Having seen many of the movies likely to be nominated for an Oscar, I can say that a particularly discouraging trend is how few of them would pass the so-called Bechdel Test. For those not aware, the test has three criteria:
The movie has to have at least two women in it,
who talk to each other,
about something besides a man.
A few weeks ago, I saw a screening of “I, Tonya” and, besides great Margot Robbie and Allison Janney performances, one thing that struck me is how easily it passes the Bechdel Test. Tonya and her mother speak about many things (especially Tonya’s figure skating career). How disappointing, then, that so many of the movies I’ve seen recently fail this test. Here are just some examples off the top of my head:
“The Post” – Meryl Streep does have two scenes with her daughter (played by blog favorite Alison Brie) in which they discuss personal troubles. The scenes last a total of about 90 seconds, but this is actually pretty close to a pass.
“Downsizing” – Hong Chau (who is wonderful in the movie) only speaks to men, as does Kristen Wiig, the only other notable female character.
“The Last Jedi” – Rey only speaks to Leia at the end (about Luke), Leia speaks to Holdo (but only about Poe), and Rose only speaks to Poe and Finn.
“Call Me By Your Name” – Elio’s mother only speaks to Elio and his father, or to other female characters about food preparation.
“The Disaster Artist” – literally everyone speaks either to or about Tommy.
“3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – Frances McDormand’s character does not interact with other women except her ex-husband’s girlfriend (and they only speak about her ex).
Now, not every movie fails – “Lady Bird,” which I just saw today, has some great scenes between female characters (though boys/men often are topics of discussion). But in a world in which Hollywood has been exposed as a place of rampant sexism, misogyny, and harassment, I hope that more movies will be made that emphasize many great, strong, female roles.
Choosing the best “Star Wars” movie, for me, is what I imagine parents would feel when asked to choose their favorite child. It’s an impossible task; each has brought me hours of joy and escapism. But, having just walked out of “The Last Jedi” for the second time in 72 hours, this is my current ranking of the “Star Wars” filmography. Maybe upon subsequent rewatches, this will change. Let me know your personal order in the comments. Continue reading →
In many ways, 2015 was pre-ordained to be a massive year. After a down year at the box office in 2014, pundits predicted 2015 would be huge, given the releases of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the final “Hunger Games” movie, and “Jurassic World.” And (for those that have been released), those movies delivered well at the box office (including “World” setting an opening weekend record, and then, you know, “Star Wars” demolishing it.). But there were a number of pleasant surprises that pundits didn’t see coming, and that’s what made 2015 quite an impressive year for entertainment. These are my favorite pieces of entertainment from 2015, presented in no particular order, but, for sake of readability, I’ve broken my list down by categories. Let me know what I missed, or what you enjoyed, in the comments. And, as always, thank you for reading this blog – and I hope you’ll stay with me in 2016. Continue reading →