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
At one point, there was NBC and CBS. Then along came ABC. Slowly people started to gain access to cable television, an invention that first developed to help people in the valley get access to stations when geography prevented a broadcasting signal to be picked up. With cable television came dozens, then scores, then hundreds of channels. Now there’s streaming shows on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, … Continue reading YouTube Channels Worth a Gander
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
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 asked legendary comedian Paula Poundstone to talk about her thoughts on comedy for my film students. She did not disappoint. Continue reading Paula Poundstone’s Thoughts for My Film Comedy Class
There’s so many different parts of a film that can make it memorable, an exciting beginning, a thrill-ride story, surprises and suspense, and sometimes the quietude of slow camera work can provoke reflective thought. It’s the endings, though, that leave people breathless and wide-eyed when the lights come-up and the people shuffle out into the hallways. It’s the endings that keep the viewers in their … Continue reading The Crisp Ending: What is it and Which Films Have it?
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