Monday, September 13, 2021

Against the Crowd 2021: Dell's Entry

On Day 1, Super Reader Joel took aim at a film many of us are quite fond of, myself included, and dropped compliments on something critics thumbed their noses at. He understood the assignment. Needless to say, I'm here to do the same. No more goofing around. Let's just get to it.

Little Women

Even if you haven't seen it, if you're reading this, you have some idea how the world feels about this movie. I'll help you if you don't. It garnered six Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. I have a question about that. Why?

To be honest, there was very little chance I was going to like this. I had to read the novel in college, and I was not a fan. There was plenty of forced reading I did enjoy. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott just isn't among them.

What about the movie?


The basic idea is that a group of sisters, and their mom, debate how much of their self-worth is tied up in finding a well-to-do man to marry. Along the way, they have to deal with the financial strain caused by the family patriarch being off fighting the Civil War. So, what's the problem?

The stakes never feel real to me and the way they speak bothered the hell out of me. I'm not referring to the 19th century jargon. I'm referring to the Sorkin/Tarantino rapid fire hybrid with everyone talking over one another as fast as they possibly can, and worse, being so damn cheerful and polite about it. It often sounded like everybody in the room was talking at once. I just kept wishing it would stop.

Let's get back to those stakes.

Much is made of the family in question being impoverished by their circumstances. In one particular scene, Mom convinces the girls to give up their own breakfast to give it to a family she's become aware of that has nothing of their own to eat. It's meant to be this gut-wrenching moment displaying how their selflessness knows no bounds. However, we quickly find out they're working with a safety net. When they get home, they discover that their millionaire next door neighbor has sent over a veritable feast because he was watching from the window and saw lug their own food away. It soon becomes apparent that whenever there is an issue of any sort, this dude is there to help, and LOVES to help. Therefore, I couldn't buy the idea that they were actually facing consequences for anything that happened in the entire film. I especially didn't care about this whole business whether or not anyone should get married. Either their dude was rich, or Mr. Money Stacks would be there to pick up the pieces.

How about something I liked.

I know. You didn't like it.

More accurately, you probably didn't see it.

You should.

It starts off with a bang and rarely lets up, for 92 glorious minutes. Everly is a woman who has found herself in rather precarious situation. She gets into a shootout and kills a bunch of rapey gangsters. This is in the first five minutes. Of course, these guys have a boss who is well acquainted with our lead character. He informs her...and everyone else in this particular criminal underworld that he's placed a $50,000 bounty on her head. And the fireworks begin...or continue, more accurately. 

It's incredibly, and graphically violent. Salma Hayek is absolutely amazing in the role. And by the time it ends, you might find that it's a bit deeper than you suspected it could be. If you don't get any depth from it at all, it's still a big, bloody ball of fun. And she doesn't have an ultra rich neighbor to keep her safe.

It's quite possible this post reveals how shallow I am...or at least how shallow I can be. I'm okay with that. In general, I'm all about taking classic material and updating them to fit in with more modern sensibilities, which is what Little Women tries to do. Unfortunately, it feels pretentious and disingenuous. Everly has no desire to be the same type of sweeping epic as Little Women. It just wants to show us Salma Hayek kicking all sorts of ass, and it's honest about it. And good at it.

Click here for more posts from Against the Crowd!


  1. Sorry you didn't like Little Women as that was a film I did like as I thought it had a different energy than the 1994 version. Everly is a film I haven't seen as it just came and went but I do want to check it out as I like seeing Salma Hayek kill people.

    1. It did have a different energy, but for me, that didn't really make it better. This story just doesn't work for me. Everly is a fun time. Hope you get to see it, soon.

  2. The way I gasped when I saw Little Women here, Dell. I loved that movie. I'd never read the book or watched any other adaptation though, and I'm a huge fan of some of the cast so that helped, of course.
    You're right in that I've never seen Everly, but it sounds like a lot of fun and I'd happily give it a chance!

  3. I thought this version of Little Women was passable but hardly the best I've seen. I liked but didn't love the book and have seen many other adaptations, all of which I liked better than this one. But all hewed pretty closely to the book so if you aren't a fan of that you'll get nothing from any of the others.

    I haven't seen Everly or until now even heard of it but just from your first couple of sentences I get a very Pam Grier in Foxy Brown/Friday Foster or Tamara Dobson in Cleopatra Jones (a hysterically over the top picture!) vibe only more violent. If I'm in the mood to check my brain for a while I'll have to see if I can track it down.

    1. Yeah, it's a book that falls flat for me. Hopefully, my English professor isn't reading this. He might come find me and give me stern talking to. And yeah, Everly is along those lines.

  4. I am missing out this year because of all the crap I have been through as of late. I still have to see this version of Little Women and want to but I always prefer the 1933 version with Kate Hepburn. I have not seen this Hayek movie but it makes me think she is the female John Wick. I would like to see this. I would pick Khartoum that has been given 100% in the Rotten Tomatoes metre. It's stars Charlton Heston as General Gordon sent to protect the Egyptians in Khartoum by an army led by Laurence Olivier. First, I couldn't get over the make-up job on Olivier to look like a Muslim. I found this film a real slog and fell asleep during many parts of it. I have tried more than once not to fall asleep when the film was on but....sleep won out. I also had a hard time dealing with Later I found out many horses were killed during the making of the film so that is the end of that for me. A film I enjoy watching and laugh at all the time is "Get Hard" starring Will Farrell and Kevin Hart. It only has 28% on the Rotten Tomatoes metre so it works here, I think. You wither lie Will Farrell flicks or you hate them. I think he is very funny and this film makes me laugh. It is stupid but, to me, it's fun and I really like Kevin Hart who brings more to this flick.

    1. Hayek is definitely going for broke, here. I haven't seen the '33 version of Little Women, so I can't compare. This one just wasn't my cup of tea. I haven't heard of Khartoum, but sounds like it's for the better. I don't mind Will Ferrell flicks - he's kind of hit and miss with me. I would count Get Hard as one of his misses, but I don't hate it. I hope things get better for you real soon.

  5. I didn't hate this version of Little Women, but I didn't love it. Then again, I haven't loved any version of it. I genuinely dislike the March sisters as characters.

    I called the relationships in this film aggressively and forcibly nice. It comes across as inauthentic to me. Greta Gerwig is too talented to make anything that isn't at least passable, but I can hope everything else she makes is better than this.

  6. Good post! I haven't seen the movies you mentioned, so I can't agree or disagree with you. But the way you feel about 'Little Women' is the way I feel about the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie 'Durango'. The protagonist's plans work out so perfectly, I never felt any of the characters' lives were in danger. This caused the stakes to feel too low. Here is the link to that review if you're interested in checking it out: