Monday, February 20, 2017

Resources for February 20, 2017

Benton, Michael. Recommended Films from the 1930s to the Present Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Brubaker, Philip. "And Bob's Your Streaker: The man behind the greatest of all unscripted Oscars moments." Keyframe (February 17, 2017)

Dickey, Colin. "A View to a Kill: By focusing on high-definition thrills, nature documentaries obscure more than they reveal." The New Republic (January 14, 2017)

Hart, David and Derek Stuart. "Last Temptation of Christ and Temptation." Pop Culture Case Study #205 (January 26, 2017)

Oremus, Will, et al. "Leak State." On the Media (February 17, 2017) ["Republicans decry the leakers; Democrats applaud them...oh, how the tables have turned. How to make sense of the Flynn affair and revelations about the Trump team's communications with Russia. Plus, the steady stream of information from within the government has the media debating the power of the so-called “Deep State” -- invisible officials pulling the strings. Also, deploying the word "treason" with care, what Slobodan Milošević teaches us about Donald Trump, and what Hugo Chávez does not."]

Peabody, Fred. "Through the Lens: All Governments Lie." Radio West (February 1, 2017) ["we continue our Through the Lens series with Fred Peabody’s documentary film All Governments Lie. It’s inspired by the work of I.F. Stone, an investigative journalist and gadfly in the early 1950s to the `70s. Stone’s modern torchbearers—journalists like Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman and others profiled in the film—produce their adversarial journalism outside mainstream media. Peabody joins us Wednesday to discuss the value of alternative news and the role of independent journalists."]

Slover, Tim. "Plan-B Theatre Company: Virtue." Radio West (February 17, 2017) ["Hildegard of Bingen was a 12th century abbess, composer, healer, and visionary. Everyone from the Pope to the lowliest novitiate believed she was in direct communication with God. But mid-life, Hildegard's visions changed, and some historians believe it was because she fell in love with another woman. The story is the basis of Utah playwright Tim Slover’s latest work, and Friday, we’re talking about this fascinating woman, and the search for balance between spirituality and the gift of love."]

ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone (Trailer) from WhitePinePictures on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Resources for February 18, 2017

"Heteropatriarchy is the logic by which all other forms of social hierarchy become naturalized… The same logic underlying the belief that men should dominate women on the basis of biology underlies the belief that the elites of a society naturally dominate everyone else[…]we must develop strategies that address state violence and interpersonal violence simultaneously." --  Smith, Andrea. "Preface" to The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence within Activist CommunitiesAK Press (August 22, 2016) [Quoted in Corinne Manning's "Ideal Lover." (2017)]

Bradley, S.A. and James Hancock. "A Good Cast is Worth Repeating, Part II: Tod Browning." Hellbent for Horror #31 (January 26, 2017)

Brooks, Brian. "Liv Ullmann On Love, Passion, Isolation and Friendship in Documentary Liv & Ingmar." FilmLinc Daily (December 12, 2013)

Orr, Niela. "The Defiant I Am Not Your Negro." The Baffler (February 10, 2017)

Strahan, Jonathan, Liza Groen Trombi and Gary Wolfe. "The Locus Year in Review." The Coode Street Podcast (February 13, 2017) ["For our 299th episode, we are joined once again by Locus editor-in-chief Liza Groen Trombi for our annual discussion of the Locus Magazine recommended reading list, covering the history of how the list evolved, who participates in compiling it, what its purpose is, and what our own thoughts are about the titles included this year in the book categories of the list(included the newly reinstated Horror Novel category). We also pay a brief tribute to our old friend and former Locus columnist Ed Bryant, who passed away earlier this week."]

Woubshet, Dagmawi. "The Imperfect Power of I Am Not Your Negro." The Atlantic (February 8, 2017) ["Raoul Peck’s documentary brings to life James Baldwin’s urgent ideas about race in America, even if it leaves out a key aspect of the writer’s life and work: his sexuality."]

