Thursday, April 30, 2009

The first rule of fight club is that FIGHT CLUB IS AWSOME!!!!!!!!!

I watched Fight club when i was a freshman in high school. The difference between me now and then is night and day. I did not like Fight Club when I first saw it, but I really missed out on all of the little things I loved about it. The only thing I took from it the first time was there was a man with a split personality that liked to make soap from human body fat. The movie is so much more than that though. I found the movie this time to be funny, poetic and completely insane. It just really took me by surprise how much I like it.The movie was filled with comedy. The one main character jests between his split personalities like two sport commentators. They even make reference to the film at least once. The movie is spliced with little porn clips. The movie I think though is better the second time through because you get the joke. When you understand that he is two people you can enjoy the movie in a different way. I think not liking it the first time I saw it was what made it so good. My low expectations were exceeded!I think that the main character is really cool. Tyler is cool and suave but the narrator is witty. They are great contrast to each other. It is like the girlfriend said "Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Asshole". The narrators commentary really adds to the contrast with Tyler. The narrator is just so necrotic that it is funny. I think some of the values of Tyler are suppose to be making fun of bad guys with stupid philosophies. Tyler's philosophy is unclear and calls into question "is there actually a point to all of this." It makes me wonder was he just trying to contrast every characteristic of the Narrator or was he truly methodical with his planning. Either way this movie is going to leave you thinking and that is a very good thing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tarantino's Legacy

Quinton Tarantino revolutionized the film industry by introducing different aspects of film that have never been explored. He gave us story lines told that were told not in the traditional continuous style. He was very interested in going from the past to present to the future and long dialog scenes. His style had shots that made the room seem humungous and he loves the dialog in-between. He wonders what the bad guys talk about when they are not being criminals. Unfortunately he is also in love with excessive profanity not because it is real but because it is an exaggeration.

His ideas sparked a movement around the turn of the century. The most notable examples of this are: his own films like Pulp Fiction. It is not one of my personal favorites but it has a great dance scene that brought back John Travolta’s career. And also has one of the funniest lines that you could ever use in guess who "Does he look like a Bitch!" But the movie has a story line that is told from multiple perspectives. The vulgarities in the movie are off the chain. But it goes down as a very notable movie in my book.

I believe that his trends are still around with the television series Lost. Half the show is flashbacks. Something that is even more messed up is sometimes they are in each other’s flashbacks. But now the series has seen fit not to just flash back but to actually go back in time.

Another movie that was told from multiple perspectives was Sin City. I think that how both of the directors use time is similar and their excessive use of gore. The movie was a big hit. I heard they were going to make a sequel but I haven’t seen anything at so I will not get my hopes up.

I think that Tarantino has had a profound effect in film I personally have not seen many of these films because I was very young while his movie revolution was going on and his films are geared for adults.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hip and Square

Hip Square

1.Twilight 1. Harry Potter

2. Organic 2. High Yield

3. Going Green 3. Littering

4. Competency 4. Style

5. Pre-Med 5. Philosophy

6. The Daily Show 6. Cross Fire

7. Old SNL 7. Mad TV

8. Vintage 8. Impersonations

9. The Common Good 9. Individualism

10. Facebook 10. MySpace

11. Texting 11. Email

12.Riding a Bike 12. Driving

13. Cooking 13. Eating out

14. Target 14. Wal-Mart

15.Blue Ray 15. DVD

The going green movement has brought on large amount of change. The change is a change in ideology. We as Americans are much more focused on the individual but by placing personal needs above the collective. We have come to realize that if we are going to have a world for future generations we must think about the collective good. Such a shift has been placed on the individual level by stating that one person’s actions affect the other. So for us to make a difference we must work as individuals for the collective good. This is a very important shift one that has many different repercussions. One of the first areas we see this is the conservation of fossil fuels. People have switched from two-ton pickups to the Toyota Prius. Many in the city have begun ridding the bike to work instead of driving. When people go to the grocery store they buy organic and locally grown products to help support local farmers and not poison their children. I don’t think that we have seen the end of the social change from going green.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Paris is Burning is a documentary that highlights the drag culture of the New York Balls. The documentary is ground breaking. I liked that it picked such a controversial subject as drag queens to highlight. The style of the documentary reminds me of The Office and Drop Dead Gorgeous.

