Hostage Situation

The trailer for the new Jennifer Aniston/Gerard Butler movie The Bounty Hunter makes me angry, and really, really uncomfortable (trailer starts at about 00:27):

You know what’s hysterical? Picking up your ex-girlfriend and throwing her in a trunk, and hanging up on her when she calls you from said trunk crying because you “know her so well” that you know when she’s “faking it.” It’s that just the funniest thing you’ve ever seen?

Except that, no, it’s not. And playing it for laughs isn’t funny, either. I mean, movie or not, in what world is it funny to watch someone carry someone to a trunk, throw them in, and then laugh about it as they drive along?

The answer is that it’s never funny.

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  1. EpiphoraNo Gravatar
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    In what world? Ha, you know the answer to this — in a rape culture.

    Really, that explains the entire existence of this “joke.” But doesn’t make it any less horrific.

  2. AprilNo Gravatar
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Did you even see this movie? Apparently not because then you wouldn’t have used the term, “Hostage Situation” for your title.

    You can clearly tell from the trailer that she was faking when she was crying, which is what he was referring to when he said that he can tell when she’s faking it. You can specifically tell from the trailer that she WAS faking her crying when he called her out on it and she got mad because he was right.

    Without seeing the movie, you can look at this trailer and say, “It’s NEVER funny to be shot at.” “It’s NEVER funny to be handcuffed to a headboard.” “It’s NEVER funny to have your ex-boyfriend put a gun in your face when you’re handcuffed to a headboard.” All of these statements would be true if you take away the premise of the movie, which is explained, and fail to see the irony and satire between the characters.

    If this were a strange man to Jennifer Aniston in the movie, it wouldn’t have been funny for him to throw her in the trunk. But she knew him and knew him well and knew that he wasn’t going to hurt her when he put her in the trunk. She was never afraid of him or his actions in the movie and he never intended on hurting or raping her. (neither of which he did in the movie) But you see what you want to see and no offense, but it seems that you’re losing a sense of humor.

    • Britni TheVadgeWigNo Gravatar
      Posted February 22, 2010 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      No, I’m sorry, but it’s never funny when someone throws someone in a trunk. And I’ve never had a sense of humor about things like that. Even if she *did* skip bail, and he’s a bounty hunter picking her up, he can handcuff her and put her in the backseat. There is plenty of conflict and comedy that can still be created with that situation.

      I will never find it funny to watch that happen. And maybe, having worked with the population that I have has affected my ability to find humor in that. So be it. It shouldn’t be used for humor in the first place.

      • AprilNo Gravatar
        Posted February 22, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        What I don’t understand is how you just look at it in black and white. You just see that a guy threw a woman in the trunk of a car and laughed at her when she called him up crying. You fail to see anything else, the plot, the relationship, the irony. All of those things play into the scene and are what make it humorous.

        If the scene showed a man grabbing a random woman from the street and throwing her into the trunk, it wouldn’t be used for the purpose of humor. The tone and color of that scene would be much different. It wouldn’t be funny and I’m sure no one would expect you to laugh at that. But that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t just a man throwing a woman into a trunk.

        Like I said, you haven’t seen the movie. So you don’t know that he didn’t try to just put her in the backseat at first. You don’t know the events that led up to him putting her in the trunk. But, you will never think it’s funny and that’s ok. However, others who do find the humor in that, because humor is subjective, do not find it humorous because of rape culture. It’s not funny because domestic violence against women is normalized in movies. It’s funny because of the irony and conflict between the 2 characters.

        It is of your opinion that it shouldn’t be used for humor, just as it’s my opinion that being pissed on shouldn’t be used for eroticism. (I’m not comparing the 2, just the differing opinions) Neither opinion is right or wrong, they’re just different. So we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

    • Tessier AshpooleNo Gravatar
      Posted February 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Great post April, particularly the bit about it ‘never being funny to be shot at’. It’s also worth noting that there is a similar situation in the movie “The Hangover” involving a (naked) male in the trunk.

  3. AprilNo Gravatar
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Not that I’ve seen the movie, because I haven’t, and my comment made it sound like I had, I was just trying to say that without seeing the movie, you can’t make those assumptions. Based on the same trailer you posted, you can tell that she knew this man well and wasn’t afraid of him. Just wanted to clarify that.

  4. Garnet JoyceNo Gravatar
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I’m glad you said this. When I saw the trailer for this movie a few days ago it made me really uncomfy. No matter what the situation may or may not be between characters, no one should ever be shoved in a trunk. Just thinking about being in the trunk of a car makes me sweat and feel extremely uneasy.

  5. AmyNo Gravatar
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I have to admit Brit that I was going to write something along the same lines as April but deleted it.

    Yes, this scene did make me feel a bit uncomfortable (and the thought of that happening to me really freaks me out) and yes, there are overtones of violence. But I do think that sometimes these things need to be taken in context. From the trailer it does seem that the movie descends into the two characters trying to kill each other and in real life that would *not* be funny, but in the movie that is what provokes the comedy, and I believe that the whole ‘girl in the trunk’ thing is along the same lines.

    I wonder what people would say if it was the other way around – would it still have those overtones and make people uncomfortable if the situation was reversed and it was Gerard Butler in the trunk (so weird for me to say that – here we call it the ‘boot’) and Jennifer Aniston laughing about it as *he* was pretending to cry? I reckon your reaction may be the same, but I wonder what people in general would think then?

