Stu Presents, Men & Women Of Action: When Genre & Gender Collide!

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I guess that would depend on how you make the statement, as to whether or not I would be into it or not. When people say they want to change James Bond around to make a statement about how men suck, it sounds like these people, don't even like James Bond and are just using it to do something that comes from a negative place perhaps. It just sounds negative, like they are not real fans, when people say things like that.

Bond himself has misogynstic qualites, but I never thought of the moves as making a political/philosophical statement though.

But with this kind of talk it feels like people who say this don't want to make a real movie with a real story, and are just using a movie as a vehicle for a 'screw men'. Where as I want the filmmakers to make a movie because they actually want to. But that's just what it comes off as.
We live in a polarized political climate, so it is not surprising that our art leans into controversies. We live in an age when our filmic art is more likely to overtly, pointedly, and intentionally say "F*** You Bad Persons!" to so some group.

Our comedy, for another example, has shifted somewhat from "laughter" to "clapter." The comedian says something politically edgy, but also virtuous relative to their audience and the audience dutifully applauds the observation. Thus, it's more of a mini-homily than an actual joke. Consider, for example, whatever the hell this is...



Bond's casual misogyny was just as political, but it was rather lazily comfortably political. It was comfortable and casual, in part, because patriarchy enjoyed a rather comfortable privilege which was only beginning to be challenged. Bond's manliness was the status quo being a little naughty and viewers enjoying a "real man" being a bit of a "cad" or "heel." These movies weren't trying to change the world, but this does not mean that they weren't politically freighted, its just that the political coding was not evangelical, on the front end, preachy, and presented with blinking lights.

The problem of moralizing in artistic writing is not a new problem. See, for example, this essay by Albert Maltz way back in 1946.

https://www.unz.com/print/NewMasses-1946feb12-00019

If this is TLDR, then check out this video by Razorfist.



There is right-wing clunkiness in putting Atlas Shrugged on screen (and then begging for donations to help make the other installments, which seems to be a rather non-Randian thing to do). Also, Godsploitation films are also very "on the nose." And I think this comparison is probably the most apt, because we're witnessing the birth of a secular religion which has strong parallels with the moral enthusiasms of the French Revolutions evangelical zeal for secular enlightenment values, but with methods similar to those used in China in the 20th century. And it is not just in art. We have protestor/activists chasing senators into bathrooms now.

In short, times are changing and our art reflects this. We are in a tumultuous age and thus having uncomfortable experiences with art. This isn't to say that anyone is right or wrong, but rather that we're a house divided and that the new working to displace the old. It's always happening, but it is usually more like gradual sedimentation in geology. But there are also catastrophic events which are sudden in the geological record, volcanoes, Earthquakes, meteor strikes, etc. Today's art reflects the fast-changing time or more catastrophic geologic change - culture-quakes and painful and pronounced discontinuities in what we used to take for granted. Bond is sedimentary politics of gradual change. Today's films are the politics of catastrophic (or sudden) change. That's why Bond doesn't feel right. They are trying to adjust a decades old franchise to new times and the carpet no longer fits the room for everyone.



Registered User
Here, this fits the OP and the Bond-centric conversation.



The most hilarious conceit of this film is that super-spies from around the world would be doing a team up. Spies work for their respective governments in service of competing with other nations. Even friendly nations have been caught spying and stealing from each other, so the idea of a super-team of spies is a bit much, especially a super team that happens to be made up exclusively of beautiful women. But whatever.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
We live in a polarized political climate, so it is not surprising that our art leans into controversies. We live in an age when our filmic art is more likely to overtly, pointedly, and intentionally say "F*** You Bad Persons!" to so some group.

Our comedy, for another example, has shifted somewhat from "laughter" to "clapter." The comedian says something politically edgy, but also virtuous relative to their audience and the audience dutifully applauds the observation. Thus, it's more of a mini-homily than an actual joke. Consider, for example, whatever the hell this is...



Bond's casual misogyny was just as political, but it was rather lazily comfortably political. It was comfortable and casual, in part, because patriarchy enjoyed a rather comfortable privilege which was only beginning to be challenged. Bond's manliness was the status quo being a little naughty and viewers enjoying a "real man" being a bit of a "cad" or "heel." These movies weren't trying to change the world, but this does not mean that they weren't politically freighted, its just that the political coding was not evangelical, on the front end, preachy, and presented with blinking lights.

