Entertainment

In ‘Widows’ Female Characters Are Made To Clean Up “The Man’s” Mess And Learn How To Steal Back Their Autonomy

In Steve McQueen’s latest film “Widows” a priest asks his congregation “What has happened in the world that normal now passes as excellence? When did we lower our standards?” It’s a question that soon after walking out of an early screening for the film had me thinking, not only about the lowered standards by which we uphold our current politicians, but also about the types of films that have snuck by on their overblown tropes that boast of “heist-ness” but never truly nail the genre down.

If “Ocean’s 8” is the white feminist version of a heist film, “Widows” is a paragon of the heist film.

CREDIT: Widows” / 20th Century Fox

Unlike female-takeover films as of late, which have largely failed to reckon the industry’s race imbalance, Widows is a film that takes its female leads, ensures that they are of different colors and ethnicities, and notices them for their circumstances before they pull triggers and blow up safes. Here, the main characters show their audience the repercussions of their being Black in a Black Lives Matter era, of being a Latina in a country cold to their existence, and being a white in a world where certain privileges are conferred.

“Widows”, co-written by Gone Girl’s Gillian Flynn,hammers out a league of female characters forced to clean up the mess of their deceitful husbands who never really did well to take care of them as partners in the first place. Veronica’s (Viola Davis) husband is neglectful, Linda’s (Michelle Rodrigeuz) squanders her earnings from her small business on gambling, and Alice’s (Elizabeth Debecki) beats her.

After their spouses are killed in a high-stakes heist gone wrong, Veronica (a woman who lives in unrelatable wealth in a Chicago high-rise thanks to her husband Harry’s –Liam Neeson– dirty biddings) finds that he has left behind an impossible debt. In his most recent robbery, Harry and his deceased accomplices stole $2 million from a local crime boss turned politician all of which was blown up in the explosive fire that also killed them. At the start of the film, the ruthless crime boss comes to Veronica’s door to collect and gives her one month to deliver. With a looming and severe deadline to come up with the money coupled with a notebook left behind by her husband that points to $5 million stashed away in the household of the crime boss’s corrupted political appointment, Veronica goes out on a mission. She starts by recruiting the other widows Linda and Alice with the threat of exposing them to the crime boss if they do not help her and an incentive to split up the remaining $3 million amongst themselves. Belle (Cynthia Ervio) joins the crew in an essential role soon after the crew develops their plan.

Like the best of films, the heist at the center of this one doesn’t just get the job done it searches for truths.

CREDIT: “Widows” / 20th Century Fox

Crawling into the darkest corners of deceivingly polished settings, “Widows” exposes the most nefarious and sinister aspects of its traits for what they are before allowing them to skitter away back into their dank and corrupted crevices and continue to slither along. It dives into the repercussions of police brutality, forces you to observe the glaring bruises of domestic abuse, and most memorably encourages you to take a closer look at and scrutinize the true intentions of our political leaders. Where does all of our money go exactly?

“Widows” is smarter, more contemplative and purposeful than any other heist movie the film screen has seen in a while. Where typical heist films promise characters the ultimate shortcut to their biggest dreams, “Widows” offers its main characters an opportunity to obtain something firm that we all have a right to, one that women have strived for in a male-dominated sphere for centuries: autonomy of self. With her earning’s from the heist, Veronica can maintain an independent life her husband had never truly afforded her, Linda can buy back the business she’d lost after her husband squandered her earnings and died, and Alice can live a life where she depends on no man– no matter what kind of abuse or treatment he attempts to make her endure.

Where films like “Ocean’s 8” made work-shy attempts at female empowerment, “Widows” is forthright and honest about what it wants to be. Even more importantly the film allows women to simply be in their humanity. They aren’t angelic “badasses” who automatically know how to set off bombs, torch safety boxes and screech away in getaway vans the moment the prospect of big money rears its head. They’re multidimensional, with their darkest of sides acting and behaving in cruel ways and actively learning and researching how to, albeit out of necessity, commit gruesome crimes.

Speaking about the film in a roundtable, actress Michelle Rodriguez (who is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent) explained that the film made her feel as if she’d been given an opportunity to truly uplift women with her role as Linda. “The idea of female empowerment has been my drive in my entire career because I’ve always felt more like an activist more so than an actress,” Michelle says. “This [film] was the first time I was challenged psychology… the idea of playing Linda– you get to see what’s coming from the inside.”

McQueen’s female lineup takes the traditional plot of a heist film and turns it into something much more complex. It’s a testament to the capacity women of color have to take old genres, and not just make them new or “rebooted” but to truly turn them on their heads.

