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Old 09-25-2013, 01:48 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Any movies fail a reverse Bechdel Test?

For those of you not aware of it the Bechdel Test was formulated to highlight the relative lack of women in mainstream movies. Women obviously are present in movies but they're usually there to support the male characters. The Bechdel Test looks at movies and asks if they pass these three tests:

1. Are there at least two female characters with names?
2. Do they have a minute of conversation with each other in the movie?
3. Is the conversation about something other than men?

It seems like a pretty low bar but it's amazing how many movies fail to meet it.

But my question here isn't about the regular Bechdel Test. I'm wondering about a reverse Bechdel Test and if there are any movies which would fail that.

So can anyone think of a mainstream movie in which would fail the following test:

1. Are there at least two male characters with names?
2. Do they have a minute of conversation with each other in the movie?
3. Is the conversation about something other than women?

Obviously, I'm not looking for a gimmick movie where none of the characters have names or there's only one character or there's no dialogue.

One that comes surprisingly close? Psycho. But there's one scene where Norman and Arbogast are talking about the hotel.
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:54 AM
Nava Nava is online now
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Any version of La casa de Bernarda Alba, "Bernarda Alba's household" which is true to the play on which it's based - but then, one of the items that make the play a favorite with amateur theatre groups is that it doesn't have a single male character. It's about an extremely bitter and dominant matriarch (Bernarda Alba) and the relationships between her and her daughters, and of the daughters with each other.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:52 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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You find this hard?

The Dirty Dozen Most of the movie.
The Boys in the Band The entire movie, but several scenes of one-on-one conversation
Key Largo Bogart and Robinson have several conversations.
Forbidden Planet Morbius spends about ten minutes talking with Leslie Nielson.
Heat
D.O.A.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail Dennis and King Arthur
The Thirty-Nine Steps -- Hannay and the leader of the spies
The Big Sleep -- Marlowe and Col. Sternwood in the greenhouse
All the early Bond films (Bond and M)
He Walked by Night -- the detective and the crime lab guy
Argo

The entire point of the Bechdel test is what you propose is extremely common.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:56 AM
Banksiaman Banksiaman is offline
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Terminator.

1. Are there at least two male characters with names?

i. Kyle Reese ii. Does 'Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Terminator with living tissue over a metal endoskeleton' count as a name? There are bit-part cops named, but wouldn't count that more than a nametag.

2. Do they have a minute of conversation with each other in the movie?

nope

3. Is the conversation about something other than women?

Its all Sarah Connor this, Sarah Connor that ...

A much better chick flick would have had lines like 'Cyberdine ... , you look sad. What's wrong? If Kyle can't see beyond the living tissue over the metal endoskeleton he'll never know the real you, and then its him you should feel sorry for.'
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:02 AM
tim314 tim314 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
You find this hard?

The Dirty Dozen Most of the movie.
The Boys in the Band The entire movie, but several scenes of one-on-one conversation
Key Largo Bogart and Robinson have several conversations.
Forbidden Planet Morbius spends about ten minutes talking with Leslie Nielson.
Heat
D.O.A.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail Dennis and King Arthur
The Thirty-Nine Steps -- Hannay and the leader of the spies
The Big Sleep -- Marlowe and Col. Sternwood in the greenhouse
All the early Bond films (Bond and M)
He Walked by Night -- the detective and the crime lab guy
Argo

The entire point of the Bechdel test is what you propose is extremely common.
The OP is asking for ones that fail the reverse Bechdel test

Last edited by tim314; 09-25-2013 at 08:02 AM.
  #6  
Old 09-25-2013, 08:02 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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You find this hard?

The entire point of the Bechdel test is what you propose is extremely common.
I think he's saying are there any that FAIL, Chuck. It's a corrolary to how common it is.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:04 AM
chrisk chrisk is offline
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I'm not completely sure, but now I'm wondering about 'Mean Girls.' There are several male characters, they have conversation... but I'm not sure if they have conversation that's not about the girls.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:04 AM
Ranchoth Ranchoth is offline
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
The entire point of the Bechdel test is what you propose is extremely common.
Ahhm...is he not asking about movies that DON'T have a)Two named males b) Who talk to each other c) about a subject other than a woman?

