The “Mature” Content Stockpile

The “Mature” Content Stockpile

Wielding my Shield of Smartass

Wielding my Shield of Smartass

The PhD scholar part of Sandra Antonelli aims to bring you “Mature” news links, commentary, and discussion about “Mature Women” in romance fiction, and the portrayal of “Older” or lack thereof in all forms of the media

9 January 2015: Jenna Goode and Sam Creighton of The Daily Mail Australia bring us further observations on Russell Crowe’s foot-in-mouth comments in the Australian Women’s Weekly regarding older actresses ‘needing to act their age’ with Jessica Chastain slams Russell Crowe for comments on older actresses needing to act their age saying he has ‘foot in mouth’ as Meryl Streep defends his statement. Chastain (37) said, “I think there are some incredible actresses in their 50’s and 60’s that are not getting opportunities in films. And for someone to say there are plenty of roles for women that age – they’re not going to the movies enough.” However, Rusty gets some support from Meryl Streep. Sort of.

Streep made this statement: “I agree with him, that it’s good to live in the place that you are.” See? It’s sort of support because Streep also said that she “…had a political reaction against the concept of witches, of old women being demonised and age being this horrifying scary thing.”

Seems to me that Streep was being diplomatic.


7 January 2015: In her piece in the New York Times Style section, Fashion Two Faced Relationship With Age, Vanessa Freeman tells us about “Silver Economy” Trend in fashion and marketing, how fashion house ad campaigns now feature recognisable ‘silver’ celebrities such as Julia Roberts, who’s a whopping 47. However, there are also campaigns with Charlotte Rampling, who’s 68  I last saw her on Dexter), The amazing, 69 year-old, I-wanna-be-her Helen Mirren, and Diane Keaton, also 69.  Freeman discusses Selfridges’ department store windows ‘Bright Old Things,’ the “the fashion world’s contradictory relationship with the concept of age,” and makes this fabulous final statement, “You can’t have your consumers and not cater to them, too.”

Well Duh.

Perhaps Hollywood, publishers, and the cult of youth might take more notice. Or some notice.

5 January 2015: Time online’s Eliana Dockterman talks about 22 upcoming movies in 2015 that feature women, saying, “studios are finally beginning to recognize that making movies that tell women’s stories and draw female audiences is just a good business decision.”

It’s kind of like publishing houses in Australia finally waking up to the fact that romance fiction brings in big bucks. Most of the 22 movies feature young women in roles, but, OH, MY GOD RENEE RUSSO IS BACK in The Intern! A huge thank you to Director Nancy Myers, who knows if it attracts the silver, it’ll also attract the gold.  22 Movies Featuring Women We’re Excited to See in 2015

5 January 2015: Russell Crowe sticks his foot in his mouth in the Australian Women’s Weekly (see below) saying older actresses need to quit trying to play the ingenue and “be prepared to accept that there are stages in life,” which, you know, would be great if there WERE roles that allowed for that. Amy Gray sums up Crowe’s folly nicely with her piece from Junkee Here’s Everything Russell Crowe Got Wrong About Women In Film”

1 January 2015: The New York Times‘ Cara Buckley interviews the awesome and very real Patricia Arquette, who says “I gotta get old, people, do you understand?” she continued. “I need space to grow and get old and be a human being. I don’t want to be trapped in your ingénue bubble. And I don’t agree with it either, by the way.”  Unashamedly Maturing Into Her Role Patricia Arquette, Born for ‘Boyhood’

22 December 2014: The Australian Women’s Weekly with Caroline Overington interviews Russell ‘Rusty’ Crowe, the big meathead: Russell Crowe: “Hollywood actresses need to act their age.”

21 December, 2014: Isabella Rossellini gives her two cents on ageism in Hollywood, to the Telegraph online, “I really don’t work anymore as an actress,” she tells me, with a merry shrug of resignation. “I am old, and there are no roles for older people.” Read more: Isabella Rossellini interview: on ageism in Hollywood and the fashion industry

20 December, 2014: Michael Hodges in The Mail Online brings us two smart actresses  Anna Chancellor and Miranda Richardson talk sex and middle aged women, and say television thinks middle aged women are dull and sexless.

4 December, 2014: Best most recent news of age appropriate hotness: James Bond, a 50 year-old fictional character finally gets a an age appropriate 50 year-old female co-star in Monica Bellucci What can I say here except OH, YEAH MAMA! And gee, I really better get Cleaning House finished in the new few weeks…

6 November 2014: Betsy Sharkey with the LA Times reviews Shirley MacCLaine and Christopher Plummer in Elsa and Fred, a romance featuring two leading characters in late life. Romance proves Ageless in Elsa & Fred. As I argue in my PhD, that the central point of a romance, of any romance, is the romance, the development of the relationship, not the age of the characters, which is what Sharkey notes. Age itself is not a character. Despite their ‘advanced chronological age,’ Elsa and Fred could be the story of any 20 or 50 year-old, as Elsa & Fred have the same highs and lows,  romantic moments, and fantasies come to life that any couple falling in love might experience.

Doin’ What Comes Natural Natually

PhD research can lead you to a couple of interesting places. As you Biteyites know, I’m examining roles, representations of age, and non-traditional romance heroines. Part of what I investigate involves  applying conventions and certain constraints–the do’s and don’ts of romance–upon romance and romance heroines.

