Pop-Culture | Posted by Emma E on 08/10/2011

Why I Won’t Be Seeing 30 Minutes Or Less

A few weeks ago, I went to see the movie Bad Teacher (not my choice, okay?). A preview for the movie 30 Minutes or Less came on. The movie is about a guy who gets a bomb strapped to his chest by guys in gorilla suits and is forced to rob a bank. It stars Jesse Eisenberg, AKA The Guy Who Played The Guy Who Created Facebook. I was putting the movie into my “Not exactly a must-see, but if someone else was insistent on seeing it with me, it wouldn’t be the end of the world” category, when I was hit with a joke that was distinctly unfunny.

The two main characters were at the supermarket, buying some supplies for their bank robbery, which include masks, duct tape, etc. As their overweight, sassy black cashier (can you say stereotype?) is ringing it up, she says, “You sure you all don’t wanna grab some condoms?”

“No,” says Jesse. “Why?”

“Cuz this is usually what men buy before they rape someone,” the cashier says, continuing to ring up the stuff.

Our Main Characters proceed to attempt to convince her that they are in fact not committing a violent crime. But the cashier just shushes them and says, “This going to be cash or credit for your rape kit?”

Well. As my friends (two female, one male) burst into shocked laughter, I fumed. A few weeks ago, I would have assumed that, because they weren’t ACTUALLY going to rape someone, it was okay. Now, I was furious.

Rape isn’t a joke. It’s a violent, terrible thing. How is it that a video that shows a woman taking revenge on the man who raped her (Rihanna’s Man Down) is criticized and banned, but a movie that turns rape into a joke is allowed in theaters at a PG-13 movie?

The worst part, for me, was the cashier’s role in this. This woman, fully believing that these two guys were about to rape someone—someone that could be her, her friend, sister, daughter—let them go along with it, no questions asked? I just Googled the movie, and sure enough, the movie was directed by Ruben Fliescher—a man.

Sure, one could argue, it’s a harmless joke. And in a culture where rape victims are prioritized and given the justice they need, it would be. But in a culture where women are blamed for being raped, where college boys chant ‘No means yes!’, where the immediate response after a woman is raped is ‘how short was her skirt? How many drinks did she have? Is she a slut?’ In that culture, which, sadly, is OUR culture—it’s not harmless.

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  • Aaaa @ at 12:03 pm, August 10th, 2011

    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2011/07/three-things-i-like-about-jesse.html

  • Emma E @ at 12:23 pm, August 10th, 2011

    Thanks so much for sharing that, Aaaa. I’m really glad to hear that Jesse doesn’t agree with that part of the movie–it makes me like him a lot more as an actor.

  • Lolita @ at 1:17 pm, August 10th, 2011

    I think I just puked a little.

  • Mackenzie @ at 2:02 am, August 11th, 2011

    Yuck. I don’t like Jesse Eisenberg’s statement at all. He’s afraid to say the word “rape”? I don’t see that attitude getting us anywhere. The effect I worry this point of view could have, however, is making rape sound like something that should be shushed up (more, even, than it already is). The last thing a rape victim needs is more fear, shame, or distress around talking about their attack. I hope (though I’d bet it happens frequently) that no rape victim ever fails to seek physical or PTSD treatment because the word was too taboo to say.

  • Vanessa M @ at 6:38 am, August 11th, 2011

    Right. Rape jokes are definitely not funny, but please don’t use “Ruben Fliescher- a man” because that… Well, that sounds a bit…

  • Katherine C. @ at 11:27 pm, August 12th, 2011

    Ewwwwww. This is why I so rarely go to movies anymore

  • Liz @ at 8:59 am, August 13th, 2011

    Yeah, the rape joke in the trailer was unsettling, not to mention that this movie reeks of white privilege. Although Aziz Ansari and Dilshad Vadsaria are main characters, it’s the white dude strapped with the bomb to his chest. Only a movie about a bomb toting-white guy would be considered a comedy in this country. UGHHH

  • logoskaieros @ at 5:41 pm, August 13th, 2011

    Its good that you called out un-classy rape joke, but I don’t think there’s a need to focus on the cashier’s role.

    For instance, what question could the cashier have asked? What power does a cashier have if someone buys a bunch of sketchy objects? Report them? Would the police take that kind of report seriously?
    (And this is before even getting into the racial aspect of these power dynamics.)

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