The problem of moralizing in artistic writing is not a new problem. See, for example, this essay by Albert Maltz way back in 1946.

https://www.unz.com/print/NewMasses-1946feb12-00019

If this is TLDR, then check out this video by Razorfist.



There is right-wing clunkiness in putting Atlas Shrugged on screen (and then begging for donations to help make the other installments, which seems to be a rather non-Randian thing to do). Also, Godsploitation films are also very "on the nose." And I think this comparison is probably the most apt, because we're witnessing the birth of a secular religion which has strong parallels with the moral enthusiasms of the French Revolutions evangelical zeal for secular enlightenment values, but with methods similar to those used in China in the 20th century. And it is not just in art. We have protestor/activists chasing senators into bathrooms now.

In short, times are changing and our art reflects this. We are in a tumultuous age and thus having uncomfortable experiences with art. This isn't to say that anyone is right or wrong, but rather that we're a house divided and that the new working to displace the old. It's always happening, but it is usually more like gradual sedimentation in geology. But there are also catastrophic events which are sudden in the geological record, volcanoes, Earthquakes, meteor strikes, etc. Today's art reflects the fast-changing time or more catastrophic geologic change - culture-quakes and painful and pronounced discontinuities in what we used to take for granted. Bond is sedimentary politics of gradual change. Today's films are the politics of catastrophic (or sudden) change. That's why Bond doesn't feel right. They are trying to adjust a decades old franchise to new times and the carpet no longer fits the room for everyone.

But it seems like the polarizing political climate is mainly an American thing though, and what about the movie goers around the rest of the world who do not live under that climate who still want to see James Bond though? I don't think that the Bond filmmakers should have to cater to the specific politics of mainly one nation of fans only.

But also, just because a character has a misogynistic flaw that doesn't mean that the floor automatically equals politics. I don't think character flaw should have to equal politics unless there's something actually political about the flaw.



….while recent Bond movies have made progress with its female representation, the women are all still supporting characters to Bond as a protagonist, so when it comes to just that individual series, I don't think its repudation of its sexist past won't be complete until it finally elevates a woman to being the main character, just like Connery, Moore, or Brosnan were in their entries.
Have read all this a few times with huge interest. Wondering how you would imagine a female character not being a “supporting” character to Bond in any context except if we did get a female Bond. You do say that can’t happen, I guess I just struggle with that.

I mean, the franchise is about him and bears his name - surely even if he were to get an equal partner and blah blah blah, this will be the secondary/supporting person in any context, due to the sheer fact this person is “new”? That said, I feel like Vesper has just about overshadowed Bond himself in the last 4 instalments, so narrative-wise, that’s as equal as it gets.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
I thought the closest to Bond that a Bond woman has become was probably Jinx from Die Another Day, because she is literally a female version of Bond it seems. Not just for action but also for seduction and sex as well.



What about if a female action hero had to have a really brutal fight like John McClane did with Karl in Die Hard and it just got really bloody, like in that fight... Would it be better if it were two women fighting or is it okay, for a female action hero to take a bloody beating as long as she wins?

If it were reversed, and it was a female villain fighting an action hero man, I am guessing you still want to see the hero loose the fight a lot at first, but I would be okay with a fight getting dirty and bloody if it was a good story that justifies it. If Die Hard can get away with such gore, I feel it would be double-standard-ish of me to criticizes it if one of the genders is female perhaps.
Depending on the movie, any number of gender scenarios in fights can (and has) worked; like, one thing I like about the original Total Recall is how the fight between Melina & Lori isn't choreographed as some stereotypically "titillating" catfight, with lots of nail-scratching, hair-pulling and clothes-tearing...



...but essentially as brutal as any hand to hand man-on-man fight (and harder-hitting on the whole than the fight Arnie had with Stone earlier, to boot). The same basic thing goes for the fight between Furiosa & Max in Fury Road; while we as an audience are still conditioned to be more protective of women in art, it's a much different situation for the characters actually inside the post-apocalyptic world in that film, and Max has no choice but to "hit a girl" in order to survive her onslaught (although this is obviously justified by its context, as well as by the film showing that Furiosa has Max dead-to-rights on more than one occasion, even fighting him without her claw-arm; had she had it on at that point, he'd surely have ended up as dead meat, instead of (barely) surviving).



I guess that would depend on how you make the statement, as to whether or not I would be into it or not. When people say they want to change James Bond around to make a statement about how men suck, it sounds like these people, don't even like James Bond and are just using it to do something that comes from a negative place perhaps. It just sounds negative, like they are not real fans, when people say things like that.

