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Women, Sport, and Film 2004 - Mia Hamm Forum

Comments are posted in the order in which they are received, with earlier postings appearing first below on this page. To see the latest postings, click on "Go to last comment" below.

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Welcome to Women, Sport and Film 04
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2004-10-19 16:21:11
Link to this Comment: 11137

Welcome! This course will have both a class component and a web exchnage of ideas, thoughts and comments. "Mia Ham" is the name of your 'team'. Introduce yourself to your 'teammates' - where you're from, interest in sports etc.

HI Mates
Name: Devon
Date: 2004-10-27 16:12:35
Link to this Comment: 11233

Hi Team Mates,
My name is Devon Montgomery. If you couldnt tell from my class comments I am from Philly PA and very very proud of that. GO Eagles! I am interested in mostly mens sports. I love to play football and basketball. WHile I know that they are not mens sports anymore, I find that I dont see myself competing in anything that has to do with a skirt.
I really liked the film. I thought it did its best to pain Pat as a strong female role with a male handicap. I think it broke with tradition and gave her the upper hand of power at the end of the film. While I understand that as we see her today as strong Bryn Mawr girls, I think that for the time Pat and Mike was a film about a woman trying to find her strength in herself, her own self worth without being attached to a man. She just needed a coach in that department and Mike was willing to help her out. She was completely sexless to him, and I think it back up my argument that he was more of a life coach they anyting else.

Name: Jessica Le
Date: 2004-10-28 21:41:18
Link to this Comment: 11263

Hi, my name is Jessica Leger and I am from Texas. I am a senior, and think this course should be pretty interesting. I like sports, for the most part, though I have to admit that I am not very athletic; I do enjoy swimming. I also enjoy watching sports; I think games and races, etc., can be really exciting.
Pat and Mike was an entertaining film. I do not know much about the film of the time and how women were portrayed then, other than what was said in class Tuesday (in addition, I have not had any film studies classes, so my comments are very much those of an 'amateur').
As for the film, I do think that for the most part it probably was quite challenging at the time that it was made. I do think that it presents a woman who is strong and capable; the fact that her game falls apart when her fiance is around is interesting to say the least, and I wonder if it is not just a device, really, to allow for the action in this film. I also think that the film presents Pat as a smart individual, who knows herself and can recognize her own faults and those of others, as well as make keen observations about the world around her and act and react accordingly.
It was really interesting to watch this film and think about it in relation to more recent women's sports films that have been made. This film's ending of Pat and Mike together, and Pat able to continue her sporting activities, appealed to me. I felt like in a way this happy ending was a good one, because she ended up with someone who helped her rather than hurt her (in a way), and she gets to be the successful woman athlete. Anyway, this film certainly got me thinking. (Sorry this was so long!)

Pat and Mike
Name: Marisha Ba
Date: 2004-10-29 11:19:42
Link to this Comment: 11267

Hi I'm Marisha Banerji and I'm a junior. I'm from Calcutta, India and i'm the most sports-impaired person who ever came down the pike. Nevertheless, I enjoy watching cricket, tennis and soccer. I really liked the film and I thought it was less "Pat and Mike" than 'Pat". The movie was not a traditional romantic comedy in the sense that the conflicts were about Pat struggling to overcome her own id and gain the rerspect of herself and the world around her. It also deviated from tradition towards it's ending...though Pat overcomes her difficulties and comes out on top as we might expect, the rather secondary role played by Mike is certainly nontraditional for the time period. I think the movie made some real attempts to expand the image of women... the scene where Pat immobilises a couple of goons is a good example of this.

Hi guys!
Name: Steph Masi
Date: 2004-10-31 13:18:23
Link to this Comment: 11280

Hi everyone,
My name is Steph, I'm a sophomore, and as you can see, I am technology challenged since it took so long for me to post this. I am from McLean, Virgina which is about 15 minutes outside of Washington, DC. Orginally though I am from Darien, CT and in no way consider myself really southern;) I am what my friends like to call " a southern yankee". I used to play soccer and ride horses until I messed up my back. I love watching soccer on tv and I am a huge football fan (Go Pats!!). On campus you can find in the PSB (yay pre-vet), on Denbigh 2nd (yay customs), or with the rugby team (yay rugby team mom)!

As far as the film, I liked it. It did a good job in portraying what an athlete can be like. Pat represents the athlete combination of having confidence at one moment and then feeling extremely insecure at another. I am sure every athlete, male or female, has felt that way at one time or another. Something to be noted about the film was that it was more about Pat's life than her ability. Like many people said in class, her sports just come naturally to her and it was the non sports issues that she had to battle with during the movie. I wonder if this is a comment that women cannot play sports because their emotions get in the way, as represented by Pat's fiancee and the effect he has on her performance. It is not until a man, Mike, comes in and shows her what a real 50/50 realtionship is that she can have her confidence and natural skill work at their full potential. I really liked the ending of this movie because Pat has regained full confidence in her sport ability and her life. She aslo understands the meaning of a 50/50 relationship with Mike and realizes how good that is for her life.

Name: Devon
Date: 2004-11-01 08:07:48
Link to this Comment: 11297

I really like what jamie said about 50-50 relationships. I think she make a good point about emotions and sports in general.

Date: 2004-11-01 20:57:48
Link to this Comment: 11312

I'm Elhanna Porter and I'm a sophomore. I'm originally from Buffalo NY, home of buffalo wings and 7 foot snow drifts. I signed up for this class cause I really love movies so I though it would be a good way to get PE credit.
I think that considering the time that it was filmed in, Pat & Mike did a really good job of giving a positive message to women. One thing I really liked was that there was never any question of Pat's ability to be an outstanding sportswoman, it was just the matter of her being able to figure herself out emotionally. I also really loved the ending because I thought that it showed that both Pat and Mike had come a long way, Pat in being able to stand up to Collier and fully realize her potential as an athelete and Mike for being able to look at Pat as something approaching a full partner.

