First of all, I’m posting this from a BUS! Yes, indeed, I have finally tried out Bolt Bus, and the wireless internet is nothing short of a Christmas miracle.
In honor of Jewish tradition this week, I rented a bunch of movies that I missed in theaters, including the long-awaited X Files follow-up, I Want To Believe. The movie itself is much like a big long X Files episode, except that Mulder has a beard and Scully has really long hair.
However, I really like the extras on the DVD. The blooper reel is outstanding (as, by the way, are all of the blooper reels from the original show). In addition, X Files creator Chris Carter gives some insight into how he made his set more ecologically friendly.
Ford donated hybrid cars to transport cast and crew to and from airports, the crew limited the number of scripts and sides photocopied each day, and biodiesel generators powered equipment. The crew had a no-idling policy for all vehicles, and used sand instead of salt on their snowy location shoots. All food was produced less than 100 miles from the set. It’s actually not that different from the suggestions I made in a previous post about green production and the potential for “slow film.”
Carter says that he had “lost some interest in what I do, because of the waste. . . and the mentality was spend a lot of money, make a lot of money, and don’t think about the product of your process.”
The X Files often dealt thematically with how humans encroach on the natural world, and I think it’s great to hear that Carter takes his own message so seriously.
Like every other media-and-pop-culture-obsessed feminist out there, I’m wondering why I hadn’t already heard of the “Bechdel Rule” (also known as Ripley’s Rule, the Bechdel/Wallace Rule, or any number of other variations the internet has yet to confuse us with). Kudos to my housemate and her friend for explaining it:
Back in the day, Alison Bechdel made a cartoon in which a character won’t see a movie unless it:
1) Has two women in it 2) They talk to each other 3) About something other than a man
Just recently, the NPR blog picked up on this phenomenally simple, phenomenally telling way of classifying movies and tv. Since some folks at NPR put the story on the radio, everyone’s been buzzing about Bechdel.
If you want a more personal account of how the Bechdel Rule plays into screenwriting, I suggest this post from a former UCLA film student.
I’m more interested in the way that the Bechdel Rule creates a measure of how woman-y a movie or TV show is across genres. It doesn’t specify whether the women are talking about destroying aliens (which is where the “Ripley” reference comes from) or about the perils of balancing children and a career. Of course, this is not a perfect measure – I think that there’s room in this world for all kinds of movies and all kinds of audiences – but I think the Bechdel rule helps me articulate why I feel warm or cool toward a certain piece of fiction (e.g. Buffy the Vampire Slayer v. Angel).
Image from KWC’s PhotostreamRemarkably, despite what NPR blogger Neda Ulaby says about science fiction being the “traditional fortress of geek-maledom,” modern science fiction shows pass the Bechdel test at a pretty decent rate. Even shows that sexualize their female characters (say, Battlestar or Star Trek: Voyager) actually give them lots of scenes to talk to each other about things other than men. Weird, isn’t it? Is that because directors are trying to make up for their smart women with some sexiness? Or is it because the ensemble casts now popular with science fiction shows leave enough room for female characters to have a wide range of scenes?
I have also been enjoying this easy-to-read list of Bechdel winners and losers. Are there any movies or tv shows that are surprises? I, for one, am shocked that not a single recent animated Disney movie makes the cut. Who knew?