Wu, Tim. "The Attention Merchants." Radio West (November 14, 2016) ["Wherever you turn these days, commercials, sponsored social media, and other advertising efforts await your attention. The influential thinker Tim Wu says we have the “attention merchants” to thank for that. In a new book, Wu argues that the concerted efforts of advertisers to attract our attention at every opportunity has made us more distracted and less focused than ever before."]

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide, No escape from reality
Open your eyes and see....
(Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody)

Michael Shannon Is Good and Busy from Fandor on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hot Fuzz (UK/France: Edgar Wright, 2007)

Hot Fuzz (UK/France: Edgar Wright, 2007: 121 mins)

Chen, David. "Edgar Wright and the Art of Close Ups." (Posted on Vimeo: 2014)

Hancock, James and Kyle Reardon. "Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy." Wrong Reel #142 (June 6, 2016)

Helsby, Wendy. "Constables, Coppers, Rozzers, the Old Bill--The Police." Understanding Representation. ed. Wendy Helsby. London: BFI, 2005: 75-92. [Available in BCTC Library PN 1995 U4977 2005]

Kiralee. "Scene Deconstruction: Hot Fuzz." Kiralee's Blog (September 24, 2015)

Lyle, Michael J. "An analysis of Hot Fuzz using Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey and Save The Cat by Blake Snyder." The Column (January 17, 2013)

Strucci, Shannon. "How Hot Fuzz Changed My Life." (Posted on Youtube: April 30, 2016)

Zhou, Tony. "Edgar Wright: How to Do Visual Comedy." (Posted on Vimeo: May 2014)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Resources for February 13, 2017

"7 Google Tips to Search Like a Boss." Teach Thought (October 10, 2013)

Bromley, Patrick and Rob DiCristino. "Chasing Amy." F This Movie! (January 25, 2017)

Brubaker, Philip. "Oscar to Oscar: Black Auteurs and the Academy." Keyframe (February 9, 2017)

Freedman, Carl. "Hobbes After Marx, Scorsese After Coppola: On GoodFellas." Film International 9.1 (2011)

---. "The Supplement of Coppola: Primitive Accumulation and the Godfather Trilogy." Film International 9.1 (2011)

Frezza, L.J. "Yorgos Lanthimos and the Authoritarian Personality: Just in case we need a refresher on the absurd and violent limits of social control." Keyframe (February 9, 2017)

Esposito, John L. "'You've Got to Be Taught to Hate and Fear': The Islamophobia Machine." Pluto Press Blog (February 1, 2017)

"What We Know About the Border." On the Media (February 8, 2017) ["The Trump administration's so-called "Muslim ban" has created chaos and confusion at airports around the country, but horror stories at the border go back much further than this year. In 2014, we devoted an hour to trying to shred the veil of secrecy obscuring Customs and Border Protection, the huge police force tasked with guarding our borders. We discovered a lack of basic rights and accountability, along with countless stories of dehumanizing detentions and intrusions that thrive within a massive legal grey area."]

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Resources for February 9, 2017

"1950s Batman Cartoon Tells Kids: 'Don’t Believe Those Crackpot Lies About People Who Worship Differently.'” Open Culture (February 6, 2017)

Allen, Woody, et al. "Blue Jasmine: In a private chat, the writer-director discusses money, status and Cate Blanchett's seismic performance." Time Out (December 11, 2013)

Bernstein, Walter, et al. "Film and Media in a Time of Repression, Part 1." The Close-Up (February 7, 2017)

Bordwell, David. "All My Objections to Trump Won't Fit On One Blog." Observations on Film Art (February 2, 2017)

Cross, Jon and Doug Tilley. "Scream Blacula Scream." The After Movie Diner #211 (February 8, 2017)

Hittman, Eliza. "Beach Rats." Filmmaker Toolkit #19 (January 27, 2017)

Hyo-Won, Lee. "South Korean Filmmakers Condemn Government Blacklisting of Artists." The Hollywood Reporter (February 7, 2017)

Richardson, Vanessa and Carter Roy. "Leon Trotsky." Remarkable Lives, Tragic Deaths (January 24, 2017) ["Leon Trotsky's Marxist writings and powerful speeches made him a leading figure in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and later, a Communist tyrant. He was known as a brilliant, arrogant intellectual, but ideological differences with Joseph Stalin led to his assassination in 1940. Trotsky published hundreds of articles, over forty books, and stood by his ideals until the end."]