Pat and Mike
Name: Jessica Le
Date: 2004-11-02 00:40:54
Link to this Comment: 11316

It seems like everyone agrees that the film was overall positive in how it portrayed what it did, and how it ended. I think that everyone also had really interesting comments, in a seemingly similar vein. I think that the fact that we all seem to see Pat as a positive role model at the time is really telling. It is interesting that in the film Pat is portrayed as an excellent athlete, who only has to figure out her personal issues rather than dealing with any question about her ability. I feel that the film seems to show a woman who is absolutely capable, which perhaps makes it seem like women can do anything, and it is the men in their lives that they have to figure out and work out (and really figure out their own identity, and then figure out how men work in their lives).

Name: Beatrice L
Date: 2004-11-02 01:15:57
Link to this Comment: 11318

Hey everyone,
     My name is Bea and I'm a senior psychology major. I'm from Northeast PA and am the daughter of Romanian immigrants -- which means that whenever Romania's soccer team is playing a televised game, we're watching it. Otherwise, I'm not very athletic or sports-oriented. I'm taking this class, however, because it sounds interesting and I do love watching movies.
    As far as Pat and Mike, I believe the film did break tradition in some ways. The most apparent way that it goes about doing so is by making the main character a talented female athlete. Although she is strong-willed and can be independent, she also exhibits weakness. For example, she gets nervous when her boyfriend is present, and she's no longer at the top of her game. Also, she comes to depend upon Mike for all kinds of support. Some may say this is just guidance, but where is her own motivation? I know it was a big step for her just to leave her boyfriend in the first place in order to pursue an athletic career, but she went from being his "little woman" to being led by a paternal figure. I found it confusing that the writers would create such a conflicted character. Also, the movie addresses the fact that she is finding herself and her place in the world, but - as is typical Hollywood - they turn the spotlight on the budding romance between Pat and Mike and stray from her pursuit of a dream/career.
    So, basically, I think that this movie made an effort to create a different image for women (stronger, more independent), but some of the storyline reverted back to traditional views. Also, referring back to what Devon said in her comment about Pat being sexless to Mike, I'd have to disagree. Throughout the movie, he makes comments to others about her physical appearance - showing interest in her. When you say she was sexless, I guess I would imagine that implies a "strictly business" mentality in their relationship. However, that's clearly not the case toward the end of the film.
    Okay, that's enough out of me.

Date: 2004-11-03 16:03:55
Link to this Comment: 11340

Forum Week 2 A League Of Their Own

The movie’s characters, women’s baseball players, by virtue of the sport (baseball) and participation in professional athletics, immediately challenges the ‘typical narrative style’ of a mainstream Hollywood movie. But, the story and the role each character plays falls within a range of supporting the narrative and challenging it:

1. Where does Dottie’s character fit?
2. Does the role of the ‘baseball agent’, in his colorful language mock the narrative, providing an easy comparison to the role the players assume?
3. What things did Penny Marshall, the director, do --to challenge the stereotypical role of women in mainstream films?
4. Do you think Dottie purposefully dropped the ball in the last scene so her sister Kit could be the hero, the role she had longed for? How does that last scene play into your thoughts on the narrative?

Date: 2004-11-04 15:54:44
Link to this Comment: 11357

As far as Dottie goes, I think that for the time she tried to be the strongest women she could be, for her family and her husband. I believe she thought that as the oldest she had more responsibilities. I dont think she challanged any gender roles perse, but I dont think she fits the stereotype of women of that time. I think there were girls in the movie who did, like the blonde, the former ms.Georgia.
I think the scout was there to play the part of male chauvinist. I think Marshall used him to show the girls characters in relation to him and his comments, and to give a little comic relief.
As far as the last scene, I dont think Dottie dropped the ball on purpose, I think Kit wanted it more. Kit saw baseball as the way to distinguish herself in a world where she wasnt looked highly upon, Dottie saw it as a way to suport her family, and to give something to her sister. I think Dottie is a woman who always tried to do whats right and make everyone else happy before herself.

Date: 2004-11-04 15:55:24
Link to this Comment: 11358

Sorry, Devon posted the previous comment.

A League of Their Own
Date: 2004-11-06 00:10:42
Link to this Comment: 11386

Depending on the way you look at it, Dottie's character can be said to support and challenge traditional roles of women in film and society. On the one hand she is a pioneering sportwoman and does things noone has done before or since. She is strong and atheletic, and supports herself during the difficulties of a war.
On the other hand, she lacks the one thing protagonists in all sports movies seem to possess, and that is the drive and need to excel in a sport. She loves the game, but never makes it the center of her life and at all times seems to be dragged partially unwillingly into the professional arena.
The baseball agent's role, aside from the comic relief, seems to be to challenge the wise supportive elder role usually played by such men in movies ( a role his epitaph in the last scenes, where Marla calls him the man who changed her life would seem to suggest).
I think that Dottie has a competitive streak that won't just let her give the game to Kit, but feels that Kit really needs to know that she won it all on her own.

A League of Their Own
Name: Marisha
Date: 2004-11-06 00:11:40
Link to this Comment: 11387

Depending on the way you look at it, Dottie's character can be said to support and challenge traditional roles of women in film and society. On the one hand she is a pioneering sportwoman and does things noone has done before or since. She is strong and atheletic, and supports herself during the difficulties of a war.
On the other hand, she lacks the one thing protagonists in all sports movies seem to possess, and that is the drive and need to excel in a sport. She loves the game, but never makes it the center of her life and at all times seems to be dragged partially unwillingly into the professional arena.
The baseball agent's role, aside from the comic relief, seems to be to challenge the wise supportive elder role usually played by such men in movies ( a role his epitaph in the last scenes, where Marla calls him the man who changed her life would seem to suggest).
I think that Dottie has a competitive streak that won't just let her give the game to Kit, but feels that Kit really needs to know that she won it all on her own.

A League of Their Own
Name: Jessica
Date: 2004-11-06 14:18:27
Link to this Comment: 11394

4. Do you think Dottie purposefully dropped the ball in the last scene so her sister Kit could be the hero, the role she had longed for? How does that last scene play into your thoughts on the narrative?

