With the release of Disney’s Cruella trailer, critic Carrie Wittmer tweeted this:
Yes! It’s hard not to notice this new trend, especially as it skulks into the room wearing a manmade cape that’s screenprinted with the words “Female Empowerment!” That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Promising Young Woman, Queen’s Gambit and WandaVision — on the contrary, I’m a huge fan (I haven’t seen The Flight Attendant yet, but it’s on my list). Cruella might be the film that breaks the projector, however, if Disney decides to Harley Quinnivize the most 2D, chaotic evil villain they’ve ever had on screen.
The woman wants a coat made of puppy fur. It’s not that deep, Diz.
But before the hunger for erratic yet enjoyable femme characters gets over-fed (and we might already be teetering on the edge of the Monty Python “Just a Thin Mint” sketch), I’ve been thinking of my own way of processing things and how that might be turned into something that adds to this cacophony.
I’m a writer struggling with her current WIP. What else am I supposed to do?
When I’m hurt and/or angry, I turn to music. Listening, mind you: I compensate for my lack in musical talent (apart from 2-3 years of piano lessons) with an insatiable thirst for new bands, sounds and genres. But there’s a reason why in early 2020, the Birds of Prey soundtrack played on loop. And why SZA’s “Drew Barrymore” makes me think of this one particular high rise in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. And why My Chemical Romance’s “I Don’t Love You” brings up memories of at least three people who have exited my life.
So here’s my pitch, thanks entirely to seeing Wittmer’s tweet and wishing I had learned to play guitar at a young age:
It’s a reversed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before for adults. A rock band singer finds out that her bandmates accidentally invited all of her exes to their supposed-to-be-tiny reunion show taking place at a pre-renovation closed strip club (the dusty floors, the mirrors, the randomly placed poles! So much drama!). Each chapter takes her through a song she thinks of when she sees them and tells the story of why. It’s the ultimate revenge fantasy: telling the men in her life exactly what she thinks about them now that she’s gotten out from under them and into her own spotlight…by being in the spotlight that none of them ever knew she could command.
I’d write more here, but I’d rather write more somewhere else. You might see some trial runs on this site or even a Spotify playlist link as it takes shape.
Now to go explain to Lucky Ellis why I’m ignoring her for a while…