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Your Final Word

Captain_America-classic_suitThis trimester will end very soon, so please let me know how you feel/felt about this course. You could write here, for example, about particular content you did not know at the beginning and have learned about in class, moments in the class you were surprised about or felt challenged with, points you think that could be improved or just simply look back at all films and how you think about them now, etc. Thank you so much for making this course better!!!
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84 responses to “Your Final Word

  1. postnroast ⋅

    I really enjoyed the chronology and array of film you showed in this course. During the period of this course, I learned film can capture historically events alongside the timeline of racism to show evident proof of the normality of racism at the time. Ever evolving from the creation of film to current portrayals of individuals and their related ethnicity. This brought light to film without sound like sunrise, that I had heard existed, Charlie Chaplin for example, but never got a chance to watch.
    My interest in film noire sprouted from the course screening of sunset blvd. Sunset blvd. had all the aspects of movie Americana from over dramatization to facial acting. My experience in the class was amazing, I learned so much and I greatly appreciate the time you take to educate us.

    Thank you for being an exceptional professor.

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    • pizzaboy ⋅

      I can definitely relate to the new-found interest in film noire. As I’ve stated in a lot of my own blogs…this class has led me to do a lot of my own personal research further into a lot of different ideas, subjects, and genres throughout the film scope and film-noire has been a distinct subject that I have looked up in and of itself.

      It’s been one of those phrases that I have heard thrown around in the same way that I have heard b-movies thrown around for years and never really had a concept…now I can relate it to block booking, vertical integration of the Hollywood Studio System, dark lighting, and predominance of gangster movies.

      It does get somewhat confusing because it feels like there are a lot of times when film-noir and b-movie are used interchangeably as descriptors.

      As with the rest of B-movies and paracinema…film-noir has been a development that has occurred parallel to the other developments of cinema and has been ubiquitous throughout its history.

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      • armitage ⋅

        Noir has alwase had such a cool alure to it. Its one of those things that you think: “man there are tons of movies like this”, but then when you really think back you realize that really you haven’t seen many. Almost like the “Idea” of film noir is more prevalent than the actual movies. Im certain that there are many noir films that people can point to and say “see there is a noir movie.” but i challenge that person to make a list of noir movies that compare to a list of western movies, or war movies. Certainly there are modern movies that are noir like or share noir elements (BladeRunner or Girl with dragon tatoo, for example) but they only have a handfull of the iconic noir tropes. BladeRunner has the classic investigator investigating a Fem Fatalle, and Dragon tattoo has a similar dynamic but flipped. but they lack the witty monologue and dry humor that is present in sunset boulevard. I would also be interested in seeing more classic noir movies, because most noir-like movies are pastiche or homage to movies Ive never heard of before.

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    • shmoo ⋅

      I also didn’t have much interest in film noire until we watched Sunset Boulevard, but I think it was such a perfect film to represent the category that I really got into it. The facial dramatics weren’t out of place considering the story and it helped inform the audience about the silent era. So while the film kept its modern (for the time) approach to filmmaking, there was definitely a homage to the people that made modern film making possible. This is why it was such a addition to the film Sunrise, for although Sunset Boulevard is a fictitious work, I’m sure many actors and actresses ended up just the same way.

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      • Same, I felt like I gained new interests for different types of film genre after taking this course.
        My favorite screening in this class was hands down “Ed Wood” because to me, I felt like after watching that film, I was able to learn that anything you make is up to you, as long as you enjoy the craft and believe in yourself, that’s all it matters at the end of the day.

        Sadly Ed Wood didn’t technically make his dream come true, but my point is that he followed his dreams and never gave up.

        The concept that I took from this can be applied to anything so I am grateful for being able to take this course. Major learning lesson.

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    • TaiwanSwag ⋅

      I really liked the way Professor Karl manage the materials in chronological order as the real events so we can see the progression in a fast forward fashion. Movies to me before this class was simple and straightforward, but they are actually not. Movies are served as more than just entertainment, but something that could influence and affect people’s lives to the extreme. I agree with you that I would still be very uninformed about the movie industry and missing out on some classic and iconic movies if I hadn’t taken this class. I was really glad I did. I also agree on Professor Karl being an exceptional professor, he gave us chances to catch up and really spent time on reading our blogs and answering our questions either in or out of the classroom. It was an amazing class and I had a good time learning for the first time studying in TUJ.

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  2. Over all I really enjoyed you class as well and the films we’ve watched. I don’t really like old films, just due it its graphics but from this class I got a lot of opportunity to watch many different film form many different era. I’ve also leaned about different types of genres that I never knew existed like Blaxploitation or sexploitation and Z-movies. I also got to learn about genres that I knew existed but didn’t know what exactly it was and its history like B-movies or western genre and historical epics. Not only though the films but also though the class discussion I’ve gain a lot of new knowledge about different genres. I feel like I’ve leaned about America history itself though the scope of films.

    Another great thing I leant about from the films was history. Because I don’t watch many old films I never get a chance to see how it was in the past, but many films I saw in class portrayed the past very well and I kind of have a sense how the old America was.