In A League of Their Own, Dottie's character seemed to be a mix of the traditional and a challenging figure. She is the best baseball player of the group, and she also has certain ideas about her life which make her choose not to pursue baseball any further. I think in this film, the women were portrayed as really strong individuals. Though, while some were independent, many still held strong ties to the men in their lives. I think that the women were talented and able, and they seemed to take charge when necessary. Of course, this is all next to the fact that in the end, they answered to a man who was in charge. I think though, that it is telling that the man (Tom Hanks) changes by the end, because of the women on his team. As for the end, when Dottie dropped the ball, I did wonder when watching the film whether or not she dropped the ball on purpose. I could believe that she did, for her sister; but I think it is best that we do not know for sure, it makes her character all the more complex. Indeed the film touches on lots of interesting questions and makes me think about how it might be different and yet the same as other mainstream Hollywood films.

A League of Their Own
Name: Bea
Date: 2004-11-07 21:01:03
Link to this Comment: 11424

Dottie was definitely a mix of a woman's traditional role and someone who was breaking ground. She was obviously a very talented player, but her heart just didn't seem to be all in it. She was torn between dedicating her life to only her husband, and pursuing something she was really good at doing. However, I did find it reassuring that when her husband returned from the war, he was very supportive of her new occupation. The baseball agent was very much a caricature of chauvinistic males. He acknowledged the players' talent, but still showed that he felt beauty would play a more important role in getting fans to fill the stands at games.

I enjoyed the fact that Penny Marshall showed that most of these women were able to retain their femininity off the field, but play as hard as the male players had done (in spite of the fact that they were forced to play in skirts). However, I also noticed that they transformed Marla into what a woman was supposed to be like during that time.

As far as Dottie dropping the ball at the end - I could see how one might believe she did, but I personally disagree. She had always been considered the better baseball player when compared to Kit. So, in a way, she kept pushing her sister to compete with her and ultimately excel. Playing baseball professionally was something that Kit had wanted more than did Dottie. This was evident from the start of the movie, when they are first discovered by the agent.

Name: Steph
Date: 2004-11-09 11:01:01
Link to this Comment: 11462

Dottie's character is what she can be for a woman in her position at her time. She is clearly talented at baseball and loves it, but chooses a home life once Bill comes back from the war. Dottie however didn't do it out of duty. She loved baseball and she loved Bill. Her case was rare in the fact that her husband supported her playing.
As far as the baseball agent, I think he was supposed to represent the cold hard truth. Yes it was great for these women to have this oppurtunity, but only pretty girls could play. His harshness was always a little reminder of the skepticism that most people felt about an all women's league. Penny Marshall mixes old with new ways to shoot women for the time period she has created. She still does the close ups on the woman's face, but it is not a long pause and usually not a face of weakness or longing. Marshall portrayed the women as hard working athletes, who would have massive brusies from sliding, to girls who just want to go out and have fun. Marshall makes the focus on the women, as it should be, and not on the men who "got them to where they are now".
In the end of the movie, I do not think that Dottie dropped the ball. Kit wanted a baseball and fame life. Dottie wanted a home and family with Bill. Baseball may have been Dottie's secret passion, but it was Kit's life and that is seen in the final scene of the movie.

A League of Their Own (2)
Name: Jessica
Date: 2004-11-09 16:48:36
Link to this Comment: 11468

It sees like everyone found Dottie to be a strong female lead in the movie, and that she actually defied some of the traditional roles for women at the time. I agree that she was a bit of a mix as well as a challenge to the norm. I think I also agree with the person who said that the scout seems like an example and reminder of the 'cold hard truth'--the fact that he viewed the women he found as objects and assets, or material that would provide money, in a sense, shows that he looks at the world and capitalism in a realistic way. As for Dottie dropping the ball at the end, I think that perhaps that Penny Marshall left it somewhat ambiguous so that the viewer could decide on his/her own. This is certainly debatable, and I do think that the movie sort of pushes you in one direction, and as for the class it appears that most believe she absolutely did not drop the ball on purpose. I think that is a valid observation, but I do not think you can discount the view that she might have dropped the ball on purpose. I still am not sure where I stand.

A League of Their Own
Name: Bea
Date: 2004-11-09 16:51:32
Link to this Comment: 11469

I agree with Steph's observation of how Marshall portrayed the female athletes as hard workers. It's true that by showing them with bruises, it shows how much effort they were really putting into what they were doing.

I can't help but wonder, though, if Dottie's husband hadn't been supportive - would she have returned to the sport? Any thoughts?

Name: Devon
Date: 2004-11-09 17:03:59
Link to this Comment: 11472

I dont know that Dotties husband was supportive. I think he enjoyed the fact that he wife was famous and was good at something but he didnt seem particularly supportive. I think Jimmy was supportive of the girls and really hit home when he said to Dottie that she would regret not playing that last game for the rest of her life. Thats what I think made her turn around.

Week 3 ROCKY
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2004-11-10 11:47:13
Link to this Comment: 11485

What were you left with at the end of the movie, what was the message and what images were woven together through-out the movie to create the final message? Why was it important to use names like Rocky, the Italian Stallion, Appolo Creed, Adrianne, and Paulie (Adrian’s brother) how does the character name advance the movie plot?

Yay Rocky!
Name: Devon
Date: 2004-11-11 11:48:35
Link to this Comment: 11511

I think the end of the movie did two things, left an open end so that the story could continue and mde it clear to Rocky and those watching that he went the distance. At the end of 15 rounds it was clear that rocky could hold his own against the heavyweight champion of the world, the judges split decision also made it clear that Rocky not only held his own but won the match in the eyes of some of the judges as well. His fight to prove himself worthy not only made it clear to hi that he wasnt a bum but his fight made it clear to him and Adrienne that they really loved each other and that this fight was for them. Sort of to prove that they were fighters, and both of them had proved they werent bums and belonged together.
As far as the names go I think we covered that in class. Apallo was supposed to the the perfect man, the perfect boxer, the perfect competitor. Rocky was hard and strong but not smooth around the edges, not fine tuned alot like the boxer in Pat and Mike, hard and tough but not pretty. Adrienne I think fits that female character well, its not to girly bu has a strong ring to it. Paulie sounds like a mobsters name, like a sidkicks name, not the main character, and paulie will always be number 2.