Rizov, Vadim. "Anti-Art Criticism, 'In the Age of Trump.'" Filmmaker (February 2, 2017)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Resources for February 8, 2017

Erich Kuersten has been building an extensive collection of "psychedelic criticism for those in the 'know'" on his website Acidemic. So much criticism, in fact, that it has been difficult for me to keep up with his output. That is why I was delighted to see this post collecting all the links to his individual writing, allowing me to catch up.

Buckler, Dana. "Jurassic Park (1993)." How is This Movie? (January 23, 2017)

Fisher, Burton and Martin Kessler. "The Witch." Flixwise (January 24, 2017) ["Martin’s discussing Robert Eggers’ 2016 debut feature, The Witch, with Bay Area English Professor, Burton Fisher. Listeners will recall that The Witch was one of Martin’s favorite films of 2016. Here he gets a chance to elaborate on why this film stands apart from other recent supernatural horror flicks. Plus, he and Burton explore the various influences that helped Eggers shape The Witch’s cinematic world, including puritan folklore and the works of Andrei Tarkovsky."]

Goodwin, Paul, et al. "Special Report: Future Shock - The Story of 2000 AD (2014)." The Projection Booth (February 2, 2017) ["Britain's ground-breaking 2000 AD comic introduced a raft of vital artists and writers along with indelible characters like Judge Dredd, Halo Jones, Strontium Dog, and more. The documentary Future Shock! The Story of 2000 AD (2014) tells the story of the ups and downs of this influential work. Director Paul Goodwin and producer Sean Hogan discuss the creation of Future Shock!. Josh Hadley joins Mike to reminisce about comics and the film adaptations of various 2000 AD stories."]

Goro, El. "Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) and V for Vendetta (2005)." Talk Without Rhythm (February 5, 2017) ["... a look at duo of dystopian films featuring the late, great John Hurt with 1984's Nineteen Eighty-Four and 2005's V for Vendetta."]

Hudson, David. "Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini." Keyframe (May 6, 2014)

---. "Week 3: Film Critics Come to Terms with the New Administration." Keyframe (February 6, 2017)

Nord, Liz. "HBO's Solitary: How Kristi Jacobson Got Access to America's Off-Limits Prisons." No Film School (February 6, 2017)

Peck, Raoul, et al. "I Am Not Your Negro / Film Comment @ Sundance." The Close-Up #120 (January 24, 2017)

Smith, David. "Kellyanne Conway's fictitious 'Bowling Green massacre' not a one-time slip of the tongue: Two other versions of made-up shooting emerge and include more detail, as critics decry attempt to ‘scare people into acceptance’ of travel ban." The Guardian (February 6, 2017)

Embrace of the Serpent (Columbia/Venezuela/Argentina: Ciro Guerra, 2015)

Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia/Venezuela/Argentina: Ciro Guerra, 2015: 125 mins) 

Aguilar, Carlos. "Embrace of the Serpent Dir. Ciro Guerra on Indigenous Knowledge & the Amazon in Black-and-White." IndieWire (February 19, 2016)

Brennan, Collin. "Embrace of the Serpent: A Surreal, Transformative Journey Into the Heart of Darkness." Consequence of Sound (March 10, 2016)

Cadena, Nicolas. "Embrace of the Serpent: Reframing the Colombian Amazon." NACLA (April 8, 2016)

Dahan, Yaron. "Lost in the Jungle: Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Embrace of the Serpent." Notebook (June 20, 2016)