Nemo was looking for films that fail the Ledhceb test, not pass it.

On that note...maybe Antichrist? Though it might be under the "no gimmick movies" proviso.

Dagnabit...beat me to the draw.

Last edited by Ranchoth; 09-25-2013 at 08:05 AM.
  #9  
Old 09-25-2013, 08:05 AM
Eonwe Eonwe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
You find this hard?

The Dirty Dozen Most of the movie.
The Boys in the Band The entire movie, but several scenes of one-on-one conversation
Key Largo Bogart and Robinson have several conversations.
Forbidden Planet Morbius spends about ten minutes talking with Leslie Nielson.
Heat
D.O.A.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail Dennis and King Arthur
The Thirty-Nine Steps -- Hannay and the leader of the spies
The Big Sleep -- Marlowe and Col. Sternwood in the greenhouse
All the early Bond films (Bond and M)
He Walked by Night -- the detective and the crime lab guy
Argo

The entire point of the Bechdel test is what you propose is extremely common.
I think you missed the point. The question is what movie would fail the male version of the test (IOW, what are movies that do not meet the three criteria).
  #10  
Old 09-25-2013, 08:58 AM
Mr Shine Mr Shine is offline
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Many films that don't leave the POV of a female protagonist would probably fail. I'm thinking House of Games maybe, but there probably others, (even if HoG passes. I haven't seen it recently so I'm not sure.)
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:04 AM
Prof. Pepperwinkle Prof. Pepperwinkle is offline
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The Women has no male characters (at least, not onscreen).

I'm not 100% sure but I think How To Make An American Quilt would also fail.

Last edited by Prof. Pepperwinkle; 09-25-2013 at 09:04 AM.
  #12  
Old 09-25-2013, 09:18 AM
ricksummon ricksummon is offline
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Originally Posted by Banksiaman View Post
Terminator.
No, Terminator has Dr. Silberman interviewing Kyle Reese, so there are two named male characters who have a conversation. While Sarah Connor is mentioned, the conversation is about the Terminator and the future, not about her specifically.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:18 AM
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I bet a lot of rom-coms would fail - in that they would have at least two men, the two men would talk, but never without it being (at least in subtext) about a woman.

I can't remember any scenes that were men talking not about women -

When Harry Met Sally
About Last Night
Crazy, Stupid, Love
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:19 AM
aNewLeaf aNewLeaf is offline
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Driving Miss Daisy?
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:23 AM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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It's been a while but I think Juno would fail the reverse Bechdel test.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:30 AM
bup bup is offline
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Driving Miss Daisy?
I think Hoke and (Daisy's son - can't remember character's name) have a conversation about Hoke's salary. Also, when (Daisy's son) meets Hoke, it's a bunch of men trying to figure out how to get a warehouse elevator unstuck.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:37 AM
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Do the various Disney Princess movies pass? I'm thinking through Beauty and the Beast and, counting singing as talking and animate furniture as their presenting gender identity, I'm not sure it passes. In fact, I'm not sure it passes the normal Bechdel Test either. Though it's probable I'm missing something.

Last edited by Jragon; 09-25-2013 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:38 AM
CrazyCatLady CrazyCatLady is offline
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[QUOTE=bup;16696563 (Daisy's son - can't remember character's name) [/QUOTE]

Booley, or something like that. They have a conversation about Hoke's work experience when he first gets hired, and then later a conversation about how some other family had made him an offer. I've not sat down with a watch and timed either conversation, but they're about the job, not about Miss Daisy.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:44 AM
chrisk chrisk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bup View Post
I bet a lot of rom-coms would fail - in that they would have at least two men, the two men would talk, but never without it being (at least in subtext) about a woman.

I can't remember any scenes that were men talking not about women -

When Harry Met Sally
About Last Night
Crazy, Stupid, Love
In a rom-com you could definitely fail it on both sides... the men are always talking about women, the women are always talking about men.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:45 AM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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FWIW, the original Bechdel Test did not require that the characters have names or that the conversation last at least a minute. Those are later additions and not used by everyone who talks about the test. I assume they were added by some to exclude movies that might otherwise technically pass the test with something like this:

(Hero and his female love interest go into a restaurant.)
RESTAURANT HOSTESS: Smoking or non?
LOVE INTEREST: Smoking, please.