Name: Jessica
Date: 2004-11-12 12:12:01
Link to this Comment: 11531

At the end of the movie, it felt like a personal win for Rocky. He did what he set out to do. I also wondered about the saying, 'It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game'--I felt like this movie stays true to this 'motto'. Rocky did not actually win in the end, but he did play his game as best he could, and achieved his own goal, which was in his eyes a lofty one. Throughout the movie, Rocky is portrayed in a certain light, which changes through the movie. First, he is in a sense a 'nobody', someone who has not acheived much in his life; and the boxing club owner (I cannot remember his name) even says to him that he had what it took to become a great boxer and he sort of threw that away. Later in the film, though, the music changes, and Rocky makes achievements such as his run which ends with him not out of breath or hurting. And finally, of course, is the end, when he realizes his goal. I am not sure about what the names did for the movie, though certainly Rocky feels like a strong name, one that essentially allows a nobody become a somebody. Also, the Italian Stallion and Apollo Creed are strong names. The Italian Stallion takes the name of what many probably think of as a great horse; and Apollo Creed takes the name of a Greek god, and with Creed also places him in this realm as a human being, albeit a great one. As for Adrianne and Paulie, I am not sure about their effect, other than that they are very normal, regular names. Finally, I just wanted to make a quick commment about the use of Philadelphia as the setting--apparently boxing has a very strong history and standing as a sport in Philadelphia; the city apparently has some of the oldest boxing clubs in the US, (meaning the same ones have been used forever, essentially). I think this makes the setting much more meaningful and adds something to the movie.

Date: 2004-11-15 10:52:05
Link to this Comment: 11571

One of the things that I love the most about the movie Rocky is that very little of it follows the typical Hollywood mold. Rocky's not that smart, Adrianna's not that beautiful, Paulie's a drunk who's cruel at times but that never stops you from feeling pity for him. In the end Rocky doesn't try to give the typical messae, if David works hard enough and has people who believe in him he can win over Goliath, instead Rocky tells you that if you challenge yourself hard enough you can "go the distance" which even if it doesn't mean winning is further than you ever went before.
As far as names go in Rocky I think they have a lot to do with the character's personalities. Apollo Creed is loud, confident, and brash. Rocky is down to earth, stubborn, and though loveable not so bright. Paulie, like the character is another average name.

Date: 2004-11-15 15:06:25
Link to this Comment: 11576

I like what Elhanna said about names. I think what she said about Rocky being down to earth made a lot of sense. Also what she said about him in regards to David and Goliath. I think this story does have alot to do with faith in ones own strengths, whether they be inner or outer strengths. It is alot about believing in what you have and using that to 'go the distance'.

Name: Bea
Date: 2004-11-15 17:25:48
Link to this Comment: 11581

I've seen this movie several times and I think part of the reason I enjoy it so much is the fact that it really doesn't depict Rocky as your typical hero. It's made clear that he isn't that smart - and he seems to be aware of that. When we are first introduced to him, we see that he has settled into a job working for a mob boss in order to make ends meet. Boxing is obviously something he'd rather be doing, but he lacks support and the motivation to strive for something better. However, when presented with a great opportunity, he sees this as a chance to make his dream come true - the motivation he has needed all along. Ultimately, however, he realizes that it's not very likely he will defeat Apollo Creed and decides his goal is really just to "go the distance" with him. At the end, I wasn't disappointed that he didn't win the championship because it was evident that he had reached his goal. This achievement was going to open new doors for him and provide him with a new confidence. I just really liked that we were shown how his life really started turning around: he was training hard, had a stable and happy relationship with a woman he'd been admiring for a while, and was getting support and recognition from his fellow Philadelphians.

I know we discussed this in class, but the use of names in this movie was very important. Apollo Creed implies a godlike character - the perfect male specimen. I also think that it indicates that he is very focused on presentation and entertainment. Rocky is a strong name, but definitely seems to fit the idea of an "average joe" type. However, his character's strength becomes more apparent by attributing the name "Italian Stallion". Adrian again seems like a name that could be applied to someone who is strong and independent. Paulie seems to be diminutive - implying that he is dependent - on his sister, on alcohol, on Rocky to try to get him a "better" job.

Name: Marisha
Date: 2004-11-15 21:21:35
Link to this Comment: 11586

At the end of the movie, a definite message arose at the end of the noise and the confusion, it was that Rocky had won, not by soundly defeatiung Apollo Creed in thirty seconds, but by doing what he had set out to do and surpassing everybody's expectations. I felt that not underestimating yourselff, but believing in yourself and setting goals and acieving thwm was a theme that resonated throughout the movie, especially with the characters od Rocky, who rises above the small-time bum everybody, including himself, thinks he is, and Adrian, who flowers from a quiet and debilitatingly shy woman her brother castigates as useless to the woman who stands up to him and finds the courage to move out of probably the only home she has ever known to pursue a relationship with Rocky.
I felt that the names of characters were intended to give us a thumbprint of their personalities; Rocky the strong man, Apollo the Boxing God, Paulie the veryman and so on.

Name: Marisha
Date: 2004-11-15 21:25:28
Link to this Comment: 11587

I agree with everyone who said that Rocky was definitely out of the usual sugary Hollywood mold. There was a very real "down to earth" feeling to the movie.

Name: Jessica
Date: 2004-11-16 00:12:52
Link to this Comment: 11596

I think that what resonates most with the audience, especially based on the comments here, is the fact that Rocky ultimately achieves his goal. He 'goes the distance', as a couple of people have mentioned, and that is very important to this film. He does what he sets out to do, and he is humble, on top of it. I agree also with the idea that the end allows for a sequel, so to speak, it allows for several sequels in fact. And, Rocky's win does allow for him and Adrianne to express their love for one another. They were able to grow as characters together, and in the end cross a type of threshold, where Rocky achieves his humble goal and then shouts for Adrianne, and Adrianne tells Rocky she loves him.

Name: Bea
Date: 2004-11-16 13:45:40
Link to this Comment: 11608

Well, it seems like we are all in agreement that Rocky had a personal victory in spite of not beating Apollo Creed. And I definitely agree that they set up the movie to allow for a sequel... I mean, they have just begun to develop as strong, confident individuals - you can't help but wonder where they go from here.

