So I watched Super 8 in between grading. The movie is directed by J.J. Abrams, but Steven Spielberg has his hands all over it, especially with all the kids stuff. Not to spoil anything but Super 8 = E.T. + Stand By Me 2.0. It is a mix of scifi, disaster / scary monster /coming of age film. Therefore, it is patriarchal through and through:
1. Mothers die or leave (Joe’s and Alice’s mothers)… and Charles’s mother cooks a lot (the kind of mothers that always has food ready for the dang neighborhood) and is very, well, motherly.
2. Failing fathers (Joe’s through his inability to bond with his son, Alice’s father through his drinking and irresponsibility) will learn to become “real men” again thanks to a disaster.
3. Smart Alice is relegated to a comatose role waiting to be rescued by a boy and his boy friends.
4. Drugs and alcohol are bad (because they render men less manly… either stone or irresponsible), but pyromania is a useful skill.
5. A boy becomes a man by letting go of his mother and finding his bond with his father.