But there are some movies where major characters don't have proper names (e.g. the heroine of Rebecca, the two main characters and most of the supporting characters in Once), so I wouldn't be too picky about that.

Google turned up a (not currently active) blog called Reverse Bechdel where the blogger examines different movies to see if they pass the Bechdel Test and Reverse Bechdel Test. It looks like every movie the blogger examined -- including the first three Twilight movies -- passed the RBT, and that most but not all passed the BT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jragon View Post
Do the various Disney Princess movies pass? I'm thinking through Beauty and the Beast and, counting singing as talking and animate furniture as their presenting gender identity, I'm not sure it passes. In fact, I'm not sure it passes the normal Bechdel Test either. Though it's probable I'm missing something.
Even counting only non-enchanted humans, Beauty and the Beast has three significant male characters -- Belle's father Maurice, Gaston, and Gaston's sidekick Lefou. I'm pretty sure they talk about the Beast at some point. If musical numbers count as conversations, there's also an entire song about Gaston in which there's some back and forth between Gaston and Lefou.

Last edited by Lamia; 09-25-2013 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:48 AM
Jragon Jragon is offline
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I was hesitant to count the Gaston song as "about" Gaston, the undercurrent of the song seemed to be primarily about why Gaston should get Belle, and the very into of the song (before the singing but after the music cues) talked about her IIRC. But this is where the wishy-washyness of the test's rules start coming into play. Assuming I'm not off my rocker.

Last edited by Jragon; 09-25-2013 at 09:49 AM.
  #22  
Old 09-25-2013, 09:50 AM
Justin_Bailey Justin_Bailey is offline
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It's been a while but I think Juno would fail the reverse Bechdel test.
Definitely. I don't think Juno's Dad, Paulie Bleeker, or Jason Bateman (did his character even have a name?) ever even speak to each other. And if they do, it's definitely about Juno.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:51 AM
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I don't recall any male-male conversations in Devil Wears Prada.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:58 AM
Flywheel Flywheel is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Shine View Post
Many films that don't leave the POV of a female protagonist would probably fail. I'm thinking House of Games maybe, but there probably others, (even if HoG passes. I haven't seen it recently so I'm not sure.)
Wendy and Lucy qualifies.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:01 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Fantasia fails the reverse test, and while it's a gimmick movie, it does almost sort of pass the regular Bechdel test: The only speech in the movie is a group of women, singing about another woman.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:10 AM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Originally Posted by Jragon View Post
I was hesitant to count the Gaston song as "about" Gaston, the undercurrent of the song seemed to be primarily about why Gaston should get Belle, and the very into of the song (before the singing but after the music cues) talked about her IIRC. But this is where the wishy-washyness of the test's rules start coming into play. Assuming I'm not off my rocker.
Given Gaston's personality, I'd say a song he sings about how great he is really is about how great he is.

A chunk of the "Mob Song" sequence also involves Gaston, accompanied by Lefou and the male villagers, singing about how they're going to kill the Beast. (Belle and the village women are present at the beginning, but are left behind when the men head for the woods.) I'd say this passes the looser version of the RBT, but I don't think there's 60 uninterrupted seconds of the all-male portion and it's kind of iffy with the named character bit. Lefou is present and singing with the chorus, but the non-Gaston lines are mostly from the perspective of the anonymous villagers.

Quote:
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Fantasia fails the reverse test, and while it's a gimmick movie, it does almost sort of pass the regular Bechdel test: The only speech in the movie is a group of women, singing about another woman.
Doesn't Mickey talk with conductor Leopold Stokowski at one point?

The Before Sunrise trilogy seems a good candidate for movies that would pass neither the BT or the RBT, since most of these movies are long conversations between a man and a woman. However, IIRC the recent Before Midnight passes both tests. The movie opens with Jesse talking to his son. Celine speak briefly (in French) to her daughters about buying food at a shop, and before the dinner party scene Celine speaks to the other women about food. At the same time, Jesse is talking about his writing with the other men.