Name: Steph
Date: 2004-11-16 18:09:04
Link to this Comment: 11613

At the end of the movie, I was left with the impression that if you want to succeed bad enough, you will reach your personal best. Rocky didn't have to win the fight, he just wanted to prove to himself that he could go the distance, and he did.
The names I feel are very important. Apollo Creed is such a majestic and classically strong name that refers back to Greek times. Rocky, on the other hand, is a rougher sounding name. Rocky is not classically strong, but rather gives a brute force kind of feeling. His name is more street strong. Adrianne is such a delicate name that it reflects her character very well. She is a small person who finds her strength. Also, her name sounds quite different when Rocky says it than when Paulie says it. Paulie is also named quite well. It makes me think of "one of da boyz" that my itailian uncles would refer to. His name represents not only his ethinicty, but with the "-ie" on the end, it makes him sound like a little boy, which in many respects he still is.

Name: Steph
Date: 2004-11-16 18:10:53
Link to this Comment: 11614

I agree with Marisha's comment. There was a very down to earth feeling about this movie. "Rocky" really did break the mold in the fact that I could actually believe hearing about a story like this in the newspaper. It made the underdog's dream seem very reachable.

Week 4 Girl Fight
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2004-11-18 23:47:56
Link to this Comment: 11663

What did the movie say? What images supported the message? Did it challenge the traditional narrative?

Name: Jessica
Date: 2004-11-19 22:33:59
Link to this Comment: 11690

I think that the movie was trying to show that a girl is as strong as or stronger than a boy/man. Diana was a girl participating in a male sport and succeeding in it, too. I think that the images in the film show her as somewhat ambiguous, often she seems to be a very androgynous, genderless character, perhaps to help us believe that she can be a good boxer. It is especially visible in the first scene of the film, when we see merely body shots of Diana and people passing her by; and here, rather she appears almost male-like, physically at least. She also stands out in that first scene, in her green outfit (very military green, certainly). I really enjoyed how this movie was filmed, the way the scenes were shot and the color palette that was used. As for the traditional narrative, I think that the movie does challenge it, because of the fact that it shows, in a sense, a 'girl-hero' which is unusual in Hollywood. And, she not only succeeds, she succeeds in a man's world; she challenges even traditional societal pressures on and roles for women. In addition, she is a strong character who will not back down and works hard for her success; her femininity does not really come into play in this film (even when she is with Adrian she is never really feminine, in stark contrast to the other girls in the film).

Devon's Comments
Date: 2004-11-20 12:30:38
Link to this Comment: 11696

I believe that the movie was about finding a way through life. About trying to find an open window. In this story it was about using your strengths to prove that there are ways of getting through that open window. I think the images of walls and windows portray this message very clearly. To get away from being walled in Diana had to find her strengths and use them to find her windoe at the end. I feel at the end when she finally had a sense of who she was that she could open that window and let her gaurd down. Thats what I thought about the film.

Name: marisha
Date: 2004-11-22 22:49:48
Link to this Comment: 11722

I think that this movie did not truly challenge traditional sports movie structures in terms of its narrative. The story goes down a familiar and oft traveled road in many different ways. The kid(s) from the wrong side of the tracks makes good. The girl gets the boy. The protagonist resolves her issues and fights ( literally in this case) her way to the top despite all the obstacles( family, society, herself, etc.) It's message was the usual: win despite the odds thanks to sheer strength of will. However, the character of Diana was an extremely strong female lead and the film went in a new direction by having her invade one of the few male bastions left that have gone virtually unchalleged by women, and having her win in style. It sends out a very positive message. It also went in a new direction by having her be one of the most physically aggressive female leads seen. The image that yhas stayed with me from this movie is the one where she beats her father to a pulp in a rage.

Girl Fight
Name: Bea
Date: 2004-11-22 23:05:12
Link to this Comment: 11723

I think that throughout the movie, Diana was going against the idea of the stereotypical girl. She's aggressive, she fights, she doesn't aspire to be feminine, etc. She just needed to find a way to channel that aggression. She eventually found an outlet in boxing. That alone breaks away from the traditional narrative. She also isn't dependent upon her boyfriend - or anyone really. She watches out for those she loves (her friend, her little brother) and defends them whenever necessary. She excels at the sport once she applies herself - and even defeats her boyfriend in the ring. I've never seen another movie that has portrayed a woman in such a way.

Devons Comments
Date: 2004-11-23 16:21:46
Link to this Comment: 11735

What I dont like about this film is that they seem to pain femininity as a negative thing. All the more feminine characters are painted as whores, or boy crazy. While Diana wasn't girly and needed to find an outlet I dont think they should have painted girls in a more negative way.

Name: Steph
Date: 2004-11-23 17:04:33
Link to this Comment: 11738

I agree with Devon, this movie was about an open window. Everyone seemed to be looking for one. Diana found one in boxing for her anger and her boyfriend was trying to use boxing to get to a better life. Tiny was studying as his ticket out and even the girl that was dating the soon to be Diana's boy was using him to gain a better life as well. There were alot of images of Diana's face and her eyes. The intensity in both spoke a lot more than any line could have. The saying on the wall in the gym was that boxing is mostly mental, or something like that, and the director does a good job in really getting us inside Diana's head through theses close-ups and seeing her "mental game". I think it challenged the narrative because Diana beat her own boyfriend in a very bloody fight. However, she still ends up with him in the end. If she didn't, Diana would still be viewed as lacking in something and following the common hollywood narrative, the plot would not feel resolved.

Name: Steph
Date: 2004-11-23 17:06:06
Link to this Comment: 11739

I agree with Jessica, that the way the movie was shot made you really notice Diana in every scene and the her outfits always made her stand out. Not once during this movie did I ever feel like the story wasn't about Diana.

Name: marisha
Date: 2004-11-23 18:54:29
Link to this Comment: 11742

I agree with Devon aabout the femininity issue. i feel that with the exception of Diana, all the other female roles were insufficiently developed and stereotyped; this could be a consequence of the film's overwhelming focus on Diana, though.

WEEK 5 Pumping Iron II
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2004-11-24 07:36:38
Link to this Comment: 11749

Pumping Iron II is a complex film with multiple themes, images and conflicts. The most obvious is the question of what is feminine and what is masculine. Looking beyond that - identify other questions, themes and how are they played out in the movie? What was the image/scene which impressed you the most- which stood out as significant. In the end, what are you left questioning and who/what prompted the question?

Bev, Carla and Rachel were the central figures - but what did the role of Laurie symbolize and why was her role important to the movie?

