Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 115 Minutes
Released: 2015
Director: Elizabeth Banks
 

Cultural Rating: pawpaw

This film does a good job of fostering “girl power” and including a diverse group of positive female characters in the storyline. However, the film’s use of satire complicates its attempt to subvert tired stereotypes regarding gender, race, and sexual orientation.

Summary:

After an a cappella group, the Barden Bellas, are suspended from performing in the Aca-Circuit, they take on the challenge of competing in an international competition to regain their status as performers.

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The Big Green

the big green

The Big Green
Rating: PG
Released: 1995
Run Time: 100 minutes
Directed By: Holly Goldberg Sloan

Cultural ratingpawpawpaw

Despite the comedic format of the film, The Big Green tackles some very complicated issues regarding class and race stereotypes. Overall, this film does a great job of engaging with cultural identities in a positive way and offers an often ignored narrative regarding immigration into the United States.

Summary

A soccer team made-up of misfits shows that with dedication and teamwork anything is possible.

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Pocahontas

Pocahontasposter

Pocahontas
Rating: G
Released: 1995
Run Time: 81 minutes
Directed By: Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg

Cultural ratingpawpaw

Overall, this film tries to engage with a marginalized identity (Native Americans) that is rarely depicted in mainstream media in a positive or uplifting manner; however, the film lacks the historical context necessary to situate the audience as far as the detrimental effects of colonization are concerned and also makes broad generalizations about Native American groups. Also, while Pocahontas challenges traditional gender roles regarding femininity in a number of ways, the film does little to engage with other marginalized cultural identities.

Summary

The daughter of Chief Powhatan, Pocahontas, is expected to marry an Algonquin suitor. However, despite the pressures from her father, Pocahontas resists the marriage and falls in love with Englishman John Smith.

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Mulan

mulan

Mulan
Rating: G
Run Time: 88 minutes
Released: 1998
Director: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook

Cultural Ratingpawpawpaw

Overall, this film does an excellent job of questioning rigid gender roles regarding femininity. Further, although the film may generalize “Chinese culture,” it does present a culture that is rarely represented in the media.

 Summary

To save her father from serving in the war against the Huns, Mulan disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place and ultimately proves herself to be an honorable Chinese warrior.

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Little Giants

little giants

Little Giants
Rating: PG
Run Time: 107 minutes
Released: 1994
Director: Duwayne Dunham

Cultural Rating: pawpawpaw

Overall, this film includes positive messages regarding gender roles and the rejection of capitalism and capitalistic ideology (competition).

Summary

After not being selected for the town’s little league football team, a group of misfits ban together to prove that they deserve a spot on the field.

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High School Musical

high school musical

High School Musical
Rating: G
Released: 2006
Run Time: 98 minutes
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

Cultural Rating: pawpawpaw

            Overall, this film engages with different racial/ethnic identities. Also, the film challenges the rigid cultural construction concerning traditional masculinity.

Summary

Troy and Gabriella struggle to maintain their current friend groups while auditioning for the high school musical.

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Hey Arnold! The Movie

hey arnold the movie

Hey Arnold! The Movie
Rating: PG
Run Time: 75 Minutes
Released: 2002
Directed by: Tuck Tucker

Cultural Rating: pawpaw

Overall, this film engages with race as one of the film’s lead characters is of color. Also, many different body types are present throughout the film.

Summary

When a giant corporation threatens Arnold’s neighborhood, he and his best friend embark on a mission to save the town.

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Big Hero 6

big hero 6

Big Hero 6
Rating: PG
Released: 2014
Run Time: 102 minutes
Directed By: Don Hall, Chris Williams

Cultural Rating: pawpawpawpaw
In addition to promoting positive messages such as friendship, teamwork, and accepting yourself, Big Hero 6 does an excellent job at engaging with positive representations of gender, race/ethnicity, and the body.

Summary
Hiro Hamada, a young engineering prodigy, and his inflatable robot team up with their heroic friends to fight a high-tech villain.

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Annie (2014)

Annie2014Poster

Annie
Rating: PG
Run Time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Will Gluck

Cultural rating: pawpawpawpaw

Overall, this film does an excellent job of including marginalized identities (women, people of color) as major and minor characters in a progressive manner. Further, the film challenges traditional conceptions of masculinity.

Summary

In this adaptation of the classical musical Annie, a young foster child and a millionaire change one another’s lives for the better.

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Aladdin

aladdin

Aladdin
Rating: G
Run Time: 90 minutes
Released: 1992
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
Cultural Rating: paw 

Overall, this film mostly adheres to traditional gender roles and reinforces stereotypes regarding race. While it is noteworthy that Disney attempts to portray a non-white non-western culture, the construction of the people of Agrabah as a generic Middle Eastern “Other” culture is problematic as elements of numerous Middle Eastern cultures across time and space are reduced to a singular stereotype.

Summary

In this Disney classic, the penniless Aladdin of Agrabah (a fictional depiction of a Middle-Eastern empire) attempts to impress the beautiful Princess Jasmine with the help of a genie.

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