Monday, February 23, 2015

22 Jump street.

22 jump street movie is rated 7.2 out of 10 by IMDB based on its 173,105 users where weighted average method is used. IMDB has categorized its voters among males and females with further categorization of genders based on age groups. It has used age ranges of under 18, 18-29, 30-44, and over 45. In addition, some additional categories are website staff, top 100 voters, US users and non-USA users etc. USA users are less than non-USA users where IMDB has largely focused on age grouping but no attention is given on ethnic or cultural background of people. Age factor of voters may not enough to make adequate movie rating. The rating criteria has not segregated LGBT people (gay, lesbian, bisexual etc.), people disabilities, and people belonging to ethnic regions.
According to presentation test of Hollywood, there should be diversity on screen as part of media literacy tool. Media literacy tool refers to Bechdel test that ’22 jump street’ that movie has not passed. IMDB could have been improved if it includes certain categories with weights of people’s sexual and ethnic background. The logic behind it may include reviews of diversified viewership so they can rate movie according to presentation project test. Likewise, IMDB can include certain weight of Bechdel test like it has given to ‘top 1000 voters’. Moreover, IMDB movie rating criteria can meet requirements of presentation project test to improve credibility and comprehensiveness of its rating. 

Although, importance of age group is undeniable as ’22 jump street’ movie has targeted youth group so make and female under 18 have rated it 8.2 and 8.3 respectively that signifies the popularity among such age group. Such audience appeals to jokes related to work, college, friendship and sex. Youth also attracts to scenes like underage drinking, beach community, couples in underwear, bathing suits, involvement of college students in sex acts. Movie also has targeted mature audience by incorporating action and violence scenes among explosions, cartoon fashions, car chasing, combating with hands, and gun fights etc. It means age group segmentation seems relevant where movie is good blend of comedy, action and crime etc. while addressing the needs of people with age variations.
IMDB may rate movie from perspective of being qualified for action, comedy, romance or crime; it means movie may be rated based on its above four ingredients but not generally. 22 jump street is successive series of its previous episode so movie is doing just same thing like in predecessor episode where movie is showing its own weaknesses or characters’ weaknesses. Odd couple of Hill and Tatum show its American college liberty life with initiations, frat parties and spring breaks etc. There may be repetition of few things in 22 jump street compared to its previous episode so movie directors have to make change in upcoming episode say 23 jump street as Hollywood never allow cash cow for long time.  
We have alternate rating criteria to rate movie based on particular kind of scenes separately like action, fun, comedy, thriller then make cumulative rating of overall movie score. Following scenes may be judged on memorability, suspense, fun and love, culture, life charm etc. as distinct scores then adding up overall movie score.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bad Boys (1995) - Representation Test Blog 2

Bad Boys (1995)

I scored Bad Boys (1995), a hyperactive action cop film laced with comedy directed by Michael Bay. In the film, Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are two Miami cops who are in charge of recovering $100 million worth of stolen heroin from the headquarters. I selected this film because the protagonists are both African-American male actors. In addition, Bad Boys does not portray the women within the film objectively to supplement the mens roles, but instead as more active characters in helping the cops in the case of burglary. These two aspects of the characters race and the improving representation of female characters will help increase the score on the Representation Test. However, the score for Bad Boys stopped at an A with just 6 out of 27 points for its lack of LGBT and disabled persons.

In the first section of the test, “Women,” Bad Boys scored a 3 out 7, which is an adequate score considering the violent nature of this action film. The case assignment goes to Lowrey and Burnett, and Lowrey asks Theresa Randle, a prostitute, to keep an eye open for the high rollers who are associated with the criminal mastermind. The thieves then kill the woman while she was trying to retrieve the information for Lowrey. The scene takes up a third of entire film. Although Theresa is not a main character and there are some scenes hinting at female exploitation, Theresas bravery proves her values. Additionally, Theresa and her friend, Julie, who also cooperates in helping Lowrey, are both of color; yet maintain a role that has depth beyond the stereotypes of both women and African-Americans in society. Many scenes support this, such as where Lowrey asks Theresa to help him to approach the high rollers and she courageously accepts. Julie, the sole witness of Theresas death, is extremely scared of revenge but offers to help the officers solve the crime. Therefore, the film scored perfectly in the Bechdel Test for the inclusion of women of different race in speaking roles rather than compressing to racial stereotypes and their representation as more than objects for the male gaze.

