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View Full Version : Movies that passed the Bechdel test made more money


LauriD
04-28-2014, 09:50 AM
So there.

http://www.scriptmag.com/features/screenwriting-website-week-bitch-pack

DangoForth
04-28-2014, 10:23 AM
I've got a sci-fi adventure script with an all-female cast. Can't even get the logline read...
Just because it's true don't mean the execs are listening (or even reading the article)... :(

Manchester
04-28-2014, 10:39 AM
And so, "Identity Thief" failed the Bechdel Test, which means... it failed the Bechdel Test.

Whereas, "The Other Woman" has at least one scene in which two named female characters talk about something other than a man... They talk about Kate Upton's boobs. And so, that film passes the Bechdel Test.

JoeBanks
04-28-2014, 11:04 AM
great! go write one and your path to success is assured!!

Ronaldinho
04-28-2014, 11:19 AM
I've said this before, and I'm sure I'll say it again:

The Bechtel test is a great way to talk about movies and the ecosystem of Hollywood; it's a terrible way to talk about any one specific movie.

"Gravity," after all, fails the Bechtel test. As an exercise, I'd be curious to see what people came up with as the most offensively sexist movie that passes it.

sc111
04-28-2014, 12:36 PM
The Bechdel test bothers me because of its constraints. To pass the test it mandates:

1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it.
2. Who talk to each other.
3. About something besides a man.

All my scripts have female leads yet would fail because my characters live in a world dominated by men so at some point they're talking about men. For example:

Future set thriller -- my female lead has to talk to the mother of her missing CI (teenage boy) only to find the kid has fallen under the influence of a renegade former male cop trained by my lead's father. Two women talking about two males -- one, a teen, the other, adult. Fail the test!

Period piece western -- my female lead talks to the young woman who stepped in to stop the near-rape of my lead and later tells her 'heroine' about the things her aspiring rapist said to her which caused her shame. Two women talking about a male rapist. Fail the test!

YA thriller -- a teen girl feeling guilty her blunder during a driving lesson her father was giving her led to his death in a hit and run. She's projecting a lot of her guilt as anger onto her mother. Mother and daughter sit down to hash this out and, of course their mutual feelings about the father are discussed. Two women talking about a dead man. Fail the test!

Not to mention the earlier rom-coms I wrote all fail the test. If we look at where the Bechdel test originally came from -- a joke in a 1985 comic strip about lesbian life (Dykes To Watch Out For (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test)) -- you'll find it was poking fun at rom coms at the time.

Yet somehow this has become a legitimate test any writer, male or female, must strive to meet or else be doomed as sexist.

The Bechdel test sucks.

Dunelm
04-28-2014, 02:25 PM
I've said this before, and I'm sure I'll say it again:

The Bechtel test is a great way to talk about movies and the ecosystem of Hollywood; it's a terrible way to talk about any one specific movie.

"Gravity," after all, fails the Bechtel test. As an exercise, I'd be curious to see what people came up with as the most offensively sexist movie that passes it.

Agree.

Wolf of Wall Street passes the test....

Dr. Vergerus
04-28-2014, 03:24 PM
The Bechdel test comes from a comic strip. That's all the credibility it deserves. It means absolutely nothing in terms of female presence or gender representation in movies, as some of you have already pointed out with examples. I can't understand how some people don't see it.

Although, in fact, I do. People always want easy answers to all complex questions. Bechdel test, Save the Cat beat sheets, Scriptshadow Secrets, etc.

Ronaldinho
04-28-2014, 06:14 PM
Wolf of Wall Street passes the test....

Does it? I thought it did, but glanced at the script for it and missed it if it did.

I thought there was some incidental conversation between the two wives on the boat, but now I'm not sure if we actually hear them.

Craig Mazin
04-29-2014, 08:56 PM
And so, "Identity Thief" failed the Bechdel Test, which means... it failed the Bechdel Test.

Whereas, "The Other Woman" has at least one scene in which two named female characters talk about something other than a man... They talk about Kate Upton's boobs. And so, that film passes the Bechdel Test.

I don't know why they say it fails the test. Not that I was thinking about it in any way when writing, but Diana has a conversation with Franny and Jessie that has nothing to do with a man.

Dunelm
04-29-2014, 10:35 PM
Does it? I thought it did, but glanced at the script for it and missed it if it did.

I thought there was some incidental conversation between the two wives on the boat, but now I'm not sure if we actually hear them.

Very technically. They're talking about Aunt Emma, and there's another incidental exchange after he crashes the car. I suppose you could make the argument that the conversation has to be substantive.

Manchester
04-30-2014, 07:06 AM
Does it? I thought it did, but glanced at the script for it and missed it if it did.

I thought there was some incidental conversation between the two wives on the boat, but now I'm not sure if we actually hear them.
So it's gotta be two name female characters who talk about something other than a man, and we have to hear them? So MOS doesn't count?

