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  1.  (9262.21)
    @ adrian r.

    That's amusing. I always thought it was just a lazy excuse for film makers to show off the tits, which in and of itself is formulaic rubbish.
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      CommentAuthorSobreiro
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
     (9262.22)
    @razrangel in Super Mario Bros. 2 you could play with the Princess if you wanted to, it was the exact same game independently of the character.
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      CommentAuthorPaul Sizer
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
     (9262.23)
    I've actually found "The Bechdel Test" to be best used in the creation stage of making stories (as opposed to a post assessment), making me think about why I cast a part a certain way, and could the part allow someone other than a white male to play that role. Ultimately, the part goes to the being that fulfills the needs of the story, period. But even that slight reflection has made a number of scene I've been scripting go in much more interesting and unexpected avenues, which made for a better story.
  2.  (9262.24)
    The Bechdel Test is useful for what it was intended: for a particular person (a fictional one, I might add) to decide whether to skip a movie. Bechdel never presented it as a way of evaluating whether a movie was objectively Good or Bad, which is a very different question. It isn't as well spelled out, but I have the Quest Test which includes clauses such as "does not include Rob Schneider in the cast" and "has a trailer with no fart gags", which works for me in making such decisions. There may be good movies that fail this test, and there are certainly crap movies that pass it. But it helps me avoid movies which stand a very good chance of Me Not Enjoying Them.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
     (9262.25)
    You only think MASTER AND COMMANDER fails the Bechamel test. I have it on good authority that half the crew actually signed their chits as 'S. P. Oliver' and some of them talked to each other during scenes.
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      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
     (9262.26)
    I know the consideration of games goes astray of the theme of this thread, and worse being that I'm not a gamer I don't have firm ground to consider games where the player can choose female characters.... But I wanted to note that if a game lets you play a female character instead of a male one, but the game scenario is still identical then that's hardly a move toward gender consciousness but rather letting you modify a character somewhat. That's what I mean by saying "evolution" - there still had to be a starting point and even if games have moved away from it there's still a clear trace back.

    So big megabuck movies are going to run on the same themes and effects when they have women in the lead as men because the character is often treated as the usual hero type but with boobs. Sometimes that's lame, sometimes that's not. (No one seemed to like the Elektra movie but I don't know anyone who saw it. Joss Whedon has a cult following for, among other reasons, a track record of female characters who are capable, intelligent, strong willed and if sexual then it's by choice.) I would look to movies that don't hit the sweetspot of blockbuster entertainment to see if filmmakers are getting greenlit for stories carried by characters who can't (or just shouldn't be) white & male. Because I think that's where you'll find em by the boatload.
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      CommentAuthoreDave
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
     (9262.27)
    are there any sex scenes in movies that are necessary for the plot or advance the action? the two scenes between night owl and silk spectre in watchmen reflected their new found confidence after being superheroes again, but they were still ball bitingly cringeworthy to look at.
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      CommentAuthorAriana
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
     (9262.28)
    Re: games. If you're only going back as far as NES, google "Metroid" and get back to us.
    • CommentAuthorsteevo
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010 edited
     (9262.29)
    @eDave - Fight Club, Basic Instinct, Boogie Nights, fuck it, American Pie...In short, yes, sex scenes advance the plot in a lot, a lot of movies.
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      CommentAuthoreDave
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010 edited
     (9262.30)
    do we need to see the actual sex though? I'm not a prude, I'm just wondering how much thrusting and back arching we need to see in order for the plot to be advanced? This precious screen time could be dedicated to robots or explosions.

    sex lies and videotape has relatively little sex or nudity in it, but there's one scene where laura san giacomo simply raises her head into shot with a pretty intense expression on her face which elicited gasps from the audience I saw it with. It also advanced the plot.
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      CommentAuthorcelan
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010
     (9262.31)
    Bechamel test

    lol
    • CommentAuthorsteevo
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010 edited
     (9262.32)
    @eDave - I guess it depends on what you think of as a sex scene. Never saw Sex, Lies and Videotape, but that sounds like a sex scene to me, albeit not a very graphic one. Any scene depicting sex in any way is a sex scene in my eyes. Maybe you're arguing against how much of the actual humping we need to see? I believe that's usually a decision the director makes, but the more intense the scene (if done well) the more intense the viewing experience, I think, which contributes to my engrossment or (if done badly) apathy regarding the overall plot.