Erika Jayne Of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Has Been Low-Key Serving Up Latina Realness Right Under Our Noses

Entertainment

Erika Jayne Of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Has Been Low-Key Serving Up Latina Realness Right Under Our Noses

@theprettymess | Instagram

Since the reality show boom in the late 1990s, we have been fascinated by watching seemingly normal people doing outrageous stuff on television or being put in extreme situations. We have also found a not so guilty pleasure in seeing the rich and famous in their everyday, mundane lives. Producers try hard to sell an illusion of reality, but in fact, much of what you see on television is at least partly scripted. Companies like the Dutch powerhouse Endemol and the US channel Bravo have tried it all. Titles like “Big Brother,” “A Simple Life “(that sensational show in which Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie were “forced” to work in a farm), “Survivor” and “The Osbournes” permeated popular culture and redefined what celebrity is.

But perhaps one of the most endurable formats is the “Real Housewives of…” formula. It is simple: you choose a set of women who are uber rich and who have the potential to produce the most amount of pan y circo (in short, dramarama) for audiences who are hungry for extravagant personalities and near-fistfight, as well as plenty of chisme with the occasional tear-jerker of a reconciliation. Besides some clear issues in terms of gender representation (women are housewives by nature, really? Pardon our French pero no mamen) and the sense of privilege that the cast seems to have, there are some pretty inspirational stories of women who embrace just causes and have worked really hard for what they have. One of these women is Erika Jaymes, the already established singer who has become an Insta sensation and an all-around estrella due to her honest and exorbitante personalidad. Here’s what you need to know about this güeraza who has gotten a second round at fame!

1. Her full name is Erika Nay Girardi (her maiden last name is Chahoy)

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

And she was born on July 110, 1971. She is a proud daughter of Atlanta, Georgia.

2. She is a bestselling author

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Yes, her autobiography, Pretty Mess, has been on the top of the lists of The New York Times bestsellers. The publisher describes it as follows: “In Pretty Mess, Erika spills on every aspect of her life: from her rise to fame as a daring and fiery pop/dance performer and singer; to her decision to accept a role on reality television; to the ups and downs of family life (including her marriage to famed lawyer Tom Girardi, thirty-three years her senior)”. Wow, what a rollercoaster of a life!

3. For years she has had to tell haters to F-off! 

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Leave Erika alone! No, seriously, if you are one of those individuals who goes online to trash other people’s lives, just stop. Erika has been brave enough not only to remain classy in the onslaught of online hate but also on making it public, which is a way to put herself out there. Bien.

4. From high school talent to a billboard on Times Square!

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

She first got in touch with her ample talents during her stay in North Atlanta High School. She joined the musical theater group and did roles such as Val from “A Chorus Line.” She also did great versions of “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton and Madonna’s “Into The Groove”. And, to be honest, she has kept that Dolly Parton vibe, hasn’t she?

5. She moved to New York when she was 18, in search of a musical career

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Hundreds of young people move to New York and Los Angeles each year hoping to break into the music industry, but only a few are successful. Our girl moved to the Big Apple and soon became part of several girl groups such as the I-Dolls.

6. She married her first husband in 1991

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

While starting her career in the entertainment industry she met Thomas Zizzo, a DJ. They got married at St Patrick’s Cathedral and had a son, Thomas Zizzo Jr. The couple divorced in 1996 and she moved to Los Angeles to reignite her career.

7. She married her second and current husband in 1999

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

She met a powerful attorney, Thomas Girardi, and they married in 1999. He is 33 years her senior. During the first years of her second marriage, she played the role of what she describes as “a lawyer’s wife”. She went to dinners, met powerful people and basically learn how the upper echelons of power work.

8. But being a housewife wasn’t enough: 2007 is the year of Erika Jayne

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Erika decided that marriage was not going to stop her from having a musical career. She launched her first dance music single, “Roller Coaster”, in 2007. Her rise to the top of the Billboard charts was explosive: she reached number one at the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. Her second single, “Stars”, held the same position in the Billboard Dance Play chart. And, as they say, a star was born.

9. She has her own record label: Pretty Mess Records

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Under this label, she has released collaborations with some of the biggest names in the music industry, such as rapper Flo Rida, with whom she released “Get It Tonight” in 2013.

10. 2015: The year of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Erika joined the cast of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” for the show’s sixth season. She soon became one of the favorite drama queens on television!

11. She has had roles in film and television ever since! 

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

She had some minor roles on television early in her career (before her first marriage), but the huge fame that Real Housewives brought to her life has lead her to roles in the telenovela gringa “The Young and the Restless” (she appeared with her “Housewives” co-star Eileen Davidson) and in the B-movie sensation “Sharnado: The 4th Awakens,” She also appeared in Animal Planet’s show “Tanked.”