    My favorite movie from all the ones we’ve watched would be Ed Wood with no doubt. For sure that was the most intestine movie to me because of its characters, graphics, and super unique and interesting story line. The film is old but when watching it I forgot that I was watching a old film, witch didn’t happen with the other films we’ve watched in class, not that the other movies were bad but when I watched the other movies at the back of my head I knew it was a old movie. And if I had to choose a second favorite it would be Jesse James, because of its storyline and characters. All the other movies though me something new at the lease but would not beat Ed Wood.

    Thank you for being a great professor and a great semester!!

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  3. pizzaboy ⋅

    I really enjoyed this course. I felt that the pacing of the film was very conducive to obtaining a firm grasp of the material at hand and that the films that were chosen were very accurate representation of the eras and particular lesson points that were highlighted upon. It was interesting for me because from an outsider and neophytes point of view it felt like we skipped over the films that most people would have considered the “important” ones and instead took the rode less traveled. In this situation though…I think it made a real and positive difference.

    It was a unique type of course for me and after all of the Business courses I did for my associates degree it was nice to go through a course that felt a little less traditional and more organically paced and faceted. Instead of approaching the films from a robotic and academic way, they were described with such adjectives as “cool” and actors were described as being “good-looking”. It gave the class a fun genuine feel that can be missing from a lot of courses. I think it was a very effective form of communication style…at least from my own personal point of view.

    The first area that I can think of that I was not fully grasping and was due a deeper and more well-rounded understanding was the area of B-movies. Not necessarily the most important thing that I learned about in the course…but it has consistently been the first thing that has popped into my head when reminiscing about the course, likely due to the explanation that Ed Wood was related to B-movies during the first few days of the course.

    Before this course I literally thought that B-movies were literally “bad movies” and that the title had no other function than a pejorative descriptor. Now I understand how important they are to the film-industry and their relation to the “block-booking” of the early theaters managed by the Hollywood Studio System.

    I also understand how they functioned as a great commodity during the Silver Age of Hollywood prior to the beginning of the “New Hollywood” period.

    The next thing that pops into my mind is the function of the Kinetograph and Kinetoscope as well as the various forms of sound that have been utilized throughout the history of Hollywood…particularly during its inception years. It’s interesting to me how ramshackle and DIY a large amount of early cinematic productions were in the old days. Really shows how far we have come…from the novelty of the Nickelodeons of the earliest days to the family ritual that it had already become by the mid-1930’s. Interesting how an invention of such earnest and inconsequential beginnings became such an important cultural fixture.

    I personally am so accustomed to the digital technology that I have used during the forays of my own video creations and these realities were very interesting to me. It has led me down the road of my own personal research throughout the duration of the course in order to elevate my YouTube videos beyond mere groundless meandering into something that may grow to of of greater substance.

    All in all it would take to long to really list how many doors of perception this class has opened up to me…but it must be said that it has definitely set me upon a definitive path of discovery that will guide me in my further research through the following years. Honestly, studying for the final is quickly becoming one of my current favorite pastimes due to all the extra cultural and technological flavor that is added on to the deceptively simple subject of film.

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  4. TRONtravolta ⋅

    This class had a lot more to it than just watching a film, as we discussed deeper issues that and meanings behind the stories, and the effects that they posed on society. While movies may just seem like moving pictures on a screen, they remain to be one of the more powerful Medias. When scarfing down some buttery popcorn and slushy, sometimes it is easy to forget and also process everything that is being shown. Without taking much notice, secret agendas are exists, whether it is major such as political views or something as simple as product placement.

    Going deeper into these films from America’s past to more modern time, was an interesting process which illustrated the change throughout Hollywood, as different trends, styles, technological advances, and messages changed throughout the decades. Starting with silent films, one can really see the advancements in every aspect of Hollywood. From production to post production, the advancements are undeniably better. I thought that it was important to start with films that did not sound, except an added soundtrack. Then introducing films where characters were able to speak on camera was a great improvement. Although these films were necessary, I felt that a lot time was spent on the black and white, classic films. Maybe they seemed longer since they were the least enjoyable to me personally, but I do see the purpose of them. The start of the class was a little slow moving for me, but that is only because of some of the films that were shown were not the type that I would pull of the shelf to rent. This was especially true when it came to the viewing of “Gold Diggers of 1933.” I am just not into the flair and glamour that comes along with musicals. But I did see the purpose of having the film shown in class though. If it was only based on what I liked, it would be more focused on B Movies and experimental styles from the 70’s.

    When we reached the Western genre I was more enthusiastic about the screenings in class. I thought that learning about this genre was important to the America’s film history, as there seems to be nothing that possesses more Americana than a cowboy. It was interesting to see the differences between the Western films that were created in the U.S. compared to those that were made overseas. Before this class I never really knew that other countries were making these films at the time. I preferred the more gritty Western films, such as the ones that were created in Italy and Germany. Seeing some of the differences such as the Native Americans being the good guys was great. Native Americans have one of the saddest past in the United States and even in modern times. It was nice seeing them have the power. Unfortunately though Hollywood was to narrow minded to actually use Native Americans, casting white actors. Not a good look. Overall I felt that this section was very informative and I learned some new things about the genre.