Embrace of the Serpent Critics Round Up (Ongoing Archive)

Franco, James. "Embrace of the Serpent Documents a Lost World." IndieWire (February 19, 2016)

Guillén, Michael. "Embrace of the Serpent: An Interview with Ciro Guerra." Cineaste (Spring 2016)
Harvey, Sophia. "The Seven Most Compelling Characters of the Year." No Film School (December 20, 2016)

Holden, Stephen. "Embrace of the Serpent: Where Majesty Meets Monstrosity." The New York Times (February 16, 2016)

Kermode, Mark. "Embrace of the Serpent: You Will Be Transported." The Guardian (June 12, 2016)

Kiang, Jessica. "Cannes Review: Embrace Of The Serpent Is A Soulful, Strange And Stunning Discovery." IndieWire (May 17, 2015)

Mathiesen, Karl. "Embrace of the Serpent Star: 'My Tribe is Nearly Extinct.'" The Guardian (June 8, 2016) ["Their land was plundered for rubber while they were enslaved or killed. As Embrace of the Serpent tells the shocking story of the tribespeople of Colombia, its star relives a moving screening in the heart of the jungle"]

"No Film School's Top 10 Indie Films of the Year." No Film School (December 22, 2016)

Nord, Liz. "The Most Stunning Cinematography of 2016." No Film School (December 23, 2016)

Ponman, Bruce E. and Rainer W. Bussmann. "Medicinal Plants and the Legacy of Richard E. Schultes." (The William L. Brown Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden: 2012)

Shaw, Deborah. "Falling Into the Embrace of the Serpent." Mediático (July 21, 2016)

"Watch an 80-Minute Talk with the Directors Behind 2016’s Best Foreign Language Film Nominees." The Film Stage (January 14, 2016)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Aaron Harlow: "School of Rock: An Illustration of Education and the American Dream" (ENG 102: Spring 2017)

Aaron Harlow
English 102
"School of Rock: An Illustration of Education and the American Dream"