Manchester
04-30-2014, 07:40 AM
I don't know why they say it fails the test. Not that I was thinking about it in any way when writing, but Diana has a conversation with Franny and Jessie that has nothing to do with a man.
Well, well. While the test has its three fundamental elements, I think the scoring also has a "yeh, but" element. Like the way gymnastics used to be scored, in the days of the the infamous, "But the Russian judge..." And so, the Bechdel Test has its "rules", but the judges may also apply some personal aesthetic, and clearly, Craig, you failed.

And so it seems that, while it may well be "The Kids Are All Right", when it comes to the Bechdel Test, kids don't count. Those judges are a bunch of anti-small-fry bastards!

I wonder if Lethal Weapon would pass an African-American-character Bechdel Test - if you eliminate the conversations between Murtaugh/Danny Glover and his family? ('Cause, they're just family; and family clearly wasn't a part of the story.) IOW, does Murtaugh talk to any other adult African-American character (i.e., family excluded), and about anything other than a white guy?

Of course, one might think that Murtaugh and Diana being great characters - and novel when the films were released - is what should be important.

IMO, the Bechdel Test ain't bad as a concept - as a way to "regard" a film - but I don't know how it can be reasonably defended as an up/down proxy, or even simply a touchstone, for judging whether a film is a good film from a female-character standpoint.

goldmund
05-02-2014, 11:36 AM
"Showgirls" must've gotten like a gold medal from the Bechdel Committee.

Richmond Weems
05-04-2014, 09:22 AM
As an exercise, I'd be curious to see what people came up with as the most offensively sexist movie that passes it.

It's definitely not the most offensively sexist movie (it's not even sexist, if we're thinking in terms of "offensive" though I'm sure it was offensive to some), but I don't think BOUND passes the Bechdel test.

Which makes the Bechdel test, as Mike Tyson would say, ludacrisp.

scripto80
05-04-2014, 03:43 PM
I've got a sci-fi adventure script with an all-female cast. Can't even get the logline read...
Just because it's true don't mean the execs are listening (or even reading the article)... :(

This makes me so sad. Also, I'm not AT ALL surprised.

Most of my concepts feature a female lead, or co-lead, or ensemble. My manager recently asked "Do you HAVE to do it like that? You know you're stacking the deck, right?"

My response was, no, I don't HAVE to do anything. I want to. I CAN write almost anything, but I WANT to write this because it comes most naturally for me. And I know it won't be easy -- yet. But if you believe in me and what I write and we'll change some things. This is the future, trust me.

He accepted this. He knows it won't be the easiest stuff to shop, but he knows it's where my passion lies and I do my best writing when I'm passionate about something.

WaitForIt
05-04-2014, 03:53 PM
The Bechdel test bothers me because of its constraints. To pass the test it mandates:

1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it.
2. Who talk to each other.
3. About something besides a man.

All my scripts have female leads yet would fail because my characters live in a world dominated by men so at some point they're talking about men. For example:

Future set thriller -- my female lead has to talk to the mother of her missing CI (teenage boy) only to find the kid has fallen under the influence of a renegade former male cop trained by my lead's father. Two women talking about two males -- one, a teen, the other, adult. Fail the test!

Period piece western -- my female lead talks to the young woman who stepped in to stop the near-rape of my lead and later tells her 'heroine' about the things her aspiring rapist said to her which caused her shame. Two women talking about a male rapist. Fail the test!

YA thriller -- a teen girl feeling guilty her blunder during a driving lesson her father was giving her led to his death in a hit and run. She's projecting a lot of her guilt as anger onto her mother. Mother and daughter sit down to hash this out and, of course their mutual feelings about the father are discussed. Two women talking about a dead man. Fail the test!

Not to mention the earlier rom-coms I wrote all fail the test. If we look at where the Bechdel test originally came from -- a joke in a 1985 comic strip about lesbian life (Dykes To Watch Out For (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test)) -- you'll find it was poking fun at rom coms at the time.

Yet somehow this has become a legitimate test any writer, male or female, must strive to meet or else be doomed as sexist.

The Bechdel test sucks.

Wait, wait, wait ... I might be misunderstanding. I thought a film passed the Bechdel Test if the two named women talked to each other about something besides a man at least one time.

What I'm reading from your post is that you feel that your films fail the Bechdel Test because two named women talk to each other about a man one time, therefore rendering moot all other conversations they might have about things besides a man.

Do you see the distinction? Which one is correct?

sc111
05-05-2014, 08:53 AM
Wait, wait, wait ... I might be misunderstanding. I thought a film passed the Bechdel Test if the two named women talked to each other about something besides a man at least one time.

What I'm reading from your post is that you feel that your films fail the Bechdel Test because two named women talk to each other about a man one time, therefore rendering moot all other conversations they might have about things besides a man.

Do you see the distinction? Which one is correct?

Who knows which is correct? The original test was mentioned in four panels of a comic strip. I find it ludicrous people are using it as if it's a true diagnostic that achieves something of value.

canela
05-05-2014, 11:42 AM
I've got a sci-fi adventure script with an all-female cast. Can't even get the logline read...

This reminded me of Orphan Black, a cool, very addictive Canadian sci-fi series that is female-led by multiples.

