Sunday, September 28, 2008

the ripley rule

It's been a quiet couple of weeks. So quiet that I really didn't notice I hadn't blogged much this month. I went to visit Michelle and Scott for a few days last week, and got to meet the new niece-turned-nephew, Apollo. After so long with adult cats, it's hard to remember how small and weird kittens can be.
Aside from that, it's been applying for jobs and thinking about furniture. I've decided to put off major purchases until I have a job, so we'll probably be without major items of furniture for a while longer, but we have a sort of breakfast nook set up in the tower, and a rescued couch to sit on (I'm in the process of some minor repairs). I have a detailed plan of where to go from here, though, and some painting is in the cards this week (touching up windowframes and so forth, and some bookcases).

We went over to Will's for a small party on Friday. Actually it was a pre-midnight-Rocky-Horror-Show party, but my household wasn't going to the play - by the time my money came in, the midnight show was sold out, and who really wants to go to a Rocky Horror matinee? Anyway we had fondue and pumpkin pie, and somehow wound up talking about the Ripley Rule.
The Ripley Rule (or Bechdel Rule) is about women in movies, and dates back to the 80s, when Alien was one of very few movies that actually passed its criteria. Simply put,
1. Does it have at least two women in it,
2. Who [at some point] talk to each other,
3. About something besides a man.
Pretty reasonable rules, you'd think, except when you start trying to apply it and find out that there are still almost no movies that pass. Any of the Star Wars films? Fail. Any James Bond? Fail. The Matrix or sequels? Fail. We went through Will's entire collection of movies and came up with maybe five or six passes, and some of them are technicalities. Josie and the Pussycats is an honest pass, as is Memoirs of a Geisha, but Serenity, a movie with at least four strong female leads, doesn't pass (to my knowledge). Aeon Flux is a movie that no one else liked, but it's a pass. Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs fail, but Kill Bill and Death Proof are big passes - a trend?
I'm curious about the sort of movies I don't usually watch - does Sex and the City (movie, not show) pass? What about The Notebook? Also, we got into discussions about whether blatantly shallow conversation about clothing or makeup should count as a pass, and about whether male children count as "men", and about whether discussion about children ought to be a pass anyway. We decided it's not really useful to judge TV shows, because it's not hard to scrape up a single exchange over several seasons, but there are some shows that follow the spirit of the rule and some that don't - Doctor Who is generally a fail, but Battlestar Galactica is a definite pass.
It's not really useful as a way if determining whether a movie is good or not, or really anything, but it is interesting.
Also, it led to a protracted discussion about doing a remake of Reservoir Dogs with an all-female cast, possibly with Madonna in Tarantino's role (hey, she's a director now, she could even direct. Or not.).


Anonymous Scott said...

very interesting blog... An all female reservoir dogs would be very interesting I think but perhaps too close to the strong female characters in kill bill.

7:29 PM  

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