    I guess it’s all part of the debate over what it’s okay to make a joke out of. I know your stance is that stuff like that/this is never funny but I’m in a bit of a grey area about it – there are some things that just aren’t funny but other’s that I can see the humour.


    • Britni TheVadgeWigNo Gravatar
      Posted February 22, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      My reaction would be the same if the situation was reversed, but my question to you is, what are the chances that we would even see the situation reversed? Why is it so often the *female* that is on the receiving end of the violence? I just don’t think we’d be likely to see a man being thrown in a trunk by a woman. By another man? Sure. But by a woman? Probably not.

      Though even if we did see that, you’re right, I still would find it horrible.

  6. MollsNo Gravatar
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    April – The scene in the actual movie may be anything, but the trailer was edited to show him picking her up and putting her in the trunk. So I don’t care what may happen in the movie, that’s not relevant. Whether or not he tried to handcuff her and put her in the back seat in the movie isn’t material, the trailer depicts a man overpowering a woman and tossing her in the trunk of a car. The trailer represents the movie.

    Aniston stands no chance of getting away (as depicted by her stupid attempt to run in stilettos in the beginning.) She phyiscally poses no threat to the bounty hunter. And, as far as I can tell, she isn’t some brilliant psycho who is going to cough up a paper clip, pick the lock on her hand cuffs, and kill the guy by making him swallow his own tongue. So why toss her in the trunk?

    • AprilNo Gravatar
      Posted February 22, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      So the ONLY THING relevant to you is that a man put a woman in a trunk? If you’re going to be so black and white, too, then it’s impossible to have a conversation about the scene. I’m not trying to be mean, but I find that it’s hard to have a conversation with someone who ONLY sees that a man over powered a woman and put her in a trunk.

      He didn’t beat her, he didn’t rape her, she clearly didn’t seem scared of him, she wasn’t kicking and screaming when he had her over his shoulder before he put her in the trunk, he wasn’t intending to hurt her. But all of that and everything else about the movie gets set aside because OMG! A GUY PUT A WOMAN IN A TRUNK!! Forget everything else, right?

  7. Rockin' With a Cock inNo Gravatar
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I read everything you wrote in the post and looked at the pictures before playing the trailer, and the trailer didn’t make me uncomfortable. I didn’t find it humorous, because of how you framed it, but I’m pretty sure if I’d just seen the trailer alone without initial influence, I’d have chuckled.

    I’m with April on this one.

  8. JessNo Gravatar
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t laugh at the trailer simply because I think the movie looks stupid. But, I really didn’t find it to be insulting or horrific.

  9. alanaNo Gravatar
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think the problem is with the scene in and of itself IMO. Of course we should look at the movie in context and realize that no one was actually hurt and blah blah blah. For me, the reason scenes like this make me uncomfortable is because I have to wonder what they contribute to our dialog about violence and relationships. It’s the same when rape scenes are portrayed as funny or anything other then horrific. I can understand objectively what the artist was trying to achieve, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t feel like the movie/tv show/book/whatever is still diminishing the true experiences of rape victims. Should we get up in arms because of this one scene? No. But is it wrong to question how the images we’re fed by the media affect our views on issues like rape and domestic violence? I don’t think so.

    • Britni TheVadgeWigNo Gravatar
      Posted February 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. I expressed this sentiment to Molls in IM, but failed to do so in the post or comments. I guess I forget that some people will understand that when I post something like this, that’s the point I’m trying to make, to look at the larger picture of what it says about violence and relationships in our society. I know I’ve made the point in other posts, and kind of see these rape culture posts as a series of sorts, a continuation of each other.

      I should probably elaborate more on the bigger implications that scenes like this have.

  10. Nell GwynneNo Gravatar
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Frankly, how can you have a good comedic interaction with two people when one of them is stuffed in a trunk? Instead of watching the tow actors fight over the steering wheel, argue, etc, they have to communicate via phones. And I also don’t buy that any ex, no matter how bitter, would just leave someone in the trunk and not seem to care. I also *love* how whatever reasons Aniston’s character has for trying to get Butler’s character to cooperate with her are originally brushed off. Overall, extremely cliched at the least, and triggering at the most.

  11. AprilNo Gravatar
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I am a victim of domestic violence. I was beat and forced into submission, not allowed to move, locked in a bathroom, choked, and had many other violent things happen to me. Watching this trailer did not make me feel like that scene was diminishing my true experiences as a domestic violence victim. Watching this trailer did not make me uncomfortable one bit.

    It’s not wrong to question how the images we’re fed by the media affect our views on issues like rape and domestic violence when those images portray rape and domestic violence or things of that nature. Like I said, if this were not done in the comedic fashion it was, then this discussion might be valid. But in this particular instance, calling it anything other than what it is, is reaching. I also believe that this particular scene contributes nothing to the dialogue of violence and relationships. If it did contribute anything it would be, “Hey, if you ever become a bounty hunter and you have to arrest your ex for skipping bail, don’t throw her in the trunk. Some people don’t find it funny.” (I was being sarcastic there, sorry)

    Again, this is just my opinion. Britni, I sincerely appreciate that you allow healthy discussions on your blog. I also appreciate that you post things which keep my mind open and offer different views and opinions. And I always love when Alana comments because she’s like the mediator. She reads both sides and then explains them both clearly. Thanks girls!

  12. alanaNo Gravatar
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Aw thanks April. Glad to see you back.

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