Bond himself has misogynstic qualites, but I never thought of the moves as making a political/philosophical statement though.

But with this kind of talk it feels like people who say this don't want to make a real movie with a real story, and are just using a movie as a vehicle for a 'screw men'. Where as I want the filmmakers to make a movie because they actually want to. But that's just what it comes off as.
While there is the danger of modern Action movies of over-correcting and accidentally tipping over into misandry in their efforts to be more progressive, it's still not much of a danger, and I certainly don't think it'll be as common as sexism against women has been in the genre in the past, since the solution to sexism against women isn't to essentially become the thing you hate by blindly reversing it. To bring Fury Road back up (yet again), even in an undeniably Feminist Action movie like that, where explicit criticisms are made by women against the toxic masculinity of various male warlords ("Who killed the world?!"), they're still honest criticisms, and it still has men like Max & Nux team up with Furiosa, and the feminine factions of the "wives" and the Vuvalini, even though Nux came from an exclusively male-dominated group called the "War Boys", a group that literally lived to worship a patriarchal figure as god himself. In fact, that's part of the whole point of the movie; the two genders shouldn't self-segregate themselves from each other, but should survive by working together, so there's no true misandry in that one, as far as I'm concerned.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Fury Road was done well in my opinion. But I guess that's different than changing the Mad Max character to a woman, and still keeping the same character overall. (Mad Maxine if you will?).

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome had a female warlord villain though, instead of the toxic male one. Does this mean that Beyond Thunderdome was ahead of it's time in that regard?



I'd say a ton would be gained by Bond making an effective transition into explicit feminism or having a female lead, and it wouldn't necessarily be that jarring a change, either; for one thing, to a certain extent, it would merely be an extension of a process that's already been going on within the series for some time now, a process that's undeniably changed the series for the better. I mean, do you not feel that Vesper being an unexpectedly strong-willed and independent woman in Casino Royale made her a better character, and by extension, made that a better Bond movie (which, again, is still my favorite in the series)?

Besides, it's a necessary change, because regardless of Bond being partially defined by his inherent sexism earlier in the series, the movies were good not because of that sexism, but despite it, so drawing the line here and now makes little sense; the series has been around for over half a century now, and they've always been set in and reflected contemporary times, so it's inevitable that the series was going to evolve to reflect the changes in society since the 60's, and trying to keep the character frozen in time makes little sense, and is just counter-intuitive. I mean, the AV Club just posted an entire list dedicated to detailing the examples of when Bond adapted to its times, so trying to resist that would just be steering away from the curve of progress (and off a cliff like those guys in Dr. No), instead of steering into it so it can get ahead of that curve, which is what it should be doing, as far as I'm concerned.

And the legacy of the series' sexism is the reason why explicitly rejecting that would say more than making a female Bourne successor or reboot, because that character obviously doesn't have the same taint, so doing so would carry so much less weight; a series can't drop baggage that it wasn't carrying in the first place, which is why Bond has to be the franchise to reject all of that. And I'm not saying that a female Bond would automatically be a good use of energy if it had a lazy, pandering, or mediocre script, which is why my point is predicated on the premise that they have a good script, which they have had before.

It's the same basic thing for the point about Max & Luke being there to pass the torch onto Furiosa & Rey, since there's obviously nothing stopping them from doing the same thing with Bond (in fact, Skyfall already teased this with having Moneypenny joining in on the action early on, and that movie would've been better if it had "pulled the trigger" on this idea, instead of her to go back to being just a secretary after she messed up, which was pretty disappointing to me). And of course, it's important to remember the way Hollywood's reacted to failed female blockbusters in the past, but again, things have changed since then, and it's only important to remember that in order to argue against Hollywood doing it again, so they won't again assume that audiences just don't like the "novelty" of female-lead Blockbusters (instead of those just being ****ty movies, the same thing as with any lousy film starring a man).

1) Yeah, Vesper's a good character. And Casino Royale is a good movie, in part because of her dynamic with Bond. I don't recall this being an argument about not incorporating a stonger female presence into these films though. I am entirely fine with the world around Bond changing. In fact, I think that is where you may find better ways to address the many unflattering elements of Bond's persona. Just swapping in a female to do that clean up work for the franchise just seems to be a lazy fix in the guise of the studios doing something bold.