The Office imitates the documentary style of television series. They have fixed camera angles, refer to the camera crew and have interviews. The style of film is worked into the comedy. The writers base the show around the premise of documentary style and try to build characters off of that idea. For example Michael Scott is constantly aware of the camera and is constantly pursuing the audience to think of him in a certain way. He likes to make himself appear to be a good boss, caring friend and a responsible adult, but in all reality he is probably one of the most useless people on the face of the planet. I love the show for their documentary style. I think it adds character and wit to the premise of the show.

Drop Dead Gorgeous is a hilarious mockumentary about a high school beauty pageant. The story is really funny because they are doing the filming like a documentary but they are also trying to poke fun at the northern white trash stereotype. I think the movie’s biggest laugh is when the mom gets her hand melted around a beer can. The highlight of this film I think is the importance people place on being beautiful. It tries to show that beautiful is really ugly and vice versa.

Another aspect of Paris is Burning that I really do like is that it is right up in your face. You have no room to try to sidestep the issues of the day. By placing a face and background to drag queens it forces people to face their stereotypes of others. Another documentary film-maker that tries to do this is Michael Moore. I don’t really like all of his movies but he is attempting to do what few will. He is questioning the status quo and challenging individuals to look past the media and dig for the truth. I am not saying he is an advocator of truth but he has inspired me more than once to check the facts. Another that is challenging this is Morgan Spurlock. The movie Super Size Me challenged my views on fast food and the harmful effects of it. In just a month he was at risk of organ failure from just eating McDonald’s food.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Walking the plank (runway)

Drag is something that I have had some experience with. I was an actor at Subiaco Academy where there was no girls. I was cast a majority of the time as a girl. I had to study mannerisms, tone, makeup and their clothing. I also had to play about three different races of women. It is not an easy job to fit into the cloths or naturally pull feminine mannerisms off. I had to practice for about a month to master walking in high heels.I have a lot of respect for what the drag queens were pursuing.

They are some of the few individuals that know exactly what they want and are going after it with everything they have. How rare is that?

As college students we try every day to figure out what we want, who we want to be and how to make it happen. It takes some of us many years to decide and I personally change my mind quite frequently. They know what they want and have most of society telling them that they can’t have it and won’t be accepted. They have a lot more guts than most people do. As soon as many people are reprimanded by society they will just give up. What the drag queens are doing is brave. Though there is not as much opposition as there once was, many still disapprove of drag queens. Plus the rejection by their family and sometimes even the drag community must alienate them to an unimaginable extreme.

An aspect of the drag culture that is especially intriguing is the balls. Paris is Burning did a great job in highlighting exactly what a balls are. The individuals have to get up and parade their best in front of the only social acceptable place they may know. They can be met with a number of apprehensive people. This is like walking the plank for some. One the interviewers had not walked yet and was very nervous about it. The sheer process of it all takes massive amounts of time and effort. Another one of the people worked on sewing a tank top for an hour. It was said in the film that some people don’t have enough money to spend on food and cloths so they chose their garb. That is true devotion.

I believe that the drag, gay, and transvestite culture has had a profound effect on society. One of my favorite comedies growing up was Will & Grace. I grew with more acceptance of the gay culture than my family ever did. I hope that the next generation will treasure all that the gay culture has done in pop culture and someday they can study in history books and it not be looked down upon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh yes! Satire!