                There are many ways in which educational institutions push the norms of society on children.  Most of what we call education today is simply overloading kids with information they don't know how to use and expect them to recite it on paper.  The teachers don't reach out to the kids like they should, much of it is, in sociological terms, instrumental leadership (a more task oriented form of leadership),  rather than expressive leadership (leadership that exchanges thoughts and ideas), which would be the preferred method.
                Then there are the norms that society pushes on grown adults after they get out of school, such as go to college, get a nice house, start a family, be "successful."  In other words, live the American Dream, and anyone who doesn't strive to achieve it is harshly criticized and often viewed as a failure.
                Richard Linklater's 2003 film, School of Rock addresses both of those issues, and shows how they are affecting society today.  In School of Rock, Jack Black plays Dewey Finn, an unsuccessful rock musician who gets kicked out of his band, No Vacancy, and replaced due to his over-zealous performance.  Dewey doesn't have a job or ambition, and lives with his friend, Ned and Ned's girlfriend, Patty.  Patty portrays how society would generally look down upon people like Dewey.  He is just a loser with no accomplishments or any reasonable goals, and he should get a life, stop mooching off of his friends, and be more like Ned, who has a teaching career.  She is an accurate depiction of how judgmental many of us are in society.  Ned, with his lack of confidence, reluctantly sides with Patty.  Ned represents the conformist.  He doesn't stand up for himself (until the end, when he finally shuts the door in Patty's face), and is an ideal image of what is expected of us in society, even though deep down he admires Dewey and misses his life as a bassist, when it was more exciting.  Dewey represents the rebel, the one parents teach their kids not to be, with either no stable income, or doesn't make an honest living.  When Dewey pretends to be Ned and accepts his offer to substitute for a very prestigious elementary school, Dewey simply slacks off and ignores the kids at first.  But then one day he sees the kids in their music class and is amazed at their musical ability.  He then turns the class into a rock band, and instead of teaching them the standardized curriculum, he teaches them the origins of rock and roll, and all the bands that inspired the movement, such as Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, etc.  He also teaches the kids the attitude of rock and roll, which is to "stick it to the man" so the kids start to become more rebellious as well.  He trains the kids on stage performance as well, all with the intent to win battle of the bands to show up No Vacancy.  The principal, Roz, can also be a representation of the conformist.  She is strict and serious on the surface, but later opens up to Dewey that she was once fun and had a more colorful life, and that she doesn't like what she's become and gets overwhelmed with the stress of running a school that holds such high expectations.
                The movie was intended to prove that you don't have to conform to be successful or live a good life.  At the end of the movie, Dewey held an after school activity where the kids could play rock and roll songs and help improve their performance.  Although Dewey's behavior was not entirely ethical, he inspired the kids with musical ability to flaunt their talents and encouraged them to expand their horizons.  He made them comfortable with who they were, as with the girl that was self-conscious about performing because of her weight, and expressing their talents. 
                It is possible that Richard Linklater named Dewey after John Dewey, a famous philosopher and activist of educational reform throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  If you juxtapose both of their ideals, Dewey's teachings  were remarkably similar to those of Jack Black's character, as both were proponents of exchange of ideas and creativity.  They both seemed to embrace the practice of abandoning habits, as John Dewey's belief was that man behaved out of habit, and enforcing change is what could cause him to think more creatively (
                Dewey is the missing link in the educational system.  He is the enthusiasm that kids should have, the encouragement and motivation that is not displayed enough in most public schools, which is a leading factor to the high school drop out rate.  Over twenty-five percent of dropouts admitted that they dropped out of school because of being bored.  Although there are many socioeconomic factors involved with the high school dropout rate, boredom is a common problem which can easily be remedied by enhancing student teacher interaction (Skye).  Who wouldn't get bored listening to some teacher drone on about a subject with which they have no apparent interest?  If kids are bored, they are obviously not learning anything.  Just because a student isn't making passable grades on a test does not mean they aren't learning anything in that subject.  Vice versa, just because a student is receiving decent grades, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are learning anything either. 
                On the other hand, you would be surprised to see how many high school dropouts have led productive lives.  Some of the most notable geniuses, such Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison did not go through a structured educational system, as well as our founding fathers.  So how did they do it?  The schools' advertised purposes are to make them into good people, good citizens, and to make kids acheive their personal best.  But according to Alexander Inglis, schools have six hidden intentions.  The first is to get kids reactive to an authoritative state.  The second is to get them to conform.  They  must then calculate their social role where they will be trained accordingly.  Then they label the failing kids with special programs to alienate them from the rest of the class.  Finally, there must be a small group of kids trained to manage the dumbed down majority (Gatto).  In short, the educational system is carefully regulated to train kids to be peasant-minded enough to be able to produce and stimulate the economy.  That is the main interest, not the children's well-being and education.
                Another main point School of Rock highlights is how people are judged in society for not aiming to achieve the standards of the "American Dream."  What is the American Dream?  The term originated in 1931 by James Tuslow and by definition refers to an ideal life of material comfort and personal happiness.  It is the life for which each individual in the United States aims.  And it has devolved to have an almost hypnotic effect on many Americans.  In this film, Dewey is basically the opposite of such a life.  He is the bum that has no direction or ambition.  While it is necessary to have these things to succeed, to simply push one's own ideal perception of life on kids can have a negative impact and cause a lot of stress on a kid.
                The American Dream plays a role on public education in that it pushes the intent of turning kids into democratic citizens.  Schools also have an agenda for pushing their kids to be successful.  There are, however, different interpretations of success.  One refers to absolute success, which is being at a higher state of welfare than where one started.  The other is relative success, which is comparative in the sense that it focuses on attaining more than others, such as parents, classmates, colleagues, etc. (Hochschild, 9-12).  The American dream, and its promise for equal opportunity of "success", however one may define it, has therefore placed a tremendous burden on kid's  education.
                Parents' expectations for schools can reflect on how they remember school.  A majority of parents have been reported to show the most concern on issues such as violence and lack of discipline, and only eight percent of respondents said the major issue was the quality of education (Hochschild, 80).  Keep in mind that the quality of education is not limited to the content of the cirriculum, but the way it is taught is also key.
                The United States is globally ranked 17th in education.  The reason for this, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, is due to the level of importance the nation places on education.  According to this study, better teaching methods have been known to improve one's social results in ways such as preventing teen pregnancy and better financial skills.  Schools also need to fine tune their curriculum to accommodate for technological advances (Gayathri).  With that in mind, it is obvious that students respond better to a teacher that they can identify with easier.  It helps them out in life and helps them shape their perspective and think differently about their future.  If you think back to your favorite subject in school, you will find that your fond memories of the subject will often be associated with the person who taught it.  Now imagine if every one of your subjects had a teacher like that.