2) If the argument for this gender swap is that we will now be able to offer a female actor a big budget role like Bond, I can understand that value of this. Even though, as I said, I am not going to be an optimist over how the studio would handle this, and I think they would treat the whole enterprise as a misguided enterprise as soon as it was in production, at least I get the value of extending an iconic role to this to those who have not had access to it before.


But as for the 'righting the wrongs' of the character, i think it is just a transparent dodge. I don't see how saddling a female with a character that is likely to be burdened with the same qualiites as a male Bond addresses anything. It's a play pretend solution. And frankly, seems to be a lazy way of not simply designing a new and similar type character that a female actress can make their own.



I just think it is an enormous fallacy to think that the way to get proper female representation on screen is to do things like 'fix' Bond. How about we just create a counterpoint to what Bond represents. Does even social justice have to abide by the tired mechanisms of retreads, reboots and sequels. And if we still want to be kinda lazy about the solution, you can put her in the Bond universe as a 006, or 013 or hey, let's give her the 001 treatment.



3) Maybe doing something like this would have been legitamately revolutionary if this was in the 90's or even early 2000's. But this approach barely feels like it has any cultural currency anymore. I really don't think this has the gravity you think it will. .Yeah, you'll get those who get disaproportionately outraged, and we can all have a chuckle at that, but that's an unbelievably hollow victory. At the end of the day, no one is really going to care or think about the value of this much. And while I'm not going so far to say it would be valueless (like said, there are probably a lot of female actors who would want to play Bond), and there are probably positives I haven't considered or have under valued, it just feels like a desperately empty gesture to me. And my deeply engrained cynicism can't get over that hurdle.



Besides, it's a necessary change, because regardless of Bond being partially defined by his inherent sexism earlier in the series, the movies were good not because of that sexism, but despite it, so drawing the line here and now makes little sense; the series has been around for over half a century now, and they've always been set in and reflected contemporary times, so it's inevitable that the series was going to evolve to reflect the changes in society since the 60's, and trying to keep the character frozen in time makes little sense, and is just counter-intuitive. I mean, the AV Club just posted an entire list dedicated to detailing the examples of when Bond adapted to its times, so trying to resist that would just be steering away from the curve of progress (and off a cliff like those guys in Dr. No), instead of steering into it so it can get ahead of that curve, which is what it should be doing, as far as I'm concerned.

In addressing this specific point, you talk of iconic characters having some kind of necessity to adapt with the times, and I always balk when this is discussed as some kind of obligation. A character is basically a collection of recognizable traits, and there is a tipping point once you remove enough of them, where you have to wonder if they should even be considered that character anymore.



In recent years, through long form serialized dramas like Sopranos and Mad Men and The Wire, we have been allowed to experience characters who develop as we watch them. These characters have good reason to change as the story develops. That is where the drama lies. Watching a Walter White more towards the dark, or a Jessie Pinkman move towards the light. We can even root for these characters reaching enlightenment. Or feel despair when they lose their way.



But characters like Bond are serialized characters who don't benefit in the same way. They are stand in figures we recognize, and it is the action around them that changes. When we fundamentally alter who the characters are, even if it makes them better people, we lose that connective tissue to previous incarnations. And what to me is interesting about a Bond, is very much his ties to the past. His enemies can change, the weapons and gadgetry he uses can develop, but he is that breath of antiquated familiarity.


Now, does this mean I still want Bond existing exactly as he did in the 60's, essentially pulling unwilling women into showers with him, living a 'no means yes' existence'? Definitely not as I think these elements in pop culture, when they are left unchecked and even endorsed, can be poisonous. But I think part of the character is defined by his inherent chauvanism, and being a bit of a cad, and as long as his character exists in enough of a modern world that it pushes back on these things, the essence of the character is retained and whatever undercurrent of sexist messaging is slapped away.



Basically, I don't know why we have to make Bond a suddenly admirable hero, simply because his origins as a character are at odds with todays society. Why, in any way, does Bond have to represent anything but being Bond? Once again, it seems you think the better solution to his problematic components, is to white wash them and continue forward. But to me his flaws are very much a part of what makes him an interesting character. And what he represents about the past is almost equally as interesting as that. I would similarly be disinterested in him suddenly showing remorse for all of the people he has killed over the past five decades. Shed a ****ing tear for Blofeld already, you heartless twat.That, after all, would be a pretty progressive thing to tack on to the character, right? But would it still be Bond?



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Well I think that changing Bond to a woman and give it all of these rising up against toxic masculinity themes, would alienate a lot of the fans.

It's like how for example, Baseball has a lot of fans. But there are people out there who hate baseball and find it boring and not a real sport, etc.