12. After the Real Housewives comes “XXpens$ive”!

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Her experience in the reality show she released this single on January 4, 2017, during the show “Watch What Happens with Andy Cohen.” The song is a hymn to materialism and entertainment.

13. So how has she accomplished so much? Well, she got her resilience and her talent from her santa madre

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Her mom is Renne Chahoy, who was an 18-year-old classically trained pianist and actress when she had her daughter, suddenly became single when Erika wasn’t even one year old.

14. So she didn’t meet her biological father until she was 25 years old

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Erika was adopted by her stepfather, but she never really met her biological dad while growing up. The first encounter happened when she was a young independent 25-year-old woman. She describes the encounter as “meeting a stranger”.

15. She also appeared in “Dancing with the Stars”

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

The 24th season of the show (yes, 24th!) had her as one of the main competitors, and she was paired with pro dancer Gleb Savchenko.

16. She has collaborated with make up brands

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Her ultra famous public persona and her fierce femininity has led her to collaborate with brands BeautyBlender and Too Faced Cosmetics. From Atlanta to Sephora!

17. She has also collaborated with shoe brand ShoeDazzle!

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Remember that epic Times Square billboard? Well, it was part of her campaign with the famous shoe brand. She released a collection of 12 of her favorite shoes. We want them all.

18. She is a fashion trendsetter 

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

What Erika Jayne does is replicated in dozens of dance clubs around the country. We are not sure about this Tigresa del Oriente outfit, though!

19. She is a philanthropist 

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Erika and her husband contribute to the betterment of their community through charity work, particularly towards the empowerment of young girls.

20. She is a queer icon

Credit: Instagram. @theprettymess

Jayne is vastly popular in queer culture due to her fierceness and all around extravagant awesomeness! Yasssss!

20 Times Jane Was the Most Annoying Character on “Jane the Virgin”

Entertainment

20 Times Jane Was the Most Annoying Character on “Jane the Virgin”

It’s no secret that we love “Jane the Virgin” around here. Everything about the show makes for guilty-pleasure, comfort-food TV that we’re always excited to watch. Needless to say, we’re going to miss it a lot when it’s gone.

That being said, we don’t always love all of Jane Gloriana Villanueva’s actions. Although Jane is hard-working, honest, and kind, she can also be judgmental, hypocritical and, once in a while, self-centered. Like any great character on TV, Jane is multi-layered and complicated, which might be the reason why the show is so irresistible. Take a look below for 20 times Jane was the most frustrating character on “Jane the Virgin”.

1. When she looked down on Rafael for being rich.

via CBS Television

We’ve never been a fan of how Jane equates wealth with immorality. For example, she gets upset when she founds out Rafael set up an estate plan for Mateo. “I don’t like her family’s attitude towards money,” says Reddit user u/Simba122504. “Money is not evil. People just do evil things for/with money. But money itself is good”.

2. When she had an emotional affair with Rafael when she was with Michael

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We get that Jane had conflicted feelings about being in a relationship with Michael while unexpectedly having a child with another man, but that doesn’t give her an excuse to toe-the-line between co-parenting and romance with Rafael. Michael deserved better than that.

3. When she ran straight to Rafael after only a few hours after breaking up with Michael

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We never understood how Jane could switch love interests so quickly. “She was with Michael for two years, prepared to marry him, then breaks it off,” says Reddit user u/soniamissaghi . “And two hours later she was over him and kissing Rafael???!?”.

4. When she was judgmental about Adam being bisexual

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Jane’s reaction to Adam’s revelation that he was bisexual is one of the prime examples of how her judgmental nature negatively impacts her relationships. The fact that she had these out-dated beliefs about masculinity and sexuality was troubling. C’mon Jane–it’s 2019!

5. When she guilt-tripped Adam for moving to LA to follow his dreams

via CBS Television

A lot of viewers took issue with the way Jane reacted to Adam leaving Miami to accept a once-in-a-lifetime job offer in California. “[Adam] had been so supportive of her dreams, and she doesn’t want to be supportive of his,” said Reddit user u/kbaeisbae. “I understand that he said he wasn’t going to leave and then changed his mind…but I just hated the way Jane reacted to that”.

6. When she prioritized her parenting rules over Rafael’s

Scott Everett White/The CW

Jane is never more insufferable when she’s trying to dominate the parenting-dynamic between her and Rafael. When it comes to child-rearing, for Jane, it’s her way or the highway. There’s hardly any middle-ground.

7. When she was super pushy with Rafael about raising Mateo Catholic

via giphy

From the beginning, Rafael always voiced his concerns about raising his son in any form of organized religion. Jane never seemed to take these concerns to heart, though, and strong-armed Rafael into agreeing that Mateo would be raised Catholic.