Girlfight comments
Name: Bea
Date: 2004-11-26 17:51:05
Link to this Comment: 11771

Sorry this is coming so late - but I wasn't able to access the forum at all on Tuesday and I'm just now able to access the internet from home.

Anyway, I think what Devon said is very true - femininity seems to be portrayed as something negative or weak. The other girls in this movie are all overly concerned with other's opinions of them (even her "girly" friend). But perhaps they are just portraying that type of femininity as something negative... It would have been nice to see some sort of independent-yet-feminine character, but I suppose that would have distracted too much from Diana's character... It seems that the writers and director wanted to show a sharp contrast.

Devs Comments
Date: 2004-11-29 19:43:48
Link to this Comment: 11789

I have to say that at the beginning of the movie I thought Bev looked horrible. I was really thinking that she was loosing a feminine shape. However, as I got to know her better through the film I felt that she was never a 'girly-girl' and that she felt the definition of body building was to build your muscles to the best of your ability. I think Rachel was the one who actually lost the meaning of the competition. Yes she worked out but it seemed more of a sexapeal contest then anything. Also, the female judge who said Bev was disgusting and picked rachel as the winner seemd also not to understand the meaning of 'body building'. I dont think the movie should have ended differently but I was really shocked that Bev made it to the finals only to come in last.

pumping iron II
Name: marisha
Date: 2004-11-29 20:28:21
Link to this Comment: 11790

I think that the major issues of the film really are about limits and who gets to set them. major questions seemed to revolve around the limits of female bodybuilding, the physical limits as well as the invisible socially constructed limits: where they were defined and who should legitimately define them. the judges, as a panel of so-called experts in a major competition, seemed to feel as if they were the arbiters, and standard setters, and as such took their role really seriously. They also considered themselves (in the majority) as upholders of social mores and tried to do this wity regard to the image of female bodies.
The role of Laurie seems to be to provide a sympathetic character from the middle (middle America, the middle classes, etc) with high hopes and aspirations for the audience to connect to, more than the other bodybuilders, who are somehow more distant, although well developed as characters.

Devs comments again
Date: 2004-11-29 23:05:18
Link to this Comment: 11797

I like what marisha said about Laurie. I feel like laurie was kind of an outsider during the competition. She seemed to be the new girl and everyone seemed to pass her off as just being naive. I was usprised she did so well. It aways seemed to be that while Laurie had to drive to compete she really just wasnt strong enough. More often then not she was to the point of tears. Also, I felt like laurie was doing this to meet rachel. It was like if rachel had been competeing in beauty pagents Laurie would have competed in beauty pagents.Almost as if she didnt want to be herself but Rachel.

Pumping Iron II
Name: Bea
Date: 2004-11-29 23:19:32
Link to this Comment: 11798

Pumping Iron II is a complex film with multiple themes, images and conflicts. The most obvious is the question of what is feminine and what is masculine. Looking beyond that - identify other questions, themes and how are they played out in the movie? What was the image/scene which impressed you the most- which stood out as significant. In the end, what are you left questioning and who/what prompted the question?

Bev, Carla and Rachel were the central figures - but what did the role of Laurie symbolize and why was her role important to the movie?

I never would have thought that I would be rooting for a character like Bev - mainly because, at first, I was appalled by her appearance. But really, what is a bodybuilder's job? I had always assumed it was to build muscle -- I had never considered a distinction between male and female bodybuilders. And I couldn't help but wonder if the participants had been told beforehand that they were expected to be more on the feminine side. I'm guessing that such a thing was not explicity stated in the rules - considering not even the officials (and therefore the judges) could not clearly explain what was rewarded or penalized when it came to femininity versus masculinity. And really - how would one make such rules? Judging should be objective, not subjective. Without proper guidelines, the judges won't know what to focus on and will give points depending upon their own biased opinions. I believe this was demonstrated by the female judge that had been interviewed, describing Bev as grotesque and not at all feminine.

It seems that the competition turned more into a beauty pageant - with the excessive primping, gossiping, etc. I was surprised that Bev made it into the finals - yet could not get a higher final ranking. I also think that had Bev not been in the competition, Laurie would have been more prominent as the underdog. She was an up-and-coming bodybuilder, who trained exclusively with her boyfriend, and looked up to Rachel as an inspiration. She was portrayed as having a heart of gold; training her hardest and trying her best to win the contest money so her boyfriend wouldn't have to strip anymore.

Also, I wonder what it meant for these women to mostly have male trainers. Did some of the men push them to develop their sex appeal, whereas other trainers (such as Bev's trainer Steve) focused on building muscle - even at the risk of making the competitor look more masculine.

Name: bea
Date: 2004-11-29 23:20:36
Link to this Comment: 11799

sorry i reposted the questions. i forgot to edit them out of my answer.

Pumping Iron 2
Name: Jessica
Date: 2004-11-30 01:37:22
Link to this Comment: 11804

Pumping Iron 2 looked at femininity and masculinity and what a woman is or how a woman should look physically; but it also looks at the idea of beauty, and questions what exactly bodybuilding/weightlifting is. The film questions who determines beauty, in terms of the female body, and also made me wonder exactly how different bodybuilding competitions are from beauty pageants (considering the judging and the presentation of oneself, and the individual performances). I also felt as if the judges were odd to start with, but also that there was confusion among them and difficulties in the definitions that they were trying to make.

Specificaly speaking about Bev Francis, it was striking at first to see her; but through the movie, I at times wanted to defend what it was that she was trying to do with her body and the sport. I found it somewhat difficult to view this film without thinking that in a sport centered around defining the muscles of the body, people had such a hard time accepting a woman who had challenged the traditional notions of what a woman should look like. I thought it was a good thing that Bev was a part of this film and a part of the bodybuilding world, because she challenged the sport, her competitors and 'outsiders' of the sport, and she broke boundaries, allowing others after her to test themselves in ways that they maybe couldn't before.

As for Rachel, I thought for awhile that she was the antithesis of Bev, but then when the competition time came I felt differently. She certainly had a well defined body, and I also felt defensive of her choices. I thought that this film allows for all kinds of women, and allows them to be who they want to be. In the case of Rachel, she cared about her hair and makeup, and that was okay. She understood the dynamics of the sport and tried to do her best in competition; and she worked hard to achieve what she had and also challenged herself and her body.

