best portrayal of woman, and men in movies.

Discussion in 'Movies' started by chris winters, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. chris winters

    chris winters Second Unit

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    With stereotypes so prevalent in movies, I was thinking of what I considered some of the most accurate and astute characters representing female and male psyches out there. Some I came up with would be.

    WOMAN
    Woman have a long tradition of sexism in Hollywood, but they also have a stronger unified voice that communicates many of the issues they face.
    -------------------------------

    1) Mean girls -a bit of a farce, but there is refreshing truth there as well.

    2) The Good Girl -nice, nuanced portrayal of a woman stuck in a dead end life.

    3) Sex and the City -a series, sometimes over the top and shrill, but very well done and astute.

    4) Any series by Zwick and co...I.e. My So Called Life, and Once and Again, ThirtySomthing. All amazingly well written.

    5) Thirteen -gritty and shocking portrayal of girls entering adolescent.

    MEN
    Men are difficult to portray accurately. We still suffer many societal stereotypes and social pressures, yet lack a consolidated modern social movement to communicate the prejudices. Men do Benefit from a history of largely monopolizing the main perspective in movies and art.
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    1) In the company of men -touches on some very accurate aspects of the male psyche despite going a bit over the top. The frustration of the "nebish" man over the woman choosing the sociopathic bully over him, despite the bullies obvious misogynistic behavior, as well as some of the dialogue, rings very true.

    2) Some aspects of Sideways, though it is a touch romanticized. About Schmidt is also solid, showing accurate ennui and listlessness from the male perspective.

    3) Much of Woody Allen is very astute, but it can often sacrifice honesty for the sake of comedy.

    4) perhaps Punch Drunk Love. A bit of a fairytale, but some nice subtle work there.
     
  2. Ernest Rister

    Ernest Rister Producer

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    MEN
    Billy Zane in Titanic
    Chris Sarandon in The Princess Bride
    Daffy Duck in Ali Baba Bunny


    WOMEN
    Shelley Winters in Pete's Dragon
    Adrianne Barbeau in Creepshow ("The Crate")
    Prince John in Disney's Robin Hood
     
  3. chris winters

    chris winters Second Unit

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    ah yes...sarcasm....
     
  4. Stevan Lay

    Stevan Lay Second Unit

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  5. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    In seriousness...anything by Cameron Crowe, for both.

    Nails it,
    Chuck
     
  6. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Two can play that game

    --
    H
     
  7. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Wait, you're asking for examples of the most nuanced stereotypes?

    The mind... boggles.
     
  8. chris winters

    chris winters Second Unit

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    no, the most well written characters. Nuanced, well written, chracters that represent the subtleties of their gender....sigh...
     
  9. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I'd say various Woody Allen films.
     
  10. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Hamlet
    Blanche Dubois
     
  11. Patrick H.

    Patrick H. Second Unit

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    In all seriousness, the strongest female character I can think of is Ripley from the first two Alien films (I'm not a fan of the other two and where they took her). One tough persona, but her motivations are always distinctly female. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum are the romantic, fanciful adventures of Amelie.

    On the masculine side of things, Citizen Kane I think has a lot to say about the male persona. Some war movies also shine a lot of insight there, with perhaps Saving Private Ryan being the standout.
     
  12. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    An interesting choice, especially as Ripley was written as a male. When the casting choice was made, the decision was made (wisely in my opinion) to not rewrite at all.

    As far as realistic male and female roles go, there are many. Pick almost any film by Yasujiro Ozu or Abbas Kiarostami, the Apu Trilogy of Satyajit Ray, many of the films of Akira Kurosawa such as Ikiru and lots of the Italian neo-realism movies like The Bicycle Thief.

    I was originally thinking of Citizen Kane, but since Patrick beat me to it, I chose some non-American films.
     
  13. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I actually think When Harry Met Sally does a great job of capturing the thinking and differences between men & women.
     
  14. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    ALIEN was an interesting choice. When thinking about Ripley, I always go back one year to Gaylen Ross in DAWN OF THE DEAD. Women characters in these types of films were usually the ones to scream and go hide while the men took care of the monsters but this really changed here. At first, her character was written as a "wimp" ala Barbara from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD but Ross had Romero change it so it would give women a new look in horror films. I'm not sure if this had an impact on ALIEN but I think both are good choices considering what women often do in horror films before these.
     
