Posts Tagged ‘Kill Bill’


The Bechdel Test makes a great point, only it’s not the point that Sweden seems to think it’s making.

The test asks a three-pronged question about each movie we watch: Does it have at least two women in it, and do those women talk to each other, and do they talk about something besides a man?

Now once you start applying this test to the movies you watch, you may see a disturbing pattern: An overwhelming, out-of-whack majority of movies would have to answer at least one of those three questions with a “no.”

And yes yes YES, we should try to correct this imbalance. YES I’d love to see more ladies in the movies. However, it’s important to remember that The Bechdel Test is most useful when applied to cinema as a whole. It illuminates a widespread problem, not necessarily a problem that individual films should be judged on, utterly out-of-context. A film can “fail” the Bechdel Test and not be sexist, just as a film that “passes” the test can still be horrendously sexist. Therefore, it’s kind of unfair, not to mention pointless, to grade one film on an A to F scale based on how it fares on the test– which is exactly what a number of Swedish movie theaters have begun doing.

Look, some movies could probably stand to change a few male characters into female characters, in the interest of gender equality. But for other movies, like say Reservoir Dogs, adding female characters wouldn’t feel right for the story. Reservoir Dogs should be allowed to be a diamond-heisting sausage fest without getting grief for it.

Similarly, Kill Bill Vol. 1 should be allowed to get a low grade on a reverse Bechdel Test. It’s The Bride’s story, so if she’s the topic of conversation whenever two male characters are talking to each other, it makes sense. (Volume 2 only passes the reverse Bechdel Test because of a brief non-Bride-related dialogue between Budd and his boss, and while it’s a fine scene, it’s quite superfluous.)

That’s because most movies are not Robert Altman-esque epics with sprawling casts and multiple story threads– they focus on one journey of one hero. Therefore, all the scenes of your average movie, including any dialogues between supporting characters, will tend to focus on that hero and his/her journey. If the hero is male– which, in an ideal world, would describe approximately 50% of all movies– then not only will that movie likely fail the Bechdel Test, it will have a good reason to.

If Swedish cinemas want to assign grades based on the Bechdel Test, they’d be much better off grading film studios for not producing nearly enough movies with female heroes, and maybe grade audiences for not paying to watch more female-friendly movies; after all, studios have a knack for following the money.

In the meantime, I hereby bestow upon these Swedish cinemas a grade of C :  Their hearts are in the right place, but their fingers are pointing in the wrong directions.

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1. Who, me? A tease? Brother, please.

2. You can take my word for it, your mother had it comin’.

3. Well damn if you ain’t so sweet you make sugar taste just like salt.

4. Yo, baby pop. Yeah, you, come here. Gimme a kiss. Better make it fast or else I’m gonna get pissed.

5. You call that begging? You can beg better than that.

6. I wanna dance, I wanna win, I want that trophy, so dance good.

7. Now wait a minute y’all, this dance ain’t for everybody, only the sexy people.  So all you fly mothers, get on out there and dance.  Dance, I said!

8. I’m a negro with an ego.

9. Now, what we got here is a little game of show and tell. You don’t wanna show me nothing but you’re telling me everything.

10. You got two jobs; kiss good, and make sure my hair don’t get wet.

11. You can’t play me, boy, I’m no game.

12. My ass may be dumb, but I ain’t no dumbass.

13. I’m gonna go jump in the tub and get all slippery and soapy and then hop in that waterbed and watch X-rated movies til you get your ass back in my lovin’ arms.

14. The difference between a hooker and a ho ain’t nothin’ but a fee.

15. If looks could kill, you would be an uzi.

16. Grandma carries a can of mace, and she’ll stick a 45 in your face.

17. I don’t know what futuristic utopia you live in, but the world I live in, a bitch need a gun.

18. I’m gonna give you a little somethin’ you can’t take off.

19. Ask too many questions and my Smith & Wesson will answer

20. You put up with my butt when I wouldn’t give it up.  Yeah I know that really sucks, but if you wait a while, I’ll make it up.

21. Facts can be so misleading, where rumors, true or false, are often revealing.

(answers below)





Tarantino: 2 (Kill Bill Vol. 1), 3 (Death Proof) 5 (Kill Bill Vol. 1), 6 (Pulp Fiction), 9 (True Romance), 10 (Death Proof), 12 (Jackie Brown), 13 (True Romance), 17 (Death Proof), 18 (Inglourious Basterds), 21 (Inglourious Basterds)
Salt-N-Pepa: 1 (“Do You Want Me?”), 4 (“Push It”), 7 (“Push It”), 8 (“Negro Wit An Ego”), 11 (“A Salt With A Deadly Pepa”), 14 (“None Of Your Business”), 15 (“Shoop”), 16 (“Heaven ‘n Hell”),  19 (“Heaven ‘n Hell”) 20 (“Do You Want Me?”)

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