In the Movies... Ep.5: Maleficent & Disney Villains

I think this is my favorite episode so far! I could talk about fairy tales all day. Maleficent is a great example of how to take a fairy tale and retell the story in a new way. Juliana and I both loved Maleficent and the themes of rape, revenge, true love, and ambition. I mean, no one loves rape, but we thought the rape metaphor of Stefan taking her wings was very powerful. Angelina Jolie's performance made that scene in particular, and the whole movie, very powerful and made you deeply connect with the character.

We also had a fun discussion about other Disney villains that we would want to see get their own movies (Ursula! Ursula!). We even got a little carried away basically writing the scripts for some of our ideas. We guessed at what would lead these characters to the time in their life that they are doing evil things. After seeing that Maleficent was acting out of revenge, we suggest traumas that other characters might have gone through to lead them on their dark paths. And then there are some that are just greedy assholes.

In movie news, we mentioned The Make it Fair Project. This is the amazing, deeply sarcastic, video that we talked about.

It seems we're changing something about our format with every episode, so sorry if you don't like change, but we're learning as we go. With each episode, we learn what works and what doesn't, and we get new ideas for how to best talk about these movies and topics.
We started with giving each movie a pass or fail for the Bechdel test. Then, we added a Female Crew tally. Before this episode, I had the idea to expand the Bechdel test from beyond just pass or fail, because so often we say a movie "technically" passed, but we're still not satisfied with how women were represented in the movie. I thought giving a grade of Bechdel test would be more true to the idea. (ie. B is pass, below would not pass all three parts, above would be healthy representation) But just before we recorded the episode, I found this post on Tumblr that listed several more "tests" that people have created that measure female representation in movies. So, from now on we will be giving movies a grade for Female Representation, taking into account factors mentioned in these tests, and just our personal opinion of how we, as women, feel represented.

two or more [named] women talking to each other about something other than a man 
at least one female character with her own narrative arc that is not about supporting a man’s story
a female character that cannot be removed from the plot and replaced with a sexy lamp without destroying the story.
no woman assaulted, injured or killed to further the story of another character.
complex women defined by solid characterization rather than a handful of underdeveloped masculine-coded stereotypes.

Since we're assuming that you've seen the movie that we talk about (we don't hold back on spoilers, this is a full discussion), we realized we were approaching the idea of recommending the movie the wrong way. I find it hard to rate a movie in a 5-stars kind of way, so we decided to use the most popular movies rating site, Rotten Tomatoes, to provide a percentage rating. It provides both a critics rating and an audience rating, which I find interesting to discuss the reasons for each. So, we'll let Rotten Tomatoes quantify movies with their ratings, and we'll just use our words to express our overall feelings for a movie.

Let us know what you think about Maleficent and our Disney villain story ideas by emailing us at
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TishIn the Movies, Podcast