It's been years since I saw Before Sunrise, but I remember there is a brief scene where they meet some guys who invite them to see a play they're involved with. I don't remember this well enough to say whether it would count as a conversation between Jesse and these other guys or if Celine participates equally.

I've never seen Before Sunset and can't comment.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:29 AM
Mrs. Cake Mrs. Cake is offline
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Waiting to Exhale had several named male characters, but I don't recall two of them ever having a conversation - they existed in the story only in relation to the women.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:36 AM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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I don't remember it very well, but I'm thinking of checking out Steel Magnolias. It might fail a reverse BT. Also, Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:39 AM
Double Foolscap Double Foolscap is offline
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Educating Rita?
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:44 AM
Jragon Jragon is offline
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Yeah, Beauty and the Beast probably passes.

But I thought of one. What about Coraline? Do any of the male characters even talk to each other? Maybe the little boy and the dad?
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:56 AM
Maserschmidt Maserschmidt is offline
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But I thought of one. What about Coraline? Do any of the male characters even talk to each other? Maybe the little boy and the dad?
Good call. There's no conversation I can recall between Wybie and the dad, and even if there had been, it would have likely been about Coraline. And when Wybie meets the mouse circus guy, he's the rat circus guy and Wybie is mute.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:57 AM
LinusK LinusK is offline
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I think Out of Africa might fail... It's been a while, but I think Streep's character's on-screen pretty much the whole time, and I don't think there's an entire minute where two men are talking about something other than her.

Thelma & Louise. The male supporting roles don't talk to each other much, and if they do, it's always about the protagonists.

The Joy Luck Club.

Tangled would come close to failing, I think, depending on how you counted the chase scene with the Stabbbington brothers. It's over a minute, but it's more chasing than talking.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:58 AM
Maserschmidt Maserschmidt is offline
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Brave might work. There are lots of male-male conversations, but as best I can recall they're all about competing for Merida.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:04 AM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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Caged Heat.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:20 AM
JustinC JustinC is offline
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8 Women Steaming and Eating ?
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:35 AM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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I've been trying to think of movies set largely in all-female environments. I thought that Sister Act, set mostly in a convent, might not pass the RBT, but the quote list on the IMDB turned up this exchange between the mobster and his lawyer:

Vince: How can you let them grill me there for six hours?
Larry: I can't control how long they're gonna question you.
Vince: Did you go to law school, Harry?
Larry: Yeah, I went to law school, Vince.
Vince: Did you graduate?
Larry: Hey, I'm a lawyer, of course I graduated.

It's easy to forget about brief scenes like this when considering the BT or RBT.
  #37  
Old 09-25-2013, 12:09 PM
Flywheel Flywheel is offline
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Two from the same (male) director: Margot at the Wedding and Frances Ha.
  #38  
Old 09-25-2013, 03:19 PM
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I can't recall there being any significant male-male conversations in "Bad Teacher".
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:03 PM
Banksiaman Banksiaman is offline
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Originally Posted by ricksummon View Post
No, Terminator has Dr. Silberman interviewing Kyle Reese, so there are two named male characters who have a conversation. While Sarah Connor is mentioned, the conversation is about the Terminator and the future, not about her specifically.
Touche! Completely forgot about that conversation. And Silberman ends up becoming a recurring character, so not just some name-tag.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:33 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post

So can anyone think of a mainstream movie in which would fail the following test:

1. Are there at least two male characters with names?
2. Do they have a minute of conversation with each other in the movie?
3. Is the conversation about something other than women?
I see I misunderstood the intention, but #3 threw me. If you're talking about one conversation with women as the subject causing the movie to fail this test, then some of mine also fit -- Key Largo have Bogart and Robinson discussing Claire Trevor; Casablanca has Rick and Renault talking about Ilsa. In The Big Sleep, Marlowe and Eddie Mars talk about Mrs. Rutledge.

I assume that American Pie, by its very nature would seem to have named characters talking about women all the time (haven't seen it).

