2019/01/16

Movie Ranks: Men vs Women

Seen on Twitter:


Cursory analysis: Women like newer children's movies. Men like mature films--with a marked preference for war movies, westerns, and sci-fi--that span all eras of film.

Additional observation: Number of entries on each list that also appear on AFI's list of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time

  • Women: 1
  • Men: 7

Also, I haven't dug deeply into this, but the women's list contains a glut of movies based on books, whereas the men's list appears to feature a preponderance of original screenplays.

What's the takeaway? Honestly, I'm not sure. I do have a sneaking suspicion that women give pride of place to stories as stories while men take a keener interest in film as a medium. Perhaps the disparity has something to do with men being more visual. This phenomenon warrants further study.

23 comments:

  1. I suspect that part of this is due to the nature of stores that men like vs those that women like. Quoting from http://www.scifiwright.com/fancies/saving-sf-from-sf/:

    If the essential element of the female side of courtship is discovering the man’s true character, then a book like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, which is concerned with the misjudgment and the correction of misjudgment about a suitor’s character is the central theme, is the quintessential feminine book. Women, if they are feminine women, will be fascinated by a book such as this, as it will allow them in their imagination to play through the steps they themselves, if they are not to live as nuns, will go through, or which they went through as maidens.

    ...

    Likewise, if the basic nature of the male side of courtship is overcoming obstacles between the suitor and the bride, then a book like A PRINCESS OF MARS is the quintessential masculine book. John Carter is so deeply in love with Dejah Thoris that even death cannot hinder him, nor the wide uncrossed interrupt of interplanetary space, and he fights his way past men and monsters and Martians, red and green and yellow and black, all the way from the South Pole to the North Pole in search of her, even though she is promised to another man.

    As this is John C. Wright, it hardly needs to be said that you need to read the whole thing.

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    1. I bow to the estimable Mr. Wright's insights into the story preferences of feminine women and masculine men. Indeed, nearly all of the entries on the men's list deal with overcoming obstacles; even facing death.

      Granting his premise that feminine women seek out stories about women judging their suitors' character, what are we to make of Frozen, Brokeback Mountain, and the dominance of the Harry Potter series?

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    2. Frozen certainly has elements of judging the suitors' characters. And in Hans's case, severely misjudging.

      Brokeback Mountain...don't know. I haven't seen the movie. Maybe it's heavy on exploring relationships? Maybe two guys being romantic and/or erotic is titillating like two girls would be for many guys?

      Harry Potter...I don't know. Maybe more relationships or who the person is rather than what the person does? I recall reading the books, and enjoying them...until the end. And then I didn't anymore. The first movies came out before the last book, and I remember enjoying the first ones in the theater, but then...not. This was also around the time that Richard Harris (first Dumbledore) died, and so the linking between actor and character also helped kill things for me.

      Thought experiment: Harry Potter vs Luke Skywalker [Original Trilogy only] vs Gilberic Moth. Gil starts off masculine, buckling down to work, and remains that way. I find him more likable and admirable, whether or not he is actually personable. Harry Potter...things start off all how bad his life is, and then suddenly he's high status in a fantastic world, rich, famous. He seems emo, and all my memories from book and movie both are of angst rather than happiness, or, at the least, satisfaction at a job well done. Luke starts more in the whiny category, but finds his vocation and gets much better and stays that way.

      I am somewhat surprised to not see any of the Twilight movies up there, or what they were fanfic of: Fifty Shades. OTOH, those may suffer from the book-to-movie switch.

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  2. Of more note might be that of the two lists, the women's list has one fictionalized version of a real event. The men's list has at least five.

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  3. Also they're all Harry Potter. These guys have an interesting theory about why that's the case.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAzhX8piWLw

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  4. What I find fascinating, not already mentioned, is how much less homogenous the male list is. I see European films, Bollywood, Japanese, American.

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    1. Being in physically weaker in general--the average 20 year old woman is only as strong as the average 50 year old man--women have historically relied on the group to get by. Thus they are more reliant on group consensus and more wary of dissent.