                In summary, School of Rock has helped shed light on a very important issue.  It is that kids getting overloaded with information they don't know what to do with is  what passes for education in the United States.  We see a high percentage of high school dropouts resulting from kids getting bored in school,  which is easily avoidable simply by enforcing more effective teaching methods.  Also, it has been proven throughout history that some of the most productive and effective members of society had very little, if any, structured schooling.  Our idealistic American Dream is suppressing kids from striving for more, and not aiming to improve the kids as individuals, but is more an effort to mold them into being another slave to the democratic machine, as well as judging others that don't pursue it.  Educational reform is necessary, and we shouldn't rely on schools too much to raise our kids for us.  If you feel as though your child or children are not learning anything, address the issue with the school and see what can be done to improve it.  Pull your kids out of school and teach them yourself if you have to.  If kids are not processing information the teachers present them with, it may not be their fault.    Students need a teacher with an expressed passion for the subject they are teaching, and a willingness to work one on one with the kids to help them improve themselves.  They need a Dewey Finn.

Works Cited

Gatto, John Taylor.  "How Public Education Cripples Our Kids, and Why."  The Natural Child Project.  The Natural Child Project, 1996-2016,

Gayathri, Amrutha.  "U.S. 17th In Global Education Ranking; Finland, South Korea Claim Top Spots."  International Business Times.  IBT Media, Inc., 2017

Gould, Skye and Chris Weller.  "The most common reasons students drop out of high school are heartbreaking."  Business Insider.  Business Insider Inc., Oct. 1, 2015,  Retrieved January 27, 2017.

Hochschild, Jennifer and Scovronick, Nathan.  The American Dream and Public Schools.  Oxford University Press, Inc., 2003.

"John Dewey Biography."  The Website.   A&E Television Networks, April 2, 2014  Retrieved January 28, 2017.

Resources for February 6, 2017

Alstad, Lizzi, Jared Gores and Joe Pudas. "Hidden Figures." Reel Fanatics #450 (February 2, 2017)

Cargill, Robert C. and Brian Salisbury. "Hackers." Junk Food Cinema (February 2, 2017) ["

Fritsche, Tom. "Woyzeck, When the Stars Align." Keyframe (May 1, 2014)

Hart, David and Christopher Maynard. "Gone Girl and Manipulation." Pop Culture Case Study #178 (October 6, 2016) ["In this episode, Dave talks about manipulation and psychopathy at length, including how it is used in correctional facilities. Then, return guest Christopher Maynard of Following Films shows up to talk about the best romance of 2014. Yes, really. Gone Girl is romantic. Listen, and let us prove it to you!"]

Hart, David and Samantha Sanders. "Elle." Pop Culture Case Study #204 (January 23, 2017)

Lindbergs, Kimberly. "The Search for Common Ground: A Separation (2011)." Streamline (February 2, 2017)

Menne, Jeff. "Post Fergusson Hollywood." Jump Cut #57 (Fall 2016)