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    • pizzaboy ⋅

      It’s interesting to bring up western films because out of all of the films that we watched…they were probably the most uniquely American…at least before they were conquered by Europe – the movies that is. Although Europe took their own spin and elevated westerns in a aesthetic way…they are truly American to their core.

      Westerns were a way of America creating its own romantic history. Romantic in the sense of pirate and historical films. Emotion and perception over the banalities of normal reality thus elevating the expression of normal storylines into the realm of myths and legends.

      If you look into America’s short – albeit bloody – history, westerns are a way of creating a unique and interesting history where one doesn’t really exist for such a young country. So with this taken into account…they are possibly the most important films we screened and discussed during the class because they were instrumental in both creating and immortalizing America’s culture at the same time corroborating each other…therefore I feel like they need a special type of recognition in an “American” film class…at least in my own humble opinion.

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    • TaiwanSwag ⋅

      I agree that this class goes deeper than just watching movies. It was interesting to learn that these films, especially the Westerns as you and Pizzaboy mentioned in the comments, are more than just moving pictures. They served as a fantasy and a story that could take them out of the ordinary world. I remember studying for the test yesterday and came across a quote from Neil Gable saying “Hollywood was a dreamworld constructed by immigrant Jews who were fleeing a nightmare”. This really touched me because it means that movie could mean so much differently depending on their experiences of life, and that’s what make them so interesting. This class is more than just about American films, it also connects to the history and the society of the United States throughout the 20th century.

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  5. TRONtravolta ⋅

    After spending time on iconic cowboy, it was a nice change of pace to watch a comedy, Sunset Boulevard. This movie was surprised me on the humor and way that it was filmed. While being a movie from the 1950’s, I thought that the comedy was pretty funny. Being an older film I was not sure if I would relate or catch the jokes to be that amusing, but sure enough the story moved along nicely and was entertaining.

    The B-Movie genre and more experimental films was very fascinating to me. I feel that there is so much freedom behind these films when there is not a major company calling the shots and compromising the artistic views of the creator. I feel though that we did not get to watch as many clips, instead we discussed more. While the power points are full of useful information, being able to see more clips would be more useful, as a lot more senses are stimulated. I really enjoyed seeing the old films that were about cars and babes in bikinis. The corny story lines real fun if you are able to accept them for what they are. Obviously comparing these films to high budget films are like comparing oranges and apples. Both different and need to be enjoyed for what they are.

    Vanishing Point was by far my favorite film that was shown during the semester. The stylistic choices of the director, being the settings, music, characters, and story line were very impressive. That was the first time that I watched the film and would watch it again. Longer shots and less active scenes are something that I really enjoyed about some of these more experimental type films, which seem to lack in mainstream Hollywood today. If it was up to me I would be able to watch films like this throughout the whole semester. While we learned a great deal about these type of films, it seemed that we did not have enough time in class to watch more of these films, but understand that there are a lot more genres to cover before the semester comes to an end.

    Overall I feel that the semester was very productive, as I was able to learn a lot more about films and genres that I only had a small bit of knowledge on. Being able to use films as a time line in American history was a great way to progress the class. Starting from black and white movies with text on the screen and piano music to modern movies with dynamic effects and production quality illustrates the progress that has been made in the world of cinema. My only suggestion would be to watch more films or at least a larger variety of clips, rather than too much power point. But I do understand the use of the slides, as it provided a lot more information and opened up ideas and conflicts that were important at the time of the making. While there were some films I enjoyed more than others, I feel that there was a great variety of screenings.

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    • I also wanted to express my fondness of the way the class was organized. Unlike most classes, which usually have three or four essays, I thought that the format of being able to blog and share opinions and views with each other is a great way to see what everyone is thinking. While in class, there is sometimes not always available time for long discussions, this way of writing gave everyone the chance to ask questions and speak their minds. I felt that after watching films and learning the history that correlates with the title, gave helped out quite a bit when putting thoughts out on the blogs. This style of writing on a weekly basis helps retain the knowledge, instead of having to write in bulk.

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      • White Rabbit ⋅

        I agree. It really gives us a chance to interact with one another more in depth, and when combined with lessons, it really helps us learn more about the films, and also helps us form our own thoughts and opinions. Certainly much more effective than an essay-structured class format.

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      • Yeah I agree to this 100%

        I loved how he was very understanding and was very patient with us throughout the course even though many of us lacked blogs and didn’t participate in disscussions during class.

        As i’m not really a in class speaker, being able to listen in on what others had to say and read over other people’s blogs such as this one was great….even though some blogs got a little out of hand towards the end of the semester.

        This was my second time taking a course where we had to blog on this site and having insight on how different the first and second class react to each other is great!

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  6. White Rabbit ⋅

    Certainly one of my favorite classes at TUJ thus far. I’m such an amateur to American films. I’ve seen many films, but all of them are modern and very genre-specific. Learning more about film history has not only given me a further understanding of American Film history, but also a glimpse into US History, and how Americans express themselves through media.

    Blogging has also helped me reflect on our class topics, helping me retain the highlights of every film. Vanishing Point was certainly one of my favorite films, and has certainly left me thinking.

