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THE INSIDERS: 10 YEARS

Radar

we knocked a few back with kate mara, rosario dawson, and the rest of the reunion movie’s cast.

I don't know how I'll feel about going to my high school reunion when the time comes, but the new movie 10 Years gives an argument for not ditching the milestone. It follows a group of friends who get together for their big reunion--and who quickly realize that as much as things change as we get older, some things stay the same. The case includes some of our favorite actors, including Kate Mara, Ari Graynor, Chris Pratt, Rosario Dawson, and Channing Tatum (no really, we love Channing), so when I was invited to meet up with them for a boozy brunch to talk more about the movie that premieres today, I know I couldn't miss out on this, either. In between bites of crepes and omelettes, here's what the cast remembered from their wild shoot.

TOO MANY MIMOSAS:
"They originally wanted us to do a karaoke night, but I think they realized that this is a dangerous group to get drunk and do press! This group likes to have fun. People would have a few too many drinks and say and do things that need to be kept private."—Ari Graynor, "Sam"
"It's a good thing that we shot in New Mexico and not somewhere near the press because there was a lot going on! It was before Magic Mike, so no one knew we were there."—Rosario Dawson, "Mary"

THE HIGHLIGHTS:
"Chris Pratt. There's one scene where he gets on stage and starts singing "lady in red." It's pretty hilarious to watch...and really sad."—Kate Mara, "Elise"
"Watching Chris Pratt scene for scene for scene. He would do something different every take. I don't even know how the editor could choose a scene because it was just piss laughter every time. It was ridiculous how funny he was."—Rosario Dawson, "Mary"
"Any moment that Chris Pratt was in the vicinity."—Max Minghella, "AJ"
"Watching my wife destroy the "Dance Dance Revolution" video game."—Channing Tatum, "Jake"

LIKE BEING BACK IN HIGH SCHOOL:
"It was like movie camp; we were all friends and there were little groups within that. There was always the group that you knew would be out until five in the morning. The different archetypes of the groups was fun to watch."—Ari Graynor, "Sam"
"One of the Albuquerque bars that we shot in had a sign up that read "minors not allowed unless accompanied by their adult spouse." If you have sex with a minor and you marry her it's legal to go in and have a drink. I don't know what high school was like there, but that sign was unnerving."—Rosario Dawson, "Mary"

BEING REAL:
"We were looking to strip away everything that comes along with big budget filming. From a creative standpoint it's counter intuitive. You're shooting scenes out of order. If you have a long rehearsal period you can figure it out, but everyday you're going, "What's this scene? What's the point?" Movies like that can feel schizophrenic. We wanted to do something that we could film chronologically. The script was really loose and all of the actors were collaborating. We just rolled the camera and saw what happened. We wanted to do something where the actors had control and the ability to make decisions."—Jamie Linden, Director
"It was about trying to be truthful. I'm not a mother. I'm not married. So this was a departure for me, how to tell their story and being authentic without knowing that experience personally."—Ari Graynor, "Sam"

And since I promised Kate Mara that I'd quote her on this one, "It's worth seeing." So is Kate Mara's brunch outfit, which is why we featured her as Best Dressed.

Nail polish is for novices

Fashion label The Blonds is known for its high-intensity looks that you'd only wear if you wanted to stand out (and who doesn't?). For its runway shows, wild press-on nails are the beauty step that can't be missed. So, since the brand has partnered with CND since it was founded, we thought it best to get prepped for the show with Jan Arnold, CND's co-founder.

See why you should take your nail look from a zero to a 10, in the video above.

Credits:
Shot by Charlotte Prager
Edited by Gretta Wilson
Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Production Assistant: Polina Buchak
Featuring Jan Arnold of CND Nails and The Blonds

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

It would've been nice if someone said the word "fat"

Back in November, Rebel Wilson claimed to be the first plus-sized lead in a romantic comedy when she appeared on Ellen to talk about her role in Isn't It Romantic. Wilson was not only wrong, but she was—even if inadvertently—erasing the work of Black plus-size actresses like Queen Latifah and Mo'Nique, both of whom have expansive resumes that include romantic comedies.

Wilson's comment isn't the first example of white women taking up a little too much space in the fat acceptance ethos. It's actually quite common. But there is a reason why women like Wilson—women who are blonde, pretty, successful, and white—get put front and center in calls for body positivity. In the same way that feminism—the movement from which body positivity was born—has often failed to address how gender intersects with other identities like race and class; so, too, has body positivity been championed as a cause for otherwise privileged women. And that's why it's no surprise that Isn't It Romantic, which aspires to be both a spot-on mockery of rom-coms and a celebration of body positivity, is actually a perfect example of how very white both the movie genre and the body positivity movement tend to be.

