What: The Good-Time Girls, a 13-minute, female-centric Western with a lot of nods to the classics.
Who: Writer/director Courtney Hoffman, who is the costume designer behind films like The Hateful Eight, and stars Laura Dern, Garret Hedlund, and Alia Shawkat.
Why we care: In nearly 90 years of Oscars, only one woman has won the top prize for directing–Kathryn Bigelow, for 2008’s The Hurt Locker. Only eight women have won Oscars for screenwriting, and half of them won it as part of a writing team (involving men.) Some may account for the gender discrepancy by arguing that the other films written and directed by women each year simply weren’t worthy, but to do so would ignore how many women were denied the chance to make their worthy movie.
Things seem to be changing, though. Filmmakers like Ava Duvernay and Patty Jenkins are finally being handed the keys to high-level properties, for one thing. Elsewhere, NBC has just launched a program to hire more female directors, and Refinery29’s Shatterbox anthology commissioned short films from 12 female filmmakers. One of those shorts, The Good-Time Girls, just premiered online this week, and well, you should probably watch it right now.
The Good-Time Girls is the writing/directing debut of Courtney Hoffman, a costume designer who has previously worked on Quentin Tarantino’s movies (Tarantino served as executive producer here). It stars Laura Dern, who is absolutely on fire this year, along with Alia Shawkat, and a mostly female cast. What’s truly impressive–although the fact that it counts as such is kind of sad–is how women dominate the crew as well, from cinematography to editing and graphic design. (The grips are still men, though, FYI.)
Provenance aside, though, The Good-Time Girls stands on its own merits as a rock-solid revenge tale with old school Western atmosphere to spare. It’s the story of a fed-up brothel clashing with some surly customers. To go into it too much would spoil whatever the above description hasn’t already. But it’ll suffice to say that this short film makes an unmistakable statement in both form and content.