Saturday, February 10, 2007

Neo-Con Nancy

I don't know why this synopsis of the forthcoming Nancy Drew movie gets me angry, but it does. Bold text by me.

"Based on characters created by Carolyn Keene, Nancy Drew follows Nancy (Emma Roberts) as she accompanies her father Carson (Tate Donovan) to Los Angeles on one of his business trips and stumbles across evidence about a long-unsolved crime involving the mysterious death of a beautiful movie star. Nancy’s resourcefulness and personal responsibility are put to the test when she finds herself in the middle of the fast-living, self-indulgent world of Hollywood."

Maybe it is that last sentence that annoys me. Gosh, I really hope pure and chaste Nancy doesn't succumb to the evil lure of liberal Hollywood and descend into a degenerate life of drugs, indiscriminate sex parties and the making of seedy porn films. Hopefully she won't stay in that town long. I hear that Hollywood evil is so pervasive that in just one day men choose a homosexual lifestyle and women get pregnant just to have abortions, kind of like a hobby.

As a kid I read all the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Tom Swift Jr. books, even the many different versions that were published under the same titles decades later. The original Hardy Boys story 'The Missing Floor' with the hypno-beam and spinning saw blades descending from the ceiling was much more frightening and entertaining than the new story published later.

But one thing that was clear in the books was that the characters lived in an idealized world, like Leave It To Beaver only with bank robbers and the occasional revenge-poisoning. The Drew's and the Hardy's were all wealthy, Caucasian, conservative Christians who traveled the world either for fun or in the case of the Hardy's FBI agent father, for work. The books were a product of the times when middle-America was delusional about reality and culture but wanted their kids exposed only to the "right" mores.

How would Nancy Drew address the civil rights movement? Though a fine detective in her own right, Nancy would not even know it existed thanks to her conservative upbringing. Her familial blinders would be firmly in place. Would the Hardy Boys be concerned with integration and busing? No, they each have their own custom hot rods built from scratch and drive themselves to their private school.

The poster on the site reveals most if not all of the mandatory stereotypes for a movie. The cute white girl, the hot, non-threatening boyfriend and the fat kid. I don't see an Asian girl or black male in the cast, but I'm sure that they are somewhere in a crowd scene or they are in a picture on a magazine sitting on a table or something. While I don't expect the new Nancy Drew in this film to have a pierced tongue and a tramp-stamp I think it is pandering to a specific and fearful audience.



  1. The cover art is a bit disturbing too, as it seems to imply Nancy will visit the tower of Barad-dur...

  2. Nancy looks a lot younger on the movie poster than she was in the books--she was 18 and out of high school when I read the books. And she drove a yellow roadster that became a blue convertible. This Nancy doesn't look like she's old enough to drive.

    Maybe the only way they can make a movie with a story that sounds THAT awful is to skew to a younger audience (and their parents, who I'm picturing as fearful late Boomers who walk their 8th-graders to the bus stop every day to keep them from being kidnapped by escaped convicts and taken on cross-country crime sprees). I think the only way to do a modern-day Nancy would be to either make her more like Veronica Mars or make her MUCH younger.

    I'm pretty sure they've done that in one of the newer book series. There have been a lot of different series, from Nancy-in-college (I always thought it was a little unrealistic in the old series that someone as smart as Nancy wasn't in college--although Ned was) to Nancy chapter books to new YA stories with the old Nancy... I don't know how kids keep all the different Nancys straight. But then, I don't know how my nephew keeps complete statistics on every single Yu-Gi-Oh card in his head either. They're like little computers.

    Re: the cover art of Mystery of the Glowing Eye: that's the edition I got for Christmas in 1972 or '73, I think. That would explain the hair, anyway.

  3. The Vintage Reader- She wasn't in college because of the fact she was a girl. It's a sad fact, but it's true. In the '30's, women were always put behind men. (meaning they were thought better of)

    To me, the worst part about this is the fact that she has touched many girls' lives, but this Emma Roberts takes this, and makes it her way. She claimed that she has read many Drew books, but in fact, she has not. She also, to me, does not look a THING like Nancy should. They chose the wrong actor for Nancy.

    Nancy Drew is my hero, and this movie hurt me. Whenever people see me reading a Nancy Drew book, they think about this movie. Why not the television show of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew? I don't know. I used to think of the books when someone brought up her name, and now I think of that series.

    Besides the point, Emma Roberts IS to young to drive. She was also 15 (now is 16).

    I don't understand WHY they made the movie in LA, but they did. It is messing up the way Nancy should go down as, because, children-now-a-day have full body pericings, tatoos, and so on and so forth.


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