Robocop reminded us of what satire is. The director Paul Verhoeven showed us the dangers of letting ideas go too far. Reganomics was supposed to allow the free market to flourish and to squash the rise in big government. The idea was interesting and paved with good intentions, but as the movie displayed, it could become dangerous very quickly. There have been a few satirical works that have come to criticize ideas that could lead to our demise. I will go over a good few and try to relate them to the issues they each pertain to.

The news is a little over the top and people know it. As John Stewart said on CNN's "Crossfire" "This is not news, it is theater!" Robocop did make fun of the news and how it had just become another useless form of media. The Onion is a great source of satire. They are poking fun at social norms and really focus on the problems that mainstream society is overlooking. Hayley Sebourn has a good example in her blog. Other great sources of satire if you are a news junkie is "The Daily Show" and the "Colbert Report." They are comedic geniuses. I do think that John Stewart knows his stuff. He has been on a kick here lately telling other news stations to cut the theatrics and just give us the unbiased news. His greatest moment is on "Crossfire" when he was begging "Stop! You are hurting America!"

Another great satire is from Paul Verhoeven is Starship Troopers. This movie is great and reminds me a lot of the book 1984 in that it shows the dangers of blind nationalism. The movie is a little less clear for some than Robocop but I think if they examine it the satire is there. One of the most comedic scenes is a movie that is quite similar to our WW2 films where the narrator is saying "Everyone is doing their part!" and the kids are killing cockroaches. The movie's message is hidden under a B action film just like Robocop. Starship Troopers calls into question the logic of a constant warring nation.

"Family Guy "is one of my favorite shows in the entire planet. The show is filled with satire and many vast exaggerations. The TV show has characters portraying different walks of life so that it can cover multiple issues. I think a good example would be the episode when Peter's dad is forced to retire. The episode does battle with issues of ageism, religious fundamentalism and the generational gap. I would encourage it as a good intro into "Family Guy."

We can never take ourselves too seriously. I think the events that occurred after 9/11 have shown us that. The best example is the Patriot Act. Almost everyone was in favor of it, but during that time we went too far and now there are many comedy shows saying that. A good movie would be Team America. I think that satirical films remind us that we must look past the good intentions and see the consequences of our actions.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Paul Verhoeven is Robocool

Robocop is a B class action film that cannot be fully appreciated without the knowledge of the deeply imbedded satire which inhabits the film. I really think there should be an intro like in citizen cane telling about the real point of the film. If not it becomes misinterpreted by many as just a regular action flick. I really think there is a danger of the film not being noticed if there is not some kind of warning or alert.

The movie is a little awkward for me because it is a slow motion action film. I know that the trend now is very fast motion action but it seems lacking in the action area. It remains me of slow horror films, I’m the guy screaming "Run, Run, Why are you not running?". There was two or three times during the last part of the film I think they could have killed Robocop like six times.

With the knowledge of what the film is mocking it will bring endless laughs. I think the board game won me over. I think this film does a great job of showing how the free market is just as corrupt as the government. I believe that anytime you a small number of people in power over a great many and they have the free range to manipulate the system to their benefit they will end up being corrupt. This again is one of the hazards of an individual based society. I wonder what we are going to try next since we cant trust the g0verment, organized religions or corporations to rule. The movie highlights the problems that were arising in the late 80's. Good examples are the news, TV sitcoms and gentrification. I think that I can truly appreciate more of the films that the director does knowing that his work is satirical.

The movie showed potential in the area of cool, it is more a classical manor. The good cops are virtuously good and he bad are hell spawn bad. The characters themselves are not what is cool about the movie. The only really cool person is the director. That is because this movie has depth. It is a satirical work of art as is Starship Troopers. The director is bold to go against the cultural norm of the day. I applauds his works.

Monday, April 6, 2009

An Ending is just a Beginning

Saturday Night Fever is a very weird movie, for me at least. The movie was not plot heavy, it was as Donna says "slice of life." It was common for that time, but I have very rarely experienced this type of story. I think the ending played into what cool is. It poses questions like: Can cool be sustained? Does cool change with scenery? and Can someone be cool and un-cool all at the same time? These are all great questions, and I think the truth can be answered through different films, music and other vessels of pop culture.