  15. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Senor Luis says it all in That Obscure Object of Desire

    Agree with Lew's choices.

    Others that come to mind:

    She's Gotta Have It
    Written On The Wind
    The Lady Eve
    Some Like It Hot
    Sunrise
    Manji
    Shadows & Minnie & Moskowitz
    Eyes Wide Shut
     
  16. chris winters

    chris winters Second Unit

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    interesting that films from different eras and cultures are being chosen, when different generations as well as different cultures have very different gender characteristics and traditions. I supose as long as they portray the characteristics of their specific time period and culture then they are good choices. Some of the choices involving strong women dont nessisarily mean they accurately portray women. In fact, the strong ass kicking female is quickly becoming a modern cliche. From Alias to Charley's Angels to Tomb Raider and Kill Bill the modern female is no longer represented as weak and helpless. This stereotype may simple be the modern males' fantasy, the 2004 equivalent of the jiggly/giggly blond from 50 years ago. It is nice that strength has become an attractive female trait, but the reverse is still not true. A weak and helpless man is still mostly unattractive to women. The male protagonist, while allowed to be more sensative then in the past, still must command respect and demonstrate a command of the situation around him to be acceptable. Nice suggestions though, many films I wouldnt have thought of.
     
  17. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    The strong woman has been a staple of Hollywood for a long time. Brook’s selection of The Lady Eve is a fine example—to which I would add almost every role Kathryn Hepburn ever played. As for the weak, helpless (and sensitive) man, a good number of the screwballs begin with just such characterizations: including such icons as Cary Grant and Henry Fonda, where the woman knows long before the man how the battle of the sexes will play out.
     
  18. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    I had a female college professor who had an ironic theory that as women have gained influence in the real world, the film roles for women regressed at the same time, Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock being a far cry from the mentally tough women that Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, and Joan Crawford used to play. Kind of interesting to consider...
     
  19. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    Swingers pretty much runs the gamut for male & female performances (although it's more male heavy than anything).

    You've got the weak, vulnerable, unsure male character (Mike).

    You've got the strong, confident, outgoing & supportive male friend(Trent/Double Down).

    You've got the agressive, loud-mouthed, supportive yet selfish & arrogant male friend (Sue).

    You've got the subdued, supportive, shy & understanding male friend (Rob)

    Then there's the women...

    The never-seen but often talked-about x-girlfriend, whom Mike continues to obsess over.

    The "what car do YOU drive" snobby party girl.

    The overeager machine gun talker (who's phone number is subsequently ripped to shreds).

    The Las Vegas casino girls, sweet, but just out looking for a good time.

    Nikki, the fickle barfly... ("Never call me again")

    And then there's Heather Graham. The lone point of light in a sea of darkness. The sweet, attractive, nice, intelligent, and perky girl that every man wants to meet.

    Yes... I loved Swingers. [​IMG]

    Moe.
     
  20. chris winters

    chris winters Second Unit

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    It is all in how you measure strength. Yes Hepburn, etc.. played strong woman, to a point, in that they were sassy and spoke their mind. Acerbic and somtimes manipulating. But they still retained the feminine qualities of glamour and "class" and were always working within a "mans world." The point of view was distinctly masculine representing them. They generally eventually fell for a man who held more social power then them, and never really fell in love with a guy who they commanded in the relationship. As to "wimpy" men in farces, etc...these are not leading men in the romatic sense. One of the running jokes with Woody Allen is how he always casts himself against these beautiful bomshells, yet we all know a real guy like woody could not be seen with them. A romantic leading man still has to be physically taller then the woman, command social power, and generally be in charge of his surroundings. The female lead, however, has been reinvented to be downright all powerfull. Superheros who command all situations and can destroy anything that gets in their way.

    There are fantasy exceptions to these rules, as in Topher Grace getting the girl in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, or the various 80s teen comedies where the nerd gets the cheerleader in the end. But these are not true representations of a romatic leading man. They are simple fantasies played out for the Audience.

    Woman also have a long history of always being the moral compass in films. Their instincts are always correct while the male's impulses lead to tragedy and comedy. A drastic change to this is Tea Leoni in Spanglish, and the backlash aainst her character has been considerable.
     

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