Okay, orange juice.
I mean, if you need a scene where Clark and Lois chatter for a minute so that the audience understands their relationship — and yes, this is the correct moment for a scene like that — then they have to chatter about something, and it might as well be orange juice.
It’s 1981, and the current fads in the United States include the Scarsdale Diet, the Beverly Hills Diet and the Grapefruit Diet, so given the need to generate some low-friction conversation filler, it’s natural that David and Leslie Newman would choose Vitamin C as the fashionable topic under discussion. There were other options, of course — Rubik’s Cube, Pac-Man, the Mount St. Helens eruption — but making Lois obsessed with fad diets helps to signal her acceptance of traditional gender roles, which I guess is what they wanted.
No, the really surprising thing about this sequence is the way that Lois has apparently set the land speed record for messing up her shitty little office.
I mean, it was only one movie ago that Lois had a desk right outside Perry’s office, with all the other reporters. Now she’s got a depressing little box to sit in all by herself, and she’s clearly spent every waking moment since the San Andreas Fault disaster filling up this joyless space with filing cabinets and roller skates and houseplants and a television and some shells and a squash racket and two telephones and a whole bunch of papers and clippings and miscellaneous tacked up on every surface. There’s so much junk in here that she probably had to hire a couple of interns, so that they could come in and make a mess while she was out working on a story, assuming she ever gets one these days.
Because I have to say, this does not look like the go-getter reporter that we saw in the first movie. When Lois was introduced in Superman, the first thing she did was ask Jimmy how many Ts there were in bloodletting. Then she ripped the paper out of her typewriter and barged straight into Perry’s office, with a banner headline for the front page.
That Lois Lane was right in the center of things; the rest of the newsroom only existed to provide a busy backdrop for her dreams and schemes. She could thread her way through a blizzard of desks and staplers and copy boys, simultaneously dropping off her mail, saying good night to six people and explaining her entire life philosophy to a starstruck superhero, before changing her clothes and taking a helicopter to go talk to the fucking President of the United States, who I expect was utterly terrified, if he had any idea that Lois Lane was on her way.
This version of Lois wears an outfit that’s tight around the neck and wrists, which reduces her maneuverability to a depressing degree, and somehow she’s got herself a Gucci shopping bag full of oranges, which I didn’t even know that there were Gucci oranges.
She also spends more than half the scene with a clearly unlit cigarette in her mouth, so she’s mumbling her lines, which are mostly delivered while she’s hunched over and looking down at her desk.
So I guess what I’m saying is that it seems like Margot Kidder isn’t having any fun today. Chris is having a whale of a time, because he gets funny straight-man lines like this:
Lois: Do you mind if I give you a little bit of constructive criticism?
Clark: Uh, well, actually, yes, I —
Lois: You’ve got to be more aggressive. You know? You have to go from instinct. You see something, you want it, you go for it! That’s what I do.
Clark: Uh, yes, I’ve noticed.
It’s good stuff, as far as he’s concerned, and he gets a bunch of twinkly little moments where he gets to look lovestruck and hopeful, and then have his hopes dashed. Clark is still adorable, even in this setting, because his character is about holding things back and making himself smaller anyway. But Lois is like a caged leopard, on the verge of giving up hope.
The reason why they’ve created this space is because they need somewhere for the end of the film, where Lois can talk about their relationship and cry, and then Clark can kiss her, which obviously they wouldn’t be able to do in the middle of the newsroom.
Thinking about it from that perspective, I can see how they arrived at this idea — the same way that I understand why they used the Eiffel Tower in the opening, and why they made a fake Daily Planet entrance when they needed to shoot an exterior street scene and didn’t want to go all the way back to New York for it. I can understand the logical rationale for a lot of these choices. I just don’t like them.
But here’s my concern, looking at Lois Lane sitting next to a crappy filing cabinet as the energy drains from her eyes: I am only twenty minutes into this movie, and this is my third post out of five where I talk about how disappointing it is.
I wasn’t really planning on going full-time negative this soon; I figured that phase of my life wouldn’t start until I got to Swamp Thing. I’ve got a long string of mostly flawed films ahead of me — it is a brutal journey from here until Batman, and I don’t even like Batman that much — so I should probably save some of that energy, for when I really need it.
So I feel like my current goal is to figure out how to live with this movie. I want to get to the point where Superman II is endemic, where I can accept that a diminished Lois Lane is the new normal. That’s not going to be easy, of course, but I think it’s the only way.
We hear the Villains theme again in
2.9: From Original Material
I also need to take a moment to address the guy who’s shaving at work. As Lois and Clark are walking to her office, we pass a Daily Planet employee who’s standing up, reading the newspaper and using an electric razor to shave himself.
That’s just a little throwaway detail, no big deal — but the odd thing is that the same thing happens two scenes later. When we see the NASA control room, one of the guys is walking around in his shirtsleeves, also shaving himself in public at work. I think this only happens twice in the movie, but I haven’t gone through specifically to check for it, so it’s possible that there’s a guy walking around in the Niagara Falls scene with an electric razor too. I’m just letting you know that that’s a possibility, so that you can take whatever steps you feel are appropriate.
We hear the Villains theme again in
2.9: From Original Material
— Danny Horn