Filed under TV and Film

The Data We Need On Women And The Entertainment Industry

Alyssa over at ThinkProgress discusses data points we need to understand what the entertainment industry looks like for women, as opposed to their male counterparts, namely more openness about how they are being compensated and treated, and what projects come their way. She talks about film, but I think it’s something that should apply to all things, forever. Other good metrics to observe are race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, disability, etc.

CBS Greenlights a Show I Might Actually Watch

Via HollywoodReporter, CBS is greenlighting a show called Super Fun Night, which, quoth:

The multi-cam show centers on three nerdy girlfriends on their “funcomfortable” quest to have “super fun” every Friday night.

My God It's Beautiful

Please don’t suck please don’t suck please don’t suck…

Grady Hendrix on Soviet Science Fiction Films

Over at SFSignal, Grady Hendrix discusses Soviet-era scifi film:

The titles are what grab you: I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen; Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel; Who Wants to Kill Jessie?; To The Stars By Hard Ways; Ferat Vampire; Test Pilot Pirxa; Ikarie XB-1. A heady combination of ESL literalism, proletarian bluntness and purple exploitation prose, who could come up with titles like these except a bunch of communists, caught between socialist worker’s heaven and the crass capitalist hell? And that’s exactly who made these movies – filmmakers from Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany, Estonia and the USSR back in the bad old days of the Cold War.

We’ve all already seen flotsam and jetsam from these flicks. Roger Corman was drawn to them by their polished special effects and sophisticated set design, and he hacked them into pieces, dubbed them into English and hung clunky AIP titles around their necks like leper’s bells: Voyage to the End of the Universe, Battle Beyond the Sun, Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet, Queen of Blood. Titles that reek of colonization, conflict, feudalism and naked chicks in fur bikinis. The poetic romance of revolution, crushed beneath the bootheel of marketing. Fortunately, there are DVD boxed sets and retrospectives surfacing all the time, including a massive megalith of one right now in Toronto, but if you’re expecting these films to be square stories of space comrades mouthing absurd Marxist slogans you’re in for a surprise. These films traffic in more uncertainty, fear of dehumanization and vampire cars than anything the United States has ever produced.

Excuse me, I have some DVDs to buy.

Gender and BSG

Starbuck

Nothing said in this article over at Tor surprises me and probably won’t surprise you, but it’s a bit of warm-squishy for me to read up yet again on the good things done with regards to gender in Battlestar Galactica.

The gender politics of Battlestar Galactica are fascinating in that… there are none. At least, not in the way that today’s society discusses them. While you can make arguments based on the positions of certain characters or how they conduct themselves according to gender stereotypes, that has to do with how the characters are written. I am talking about the way that Colonial society views men and women and their positions within culture. And it seems as though those labels that we are constantly applying to men and women are not in use within the BSG universe.

We never saw people question President Roslin for making emotional decisions that “no man would ever make.” Dualla wasn’t kept away from combat situations because she was “fragile” or “delicate.” No one ever told Starbuck that she was unfit for command because she was “hysterical.” The men in the Colonial military didn’t edge around female officers, nor did they harass them any differently than they did each other. Their hotshot pilot was a woman, but nothing about Starbuck’s character (or defects) was ever considered to be the product of her chromosomes. In fact, when Colonel Tigh confronted Starbuck in an attempt to reconcile their hostility toward each other, he boiled it down to a completely gender-neutral problem: he felt that his flaws were purely personal and hers had to do with acting professionally.

::dreamy sigh:: I’m probably going to re-watch the series now. Well, seasons 1 and 2 for sure. Of course the show isn’t perfect — nothing ever is — but still I can point at the parts that were done right and be happy.

Peter Dinklage is Apparently Awesome

Holy shit Peter Dinklage amirite? Why am I just learning this?!

TheMarySue has a writeup about Peter Dinklage — Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones — and his radness at the Golden Globes, and thankfully they did this, because otherwise I would have missed it, because I don’t really care for awards shows and that kind of thing. But apparently, he used his time onstage to draw attention to a crime perpetrated against Martin Henderson, a 37-year-old actor with dwarfism, who was seriously injured when some drunk asshole threw him, because dwarf tossing lol, apparently. Shortly afterwards, Henderson’s name was a trending topic on twitter. Great use of having that much public attention.

