Driver's EDitorial #07: Bring on a decent Brother and Sister Movie
by: Nathan Swank
Our Driver’s EDitorial is a weekly column designed to express our opinion on something going on in Hollywood today. Sometimes we whine and complain about something we wish was different, other times we heap praise on the system for getting it right.
I’m not gonna hide the fact that I am a brother to a sister and my editorial is a bit personal. I feel there is a lack of representation of lead characters having an opposite sex sibling in Hollywood scripts. Just this year, we have movies with brothers (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I Love You Man) and we have movies with sisters (Sunshine Cleaning, Zombieland) but we don’t seem to have many brother sister movies. Theoretically that is ¼ of the possibilities. The other is the only child, who is always the lead in all the major films (Harry Potter, Transformers 2) or at least the reason why the lead must take revenge for the harm to he or she’s only child (Taken). Granted by my complaint of a very loose mathematical assessment of 25% of the audience being overlooked means there is 75% of the audience that doesn’t care about my complaint.
It seems when Hollywood uses brothers and sisters in film they can only use it in children form (Spy Kids, Lemony Snickett, Chronicles of Narnia). My favorite part of all three of those movies was the relationship between the brother and sister. In fact my favorite part of Twilight (another kids movie) is about Edward’s family. Sure that includes his parents and his brothers and his sisters but his one sister Alice is totally bad and smoking hot. Is anyone with me? Wait, what was my point? Oh yeah, I want a movie an adult can enjoy.
And when I say adult I don’t mean sex. Apparently if we make our siblings adult there has to be sexual tension. Hollywood always figures out a way to turn it into an incestual love thing by making them step siblings (Royal Tenembaums, Cruel Intentions, Clueless). Even the Star Wars trilogy couldn’t have a brother sister relationship without having a weird perverse kiss. These relationships are always my least favorite aspects of these movies. A love story doesn’t have to be forced into every movie. It can strain a film when the audience has to believe in this love while competing with the driving action of the story. If you need a male and female character, why not make them a brother and a sister. Jeepers Creepers did this and made for a far more interesting movie. Ok, well maybe the movie wasn’t that interesting but one aspect was interesting and that was the fact that the two characters were brother and sister rather than boyfriend and girlfriend.
And why do we have to keep casting Laura Linney as a sister? The few good films out there dealing with this topic seem to always star Laura Linney (You Can Count on Me, The Savages, Love Actually). Don’t get me wrong, she is a fantastic actress but she has been typecast as a sister to a brother, which must be one of the most random typecasts ever.
Television uses brothers and sisters all the time with shows like Friends, Brothers and Sisters (I’m assuming by the title, haven’t actually watched but I hear good things) and three of my all time favorite shows: Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and The Simpsons. The relationship between the brother and sister siblings is once again one of my favorite aspects of each of these shows and film should take notice.
I believe brother sister movies are an untapped resource in Hollywood. Yes, I have a sister and we have a close non-sexual relationship. Sure, we’ve grown up beating the crap out of each other physically and emotionally, my parents kicking me to the curb while their pretty singing princess does no wrong even totaling five cars, while the greatest thing I ever did was be tall. But we love each other and that great dynamic between brothers and sisters is rarely covered…fine, I’ll start writing a script.