Y’all know I’m a total sucker for a romantic comedy like Bringing Up Baby. Rom Com, It’s what I write, what I read, and what I like to watch at the movies. If a rom com book doesn’t live up to my expectations, I’ll skim through it looking for the rom and the com, and if it fails to be either, I’m not likely to finish it. However, movies are different. I’ll sit through crapfests like The Bounty Hunter and The Ugly Truth waiting, believing that at some point the romance and the comedy will kick in. I watched The Ugly Truth (right up to the end credits) dismayed that the scene with the vibrating underpants never reached beyond unimaginative, cheap, 13 year old boy humour, which is pretty odd considering I’m also a total sucker for 13 year old boy fart and poop humour.

While I’m on the subject of The Ugly Truth, before I go any further, allow me a moment to digress. Since I mentioned The Bounty Hunter and The Ugly Truth as examples of doody, let me give Hollywood producers a quick head’s up. Gerard Butler. Please, for the love of sweet Mother Mary, keep him out of rom coms! You want to give the guy a love interest? Use his talent properly and put him in something passionate, sweaty, noir-ish, and hard-boiled–the way women would really appreciate seeing him.

Back to what I was saying…While I’m more likely to toss a book aside, I’ll watch a rom-com to the very end. I’m committed even if it looks like an absolute turd of a film from the start. Ever seen the Matthew Perry-Salma Hayek romantic comedy Fools Rush In? It’s a film where I expected turd and wound up with a sparkly, little brown diamond instead. Fools Rush In is a sweet little rom com, an underrated rom-com if you ask me. It goes like this:

Alex meets Isabel in Vegas. They have a one night stand. Isabel winds up preggers and they wind up getting married. As you can guess (with the lovely Latina, Salma) there winds up being a clash of cultures involved in making the marriage work.
Yes, it contains the It’d-never-work in-real-lifegirl-gets-knocked-up-after-one-night-
convention, but the chemistry between the likable leads, combined with Matthew Perry’s comedic timing, make the groan-worthy cliche work. The result is a charming little movie, which

curiously fits in with my PhD–in a roundabout about way.

While researching like a good little PhDer, I came across Paperback Writer (, a blog that touted the Ten Things your Romance Heroine Should Never Do. It says stuff like


Do not allow the heroine to handle condoms;
A heroine does not use swear words;

A heroine never goes to the bathroom in front of the hero.

I thought I’d hit real genre constraint gold–but that was only before I realised the blog is tongue-in-cheek. So let’s go back to on that says, ‘the heroine never goes to the bathroom in front of the hero.’ Upon reading that, Fools Rush In immediately popped into my head because the movie contains two very, very important things. First, the film has THE best romantic film line EVER:

"You’re everything I never knew I always wanted."

Sigh….Doesn’t that just sum up the delightful messiness of love? Anyhow, next, there’s a scene where Isabel (Salma) is on the toilet in front of Alex (Matthew). And yep, she even wipes.

AND flushes!

Well, isn’t that just how life is? Isn’t that just how love is? Fools Rush In was made in 1997 and I think we’re a little behind in the times. C’mon Oldbitey, I hear you say, ‘what the hell is the big fat point all this is leading up to?

I’m sayin’, if there are as-nature-intended potty-going scenes in a rom com made fourteen years ago, I’m betting the world is ready for as-nature-intended middle-aged heroine who cusses like a drunken stevedore and has sex scenes on the page and screen. I’m sure you are ready too.

There’s just one more thing. Hey, Hollywood! Couples Retreat? So NOT a rom com!

Meanwhile at the Station…

Join in and sing along with me. Pull out your adjectives, Utter some Inter-jec-tions! Tell me all about the function of Conjunction Junction. Invite me on down to Lolly’s to get my adverbs here! Welcome me to Procrastination Station…

This is really weird. I seem to know the tune, but I don’t remember there being a Schoolhouse Rock for slacking off. Do you? 

I am not usually a procrastinator. It doesn’t happen often, but when it strikes it usually involves peanut butter. However, in tonight’s case it involves peanut butter AND 3 bean vegetarian chilli. A weird combination I know, but I’m not eating them at the same time. I’m eating as a means of to avoid. I’m blogging as a means to avoid. I’m thinking about ironing as a means to avoid. Trust me on this (as Jenny Crusie said), this is not writer’s block. It’s a case of I don’t wanna write a Literature Review. 

You see, it’s only a DRAFT lit review. I know it’s going to change between when I submit my "Stage 2 Proposal" and when I get deeper into my fancy PhD research. It’s all so preliminary for something that’s supposed to last 3 years and there’s part o’ me thinking, "What’s the point of submitting a mere 3 months (or in the case of this draft, one month) into three years of research?" 

I’d really rather be writing And She Was. Or at least eating more peanut butter on crackers, but I seem to all out of saltines. Golly. It seems I have no choice. No crackers. Chilli’s all gone. Peanut butter is dwindling. It’s best I get back to wor–Hey! Shogun is on!

Saved by Richard Chamberlain and a twelve-hour 80s miniseries!

Welcome To Procrastination Station…