So, you may have seen yesterday’s Vulture post on the trailer for Jennifer’s Body, screenwriter Diablo Cody’s anticipated follow-up to Juno. If not, you can view it here.
1. I haven’t seen Megan Fox in anything. I’ve kind of avoided the Transformers franchise because, eh, well, let someone else do it. I’ll definitely see this, though. I wonder how this movie and this role will evolve Fox’s Jolie 2.0 bombshell persona. I’d be curious what my friend Annie has to say about it.
2. I do kinda wish Jennifer was being played by Kat Dennings (Norah from Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist). I feel like Fox is ripping her off. That and I just want to see Dennings in more movies.
3. I like that the popular girl is a demon. Making the normatively feminine monstrous? Yes. “No, I’m killing boys” might be my favorite line in the trailer (the “Am I too big?” line is a close second). I see some potential feminist commentary.
4. Fox’s “I swing both ways” line to Amands Seyfried suggests one step forward, two steps back. I’d pair this with the shot of panty-clad Jennifer leering at Seyfried’s character and saying “we always share your bed when we have slumber parties.” Hello, boys. I’m sure having Jennifer play for both teams also builds up Fox’s star persona as a lipstick bisexual.
5. Why is Jennifer friends with the nerdy girl? Is it some kind of psychological “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” thing? We know that Veronica Sawyer couldn’t stay friends with Betty Finn to be one of the cool girls in Heathers. I’m intrigued.
6. It’s interesting to me that Cody’s is doing horror (albeit decidedly of the black comic variety). This suggests the influence of movies like Heathers and Scream on Cody as a screenwriter in ways more pronounced than Juno, which was cultivated and marketed as a prestige picture.
7. It’s a little annoying that the screenplay comes from “the mind of Diablo Cody.” Um. Karyn Kusmana directed it too. Plus I’m ambivalent about Cody’s writing style. Kids just aren’t that slick. And even with Daniel Waters’s super-heightened Heathers screenplay, a lot of the banter was slang-based. Or it was gross, which teenagers definitely are. I have an easier time believing a teenager would ask someone if they had a tumor for breakfast than telling a grubby-fingered peer to have a Chinese nail technician “buff your situation.” Plus, points off for reusing the fuck/Phuk Thailand joke.
7A. But the Buffy the Vampire Slayer dialogue didn’t bother me, in part because it seemed to be making a commentary on other network teen dramas like Dawson’s Creek. We shall see.
8. It seems that the soundtrack may play an important part for the movie’s burgeoning franchise. In the trailer, the soundtrack’s featured artists appear before the production credits and boasts hot acts like Little Boots and Panic at the Disco. Pair this with the prominent use of bad girl hits like The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” and The Waitresses’ “I Know What Boys Like” and you have a potential Billboard contender. This is important. Apart from the Disney machine, I can’t think of a teen movie with a soundtrack so at the fore of its marketing strategy since the mid- to late 90s (ex: She’s All That, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Cruel Intentions, Ten Things I Hate About You, and Clueless). I’ll be listening as well as watching.
My friend Susan gets the credit for turning me on (Christ, another pun!) to the Tenori-On. It’s a neat, little hand-held electronic instrument that’s easy to use and lets you create entire soundscapes with just a few inspired clicks of the right switches. And if you add the LED light system at the bottom, it’s kinda like you’re playing a Lite Brite.
This brings me to Victoria Hesketh, who performs under the name Little Boots, a British electronic-based singer-songwriter, whose primary instrument is the Tenori-On. Maybe you also know that Joe Goddard of Hot Chip and Greg Kurstin of The Bird and the Bee serve as her producers. Maybe you heard her single “Stuck on Repeat” (it was one Pitchfork’s Top 100 Singles of 2008).
But I don’t wanna suggest that Little Boots needs the guidance and approval of primarily male producers and music press to get ahead. Like many electro female recording artists at the moment (yes, including Lady Gaga), Little Boots is reconfiguring 80s synth pop. And this new little gadget is helping her do just that. Here she is covering Hot Chip’s “Ready for the Floor.”
For one, I like how immediate playing the Tenori-On seems. I don’t wanna be condescending and suggest that it’s simple and thus only dummy amateurs can pick it up, but to me there’s something sorta punk about how anybody could poke around on it to create songs and that it isn’t available only to trained instrumentalists and virtuosos.
(As an aside, the Tenori-On, which made its debut at SIGGRAPH in 2005, is still pretty expensive — a new one’ll set you back a grand, a used one’s starting price averages at $500 — so perhaps only art-school, trust-fund punks can afford it for now. Maybe as the instrument becomes more popular and widely-used, the asking price will decrease.)
For another, unlike punk, which tends to rely on three chords, I like how limitless the compositional possibilities are to the Tenori-On. It seems like you could start in one musical direction and then, with a few clicks and pushes, go through several musical tangents and end up somewhere completely unexpected.
I also like that the Tenori-On makes music composition seem accessible and efficient for the user, which is great for female instrumentalists like Little Boots who can be their own backing band, as well as a tremendous opportunity for women and girls to become more comfortable and savvy with technology. Add to that its compact, lightweight design and it seems like easy to transport from bedroom to backpack to bus stop to backseat to gig.
Incidentally, I have an Omnichord. If any ladies wanna jam, let me know.