Monthly Archives: January 2013

Justifying My English Degree: Here’re Your Flying Cars: The Livable Future of “The Fifth Element”

I put up on my Facebook that I was trying to decide between doing this one or WarGames, and since both got some interest, I’ll likely give a young Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy the JMED treatment next.

THE TRAILER: (Note: It’s a fan trailer, but IMO it’s far better than the original)

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Justifying My English Degree: “The Devil Wears Prada” vs. the Protestant Work Ethic

THE FILM: The Devil Wears Prada, 20th Century Fox, 2006

PRINCIPAL ACTORS: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway

SYNOPSIS: A naive young woman comes to New York and scores a job as the assistant to one of the city’s biggest magazine editors, the ruthless and cynical Miranda Priestly.

THE CRITIQUE:

 -Let me know when your whole life goes up in smoke. Means it’s time for a promotion.

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Justifying My English Degree: Hollywood God: The Micromanaging Creator of “Last Holiday”

Some preface: This is one of my go-to movies when I’m sick or feeling down, and I’ve likely watched it more than most people. Its opening scene is one of the reasons I’ve taken an interest in cooking (though I’m still not very good at it), and I enjoy Queen Latifah as an actress.

THE TRAILER:

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Justifying My English Degree: Music and Lyrics, “Pop Is For Morons”

To begin, my apologies for neglecting the blog, but I honestly can’t think of anything to post that isn’t shameless plugging for Community Service or political blogging which is, let’s face it, nothing I’m really qualified to comment on other than the fact that I read the newspaper. (Yes, kids, they still have those. 😉 )

Instead, I want to critique scenes from media that don’t have a lot of literary criticism leveled at them: popular cinema, television that isn’t Breaking Bad, video games that aren’t Spec Ops: The Line. While I was attending Goddard, we were required to read, on average, about 15-40 books per semester and write a 2-4 page paper on every book. We got to pick our reading lists, but they needed approval from our advisors. While I would later study under Rachel Pollack at Goddard, I started at first under John McManus, who added a lot of literary fiction to my list telling me that he wanted to “get me out of my comfort zone”. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t assertive enough at the time to explain to him that I hadn’t had the chance to actually be in my comfort zone throughout my education. I’m aware that Ulysses is a towering work of English literature and that One Hundred Years of Solitude is likely one of the finest works ever written (and yes, I have read it). But Joyce and Marquez have legions of defenders, as do every other major literary writer, and the minor ones have plenty of grad students looking to exalt them for course credit.

When I was in undergrad at Oswego State, Literary Criticism was a required course, and I was lucky enough to get a professor willing to let me critique Roseanne for my final paper, so long as I demonstrated that I knew what the Hell I was doing. I studied Transmetropolitan for my Queer Theory class. My creative thesis at Goddard was entitled “Archetypes of the Modern Wizard Protagonist”, and I critiqued Harry Potter, Harry Dresden, and Anakin Skywalker. And I actually enjoyed literary criticism.

Unfortunately for me, it has its side effects. So now, whenever I’m enjoying popular entertainment, I tend to deconstruct a scene I enjoy to understand what exactly I like about it from a literary, sociological, or psychological standpoint.

So, given that, I’ve decided to start critiquing selected scenes on the blog, and I’ll be starting with one of my favorite movies.

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