Carla seemed like a friendly woman who treated everyone the same, and understood what was at stake and what the sport was all about, including the questions and ambiguities of the sport. Lori seemed like an important part of the film, because she was essentially the 'novice' of the sport. We were able to see in her another contrast, from Rachel the 'pro', and Bev the 'newcomer' (from Australia and power lifting), and Carla the 'wise' one. She was the 'dreamer' and had high hopes for herself and her life. She was a good example of someone who came into this sport with certain expectations and allowed us to see someone in her position.

comments for pumping iron II
Name: Bea
Date: 2004-11-30 14:29:44
Link to this Comment: 11809

I really like what Jessica said about the role each character played (the wise one, the novice, etc). It definitely seemed like Carla knew that the competition was not strictly focused on muscle mass. But I like that she seemed to think that it should be less of a beauty pageant and more of a real bodybuilding competition. I was surprised that she won in the end, because I guess I had been expecting someone less grounded and aware of the nature of the competition to take the winnings. I wonder how winning may have affected her perception.

As far as Rachel goes, I think she definitely had a chip on her shoulder because she previously won. I actually didn't find myself defending her decisions at all. I found her to be such a contradiction - claiming that Jesus is the most important thing in her life, yet she still tries to use her sexuality to win contests. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that makes sense. She often seems like a caricature of the women who participate in such events, and I don't think we're given an accurate depiction of her character. But - again - what we do know of her character serves a purpose. She was the arrogant pro who looked down upon others...

pumping iron II
Name: Elhanna
Date: 2004-11-30 16:49:23
Link to this Comment: 11812

The scene that impressed me the most was during the competition when Bev was doing her routine. For the first time I could see exactly what she and her trainers had been meant when they had talked about the perfect female form, it was especially interesting for me because at the beginning of the film I saw Bev's body as entirely unnatural, but as the movie went on I began to understand just why these women did what did.

I think that Laurie represented a kind of everywoman. She wasn't as built as Bev or as narcassistic as Rachel, she was just a woman who wanted to do well for herself and so she could get a better life for her and her boyfriend. I think she was important to the film because she gave a character that a lot of people could identify with.

Pumping Iron 2
Name: Jessica
Date: 2004-11-30 17:28:38
Link to this Comment: 11814

I understand and agree with what Bea says about Rachel--she does seem to be a bit of a walking contradiction, which is an odd thing in the film. I did find it somewhat bizarre to hear her talk about Christianity as often as she did (I'm not sure how often it came up, but it seemed really stressed in the movie). I also like that Bea questions what winning might do to Carla; it would have been interesting to see these women after the competition and get a quote or something from each of them after everything they went through. I found Devon's questioning Lori's admiration of Rachel and what that meant to be really interesting as well. After reading her comment, I do wonder what it meant to Lori to follow in Rachel's footsteps, so to speak.

Pumping Iron II
Name: Steph
Date: 2004-11-30 18:21:18
Link to this Comment: 11817

The scene that stuck out the most for me was when Bev did her routine. It was interesting because she combined strength and "girliness". For the first time, I really understood what the judges were having a hard time with. Here is this very built, toned, strong person whi happened to be a woman. I guess sometimes I forgot about Bev's femininity, but this scene reminded me of it, especially when she did the little arm wave from side to side at the end of her routine. I think that Laurie was there for more audience interest and support. She is meant to pull at our heartstrings and the audience is made to sympathize with her. You can more easily understand someone wanting to better their live and save her boyfriend from an awful job than sympathize with someone who just wants to win a contest.

Name: Steph
Date: 2004-11-30 18:23:43
Link to this Comment: 11818

I agree with Devon, that Laurie seemed to be doing this largely to impress Rachel or even get noticed by her. Though Laurie is easy to sympathize with, she always seemed weaker than the other girls, especially in the workout scene where she begins to cry and immeadiatly turns to her boyfriend for support. The other women seemed like they could support themselves.

Name: marisha
Date: 2004-11-30 18:36:59
Link to this Comment: 11819

I agree with what a lot of people have said about Rachel, she is a very interesting character, as she initially comes across as a cover model-type (in fact this is just what she is doing when we first see her) and is remarkably consistent with her behaviour except for her constant assertions of piety, which i found very unusual, and rather mystifying.

Week 6 Bend It Like Beckham
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2004-12-01 10:55:46
Link to this Comment: 11827

What supported Jess (other than Joe and Jules) and her quest to play soccer - to persevere over the objections of her family? What images did the director use? If you directed the movie what would you have done differently? What message were you left with-- what message would you have liked to be left with?

Devons Comments
Date: 2004-12-02 15:54:59
Link to this Comment: 11854

I think that beckham is the person who drove Jess to play as well as her friend Tony. These people one that she idolized and one that she loved dorve her to play the sport. I feel that she needed an idol to model hre play after and a friend of her own faith/culture to tell her that she was something special and that she had a gift. I liked that way the movie ended, it was very cinematic but also very fulfilling. I like how Tony would do anything for his friend and how it really was a sign that she saw her idol as she set out on a new adventure in her new life. I was left feeling content with the film and its portrayal of this story.

Girlfight comment 2
Name: Jessica
Date: 2004-12-03 14:14:54
Link to this Comment: 11858

I agree with Devon when she talks about walls and windows, and I think it is made very clear with the last scene of the film when Diana decides to open the window of her little locker room. It is as if she can now open it. I also agree with Bea and her comment on how Diana is not trying to be a stereotypical girl. She is certainly going against the grain and in a way she knows that, she is conscious of that choice in her life. Finally, I do think it is interesting what Devon says later, that femininity is portrayed as negative in the film. I had not thought of that before, but now that I look back on the film, it does seem that way. I think it must be difficult in films to sort of reconcile differences and portray people as different but not necessarily good and bad.