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  5. Two words for Pride and Prejudice's appeal to women: Colin Firth. No idea why the sucktastic 2005 version made the list.

    Something else jumps out: look how many of the women's movies are all about the Oppression Olympics. Hidden Baloney, The Blind Side, Brokeback Mountain.

    Men love violent movies and women love romances. Men love movies with more complex plots and women like stuff they can take the kids to.

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  6. Yup, I'm a woman, all right. Albeit the Harry Potter movies are bland as stand-alones and awful as a series that's supposed to have, like, continuity and junk. I mean, I'd absolutely WATCH a Kurosawa film or a historical drama. I loved Khartoum. But no, I (unlike my father) wouldn't call them compulsively watchable on the same order as a Disney picture.

    Then again, my absolute favorite movie is Pan's Labyrinth, and that has no place on either list.

    (Also, where the heck is Star Wars? I can think of plenty of people who wouldn't like Das Boot or Frozen, but none at all who don't like the original Star Wars. Is the fandom backlash that bad?)

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    1. This is a list of ratings that diverge wildly between men and women.

      If men and women both rate a movie highly, there is low divergence, so it doesn't show up on either list.

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    2. Khartoum and Pan's Labyrinth are both excellent.

      I'd consider most movies on the women's list watchable. The Sound of Music is a genuine masterpiece. Despicable Me and Edward Scissorhands are superior films.

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  7. The man list consists entirely of movies starring men doing man things.

    The woman list is dominated by romance movies, films they saw with their kids, and the most recent hyped up movie by the media.

    And Brokeback Mountain is on there because fujoshis spread far even out of the anime world.

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    1. A few correlations--and as Vox has pointed out, there is no causation without correlation:

      Women love Disney movies.

      Disney hates us.

      Relations between the sexes have been inverted to the point that women have turned and are essentially predating men, while men rush to isolate themselves.

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  8. [The male list is objectively and not subjectively full of better movies don't @me]

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  9. I think it comes down to the differening conception of adventure in men and women.

    For women, adventure consists of: is this man pursuing me worth my heart and love or not?
    for men: adventure: clear the obstacles! kill the monsters! get the prize! wed the damsel!
    The really good movies mash up the 2 conceptions very well.
    xavier

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    1. I thought Jim Henson's Labyrinth was a pretty good example of a female adventure or hero's journey. She rescues her baby brother by solving puzzles and problems, making friends and companions to help her, and she learns about maturity and rejects the dangerous, sexy but toxic bad boy Goblin King.

      I suspect if the movie was made today, she'd end up hooking up with the Goblin King and letting her brother get turned into a goblin.

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    2. You corroborate Brian's observation.She's a heroine because she solves puzzles and makes friends to save your brother while rejecting the goblin kings falseness Note she doesn't become super ninja commando grrrl.
      And that's why it was a good movie.

      xavier

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    3. It's also a movie boys and girls both can like.

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    4. The first time I saw Labyrinth, it struck me as the distaff counterpart to Legend, both 80s fantasy films with Froud gobbos. Compare Anon’s succinct summary of Sarah’s journey to Jack’s: Jack saves the princess by solving a riddle, leading his team through various perils, resisting a faerie’s charms, and engineering a solution to defeat the final boss. Both excellent films.

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    5. Not necessarily a division. There's a lot in Legend for girls to chew on, especially in the director's cut. Lilly starts off spoiled, thoughtless and irresponsible, makes a horrible mistake (gets used as a literal tool of evil) and has to face and - with a lot of help - deal with the aftermath of her screw-up.

      I've also heard an interesting interpretation of Legend: when Darkness says to use innocence as the bait for the unicorn: it's actually Jack, not Lilly who's the innocent.

      Lilly is used to seduce first Jack, then the unicorns. Used not necessarily against her will, but unconsciously, because she thoughtlessly followed her impulses without regard to cost or consequence.

      So arguably, she had the most growth as a character.


      Something tells me that's another movie that could never be made today.

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