    The lectures are always engaging, and your passion for the topic is evident when you teach, which helps me get equally excited about the topic. Feedback is continuously provided, which also helps me know where I stand, and how I can improve myself. I am however a little concerned about the quiz, as I’ve heard the stories…

    Thank you once again for your commitment to our education!

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    • TaiwanSwag ⋅

      I have taken classes before which I would be watching and analyzing movies, but they were never as fun as doing it in this class. To me, blogging is so much better than writing a analytical paper, and I learned so much from just doing and reading them. I think what makes this class so much fun is because of the variety of people from different backgrounds and cultures come together and discuss on the same topic. And I definitely have to agree on that the lecture was engaging because of Professor Karl’s passion in the topic, and also created an environment where people are encouraged and felt comfortable to talk and discuss. The only challenging thing in the course would be the quiz and I have to agree, it wasn’t and it will never be easy. lol…

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    • dinerbears ⋅

      i feel same way as you most of the film i watched in now the day are modern film i did not paid any attention in American film history before, However, after taking this class i have more idea with history of America. i agree with you that us history, how americans express themselves through media and America society is relate together. i think this class give me more thought and passion to study. personally i do not like reading paper book specially history topic . however, this class did not required to read book and used easy way to study America history . i think most challenge part for this course is quiz.

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  7. clintrump ⋅

    This class gave me a wide perspective of the film industry as a whole, and the progression That Hollywood has made since the silent black and white films to the modern era. It seems like film production as an art has followed the economic, and social trends of each era reflecting society as a whole. Even though people go to films to be entertained I think films a reflection of human consciousness. I think many of the modern films are missing what films of the past provided in terms of narrative. Most of the films produced today are jam packed with special effects and action but lack substance that films of previous generations had produced. Overall I don’t think there is a lot of critical thinking going on in today’s cinema. Is it possible that the film industry is just reflecting the modern day mindlessness that is associated with an over saturation of technology? I definitely think that there is less conversation amongst people today as a result of technology so maybe modern day moviegoers don’t really care about dialogue and deeper thought?

    I also wonder if Hollywood has helped any of the racial, and social issues that still exist in America, or have they just added more fuel to the fire building up tension and angst creating a polarizing environment of “black”, and “white” while ignoring the “grey” area? I honestly think there is a hidden agenda to separate America within Hollywood instead of bringing people together under commonalities and shared human experiences. Only time will tell, but I think that tensions in America, and unfortunately around the world are at an all time high.

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    • Vera Lynn ⋅

      I feel what you are saying about Hollywood adding fuel to the fire, and I have had the same thought from time to time, but in the end I think it’s the media that covers Hollywood that is the real gremlin. At the end of the day, Hollywood is a business selling a product. I think we really saw that come through with the documentary about Final Destination. I think the majority of movies that come out are films that are trying to appeal to the most people and draw in the most viewers. This isn’t to say that I don’t think there is a problem with more diverse pool of talent both in front of and behind the camera. Personally, I believe the best person for the job should get said job, regardless of skin color and quotas, and more people need to be given a chance.

      But more to the point, I think that regardless of what Hollywood creates, someone somewhere is going to find a problem with it. I think this is demonstrated by the fact that in class when we were talking about Ghost in the Shell, we had someone suggested an Asian actress that wasn’t Japanese play a woman named Motoko Kusanagi. I think this person was forgetting Memoirs of a Geisha.

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  8. Eddie ⋅

    Over the semester I learned to analyze and observe films in ways that I’d never considered before. I think that every time I watched a movie it was mostly for the entertainment aspect of the film more so than the analytical process of viewing the film. I’ve also learned to be a lot more objective in the way that I view films and instead of walking into the film with bias based on genre or the title of the film I’ve been able to walk in with a n open mind and have at times been very pleasantly surprised with the results. A prime example would be the movie with Ed Wood and Johnny Depp. I really didn’t think I was going to enjoy that film and wanted to laugh throughout the whole movie. I was really happy to find out it was a true story as well because it added to the comic effect of the film knowing that a whacky person like him really existed. Another film that definitely left me feeling surprised was the one about Jesse James. Jesse James I’d expected to be a typical western from the way that I viewed them where a white hero ran all over the west killing Indians and putting down Chinese people. I’ve always avoided western films and have never really wanted to watch one especially with a fairly decent history of the real settlement of the west, which was done jointly by Irish, Blacks, Chinese, and Mexicans as well as immigrants and disenfranchised veterans. The film actually turned out to be very interesting. Because his story felt like a struggle between the little man and the big business interests that were trying to exploit the poor with the help of governmental forces. A very relevant story even today. I do have to say the one that was the most interesting was the one about the silent film actress and the B movie writer. It was probably the most believable horror films I’ve ever seen and felt like it could have really been possible for it to really happen. That was one of the scariest movies I have ever really seen watching someone slip into the depths of insanity under the pressures of the own design. The worst movies were the Z movies and the movie with the Giant ants I really found it too cheesy but maybe as a child I would have enjoyed it however but as an adult it was just too far fetched for me. Overall I would have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the class and would definitely recommend people to take the class and view the movies. It has also opened up some doors for me and piqued my interest in film so I had to go and actually watch some horror movies and so forth. I’ve so far watched Frankenstein and Dracula and definitely plan on watching the mummy as well, that was thanks to Frank Legosi and the Ed Wood movie, I’ve also considered watching some more silent films but I’m still undecided to be honest.