    ETA...And I'm not saying the experience can't be intense without showing nudity, just saying that that ain't everyone's style.
    • CommentAuthorPhranky
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010 edited
     (9262.33)
    I just take the route of making every character a copy of my personality. That's why they're all passive-aggressive nutcases with delusions of grandeur.
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      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeDec 14th 2010 edited
     (9262.34)
    Usually the sexiness of the sex scene is filed under theme not plot, same with the violence of fight scene. In All Quiet on the Western Front the main character talks quietly with a prostitute but all you see is the corner of the bed and shadows on the wall, no movement, not even bodies. In Network whatsherface bangs whatshisface for all he's worth at the same as going on and on to near-orgiac proportions about the TV shows she's dreaming about producing. I'm not sure that it propels the plot in either case but it tells you a damn lot about the characters and the tone/feel that the directors & writers are trying to convey.

    Training Day was a very violent drama, but still I say more of a drama than an action movie. It was a bit startling watching it after enjoying the heck out of a slew of John Woo wuxia action movies wherein the fight scenes were gorgeous balletic contrivances - obviously physically doable but seriously unlikely in a real world scenario. Then suddenly Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington were pounding on each other with such a coarse brutality that it was quite wince-inducing.

    So... only thinking about the plot without thinking about such attributes in a story as character development, theme, tone can make for a myopic view. Also for filmmakers it can lead to unnecessarily closing off options and making a one-note, uninteresting boring piece of expensive crap.

    ETA: Also, METROID = OOOooohh. Heh. If only the neighbor boys with fancy new Nintendo set had that in their collectionI
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      CommentAuthorDenari
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2010
     (9262.35)
    On games: Mass Effect lets you play a woman, and have romantic dealings with the male members of the crew (I think). Alternately, you can play the male hero and bone the blue alien girl – James T. Kirk style. Fortunately all boning is off camera.
    • CommentAuthorNil
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2010
     (9262.36)
    Not to derail the thread further, but the strongest female character I can think of in games is April Ryan from The Longest Journey. Actually, scratch that, she's one of the strongest characters full stop I've ever seen in a game. I've never made it more than halfway through (may have to resort to using a walkthrough for some of the puzzles), so I can't tell you if she changes towards the end, but I distinctly remember trying to get her to do something stupid early on and her telling me to fuck off, basically. She worries about where her life is going, about her school, about her rent, about the sleazy guy across the hall. Not your traditional hero(ine), by any means.
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      CommentAuthorPaladine
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2010
     (9262.37)
    Denari: no, ME lets women have sex with either gender (because ME has the decidedly bisexual female race in there).

    And a link that might fit: Gender imbalance in family movies

    The authors looked at all English-language fictional G-rated films released in the U.S. or Canada between September 2006 and September 2009 (a total of 22 movies). They also looked at the 50 highest-grossing films for both PG- and PG-13-ratings, meaning a total of 122 movies is included in the analysis. They focused on characters that were either mentioned by name or spoke at least one word in the movie, leading to a sample of 5,554 characters. Of those, 70.8% were male and 29.2% were female.
    (...)

    Of course, none of this gets at the content of the films. The study found that female characters were generally younger than male characters, made up only 17% of group or crowd scenes, and often had plotlines that centered entirely around interests in romance.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2010
     (9262.38)
    @Nil - do finish 'The Longest Journey' if you can. To say that April gets some character development by the end is putting it mildly.

    On allowing the player to choose the gender of their main character in games, it's something we tried for the first time (for us) with Fable 2. Ended up making a bit of a mess of it in the end, but we did a much better job of it in Fable 3. We made the mistake of basically having the only changes be the shape of the player avatar. Mass Effect does it much better than we do though, playing with the female lead changes a fair amount of the way the game plays out simply because certain character interactions are totally different. Some of the characters are sexist, others are open to being seduced, so playing as the female character gives you different gameplay options.
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      CommentAuthorrazrangel
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2010
     (9262.39)
    @Flaybo re: Mass Effect That's exactly what I was wondering if games have come around to doing. I worried that games (way back when NES games were the only ones I knew) just took the main character - Mario, for example - and stuck him a dress and said that was equal opportunity. Actually developing a female character with interaction that wouldn't be identical but actually contain a life & story of its own... that's very good to hear.

    Now researching The Longest Journey. }:>
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      CommentAuthorD.J.
    • CommentTimeDec 16th 2010
     (9262.40)
    As I demand a perfect world and equality in all things, I find it interesting to apply the Bechdel test in reverse. There are countless rom-coms (Sex and the City, etc.) and other such feminine equivalents to action movies that would not pass this test. Though I'd be willing to bet that were some guy to make a comic about how he won't see any movie that doesn't have two men talking to each other, it'd be considered ignorant by anyone with the vaguest feminist leaning. Interestingly enough, I saw Black Swan yesterday and, while a great movie, would not pass the reverse test.