But if the baseball industry were to listen to those people, and change their sport into hockey pretty much, all of those fans would be driven away. So why do that? Saying that changing Bond into a woman will address problems.... Well it's not really a problem if the franchise is already a success. If it ain't broke don't fix it?

Why bother to drive away and alienate fans, just because some people do not like the movies? I just find it illogical.

Or it's like saying how nightclubs are bad, because they help promote bad behavior, so let's change all night clubs into churches instead. Well most if not all of your patrons will not want to come back then!



John Connor replacing Sarah was part of the original story though, because in the first movie, it was said that Sarah will raise a son that is going to fight a war. So that was already set up from the first movie, or so I felt.
Did Cameron intend to make a second Terminator movie when he made the first ?

Nonetheless the only Terminator movie in which John was the lead was the 3rd, which no one likes and he was played by Shia Labeouf, who also no one likes.



The OG action movie heroine was of course Ripley, and I think she's just as iconic and badass as any male action hero.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Some people credit the original action heroine being Pam Grier, but does she not count?



The trick is not minding
Did Cameron intend to make a second Terminator movie when he made the first ?

Nonetheless the only Terminator movie in which John was the lead was the 3rd, which no one likes and he was played by Shia Labeouf, who also no one likes.
I’m sure you meant Nick Stahl



Registered User
Some people credit the original action heroine being Pam Grier, but does she not count?

Diana Rigg a decade prior.



Helen Holmes? https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/...e-action-hero/



I’m sure you meant Nick Stahl
Wait... what ? I just googled it and T3 didn't have Shia LaBeouf but had this Nick Stahl guy. Did I just have a Bernstein bears moment ?



I am the Watcher in the Night
Wait... what ? I just googled it and T3 didn't have Shia LaBeouf but had this Nick Stahl guy. Did I just have a Bernstein bears moment ?
Shia would have been about 13 so I doubt it hahaaha It was definitely Stahl. Not a bad movie considering whats happened to the franchise since.
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Shia would have been about 13 so I doubt it hahaaha It was definitely Stahl. Not a bad movie considering whats happened to the franchise since.

Yes, if they had stopped there, it would have been an mildly disappointing final entry for the series, which is appropriate for a trilogy.



We live in a polarized political climate, so it is not surprising that our art leans into controversies. We live in an age when our filmic art is more likely to overtly, pointedly, and intentionally say "F*** You Bad Persons!" to so some group.

Our comedy, for another example, has shifted somewhat from "laughter" to "clapter." The comedian says something politically edgy, but also virtuous relative to their audience and the audience dutifully applauds the observation. Thus, it's more of a mini-homily than an actual joke. Consider, for example, whatever the hell this is...



Bond's casual misogyny was just as political, but it was rather lazily comfortably political. It was comfortable and casual, in part, because patriarchy enjoyed a rather comfortable privilege which was only beginning to be challenged. Bond's manliness was the status quo being a little naughty and viewers enjoying a "real man" being a bit of a "cad" or "heel." These movies weren't trying to change the world, but this does not mean that they weren't politically freighted, its just that the political coding was not evangelical, on the front end, preachy, and presented with blinking lights.

The problem of moralizing in artistic writing is not a new problem. See, for example, this essay by Albert Maltz way back in 1946.

https://www.unz.com/print/NewMasses-1946feb12-00019

If this is TLDR, then check out this video by Razorfist.

You make some good points in this post, but just for the record, I think Razorfist is an alt-right douchebag, and I can't stand to watch him (anymore).

But it seems like the polarizing political climate is mainly an American thing though, and what about the movie goers around the rest of the world who do not live under that climate who still want to see James Bond though? I don't think that the Bond filmmakers should have to cater to the specific politics of mainly one nation of fans only.

But also, just because a character has a misogynistic flaw that doesn't mean that the floor automatically equals politics. I don't think character flaw should have to equal politics unless there's something actually political about the flaw.
Regardless of the specific polarization of American politics at this current moment, sexism (particularly misogyny) is still a worldwide, universably understood aspect of society, one that's still pretty much present in every country to one degree or another, so it's not like other nations wouldn't be able to appreciate a more feminist Bond. Anyway, politics on its fundamental level is just a matter of the real life power relations between people, relations that inevitably get reflected and reinforced in art, so the idea that one of the most iconic characters of all time being sexist to half the human race isn't political is a bit silly to me; I mean, to a certain extent, how could that be anything but political?