All posts filed under: Movies

Hollywood’s Global Domination

My experience of foreign cinema – or the value that it has provided for me personally – is deeply rooted in my national identity and Hollywood’s history of global dominance. Scholar B. Ruby Rich writes in Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film, “My guess is that foreign films function as a rebuke for some viewers, offering up evidence that the world is not made in ‘our’ image, and that neither our society nor our language is universal.”[1] While I agree with Rich’s evaluation, I’d like to complicate it just slightly. My argument, instead, is that foreign films function as a rebuke for most American viewers specifically, though not all. In his chapter titled Hollywood’s International Market, from The American Film Industry (ed. Tino Balio), Thomas H. Guback describes how Hollywood began to permeate the global film market after World War I, acting in a moment when numerous countries were economically devastated by the war and left financially indebted to the U.S. As a result, due to the surmounting strength of the American film market, international film …

On America, Mobility, & Freedom in “Easy Rider”

“A man went looking for America, but he couldn’t find it anywhere.” Few taglines remain relevant long after a film’s release, but Easy Rider’s ominous warning (“he couldn’t find it anywhere”) maintains its potency nearly 50 years after its debut. In David Laderman’s Driving Visions, he situates the road film genre within an explicitly American context and characterizes Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969) as “arguably the quintessential, genre-defining road movie.”[1] Following the cult popularity of low-budget biker exploitation films, Easy Rider seems to have borrowed from the aesthetic and tonal vigor of these works, but extended itself to a broader cultural critique that was relevant for a wider spectrum of Americans falling under the banner of “the counterculture.” While the influence of cinema imported from Europe and Asia facilitated the rise of the American auteur, the explosive socio-political context of late 1960’s could also be credited for cultivating unique works which explored social tensions and questions of identity, and more specifically, what it means to be an American. Easy Rider – in addition to preceding …

Fast Fashion & “The True Cost”

The True Cost is one of those documentaries that everyone should watch, and then tell their friends and family to see too. I discovered the film after a friend told me it was necessary viewing, and I’m so grateful for her insistence. In order to be conscientious consumers, it’s imperative that we know where our clothes come from, who’s making it, and how they’re being treated. The True Cost examines the human rights, labor rights, and environmental impact of the garment industry, focusing on the horrific practices of fast fashion in particular. It’s also important to note that with women making up the majority of garment workers across the globe, this topic is a feminist issue as well. Before watching The True Cost I admittedly shopped at places like Zara and H&M because they offered affordable, cute clothing. But such low prices are the first sign that something is not ethically produced. Now I not only shop less (why do we need so much stuff?) but I buy second-hand and search for brands that are known to treat their employees well and embrace sustainable practices. Compared …

Watch “Hate Rising” with Jorge Ramos

I first heard about Univision anchor Jorge Ramos’ documentary, Hate Rising, from an interview on NPR that aired in the fall (listen to Jorge Ramos in Hate, Politics, and the Trump Effect, and To Make ‘Hate Rising,’ Jorge Ramos Spent Time with Hate Groups), but didn’t watch the film until after the election. Surely, seeing this documentary following November 8th had a different impact than it would have had if I had watched it earlier, and post-inauguration viewing will again produce a new meaning. In the film, Ramos explores the concerning rise in hate in the U.S., speaking with members of the KKK and the “Alt-Right” (a young, tech savvy version of the KKK), as well as those effected by their deplorable ideologies and actions. While Hate Rising is a particularly difficult documentary to watch, I believe it’s necessary in this current political climate to know exactly what we’re up against. And due to the administration’s recent executive orders on the border wall and immigration ban targeting Muslims, this film is more relevant now than ever. Please watch Hate Rising and share it …

Trailers for Some of My Favorite Cult Classics

From magnificent treasures, to movies so bad that they’re good, here are the trailers to some of my all-time favorite cult classics! What are yours? Be sure to share your recommendations in the comment section below. 🙂 Labyrinth (dir. Jim Henson, 1986) Wet Hot American Summer (dir. David Wain, 2001) Office Space (dir. Mike Judge, 1999) The Big Lebowski (dir. Joel & Ethan Coen, 1998) Troll 2 (dir. Claudio Fragasso, 1990) The Breakfast Club (dir. John Hughes, 1985) Easy Rider (dir. Dennis Hopper, 1969) Harold and Maude (dir. Hal Ashby, 1971) Hausa (dir. Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, 1977) The Room (dir. Tommy Wiseau, 2003) What are some of your favorite cult classics?

Essential Resources for Media Scholars & Fans

Whether you study media, teach media, or are just into media – the internet is full of resources. Below is a list of the sites that I use when I’m researching a film or television series, or even putting together a lesson plan for my undergraduate discussion section. Check ’em out, and be sure to share your favorite media studies resources in the comment section below! I’m always looking for new sites to explore.   Film Studies For Free → Film Studies For Free is a web-archive of open access (and ultra valuable) film and media studies resources. The site not only links to written work of note, but also features a number of spectacular video essays, my personal favorite medium for examining film and television.   Shot Logger → Shot Logger describes itself as a site that “facilitates the analysis of visual style in film and television.” Run by the Telecommunication and Film Department at The University of Alabama, Shot Logger boasts 941 films and TV shows logged, and 295,302 frames captured as of December 2015. For an example of the depth of …

“Little Miss Sunshine” Turns 10

Little Miss Sunshine was released 10 years ago today, on July 26, 2006. Though a decade old, the film still resonates as a dark comedy about the complications of life at any age. Little Miss Sunshine seems to pinpoint, especially, the fact that going on a trip with your dysfunctional family can actually be therapeutic. As a film it’s funny, sad, and delightfully honest – much like life itself. I recently posted about six of my favorite road trip films, and of course Little Miss Sunshine made the list! So be sure to check out that post if you want to read a little more about why I love this film. Otherwise, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, here are a few stills from Little Miss Sunshine:

La Filmothèque: An Online Film Library

I recently discovered La Filmothèque, a web-based public domain film library, and I thought it would be a great resource to share here on Catch-all. As an online film library, La Filmothèque provides easy access to classic films that are available in the public domain. Their library includes M, Man with a Movie Camera, and Un Chien Andalou, just to name a few film history essentials. La Filmothèque curates both well-known and more obscure films in order to create a space where film scholars, students, and fans alike can dive deep into the fun and exciting world of cinema’s past. La Filmothèque aims to expose audience members to films, genres, and directors that they might not have been aware of otherwise. The site categorizes films by genre, decade, country of origin, and director, allowing users to peruse the library however they see fit. The site also features a Film Store, where users can buy classic films recommended by La Filmothèque’s team. I myself am truly excited to be able to use La Filmothèque for my own academic and entertainment purposes, and am looking forward to sharing the site with the students …

6 Great Road Trip Films

When I think of summer, one of the first things that comes to mind is road trips. Exploration, freedom, discovery…rediscovery. Because it’s summer and I’ve been on a few trips recently myself, I decided it would be fun to do a post sharing six road trip films that I consider to be personal favorites. Thematically, it seems that the road trip genre is so wonderful because it expands the ways in which characters can be explored. On the road, we’re vulnerable. Though the journey of a road trip film may not start with the intent of personal exploration, what follows is nearly always life changing. The characters grow; they learn more about themselves and their compatriots, and often even more about the society they live in. The six films I’ve selected to post a short blurb about all share a few similarities. Most evident is the fact that all of the characters featured in these films make discoveries and decisions that are irreversible; their lives change on the road, for better or for worse. Discovery and change are the two clearest motifs that characterize these road trip films, …