8. When she tried to force JR to like her (because she needs everyone to like her)

tyyppicookie/Tumblr

Jane’s Mary-Sue perfectionism was never more apparent than when she discovered that Petra’s girlfriend, JR (played by Rosario Dawson), didn’t vibe with her. Instead of letting sleeping dogs lie, Jane did everything in her power to force a friendship with her.

9. When she used Fabian for sex and then dumped him when he wanted something serious

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We’ve always found it problematic how much Jane objectified pretty-boy Fabian. Not to mention, it’s hard to get over the fact that she tried to dump him when she finds out he was trying to wait to have sex. “When the shoe’s on the other foot, she struggles to accept Fabian’s choice and treat him as a person,” says Reddit user u/rrsn. “She sees him as beneath her”.

10. When Jane got really whiny when her college adviser criticized her writing

Screenshot via Netflix

Jane had a habit of looking down on people who’s morals didn’t align with hers. But, when her English professor gave her a taste of her own medicine, she couldn’t handle it. “[Jane] judges everyone and finds them beneath her,” says u/frst91 on Reddit. “When Professor Donaldson judges her as a person and as a writer, she is frustrated and rude to her and over-defensive”.

11. When Jane criticized an amateur author’s writing in the writing group she just joined

via CBS Television

Jane was all-too-eager to criticize a fellow amateur author’s writing when she joined a writing group. While the rest of the group members offered positive feedback, Jane jumped the gun and critiqued where she should’ve complimented.

12. When she pursued Rafael after insisting she didn’t have feelings for him anymore

screenshot via Youtube

Reddit user u/bkandtherose describes Jane’s double-crossing perfectly here: “I was quite irritated by how she went home with the intention to jump in the shower with Rafael after trying to convince Petra that there was nothing and she wasn’t after Rafael. That was a really shitty thing to do considering her and Petra are family and do care for each other somehow”.

13. When she wouldn’t support her mother’s decisions regarding her own body when she was diagnosed with cancer

Paul Sarkis/The CW

Jane has always been a master meddler, but she went too far when she was trying to influence Xiomara’s plan of action for her cancer treatment. “The whole meddling judge-y ‘my Google research is better than your oncologist’ thing is getting pretty old for me,” said Reddit user u/mrsawinter.

14. When she bailed on her and Michael’s engagement party after making a big deal about it

Screenshot via Netflix

When Jane discovered that Michael’s parents weren’t her biggest fans, she went out of her way to insist that they attend their engagement party. She then proceeds to ghost on the party without much prompting and offers them very little explanation. “I’m still annoyed that Jane bailed on her own engagement party and was then angry that Michael’s parents were mad with her,” said Reddit user u/punkypizza.

15. When she looked down on Petra’s parenting style

Scott Everett White/The CW

When Jane became a mother, a whole new world opened up for her to judge other moms and compare her skills to theirs. For example, we couldn’t help but roll our eyes when Alba and Jane concluded that Petra wasn’t a “hands-on mom” because she forgets her children’s nap times.

16. When she considered writing plagiarized essays for money

via CBS Television Distribution

The fact that Jane was even considering writing a spoiled rich kid’s paper shows that her hard-line approach to ethics is a little more flexible when applied to her specific situations. We give her props for finally deciding against it, though.

17. When she babied Mateo to the degree where she fell short of disciplining him.

Scott Everett White/The CW

Loyal watchers of the show know that Mateo has behavioral problems and struggles to respect authority figures. Reddit user u/chelsiigc believes that “Jane needs to get off her high horse and realize that [Mateo] isn’t an angel”. “Petra, unlike Jane,” she says, “actually disciplines her kid”.

18. When she frowned upon accepting money from Rafael when she never had a problem accepting money from Rogelio

Screenshot via Youtube

Before Rafael lost all his money, Jane had a habit of making him feel bad for offering her money to make her day-to-day life easier. From an outsider’s perspective, it didn’t make sense. Mateo is Rafael’s kid, after all–why wouldn’t he want his child to have access to the best?

19. When she holds a grudge against Rafael for getting angry at her

Screenshot via Netflix

When Rafael is under a lot of pressure at work, he ends up lashing out on Jane in Season 1. Instead of accepting his apology, Jane chooses to cling to the mistake. “She makes this whole show of apologizing and expects the other person to just get over it, but when it’s the other way around, Jane holds a grudge!” says u/RealWitchyMermaid on Reddit.

20. When she callously rejected her mother’s parenting advice because she thought she knew better

via Giphy

When Jane is pregnant, coming to terms with how she’ll be a mother, and generally freaking out, Xiomara tries to reassure her that everything will be okay. Instead of accepting the advice, Jane turns around to criticize the way her mother raised her. It was a painful scene to watch.

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