In the film, Wilson plays Natalie, an architect based in New York, who is single and plus-sized—the archetypal rom-com underdog. Very early on in the movie, she endures the double humiliation of both being hit by a runaway food cart and then accosted by its owner for not stopping it with her "cement truck"-like body. At work, Natalie is similarly disrespected: The office manager hands off troubleshooting tasks to Natalie; another colleague always tasks Natalie to throw out his trash; her assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin) won't stop watching movies (rom-coms, naturally) while in the office; and Natalie is so afraid to present her ideas for more innovative parking garage designs that she isn't even widely known in the firm as an architect, and is treated like an intern.

But is Natalie just a doormat? Or is it that she isn't asking for what she wants? And isn't very nice about not getting it? If Natalie's life is any example, the bar on suffering is set pretty low for white women. In her personal life, Natalie lives alone with her dog, and seems to be pretty well-off, financially; her best friend is actually her slacker assistant, Whitney, and she's close with another coworker, Josh (Adam Devine), who gives Natalie constant emotional support. She's decidedly anti-romantic, having been told by her mother from a young age that there's no such thing as real-life fairy tales; she's level-headed and practical. But also, she's filled with self-loathing. This leads her to be crass, sarcastic, and disconnected from people. And it was this last part that was hard for me. As a fat Black woman who grew up broke, does not have an assistant, and would get fired if I didn't do my job well, it was hard, if not impossible, to root for her.

For Natalie, though, everything changes when she bangs her head while fighting off a mugger. Her mundane life is tinted through rosy rom-com glasses. Suddenly, all the things that sucked about her life are gone, and everything is beautiful and perfect. But was her life so bad before? It didn't really seem to be.

And yet, looking around the theater at the mostly white, female audience, I accepted that my feelings didn't seem to be shared. But that almost seems to be by design; this feels like a movie for a white, female audience. There is only one person of color in the movie who even has a name: It's Isabelle (Priyanka Chopra), who shows up about halfway through the film—after everything has been rom-com filtered—as a yoga ambassador and swimsuit model. But a name is all Isabella has. A supporting character at best, she doesn't have any connection to anyone other than her white boyfriend, and is sketchily drawn. We learn nothing of her familial or ethnic background, and, even when she is shown at her wedding, there is nobody from her family celebrating with her. This huge oversight is particularly bizarre, given that Natalie has already bemoaned the lack of diversity in romantic films.

Another huge oversight? The presence of the word "fat." I don't think I heard it used a single time. Natalie only references her weight indirectly, by commenting on the appearance of straight-sized women; when talking about her own body, the word "fat" is replaced with "girl like me." But by ignoring this aspect of herself, and refusing to address it head-on, Natalie is succumbing to the same fatphobia that shapes her world, whether she identifies it as being a problem or not.

Before her life becomes a rom-com, Natalie feels invisible at work and in the world. Some of this is certainly her fault, but fatphobia is also at play. Fatphobia chips away at the humanity of fat people from different angles. It means that Natalie gets used to being dehumanized; she doesn't expect others to have empathy for her when she's physically hurt, because they don't value her body. And it's no coincidence that Natalie's fantasy world includes a magically bigger apartment with unlimited clothing options, because discrimination against fat people isn't just a matter aesthetics and preferences—it affects everything from our ability to dress ourselves to our ability to make and save money, since there's a price to pay for being fat, even if it's just having to pay more to travel. Just as much as gender and race intersect with fat bodies, so, too, do economics and class.

I knew I could count on a plus-sized white comedian to take down a genre of films that prioritized thin women. But I ventured to see if Wilson could go further than that, and challenge what it means to be white and well-off and fat in the process; it isn't just about taking down rom-coms but about doing so in a way that isn't just a mouthpiece for white feminist values. But, in the end, that isn't what happened. Isn't It Romantic is fine, but it needed to do more than target an audience of girls who are 10 to 30 pounds overweight and still too jolted by the word "fat" to ever apply it to themselves, so they go for acceptable alternatives, like curvy, plus-sized—or thicc, if they're hip. But I'm not afraid to say I'm fat, I'm just disappointed I will be waiting even longer to see a realistic reflection of that experience onscreen.

Isn't It Romantic is in theaters now.