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  9. Vera Lynn ⋅

    For the most part, I really enjoyed this class. Watching and talking about movies are two of my favorite things, and now I am getting college credit for it. I have to commend Karl for not picking the standard go-to movies, and picking films that are a little more off the beaten path. We could have watched and talked about Citizen Kane or 2001, but I think these are movies that most people that really care about movies have already seen.

    The thing I disliked about the class was how divisive some of the topics became, and how some conversations on these boards devolved into outright, and seemingly condoned bigotry. I saw a whole lot of complaining and finger pointing as to what the cause of some of the problems are in terms of the lake of diversity in Hollywood, but as is often the case, there is almost no talk of solutions. Personally, I find that to be a far more interesting topic. Which isn’t to say that discussion of where things wrong isn’t important, but discussing the road ahead seems like it would be a more productive activity.

    At the start of the class there was talk of considering Cabin in the Woods for the list. I would have really liked to have talked about that in class. While I know I said I enjoyed films that were off the beaten path that were played in class, I feel its a much stronger film than Final Destination, though I really did enjoy the documentary that we watched. It might also be interesting to put an animated film on the list as well.

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    • Eddie ⋅

      I agree people have a tendency to get divisive and a bit closed minded when it comes to discussing topics that are near and dear to their hearts. I believe while you should always stand for what you believe, you should also maintain an open mind and under no circumstances trash another’s opinion simply because you don’t agree. Of course, there are a few caveats to that such as misogynistic, racist, or bigoted individuals which I didn’t observe too much of, and I’m sure the class would have stopped it as well.
      I definitely would have enjoyed watching a few more films but I do understand that for the sake of time it wasn’t possible so I feel empowered to go out and find titles that interest me. I’ve been getting more and more into films and have to say it’s a nice, inexpensive and fun hobby to share with friends.

      I believe there are a few courses that touch on both Japanese and French animation (auteurs course) depending on the semester you take the course. That said a movie like La Planat Savauge or even The Wall would still be really fun movies for the class to analyze because both kind of make the audience think seriously.

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      • Vera Lynn ⋅

        I have to say that I don’t agree with you on the first point of our class mates putting a stop to things. Mostly because the person I see being the biggest bigot on these forums is the person that tends to get the likes on their posts.

        I really feel what you are saying about being inspired to watch more movies though. I was already the kind of person that watches a ton of movies, but now I find myself looking more and more for different movies, and movies that are outside of what I would normally watch. I have also gone and re watched a few movies that we watched in class just for the hell of it.

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      • karltuj

        Unfortunately neither The Wall nor Planet Sauvage are American films. But I’ll see if I can put in some animation next year.

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      • Vera Lynn ⋅

        For an animated movie, I had the idea of The Secret of Nhim. I think it has an interesting art style and character design. It is also pretty short at only 80 something minutes. I would also say Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It is a bit main stream, but it is a really great film that is near and dear to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Pedro Rodrigues ⋅

    This class has surely become a very good surprise to me this semester. Honestly, I have been in film classes before, but I was not as much enthusiastic as for this particular one. The biggest reason for this insecurity is the fact that I’m not an American citizen, what obviously would very useful in an American cinema class. I was afraid of being lost in the discussions, or even making non-factual comments. Although, after a few classes, I saw this class in a completely different and exciting way.

    The American Film class taught me to see films and cinema in a distinct and more conscious perspective. In summoning, I could see some interesting details and specific characteristics of the Hollywood and not Hollywood pictures; watched old films that I would never have the chance to see; learned how to classify the movies in different categories; etc. Now, when I watch a movie, I pay attention to specific elements, such as soundtrack, special effects, interpretation of the character, and others.

    In addition, I have the opportunity to understand the different moments of cinema, its history, and importance in a worldwide scenario. From all the films that we saw in class, certainly Ed Wood was one of my favorite; mainly because it tells a real story of a real character that lived during difficult times, especially in his profession as a director. Also, I liked to see Johnny Deep in another type of role, except the classic Johnny Deep in Pirates of Caribean and other pictures. Thus, this movie has an unusual story of a cinema lover, told in a funny and humorous plot.

    In conclusion, this class taught me a lot about cinema. It was good to give a foreigner opinion about American cinema in class, considering all the Americans judging my comments. But, in general, it was a very nice experience with a well informed and funny teacher.

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  11. GreenBanana ⋅

    In this course, I felt really interesting to learn Hollywood, American film history. It started with classical silent films, black and white films, western films, b-movies, blaxploitation films and so on. But at the same time in some of the films I got confused in their content sometimes. English is not my first language therefore it really easy for me to get lost in the middle of the film. Therefore, I really had to re-watch the film or look what happened on online to understand it. I personally think if there is a subtitles, it will help non-native student to understand even more. I also took gender film course with Professor Karl and i really loved it. In Japan, gender issue is not really open or many people still have stereotypes towards those minority therefore, I felt it like a totally new sensation and fresh. I took this course because i really love that course and this is also one my favorite classes I’ve taken in TUJ. Materials on the black board really helped to think and relate to what I’m gonna write in blogs.

