Warning: Spoilers!!! Warning: Spoilers!!! Warning: Spoilers!!! Inside Out, a 2015 film that is both allegorical and naturalistic, dives into the consciousness of its main character, in ways both innovative and drawing on a 500 years old dramatic tradition. Let’s start with the film’s Emotion characters, who are embodiments of feelings–in other words, concepts depicted as characters. When I first started watching Inside Out, I was … Continue reading Inside Out: Why Can’t We Be Friends and Why Should We Read Medieval Literature?
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.
There’s all kinds of movie speeches–the inspirational speech, the redemption speech, the condemnatory speech, and the romantic plea for love speech. But one of my favorites is what you might call the “F**k you and the horse you rode in on” speech. The most typical version of this speech happens towards the end of the film. The protagonist looks to be completely finished, his or … Continue reading Ten films with “F**k you and the horse you rode in on” speeches
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 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
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
I recently asked Danny Woodburn, celebrated television and film actor, to provide my students some thoughts about comedy. He didn’t disappoint! Here are his thoughts! Here is a montage of Danny Woodburn moments . . . . And here is an iconic scene from Seinfeld: Continue reading Danny Woodburn’s Thoughts for My Film Comedy Class
I recently asked multi-talented television and film star Fred Stoller to share some thoughts with my students. He came through with a very thoughtful video Continue reading Fred Stoller’s Thoughts for My Film Comedy Students
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
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