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PS Picks: 'Ocean's 8' and Other Upcoming Female-Led Films

PS Picks is a selection of the best things that the magazine's staff and contributors are reading, watching, or otherwise paying attention to in the worlds of art, politics, and culture.
Ocean's 8.

Ocean's 8.

Ocean's 8, starring Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett in lieu of George Clooney and Matt Damon, is among a slew of recent and forthcoming all-female reboots. Gender-flipped remakes in various genres are enjoying prominent placement on Hollywood's release calendar for 2018 and 2019, from Splash to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, though these remakes often face backlash from online communities of aggrieved males. In 2016, for example, as part of a social media campaign led by a group of anti-feminists and outright racists, the Ghostbusters YouTube trailer became the most disliked in history, and thousands had downvoted it on IMDb even before its release.

That backlash only underscores the importance of upcoming female-led films. According to a recent study, only 34 percent of last year's top 100 films had a female lead or co-lead, and, of those roles, only three were played by an ethnic minority. "We know that females are grossly underrepresented on screen and in all speaking characters," Stacy Smith, founder and director of the Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California, told the Guardian in 2017. "If you compare our percentages to another study that was done in the late '40s or early '50s, there has been no movement for half a century." Films like Ocean's 8, which put women front and center in action roles typically reserved for men, are a step in the right direction.

A version of this story originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Pacific Standard. Subscribe now and get eight issues/year or purchase a single copy of the magazine.