Films with Trouble in the Title

Here are three different films that have trouble in the title (and that have some connection with making/being in/staying in trouble). As of this post, I have only seen one of them.

ONE Trouble the Water is a documentary from this year (2009) that was nominated for an Academy Award. It is about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath and includes footage by an aspiring rap artist–Kimberly Rivers Roberts–whose home and community were devastated by the storm and the chaos and destruction that it caused.

What or who is it that is troubling the waters? Is it the storm and its aftermath? Is it the filmmakers (the “professionals” and/or the “amateurs”)? Is it Kimberly’s/Scott’s community and the people of New Orleans? Is the trouble the water of the title a good thing or a bad thing or both? I will report back to this blog once I have watched the movie. Hopefully it will be sometime soon.

TWO Making Trouble (2007) is a documentary about some key Jewish women comedians and the important contribution that they have made to the entertainment world.

I like the connection between making trouble, comedy and women. I am very interested in the exploring how comedy/laughter/humor fit into troublemaking and its role in resistance and transformation. I have wanted to watch this for awhile, but it is not available on DVD. I just might have to arrange for a special screening this year.

THREE Female Trouble is part of John Water’s Trash Trilogy. It came out the year I was born (1974) and chronicles the descent of Dawn Davenport (Divine) into the world of crime and the criminal.

What can I say? This movie is crazy and gross and fabulous. I previewed it this spring and then screened parts of it in my Feminist and Queer Explorations in Troublemaking class. Judith Butler makes reference to it in the original preface to Gender Trouble and it (and Waters and Divine) has a lot to say about the links between troublemaking, deliquency, gender performance, and trash-as-abject. It is available on DVD and worth a screening–just don’t watch it on a full stomach.

18 thoughts on “Films with Trouble in the Title”

  1. I totally want to come to the special screening! Also- think about how a lot of women comics are always seen as troublemakers in some way – Kathy Griffin immediately comes to mind in the current context but Rosie O’Donnel, Roseanne and Joan Rivers represent troublemaking in their own ways. Imagine all the things you could say about them! I think partly why they are branded “troublemakers” (in the negative sense of the word) is largely in part (if not all) due to their gendered status as women attempting to make a name for themselves in a very male-dominated segment of the entertainment world. Also, I’m thinking of Wanda Sykes (with her white house “trouble”) and Ellen Degeneres (with her coming out “trouble”) too. Oh man, add this to the list of things to talk about next week!

  2. I love the connection between comedy and troublemaking–that has always been an important part of my own thinking about trouble. In my troublemaking course I taught a chapter about Roseanne Barr from a book called “Unruly Women.” Good stuff. This semester in queering theory we will be reading about Margaret Cho. Let’s organize a special screening for the department!

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