    I liked how this class works, professor Karl bring us interesting films to tackle with and classmates share their thought to elaborate and understand the film even better. During this semester I didn’t talk at all however, Its always interesting to hear what other people think because mostly I have different opinion to their opinion and it makes me think in different ways.

    I really like the topic on blaxploitation films. “Blaxploitation is an ethnic subgenre of the exploitation film, emerging in the United States during the early 1970s. Blaxploitation films were originally made specifically for an urban black audience, but the genre’s audience appeal soon broadened across racial and ethnic lines”(Wikipedia). It’s interesting because nowadays there are many famous black actors in the world and they are one of my best actors such as Will Smith,Samuel Jackson and Morgan Freeman. I personally think they wouldn’t be as popular as it is now if Blaxploitation genre did not exist. America had bad history with segregation and there mights still be many people who think that way even after the segregation like stereptying or prejudice or even discrimination. Therefore it makes them difficult to involve in it. I started with talking about their stereotypes about African American people and it meant to make money out that kind of films but it definitely gave them a way to involved into a Hollywood sense. We still don’t see many Asian actors in Hollywood but now we see many black actors that are in a leading role or the hero of the film.
    This is just a random topic but I red article on online that Toshirou Mihune, a Japanese actor was actually offered to take a Darth Vader role, but he denied it. I believe if Darth Vader is going to be a Japanese other Jedies such as Luke skywalker or everyone will be Japanese as well because they are all connected in someways. I wanted to see if that happened did Starwars became as popular as it is now or it wont be because actors are all Asian.
    This is the link about Toshirou Mihune and Starwards article(http://kotaku.com/how-star-wars-mightve-had-a-different-darth-vader-5975671).

    Overall, i really enjoyed having your class I wish i could contribute some knowledge but I’m quite shy talking in front of everyone. If i have opportunity to take one of your course again i would try to speak up at least once.

    Like

    • Pedro Rodrigues ⋅

      I agree with you on many matters. I’m also a non-English speaker, so I was not perfectly easy for me during the whole course as well. Although, this kind of class dynamic helped us to improve our English skills, and also, I could understand more properly how American people think. As their cultural background is portrayed in the films, we could learn more about their history and behavior. So, we could get rid of primary stereotypes that I had about America, such as fast food culture and the concept that everyone has a gun. America has much more to show than that.

      In addition, it is sad to know that stereotypes of minorities are still common in Japanese cinema. In this classes, we discovered the exploitation and blaxploitation were a big deal in American cinema history. It supported many minority groups in order to increase their participation in Hollywood, and consequently, in American culture.

      In Brazil, my home country, we have many classics that portray minorities in a non-stereotypical way, trying to reflect the country’s reality. Some examples like Elite Squad (1 and 2), City of God, Central Station and The Second Mother are almost perfect descriptions of Brazil’s current reality. Especially, Elite Squad is a mixture of action and social critic, which narrates the conflict between the police and drug dealers. Therefore, I think it is very interesting to watch movies like that, no matter the country or origin.

      Like

  12. Frank Bullitt ⋅

    This has definitely been my favorite film class that I have taken, and there have been many. I am an avid movie watcher and out of all the films that I own and have watched, it was great that there was only one that I had seen before. This really speaks to how diverse and strong the movie industry is in America.
    As far as the layout of the course is concerned it was really nice to get a chronological depiction of how film had evolved in the U.S. starting with Sunrise to give the class a view of what it was like in the 20’s. Then moving on to Gold diggers showing the class how society had changed over a very short amount of time. Then the class was treated to the great American genre, the western with Jesse James. We then moved onto Sunset Boulevard showing a noir touch of Hollywood making a film about Hollywood. As a class we then took a short break and focused on the Hollywood epic, where studios would throw large sums of money into projects to show off their capabilities (and hopefully make some money). Them was the next screening where we could discuss monster movies and how youth was represented on screen. We then came to the b-movie and independent film with Ed Wood; which really emphasized what low budget films can do to the main Hollywood values. The class then culminates into Vanishing Point and the idea of the director versus the producer.
    Overall the class has really taught me the history of American film. And it is always nice to know where we have come from. Its amazing to see how film has influenced the lives of Americans and others around the world.
    As far as things that I would change about the course are concerned, I would liked to have more screenings and less discussion from the class. As far as I am concerned, I take a class to hear what the professor is saying and how they look at a subject and couldn’t care less about other people’s opinions. As a class we spent way too much time talking about under representation in film and Ghost in the Shell. We could have acknowledged the facts of both subjects and moved on to watch more films.
    And the last point is that Karl is to nice and spends way too much time having to remind people to blog and explain things over and over again. This also took up much of the class time leading us to not be able to watch more films.
    Finally thank you Karl for your selection of films. Watching the lesser-known films gives the students the ability to see films that they most likely have never seen and widens their film perceptions. They also help visualize American society and the values that were in place during the making of these films.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. shmoo ⋅