Bend It Like Beckham
Name: Jessica
Date: 2004-12-03 14:32:33
Link to this Comment: 11859

I did not think about the question of what drove Jess to play soccer (before Joe and Jules entered the picture) with her family's objections. I think it was probably something she really enjoyed, and since her family had allowed her to play the game for fun since she was a child, she probably had a hard time changing what she had always enjoyed and always been allowed to do. I think Jess really felt passionate about the game and about the possibilities for her life, and she probably felt pretty talented at the game. She was able to stay true to herself even though she knew her family was not too keen on the idea of her playing soccer, and she also understood where her family was coming from. She could see how the world was changing and she dreamed of playing professionally and David Beckham was her inspiration. I think in terms of pyschology, maybe she also felt like it was not such a bad thing to keep playing, since her sister had been sneaking out with her fiance long before they were engaged (which she maybe considered much more 'wrong').

As for the images in the film, it seemed like the soccer playing shots were important--those of working out, practicing, runniing; and the colors that were so vibrant and visually stimulating throughout the movie. Oh, also of course, there is the portrait of the spiritual leader that one sees often throughout the movie. If I had directed the movie, I am not sure what I would have changed. I actually liked the film as it was; it was entertaining and fun and funny. I think it was a good mix of ingredients, and done well. As for the message that I was left with at the end of this film, I think I was left with hope and possibility. I think that there is the theme that things are constantly changing and there can be 'forward movement' in life, in the world, with even parents who are seemingly firmly planted in the past (their own lives). And, I think you are left with the message that there is a lot of humor in life.

Devons final comments
Date: 2004-12-03 16:09:05
Link to this Comment: 11860

I liked what Jessica said about being left with a sense of hope. I think that at then end of all of these movies save Pumping Iron 2 that I was left with hope. Hope that there is no double standard and that through these movies we are trying to prove our worth as women athletes. I think that hope is always the best image to be left with.

Bend It Like Beckham
Name: marisha
Date: 2004-12-06 17:00:21
Link to this Comment: 11889

I think that it was her own self that encouraged Jess to play Jules rather than either the support of her friends, although this helped, because she dreamt of being a soccer star before she met either Jules or Joe. All she needed to go in for soccer was a way to do it ( provided by Jules introducing her to organised women's leagues) and a bit of a push. Neither was her parent's opposition a central factor, she does not play soccer simply to rebel against them. she rebels against them because it is necessary to play soccer. I would not have changed any of the imagery of the movie, as in the end it left one feeling happy and satisfied.

Bend it Like Beckham
Name: Bea
Date: 2004-12-06 18:32:15
Link to this Comment: 11893

I think Jess wouldn't give up on playing soccer because she was confident in her ability. She never questioned if she was good enough to be part of a team - she just knew that she was. I don't think anyone would want to give up something that they enjoy and are good at doing. I'm sure she must have felt awful when her parents forbade to play on the team - especially when she had been permitted to play soccer as a child. Suddenly she was faced with different expectations because she had grown into a young woman. Additionally, it was clear that David Beckham was her idol. She wanted to play as well as he does - and that goal kept her striving.

As far as imagery - did anyone else notice that during the outdoor scenes, the grass was really really green - as in, almost technicolor green? I don't know if I imagined it or if it was actually a technique to show how beatiful and fun it is outdoors - away from the dimness indoors. We also see scenes of the wedding juxtaposed with the scenes from the final game. We see the preparation for each, the intensity and energy in each, and a sense of happiness and accomplishment.

I don't know exactly what I would have done differently if I had directed this film. I doubt I would have really bothered to create a romance between Jess and Joe. Frankly, I think the film would have been equally good (if not better) had they cast a nondescript person to play the coach instead of an attractive young man.

final comments for Bend it Like Beckham
Date: 2004-12-07 20:54:30
Link to this Comment: 11907

Looking back at what others have said, I have to say I strongly agree with what Jessica said about being left with a feeling of hope. I think one is left with the impression that Jess is in store for an amazing experience - an opportunity she would have missed out on otherwise. I was also confused when Devon stated that Beckham was the person who drove Jess to play as well as her friend Tony. I guess what struck me as odd was the implication that Jess wanted to play as well as her friend - I did not get that impression. I thought she was already as good a player as her friends, and actually, I hadn't considered that she was trying to be as good as anyone. I see it as being more about getting to play than how well she played, since it was made clear that she had talent.

Name: Bea
Date: 2004-12-07 20:54:52
Link to this Comment: 11908

oops - forgot to put my name on that last comment!

Bend It Like Beckham
Name: Jessica
Date: 2004-12-08 17:39:29
Link to this Comment: 11911

I agree with Bea when she says that Jess was confident in her ability to play soccer well. She never questioned her own ability, and that was nice to see. I do think that Jules and Joe played important roles in the film; they helped to create conflict and obstacles and dialogue and interaction and also were great encouragers of Jess. I am glad that others are left with a sense of hope at the end of the film, and I agree with Devon that after all the films we are left with hope for the future of not only film, but women in sports and women athletes as portrayed in film.

Name: steph
Date: 2004-12-10 00:06:37
Link to this Comment: 11927

I feel like Jess supported herself before anyone else. She had always played soccer and I feel that as she grew older, so did her need for soccer. It was her outlet and it represented her ability to deal with things. She was able to be happy, sad, whatever she wanted to be on the soccer field and had to be someone with modest emotions at home. The image that stuck with me the most from this movie was when Jess was talking to the David Becham poster on her wall. It just seemed like he was always there for Jess, which is why when she took the poster down, it really meant that she was giving up a part of herself.

Name: steph
Date: 2004-12-10 00:08:31
Link to this Comment: 11928

I agree with Bea and Devon, they are right, we are very happy at the end and feel a sense of accomplishment with the actors. Unlike some of the other movies we have watched, I feel like this one really has an open ending which signifies that these women have so much more to be and accomplish in life.

Name: Kate Makof
Date: 2005-02-03 17:14:00
Link to this Comment: 12493

Hi, my name is Kate Makofske and I'll be graduating in 3 months. I liked the movie that we watched the other day because it merged sports and society in a way I had not previously acknowledged. As I said in class, the sports movement, if I may call it that, was very closely linked to the women's movement. Recognizing that the physical health of women was as important to women's happiness as for mens' seems to have been quite the revolutionary step, though it seems silly now that there should have been such a controversy.

You might say that the reason a woman was not allowed to ride a bike was for her own health ( as the older argument suggests it would harm her reproductive abilities) , but when you really think about it, this was not so much to protect women as to protect her function in a society. If women were not expected to have children, then their role in society was threatened to a degree.

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