Nothing will grab a potential moviegoer’s attention quite like a scandalous outfit on one of the main characters. Whether it’s the overt objectification of a woman, a poor translation from the source material, or … let’s be honest, the overt objectification of a woman, the outfits in films have been drawing unwanted (or perhaps unintended) attention since the beginning of time. From the Golden Age of Cinema right through to Hollywood’s current slate of record-breaking films, scandalous, ridiculous, salacious, idiotic, and befuddling costume choices are everywhere. Here are some of the worst offenders.
9. Margot Robbie, ‘Suicide Squad’
Anyone who isn’t familiar with the comic book character Harley Quinn might have been taken aback at the decision to put her character into barely-there bottoms for pretty much the entire film. Of course, director David Ayer used several examples from DC source material to back up his argument that the costume fit with the “iconography” and Robbie herself said that she believed the character picked those pants because Harley would like them because they’re sparkly and dangerous. There’s more than enough comic book art and character motivation to back this decision; that being said, Robbie is a talented enough actress that she probably could have made Harley work as a character even if they’d given her some actual clothes to wear.
8. Bryce Dallas Howard, ‘Jurassic World’
Okay, we get it, Bryce Dallas Howard is a go-go working lady who has yet to experience the unbridled joy of popping out some spawn. That point is clear; she doesn’t need to be the stubborn executive who thinks heels are necessary even though she works in a glorified game reserve. Even when the script tries to address how poorly dressed she is, the actress just rolls up her sleeves as if to say, “See? Arms exposed, ready to run from dinosaurs.”
7. Ryan Reynolds, ‘Green Lantern’
As an avid Ryan Reynolds apologist, there was a big part of this writer that desperately wanted to say positive things about the DC film … unfortunately, it’s not very good, and the hero’s all CGI costume is one of the standout awful points. Not even the filmmakers can defend the decision in hindsight. The goal was innovation, but the CGI wasn’t quite up to the challenge. In the years since, the costume has been the butt of a million and one jokes, including from Reynolds himself when he was being set up to play super anti-hero, Deadpool.
6. Karen Gillan, ‘Jumanji’
The burgeoning nerdy ‘It’ girl, Karen Gillan has come a long way from her role as one of Doctor Who’s companions. However, the actress was recently the target of some controversy when a cast photo of the upcoming action epic Jumanji was released. (Yes, they’re remaking Jumanji — with the Rock). Anyway, following an uproar, Gillan took to social media to proclaim that there is a valid narrative reason for the costume decision … she just can’t tell us yet because the movie hasn’t been released. As the lady says, the movie isn’t released (but considering it’s also starring Kevin Hart, The Rock, and Jack Black, we’re willing to give it a shot.
5. Mickey Rooney, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’
To be totally honest, it’s amazing that Breakfast at Tiffany’s can continue to endure in popularity considering how insanely offensive it’s portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi is. The super white Mickey Rooney is the most stereotypically attired (and portrayed) Asian character in recent history. Of course, most people will explain this away by saying it was just a different time … that doesn’t mean it’s fun to watch.
4. Ryan Reynolds (Again), ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’
Most comic fans have tried to forget that Reynolds has actually played Deadpool twice on screen before (and pretty much everyone else has actually forgotten it). In his first outing, however, Deadpool was handled terribly. At first, he’s got the voice right, but the costume is a non-canonical (and boring) hitman suit. Later in the film, he shows up dead-eyed, topless, and with no mouth. In other words, the man known as the merc with a mouth, was literally rendered mute. Just abominable.
3. Carrie Fisher, ‘Return of the Jedi’
Nerds across the world form a single, unified image when you say the words “metal bikini.” That’s due entirely to Carrie Fisher’s very uncomfortable looking turn as Jabba the Hutt’s slave in Return of the Jedi. Several viewers proclaimed that putting Fisher into the bikini was totally an act of objectification, and those people are absolutely correct. Of course, as Fisher herself was quick to point out, from a narrative standpoint, Leia is totally being demeaned at that point in the plot (so it makes sense) and Leia herself wasn’t about to be victimized just because she was scantily clad. Remember who ends up killing Jabba in the breakout scene, after all.
2. Marilyn Monroe, ‘The Seven Year Itch’
Okay, to be totally honest, this is absolutely exploitative, but it’s also one of the most iconic shots in all of film. At the time it was shot, everyone loved it — except Monroe’s husband, legendary baseball player Joe DiMaggio. He tried to visit the set on the day of shooting, but couldn’t handle his wife being hooted and hollered at. He was pretty much the only (male) person who has ever registered a complaint with this shot, even if practically no one has seen the movie it’s in.
1. George Clooney, ‘Batman and Robin’
According to otherwise totally talented director Joel Schumacher, the decision to put nipples on the bat suit in the disastrous Batman & Robin didn’t seem like it would be that controversial. Schumacher probably thought that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s endless barrage of ice-related puns would be way more controversial (and why weren’t they?). At any rate, Schumacher thought the black rubber suits were erotic, so it never occurred to him to keep nipples off the Bat. Considering that Joel Schumacher’s inspiration for both Batman Forever and Batman & Robin was the campy Adam West-led TV show, it’s not surprising that he failed to notice that the Bat suit has never once had nipples since he was created in 1939. That doesn’t mean he should be forgiven though, even if he did direct Falling Down.
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