So that was cool. But then I saw a quote from the way-back machine, and my entire face was fucking rocked:

I try not to read too much into it, but there’s a bit of a bias, where you’re thought of as a mystical creature, which is a bit absurd. I have a great sense of humor — and a dark sense of humor — about everything, but it is a bit narrow-minded sometimes, where if they have a dwarf character, the shoes have to curl up at the end, he has this inherent wisdom, he isn’t sexual, all of that. You look at something like Snow White, and each of the dwarves is just one thing — this one sneezes, this one is angry, this one is tired. And that’s sometimes still true for modern-day stories. But it’s not just for dwarves, that could be the case for anybody, for women, for people of color. Right now it’s Middle Eastern people who are all playing terrorists. It’s short-sighted. But life is too short — no pun intended — to be interested in roles that haven’t got any meat to them.

Goddddddd I just swooned a little.

Peter Dinklage

Can You Be Gay in Star Wars? “Love Wars” Explores the Issue

From Tor.com:

Recently shown in the Notodo Film Festival, the short Spanish-language film above, “Love Wars” tells the story of a stormtrooper couple locked in a different kind of galactic struggle. Could you be openly gay while serving the Empire? Seems like the answer was no.

The film is very open in regards to weaving in current political and class struggles as they affect the relationship of two men. Two men heavily invested in a galactic struggle that sees them as cannon fodder. Putting these faceless characters in a human situation risks coming off as funny, but the film is actually about more and illustrates the absurdity of people being forced into the closet quite effectively.

Is Thor a Feminist Movie? Yes.

Sif: Goddess of War

Posted a little while ago, but I just recently saw it and I totally agree: Is Thor a Feminist Movie? (Yes.) This is stuff I was saying, how I was impressed with Jane and Darcy, how I liked Sif’s armor and her portrayal and her shutting down of Thor’s ego when he tried to take credit for her ass-kicking, how Thor’s machismo had to step aside for his compassion and self-sacrifice, etc. What I didn’t realize, though, that this post points out, is how ridonkulously low that bar is set.

Branagh’s Thor is more feminist than I thought a movie about a male superhero could ever be. Of course, it occurs to me that most of the things I am praising here are things that all films should be doing. They aren’t doing them, though. Thor is.

Sad state of affairs. If you’ve never heard of the Bechdel test, then you have no idea truly how low expectations are. If a movie has two women, who talk to each other, about something other than a man, it passes. So yeah. It’s awesome that Thor managed to deliver.

Death of the Female Movie Star?

Joel Shepherd is the author of a series featuring a female action hero named Cassandra Kresnov, and he details a recent attempt to shop the book as a film in Hollywood. A producer is having a difficult time placing the script, and eventually he just gave up. Why?

The problem with Cassandra Kresnov? She’s female, of course. ‘They’re just not interested,’ [the producer] said. ‘I mention she’s female and that’s the end of the conversation.’

Shepherd has written previously on the subject of female action heroes, and has written well on the subject, I think.

If Hollywood make a movie about a ‘male hero’, they will focus upon the word ‘hero’. Hollywood tells hero stories extremely well — the great powers, the great responsibilities, the tortured origin story, the moral and existential conflict. It’s all there, and Hollywood can tell these stories as easily as LeBron James can make a layup, and for similar financial reward.

But if Hollywood makes a movie about a ‘female hero’, they’ll focus upon the word ‘female’. They’ll lose emphasis upon the hero story, and focus on sex and gender instead. Our female hero will be dressed in ridiculous outfits, and will have action scenes dedicated less to showing how kick ass she is, than to how many teenage boys she can give erections while kicking ass.

So, yeah. Props.

Race and The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

I don’t watch The Walking Dead, for several reasons, so thankfully someone else was able to tackle the apparent racefail in The Walking Dead. Many thanks to Chesya Burke.

As someone who writes genre fiction myself, I understand the difficulty in writing fully actualize minority characters and the fear of doing it wrong. I understand that it’s just easier to ignore race all together or succumb to the idea that minorities don’t watch genre shows anyway, so choose not to bother. This attitude, though, leads to problems as evidenced by the big fat racial disaster in the Walking Dead.

She goes over some eyebrow-raising problematic elements, like the lack of black people despite the actual population of Atlanta, to some pretty aggravating shit, like how a white woman is worth saving while a black woman is completely ignored and left behind to die, or the part where a black character dare point out racism, only to not be in the show after that point.

So, like, wow. I mean, damn.

Like I said, I haven’t seen the show (I’m really over zombies and it doesn’t interest me at all) and now I actually kind of want to avoid it. Bleh.