 to 2021. Hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, a group of craftspeople faces off in hopes of winning $100k and being named “Master Maker”. Each episode contains two challenges. As with every program within this sub-genre, one contestant is sent home every week until the winner is crowned.
Though it is a reality show, it is not as mind-numbing and brain cell-killing as other shows. Though I am sure it is not 100% “real”, the participants have a genuine talent and seem to love what they do.
Moxie is defined as having force of character, determination, or nerve.
The new Netflix movie, Moxie, premiered earlier this month. Vivian (Hadley Robinson) is a shy sixteen year old raised by her single feminist mother, Lisa (Amy Poehler, who also directed the film). The new girl in school, Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña), is being harrassed by the BMOC/Football Captain/all around d-bag Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver). Tired of the sexist bullshit, she anonymously creates and publishes a feminist zine. It quickly gains a following, but Vivian stays silent. When push comes to shove, she must make a choice. Stay silent or put herself out there.
I loved this movie. It combines two genres (the high school comedy and the feminist revolution) into a final product that has a wide appeal. Though the main characters are teenagers, the issues they face go well into adulthood.
It’s not easy to be a woman these days. Despite our advances (and thank g-d for them), there is still some pressure to live a traditional life.
In the 2008 movie, Baby Mama, Kate (Tina Fey) has a very successful career. But her love life is non-existent. With no man in her life and wanting to be a mother, Kate hires working class Angie (Amy Poehler) to be her surrogate. When Angie announces that she is pregnant, Kate goes into overdrive to prepare for the birth of her upcoming child. Then Angie moves in with Kate and Kate’s well ordered, always in control life is no longer in order or control.
This movie is incredibly funny, especially considering who the two lead actors are. Fey and Poehler have a natural chemistry, Fey playing a version of Felix to Poehler’s Oscar. This movie proves that not only are women funny, but a well written movie with fully rounded female lead characters will bring audiences into the theaters. Another factor that makes this movie an enjoyable one is how completely realistic Kate’s situation is. There are many women like Kate, who have worked very hard to prove themselves as capable professionals. But then they reach a certain age and realize that while they were so furiously building their careers, they may have missed out on the possibility of a spouse and a child.