Abraham Lincoln, “a natural born piggy-backer”: Why “It Happened One Night” is a classic.

I recently learned that a pun I came up with was already well established in the puniverse. You see, my pun went something like Frank Capricorn; it was going to involve a film director, someone born between December 21st and January 20th, a hot dog, and candy corn. But to my chagrin, the term capricorn has been around quite a while, and it refers to … Continue reading Abraham Lincoln, “a natural born piggy-backer”: Why “It Happened One Night” is a classic.

Election: Ambition, it’s a blessing . . . and a curse

Warning: Spoilers!!!!!!!!!! Warning: Spoilers!!!!!!!!! Warning: Spoilers!!!!!!!! Tracy Flick is one of those characters whose notoriety exceeds the boundaries of the story they are a part of. There are so many characters who fit this description, including The Artful Dodger, Scarlett O’Hara, Big Bird, Archie Bunker, The Fonze, and The Dude. These are figures who seem to break free of their narrative landscapes. We remember them, … Continue reading Election: Ambition, it’s a blessing . . . and a curse

The Brady Bunch Movie: Those Were The Days Then and Now, and Jan Finally Gets Her Due

The television show, The Brady Bunch seems anachronistic even for its time. Even in the late 60s, the type of wholesome American family of shows like Make Room for Daddy or Father Knows Best seemed passé. The Brady Bunch debuted in 1969, and consider some of the other programs that were on that year that were far edgier. The most popular show was Rowan & … Continue reading The Brady Bunch Movie: Those Were The Days Then and Now, and Jan Finally Gets Her Due

Clue, the Mere Exposure Effect, the Costanza Gambit, and the Musical without a Song

Warning Spoilers!!!! Warning Spoilers!!! Warning Spoilers!!! Warning Spoilers!!! The Perils of A Favorite Film In the following post, I’m going to argue something a bit odd about a movie I love. I’m going to argue that Clue (1985) can be thought of–or at least discussed in terms of–a musical, even though none of the characters sing. Now, you might be saying to yourself, “but Clue … Continue reading Clue, the Mere Exposure Effect, the Costanza Gambit, and the Musical without a Song

Family Friendly Films: Deep Loves, Deep Cuts, and Might Be’s

I’ve been asked by my friend and colleague, Alana, create a list of family friendly films. Now, this challenge is both easy and hard. It’s easy because there’s no shortage of family friendly films. But that abundance of options is what makes it hard. How does one pick from such a plentiful list? Another challenges comes the way memory erodes our impressions of these stories. … Continue reading Family Friendly Films: Deep Loves, Deep Cuts, and Might Be’s

Parasite: Aristotle and Arthur Miller, Tartuffe and Montgomery Cliff, and the Genre of the Ingénue Climber

Warning: Spoilers!!!!!!!!!! Warning: Spoilers!!!!!!!!! Warning: Spoilers!!!!!!!! The 2019 film Parasite, directed by South Korean filmmaker, Bong Joon Ho, has provoked awe in audiences, both for it’s aesthetic construction and for its treatments of the themes of social inequality, fate, and chance. These two layers of the film–it’s artful construction and it’s provocative meaning–work in tandem to tell the story of the nearly destitute Kim family, … Continue reading Parasite: Aristotle and Arthur Miller, Tartuffe and Montgomery Cliff, and the Genre of the Ingénue Climber

Fighting with My Family: Self-Portrayals, Body Slams and Rudy Goes to the Ball

Warning: Spoilers!!!!!!!!! Warning: Spoilers!!!!!!!!! Warning: Spoilers!!!!!!!!! In the mid-twentieth century, Gloria Swanson, an aging out-of-the-limelight former silent film star, played the part of Norma Desmond, a character who might be described as an aging out-of-the limelight former silent film star. This performance, in the film Sunset Blvd. (1950), demonstrated that the legendary Swanson, unlike Desmond, possessed self-awareness and an ability to poke fun at herself. … Continue reading Fighting with My Family: Self-Portrayals, Body Slams and Rudy Goes to the Ball

Bees, Knees, Pilgrimages, and Substitutiary Locomotion: A Review of Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Merovingian Bees: Recasting Identity through Heritage A few years ago, I watched a 93-part episode series on the History of the Christian Church, taught by Professor Ryan Reeves of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. The video series is, by the way, immensely educational and creatively put together. One of the most effective techniques Reeves uses is to start each video lecture a bit off kilter, a … Continue reading Bees, Knees, Pilgrimages, and Substitutiary Locomotion: A Review of Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Get Out: Head Fakes, Zombies, and Big Macs in Paris

“And these kinds of head fake learning are absolutely important. And you should keep your eye out for them because they’re everywhere.” Randy Pausch, “The Last Lecture“ I’m not a big zombie movie fan. In fact, to be honest, and I don’t really care for the genre. It might have to do with the fact that they are a subset, or, at least, a close … Continue reading Get Out: Head Fakes, Zombies, and Big Macs in Paris

The Big Short: Edmund Burke and the Sublime in our Stars, our Stripes, and Our Stocks

Some time ago, I heard a quotation from Marshall McLuhan that I instantly recognized as true–and quite insightful: “Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.” As an educator, I know what he’s getting at. We’re more likely to learn, when we’re having fun, either in the formal setting of a school, ambling through nature, … Continue reading The Big Short: Edmund Burke and the Sublime in our Stars, our Stripes, and Our Stocks