Play it Again Sam has Woody Allen and the Humphrey Bogart character constantly talking about women.

Hitch is nothing but conversations about women.

In Chicago, Billy and Amos have a conversation about Roxie, and the number "She Reached for the Gun" is all about Roxie in the form of an interview with male newspaper reporters (I'm assuming certain things in the stage musical that were neither confirmed nor denied in the movie).

As stated, #3 of the test is very confusing and seems to say any conversation by two men talking about a woman means the movie fails the test. That would include any movie where two buddies were discussing one guy's girlfriend or love life -- very common.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 09-25-2013 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:37 PM
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Once again a gimmick, but it was the first that came to mind. Hell in the Pacific. I don't think we ever learn Lee Marvin's name and I know we never learn Toshero Mufine's name in the film. And as for a conversation taking place, if that necessitates communication, no it doesn't.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:48 PM
Ellis Aponte Jr. Ellis Aponte Jr. is offline
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Ingmar Bergman's Persona completely fails.

Last edited by Ellis Aponte Jr.; 09-25-2013 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:53 PM
Rollo Tomasi Rollo Tomasi is offline
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I can't recall there being any significant male-male conversations in "Bad Teacher".
Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake have that weird conversation about sharks. I don't know if it adds up to a minute of screen time, but I'd say it's significant because Segel is specifically setting up Timberlake to look like an idiot in front of Cameron Diaz.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:00 PM
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Another gimmick, but mildly qualifies. In Enemy Mine We think that the two characters (Dennis Quaid, and Louis Gosset Jr.) are male until Gosset Jr.'s character from another planet gives birth to a baby. So despite most of the film having the two talking, if giving birth is limited to women, that is a fail for that point.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
I see I misunderstood the intention, but #3 threw me. If you're talking about one conversation with women as the subject causing the movie to fail this test, then some of mine also fit -- Key Largo have Bogart and Robinson discussing Claire Trevor; Casablanca has Rick and Renault talking about Ilsa. In The Big Sleep, Marlowe and Eddie Mars talk about Mrs. Rutledge.

I assume that American Pie, by its very nature would seem to have named characters talking about women all the time (haven't seen it).

Play it Again Sam has Woody Allen and the Humphrey Bogart character constantly talking about women.

Hitch is nothing but conversations about women.

In Chicago, Billy and Amos have a conversation about Roxie, and the number "She Reached for the Gun" is all about Roxie in the form of an interview with male newspaper reporters (I'm assuming certain things in the stage musical that were neither confirmed nor denied in the movie).

As stated, #3 of the test is very confusing and seems to say any conversation by two men talking about a woman means the movie fails the test. That would include any movie where two buddies were discussing one guy's girlfriend or love life -- very common.
Okay, then rephrase it as 'Is at least one of those conversations about something other than women?' Thus, if male characters have 7 conversation scenes, 5 are about women, 2 are about other things, then the move still passes the test.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:11 PM
TV time TV time is offline
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Probably going to be my closest to non-gimmick. Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison with Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum. He's a Marine corporal and she is a nun. They are the only characters we ever learn their names. They are the only ones to converse.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:21 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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The aliens in Enemy Mine are hermaphrodites. I'm not sure what that means for either version of the test.
  #48  
Old 09-25-2013, 06:24 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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The Women has no male characters (at least, not onscreen).
The 1939 version or 2008? In the 2008 version, Edie's baby is male. I don't think there's any male in the original. They even made sure the pets were female.

I'd like to see a version of this in which everyone who worked on it, not just the cast, was female.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:01 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
As stated, #3 of the test is very confusing and seems to say any conversation by two men talking about a woman means the movie fails the test. That would include any movie where two buddies were discussing one guy's girlfriend or love life -- very common.
No, they can talk about women. They can even talk mostly about women. All they have to do to pass the test is have at least one minute of conversation on any subject other than women.
  #50  
Old 09-25-2013, 07:41 PM
armedmonkey armedmonkey is offline
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Location: St. Simon's Island, GA
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Trying to stay away from rom-coms:

Sucker Punch, maybe?
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