In the second section, “Men,” the film scores 2 out of 4 points for its inclusion of men of different colors in non-stereotypical roles as protagonists and supplemental characters. Shootouts and chase scenes exemplify this when Lowrey and Burnett wind up in a truck filled with barrels of flammable ether while the villains race after them. Lowrey then pushes the barrels onto the road, shootscausing them to catch on fire, and sends them pummeling into the cars behind them. Furthermore, the part of the film when Burnett impersonates Lowrey and deals with his household business while Lowrey is out in the battle dealing with Julie is, in my opinion, strange but creative. It creates conflict and defies the stereotypes of male characters in film. Unfortunately, because of the intense violence and pervasive strong language, the film loses its credits of avoiding violence scenes and perpetuating an extreme ideal for men, bringing its score in this section down.

In the third section, “Race, Ethnicity and Culture,” the film does not touch on any offensive racial and cultural stereotypes but instead elevates these characters of different colors to an equal level where they can freely perform and prove themselves. The starts casted are mostly African-American actors or actresses, and the extent of the humor and their ability to enjoy themselves helps to prove that Michael Bay favors indiscrimination, which leads me to add a point in this third section.

Combining the fourth, fifth and final bonus sections of inclusion of LGBT people, people with disabilities and specialties of the film director, Bad Boys did not receive any points. There are times that the film actually mentions the stereotype of LGBT people in an ironic, devaluing manner. Therefore, it does not receive a score, even though the film briefly touches on the subjects.

In conclusion, this “Representation Test” contains both pros and cons. The pros include covering various aspects, touching on diverse roles of characters, and bringing all the shades of indiscrimination together. It means that films about anti-racism, human civil rights movements, female suffrages, and/or LGBT and people with disabilities will score higher than the rest. Scoring low indicates that the film represents narrow array of people and experiences. However, at times I do not think that this is necessary. Films usually focus on their main themes and specific genres, which help make them unique and unalloyed. If there were more concentrations in specific genres so that audience could get the best interpretation of the film, the quality of the test would improve.  


The Representation Test: Frozen

            Frozen, written and directed by Jennifer Lee, is a Disney movie about a fictional pair of sisters named Elsa and Anna. In a movie focused on the two sisters, Elsa has the unique ability to control the winter (snow, ice, etc) where Anna is kept in the dark about her sister’s powers. When Elsa loses control of her powers and is forced to flee the castle, Anna is the one who steps up to search out her sister and resolve the conflict.
            Looking at the Representation Test, I was optimistic for this movie. We have two leading female roles that break some of the normal stereotypes. I had a strong feeling that this movie could pass the test with flying colors. But to my surprise, the movie didn’t achieve as high of a score as I thought it would. I mean sure it ended up with an A but I expected a lot more from a movie in which the two main characters are female protagonists.
            First of all, Frozen received two points for the main protagonists being females. These points were the obvious ones and why I decided to pick the movie. We have Anna who is determined to help her sister control her powers in order to save her from self-induced exile. And then we have Elsa who is trying to save her castle from the eternal winter that she created. The next point comes from the fact that neither woman is just an object of the male gaze. Although we do see that Anna is interested in a guy and has another one that is interested in her, the story itself avoids the concept of making the sisters just objects for the men to look at. The final part of the women section of the representation test is that the movie successfully passes the Bechdel Test. These protagonists have many conversations that concern more than just a man, which gives it another point.
            Relating to men, this movie does nothing to glorify the violent behaviors of men in any way. There is an evil man who attempts to get rid of the sisters in order to take over their castle but he is the villain and is not glorified in the slightest. The next point comes from the restraint of idealizing men who have the “perfect body”. The glorification of the perfect body for a male is something that can create a lack of self-confidence in men which Disney does a good job avoiding.
            The remaining points come from the fact that this film was written and directed by a woman named Jennifer Lee. Also, the movie itself does nothing to promote offensive racial, ethnic, and cultural stereotypes.

            Overall the movie did all right on the Representation Test. A score of 8 is much lower than I anticipated however. I do see this test as a little too harsh on movies though. A movie such as Frozen is doing great things promoting feminine strength and the breaking out of the normal princess stereotype. Even the ending where Anna gets saved by a hug from her sister rather than prince charming is another example of how this movie truly breaks the “norm” for female roles. And yet, this movie only gets a B on this test. I think that these kinds of tests are a great idea however to achieve that sought after A is nearly impossible.