    I think the bunch of films that we watched was a good bunch over all. Everything fit very well into our discussions, brining up modern social issues such as sexism, racism and the working class in America. I thought the order could be slightly altered to give it a more natural transition, but there were some themes that we had to cover first from other times from what I understand. My favorite film overall would have to of been Vanishing Point. I had never seen it before, but I really enjoyed it. The visuals and the meaning behind the film got me really into it. I liked this class because although I’d like to say I’ve seen a lot of films, Karl always manages to bring up some gems that I’ve never ever heard of. Our discussions were always very engaging, despite the struggles due to class size. The powerpoints were also very informative, though I think there was too much information gathered so we took much longer on the PowerPoint than we did on the films/discussion. But we did not have a lot of time and screening does take up a good chunk of class time, so I understand that as well. Hopefully next time around the class can (somehow) fit in that last movie! Haha! Overall though I really loved this class just like I did with Women in Film, which if you haven’t already taken I would recommend it. On a similar note, I did notice a lot of themes from that class blend into this one, which was nice since I was already so informed. Thanks Karl!

    Like

    • Derp ⋅

      I agree with you on that. I felt that it’s important to go over how films have been treating race, gender, etc. I like how Karl dig deeper into the treatment of minority in both classes: this class and “Gender in Film”. I know you’ve taken it, but if anyone who is seeing my reply right now and has not taken it, it’s a class that discusses the treatment of LGBT and other minorities through many films from various locations: America, Brazil, Thailand, etc. This gave us very thorough understanding of their life and situation in different countries. And in this “American film” class, we got to learn how people different in gender and race have been treated. I think what an university education is for is to know the diversity in us: the human race, and I think Karl did an excellent job in teaching us diversity.
      Right now, the world is facing two major difficulties of treatment: sexual minorities like LGBT and racial minorities like Islamic/Muslim. Though the treatment of African American can’t be said to be perfect even yet, I feel that countries especially America is struggling with Islamophobia and the treatment of Muslim can be sometimes worse than that of African American. Thus, I thought that it could be interesting to follow how Muslim has been treated in films/culture in the US and discuss the tasks we have to complete to eliminate bad treatment of Muslim.
      As I write some words here, I feel the importance of films more and more. To me, films are the mirrors or visual records of humanity with the face of entertainment.
      I hope that we can preserve our culture and reflect the issues we are facing, despite the limitation of creative freedom that exists in this modern era.

      Like

  14. I really enjoyed this class although I lacked blogs.
    This class was great for me because I was able to understand the growth of the movie industry from silent Black and white films to western films and etc that I would have never watched alone without attending this class that I am very thankful for.

    The discussions we had in class was very heated along with our blog discussions but they were all great to read as it gave me an understanding of the different perspectives everyone else in class had on what we learned in class.

    My favorite section we focused on was the Blackxploitation films just because growing up, I had a chance to watch some of these films but since I was a child watching, I was never able to get a detailed understanding of what the genre meant and the negative aspects it had in people’s lives.

    its ridiculous to me how much you know about films Karl! from the 1900-present. Its incredible. Thank you for being patient and teaching the class although many of us urked you with our lack of blogs. (including me). Very much enjoyed this class. 10/10

    Like

    • Derp ⋅

      I feel ya. To me, the important role university classes like this one plays is that they introduce us to a world we would not explore by ourselves and expect to see. In a sense, classes are keys to the doors that lead us outside our comfort zone. For example, in my case, I don’t think I would watch lengthy films like Vanishing Point and Sunrise on my own. But when I watch and analyze them through classes like this, I make a new discovery. I never knew Vanishing Point had such deep meaning.
      As for watching films as children, I thought that it can be scary or dangerous in a way. As humans, we tend to construct values on many things that surround us according to what we are taught, what we see, hear, etc. Films and cartoons play a great role in affecting children how they think. And sometimes films that lack the recognition of sexual/racial diversity can influence children in a bad way. For example, a child can be against homosexuality if some film or cartoon was making fun of it. Or, he may not feel anything about misrepresentation of women if he has been immersed with films or cartoons that represent women as a passive being. So I thought that it’s important for us to watch those films with misrepresentation and actually analyze what is wrong with them.
      Sorry to ramble too much, but I just wanted to dig deeper into your thought.
      Thanks for an interesting opinion!

      Like

      • Derp ⋅

        I wanna add to the point I made previously.
        Though watching those explicit films as children may affect children’s sense of moral value, watching them as teenagers or young adults may be fine, since they are at the ages that know the very basic moral. In fact, exploitation films–despite their explicit sensational topics–have been there to fulfill the dirty desire of youth.
        I made it sound like explicit films are all bad, but here I wanted to emphasize that they can only be bad for very young children whose sense of value is unstable.

        Like

    • I agree with you, the discussions we had in classes have been very heated that is because we had a lot of people in class and we had many speakers. I wasn’t the best blogger to but I tried my best to speak up in class. Personally what I am most thankful about this class is that I learned the variety of genre out there. Most of the genre we talked about in class I had no idea, but I learned fast though the screening and the power point. Once again thank you professor Karl for being so knowledgeable and teaching us about minor genre that we don’t see in the 21st century as much anymore.