WaitForIt
05-05-2014, 02:12 PM
Who knows which is correct? The original test was mentioned in four panels of a comic strip. I find it ludicrous people are using it as if it's a true diagnostic that achieves something of value.

Well, as Ronaldinho said, "The Bechtel test is a great way to talk about movies and the ecosystem of Hollywood; it's a terrible way to talk about any one specific movie."

It's just something to think about is all, to maybe help bust the male-default habits. Something to have at the back of the mind, not a box to check off before something can be considered for an Oscar.

zz9
05-30-2014, 07:29 PM
The Bechdel test bothers me because of its constraints. To pass the test it mandates:

1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it.
2. Who talk to each other.
3. About something besides a man.

All my scripts have female leads yet would fail because my characters live in a world dominated by men so at some point they're talking about men. For example:

Future set thriller -- my female lead has to talk to the mother of her missing CI (teenage boy) only to find the kid has fallen under the influence of a renegade former male cop trained by my lead's father. Two women talking about two males -- one, a teen, the other, adult. Fail the test!

Period piece western -- my female lead talks to the young woman who stepped in to stop the near-rape of my lead and later tells her 'heroine' about the things her aspiring rapist said to her which caused her shame. Two women talking about a male rapist. Fail the test!

YA thriller -- a teen girl feeling guilty her blunder during a driving lesson her father was giving her led to his death in a hit and run. She's projecting a lot of her guilt as anger onto her mother. Mother and daughter sit down to hash this out and, of course their mutual feelings about the father are discussed. Two women talking about a dead man. Fail the test!

Not to mention the earlier rom-coms I wrote all fail the test. If we look at where the Bechdel test originally came from -- a joke in a 1985 comic strip about lesbian life (Dykes To Watch Out For (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechdel_test)) -- you'll find it was poking fun at rom coms at the time.

Yet somehow this has become a legitimate test any writer, male or female, must strive to meet or else be doomed as sexist.

The Bechdel test sucks.

My interpretation of the test is that talking "about a man" means "talking about a man one/both of them are dating/want to date". The significance being that the female characters only exist to serve/support the male characters.

In your first example they are talking about work, the police officers job. The talk would be the same if it was about a missing girl.

I'd consider that a pass, for what it's worth.

scripto80
06-01-2014, 10:18 AM
My interpretation of the test is that talking "about a man" means "talking about a man one/both of them are dating/want to date". The significance being that the female characters only exist to serve/support the male characters.

Exactly. Generally, those who say that a movie "would fail" because, for instance, a female cop is investigating a male killer or something are misinterpreting the test entirely, and doing so simply to satisfy their refusal to acknowledge a problem that exists within the writing of female characters and overall representation of women onscreen.

canela
06-01-2014, 12:08 PM
Exactly. Generally, those who say that a movie "would fail" because, for instance, a female cop is investigating a male killer or something are misinterpreting the test entirely, and doing so simply to satisfy their refusal to acknowledge a problem that exists within the writing of female characters and overall representation of women onscreen.

Bingo! Clearly some people are very uncomfortable even thinking about the issue Bechdel represents. Easier to battle straw men of their own construction. Especially since they're not sure how to create straw females.

Manchester
06-01-2014, 12:36 PM
If only... Someone would come up with a test - and volunteer his/her name for the test's "Title" - that gives an UP vote to a movie if it has:
(a) a female lead, and

(b) she is not defined by her relationship to a male.

Of course, (b) is a subjective element.

And yet, while the Bechdel Test on its face is objective, the second element - "Who talk to each other" - is applied subjectively. That is, there must be at least one such female-to-female conversation that the commenters find to be significant to the story.

But even my suggested replacement test is lacking if you take an existing movie in which the female lead is defined by her husband/boyfriend... and then you remake the movie and now this female lead is defined by her wife/girlfriend. You'd still have a female lead defined by her significant other; I don't see how the the fact that her significant other is a female would somehow make this lead a "positive" female role, which I think is the professed goal of those promoting the Bechdel Test as a test.

zz9
06-05-2014, 09:50 AM
I don't view this test as being an absolute but something to make one think about the characters in the film. If you had a movie set in a WWII submarine or aircraft carrier then there would be no female roles. Would shoehorning one in make the movie "better"? Similarly as mentioned Gravity fails the test even though the film is entirely about and starring a woman.

On the other hand I love Absolutely Fabulous and that fails the reverse-Bechdel test, all the lead characters are women, it has hardly any men and then only in infrequent supporting roles. But it's a great show.

Casting Judy Dench as M worked because the character was good and because IRL MI5 had recently appointed a female boss. Making a WWII spy movie with a woman boss would not work, since at the time even lowly secretaries had to resign if they got married, for example. It would stretch suspension of belief.

So a test, or rather a question, that makes someone look at their script and consider whether the women in it are real characters rather then just props on legs, has value if it makes writers and producers make those characters better.

Takeshiro
06-12-2014, 10:28 AM
Good God,
After the Syd field, The Save the Cat, now, wannabe producers, scared distributors are now milking the Bechdel wagon. Can we stop with this b*ll and go back to the Write a Good script, the only valid test?