Friday, March 29, 2013

Shaun of the Dead

Choose one of the two options to address in your blog post:

1) Give a thorough examination of both the screwball comedy and zombie genre conventions in the film Shaun of the Dead, and how the two work together put any new spins on those conventions. Please use specific examples from the film with your analysis. You may compare those elements to either of the films we screened in class or any other films from the two genres that you are familiar with, but this is not required. If you quote any of our reading please be sure to cite accordingly.

2) In the essay “Slacker Bites Back: Shaun of the Dead Finds New Life for Deadbeats” Lynn Pifer argues that the film is a commentary on society’s “willing workers” who have been “deadended by their jobs” in a capitalist society, and “provide[s] disenfranchised slackers like Shaun and Ed with a situation where they can not only survive, but also succeed in winning others’ respect (167).” Pifer goes on to try and prove that the movie celebrates the slacker lifestyle and allows for all that are in Shaun’s way to be zombified so they are no longer a bother in his slacker lifestyle, and that though he learns how to manage a life with a best friend and girlfriend he is still a loser and a slacker to the end.

Do you agree with Pifer’s thesis and understanding of the story, or do you have your own theories about Shaun's journey? Though I find a lot of the points and examples to be dead-on, I don’t completely agree, and in fact see Shaun’s journey as one that changes him quite a lot, and that the loss of the people in his life is what wakes him up to appreciate the things in his life that he once took for granted. Throughout the film, once Shaun finally realizes what is going on, we see him quick on his feet, calling for teamwork, and sticking his neck out for everyone else. We see others acting selfishly, being uncooperative, and putting everyone at risk. In fact, most of why Shaun’s plans go awry for them is from the mistakes of the others in the group. Sure, Shaun's plan is not as good a Yvonne's, but it's a plan. As Liz says when she forgives him: “You tried. You did something, that’s what counts.” So I would say the film is about how the zombie apocalypse is what it takes to make this slacker appreciate what is important in life, which, yes, sometimes includes simply playing a video game with your best friend.

What do you think? And no, you do not have to agree with me. Perhaps you have your own thesis to prove about the film.

Be sure to support your thoughts, whether you agree with Pifer or not, with plenty of examples. You can also cite from the essay as you would like, but make sure you do so properly.

As always 400 words MINIMUM for either choice, but remember to fully explain your points or the minimum still won’t cut it. Original posts are due Friday, April 5th. Response to at least 2 blog posts due by Tues, April 9th

Monday, March 11, 2013

Night of the Living Dead

The Museum of Modern Art screened Night of the Living Dead to recognize its cultural as well as historical value, citing that:

"Released at a time when disillusionment was running rampant in the country--spurred by the Vietnam War and the recent assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy--Americans identified with the film's shocking suggestion: death is random and without purpose. No one dies for the greater good or to further the survival of others. Instead, people die to feed faceless, ordinary America. A metaphor for societal anxiety, the sight of America literally devouring itself and the representation of the desecration of the wholesome American family...served as a release for the country's repressed trauma."

What are some specific examples in the film that you see support this interpretation? Please be sure to explain your examples clearly and fully.  Post is due Wed, April 3rd. No comments required. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Some Like it Hot - Screwball Indeed

Although Some Like It Hot was not made during the classic Screwball Comedy period of the 30s and 40s, it still includes many of the key elements of the genre. In your post please explain how those specific conventions are used in the film. Your post should definitely include an examination of the ways that male and female roles are explored in the film. You may also want to write about how the film could be seen as a bit of a mixed genre film - as it incorporates aspects of the classic gangster film.

Here's a great article on the film, with a lot of background information. Worth a read.

As usual at least 400 words minimum. But make sure that you thoroughly explain your points and examples and have a solid intro and closing. 400 words does not always mean a complete post.

The post is due Wed, March 13th. No comments are required.