If you watched the Oscars telecast this past weekend, you may have noticed best-actress-winner Frances McDormand call for an “inclusion rider” in movie contracts.
This is a little-known and rarely used provision in an employment contract that requires movie projects to reflect the demographics of the real world.
In number terms, that means for a movie to be truly inclusive, 50 percent of those employed in the production should be women, 40 percent should be people of color, five percent LGBTQ, and 20 percent people with some kind of disability.
As it stands now, movies tend to be more male, white, straight and disability-free.
For example, the University of Southern California has been keeping tabs on the named characters with speaking roles in the 100 top-grossing movies in the U.S. for the past decade.
And in all those years, women never accounted for more than 32.8 percent of the speaking roles. And they did even worse in action and adventure movies, with just 23.4 percent of the speaking roles.
This got me thinking. You know who else has been grossly underrepresented in action and adventure movies?
When was the last time you saw a senior-citizen superhero movie?
I recently watched “Black Panther,” the action movie that featured a young black man as a superhero, and I left thinking how great it must be for black youngsters to finally see a superhero that looks like them in part of a movie landscape that celebrates their culture.
But now as I make my approach to the runway of senior-citizenhood, I have to ask: Where’s my superhero?
I would like to have just one superhero I can look up to on the screen and say, “That’s me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to step out to the bathroom. I’ll be right back. Let me know what I missed.”
As a full-service columnist, I’ve decided to heed McDormand’s call for inclusion, and in the interest of thwarting ageism in action movies, here are some suggestions for senior-citizen superhero movies:
Spider Vein Man
His superpower: Bartering
Back story: After two leg operations, swinging from the sides of buildings is out of the question. And that string doesn’t shoot out his fingers like it used to either. So instead of fighting crime, he has decided to fight high prices.
Tagline: “For him, the choice to pay full retail is not an option!”
Iron Deficiency Man
His superpower: Flirting with young female cashiers
Back story: As he ages, Tony Stark notices that his fingernails are brittle and spoon-shaped, and that he’s frequently too tired to fly and has restless leg syndrome. He discovers that he has anemia, which explains why it’s so difficult turning into iron the way he used to. He starts eating lots of liver and spinach, and takes a break from fighting crime by working as a bag boy at the local Publix supermarket.
Tagline: “Truth is, he needs iron, man.”
Her superpower: Frequent-flier points with JetBlue
Back story: It is time for Princess Diana of Themyscira to retire her Lasso of Truth and take up a fun new hobby. So she becomes a snowbird, buys a condo in South Florida and starts selling her indestructible bracelets and knockoff tiaras at weekend festivals and green markets.
Tagline: “Buy two tiaras, get the third one free.”
His superpower: Collecting oyster crackers
Back story: Clark Kent takes a buyout from Gotham City’s newspaper, The Daily Planet, and moves to a small town where there’s barely any serious crime and no need to get in his Spandex suit — thank heavens, because it’s not a very flattering look anymore. He starts spending his days in diners, gradually discovering his new passion for the soup of the day
Tagline: “Look, up on the counter! It’s a burger, it’s a plain omelet, it’s a minestrone.”
His superpower: Good health insurance
Back story: After years of fighting super villains, Matthew Michael Murdock’s sciatica has sidelined him from further drop-kicking combat. So he retires and becomes a health care lobbyist devoted to making sure that the huge deficit spending created by the new national tax law doesn’t result in future cuts to Medicare.
Tagline: “I’ve got a pre-existing condition for justice.”
His superpower: Making the spare on the 7-10 split
Back story: Steve Rogers’ days of protecting America from global threats are in the past. He and his long-time friends, when they’re not standing along Southern Boulevard waving at the passing Trump motorcade, live in an HOA community in suburban Boynton Beach and have joined the bowling league as a team called The Avengers.
Tagline: “Has anybody seen my shield?”