One band that has always kind of kept up with what is cool is Aerosmith. The band began like many eighties bands, in women’s clothing. They were high pitched and constantly singing about all of their sex-capades-- most notably, "Love in an Elevator." However, they were a band that does not necessarily change their style but adapts its music to the changing times. One example is during the 80s or 90s they did a song with a rap group. The song did well but it was the first of its kind. They were trying to be ground breaking with their music. They have also put out hits during the 90s and 2000s. One of my favorites is "I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing." They, I believe, answered the question on whether cool can be sustained. I think that it can, it just must adapt to the times and context of cool. So the next logical question is: Does cool change with the scenery?.

The answer can I think be captured best by a movie we watched in class, Easy Rider. The two main characters are thought of as cool every where they go. Some people don’t like them because they are the bearer of the changing times. This is best shown in the southern dinner scene. They are made to feel uncomfortable by everyone in the dinner except for the young girls. They are perceived as an unknown by both men and women, but women see that as cool while the men see it as threatening. So cool is subject to point of view more than scenery. So were the characters cool and un-cool at the same time?

That question I think is best answered by Saturday Night Fever. The answer is yes. A person can bee cool and un-cool at the same time. The main character was a looser when he went home but a star on the dance floor. He was both things at the same time. This leads me to the conclusion that cool is completely subjective. The level of cool depends on how many people agree you are cool. One of the best examples is Bob Dylan. Many, like me, would say he is cool. Others would protest and say he was a crappy singer that had a knack for song writing. Cool is very perplexing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In defense of Female Teen Pop

Dyer’s article “In Defense of Disco” has some very good points. Generations can be a little heavy handed on different eras of music. I grew up thinking that almost all 80’s music sucked. But that was just because it was the consensus of my age group when I was young. Today some of the most listened to songs on my iPod are “Walk like an Egyptian,” “I run,” and “Sweet Child of Mine.” So times and opinions change, and people grow to appreciate things they once criticized.

So the music I am going to defend is the girl/teen pop movement that started around 1994 and lasted until at least 2003. Artist I am going to be talking about in particular are The Spice Girls and Brittney Spears. The fame may be short lived but it does not make their achievements any less important. I don’t see a valid argument for them not being cool either.

The Spice Girls came across America like a mad rush and they were gone just about as fast. They were some of the first all-girl vocal groups to counter the main boy bands at the time like N’Sync and The Backstreet Boys. They hit a wide audience of girls because they were advertised as a very diverse group. Each of the members was clearly defined in personality, so almost every small girl could relate. There song “Wannabe” hit number one in 31 countries. They were the most successful band out of Brittan since the Beatles. The group broke up in 2000 but they had a comeback tour in 2007 which ended prematurely in 2008. Their movie Spice World was a big hit all over the world. This band may come under a lot of criticism but no one can say that they had no musical value.

Britney Spears has been criticized and been called talentless multiple times. Many people doubt her musical talents and that she ever was cool. I am here to tell you that she must have been cool to sell 32 million albums in the US alone and is estimated to have sold 82 million worldwide. Spears is ranked as the eighth best selling female recording artist in the United States. Her first big start was as the opening act for N’Sync and The Backstreet Boys. She topped the charts in 1998 with “Baby One More Time.” She is still very prevalent today with her new album Circus. Her songs are not as popular as they once were, but she is still a very popular figure in pop culture.

The girl/teen pop movement that happened around 2000 was as valid as Disco, Emo, or Punk. Each of them hold their own context and have an entire culture about them. I was not a fan of this movement, but I can appreciate all the things that came from their contributions to music. Brittney brought back Madonna and led the way for such artist as Lady Gaga and Pink. I have listened to Brittney’s new album and find it decent. I think that the girl/teen pop movement made great contributions to music.