      Like

  15. armitage ⋅

    I think the biggest takeaway i have from this class is; that movies are like tweets, most of them we don’t need to see, but when you get a good one, Oohwee! I personally tend to watch autuer films or movies based on who the director is. Sometimes there are Big popular movies that come out i may try to watch. But I was really surprised at how many movies come out each year. And, when you think about the history of films there are more films than any one person can see in their lives. All the movies we watched in class were ones i have never seen (some ive never heard of before), but i enjoyed all of them. It seems like that “good films” are vary rare, and most of them are older. But really if you look for “Good films” you can find them, they may be not as popular or sometimes you may be challenged but if you think that all movies coming out today are bad you arn’t tryinig hard enough, in my opinion.

    What i mean a bout good films is a film that you enjoyed for whatever reason. Some people like watching films to see how good the effects are, others judge the acting, or cinematography, or the story, or themes. Sometimes a film is able to find a perfect balance between all these aspects. Even you can critically analyze movies from different perspectives. But sometimes a specific movie can only be analyzed by certain theories or leans heavily into one theory or another. Some movies have really good gender based story that challenges people’s ideas of what being a man or woman means. But maybe the movie has a low budget and cant afford good actors, so because the acting is bad people may disregard the film all together. It is something to consider. It can also work the other way also, Perhaps a movie has really good cinematography and great acting, interesting plot line, expensive effects; but maybe the casting isn’t diverse. It would be very easy to disregard the whole movie over the one fault, legit criticism it may be, but if someone enjoys the film doesn’t mean they don’t also agree with the criticism.

    One thing I often have trouble with when i watch films, is when i see something that evokes cognitive dissonance, i tend to just reject the film outright. What im trying to do in the future is actually think about why im having the reaction, and then think if perhaps the film is trying to make me as questions about my assumptions. I listen to this podcast about unproduced film scripts scripts. In a recent episode there was a writer who wrote a script about a 1980s style hyper masculine ultra aggressive violence first super cop that fights against people trying to create the internet. The main character was written to be very unlikable for modern film goers. But the writer talked about the reaction for people who read the script. People called him a racist and a sexist with real violence problems just from the script. These people read his script and just made snap judgments before they considered the meaning behind the emotions they were feeling.

    Like

    • jonsnow ⋅

      I agree with a lot of what you said. I feel like movies are like tweets, but I also feel like they’re like snacks at the konbini. There are snacks that you’d never think to try on your own but if someone else gets you to try it, and you like it, then you wonder why you hadn’t tried that snack sooner. Honestly, I won’t go to watch a movie unless there’s a lot of hype or critical acclaim surrounding the film. I’m just not one to go out of my way to discover good movies that are more obscure. This class was great because it allowed for us to watch movies that we wouldn’t normally watch, and maybe encourages some of us to watch more movies, because it makes you wonder how many other good movies are out there that you’re going to wish you had seen sooner. I also relate to what you said about rejecting films outright that evoke cognitive dissonance. I find myself leaning more towards movies where I’m more familiar with the content, instead of watching something that makes me question myself and more traditional thoughts. It makes me want to push myself to watch more movies that are different to films that I would normally prefer.

      Like

  16. Nyphos ⋅

    I really enjoyed this class! Though I may not have participated as much as I normally would in a film class, I feel that I learned a lot! I love seeing new films, and there were so many in this class. They were all good too! If you ever do a class specifically on b-films or low concept/abstract films, please let me know so I can sign up!

    I feel that already having taken FMA I and FMA II let me get more out of this class than I would have otherwise since I already had a bit of background knowledge, but I feel this class was also a great introduction for those not so familiar with film terms or without a film background.

    I guess my only suggestion for the next class would be to have a free discussion section open from the beginning. We could write topics that seem to have a large interest on the board to discuss in the blogs so that class can continue to move smoothly. Not that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy our in-class discussions, just that I would have loved to see both Pelham 123 and Final Destination in class so that we could discuss them as a group. Maybe we can spend the time designated for the final watching bad Z movies after we finish going over the quiz. 😉

    Anyways, thank you Karl and thank you to my fellow classmates for giving such interesting discussions and ideas both in class and in the blogs. Hope to see you all again in future communications classes and at the film festival next semester!

    Like

  17. karltuj

    Please do not forget to vote for all films in the polls! It will help me to make decisions in case I would have to drop or change some films in future. Thanks!

    Like

  18. OOR ⋅

    I think that this class was so interesting that I could learn about a lot of kinds of movies such as Holleywood, American history movies, and I got the new kinds of movies what I learned in the class about b-movies, western movie and blaxploitation. As for me, it was the first time to learn about wester and blaxploitation movies especially, so it was unforgettable experience and got interested in these movies to watch. In these days, I hope that this is one of the blaxploitation movies called Straight Outta Compton that I impressed on this movie that black people was discriminated especially from whites and police, and black people always were seen as drug dealer and pimp, so I could learn how black people treated really bad from other people. These teenagers wanted to become a hip pop singer, but they also got discriminated and treated badly. However, they didn’t give up to become a hip pop singer even though polices tries to stop them to sing. I got impressed especially their songs’ lyrics that they wrote about how black people treated from other people like singing about discrimination. When they make a song about discrimination from police, polices got irritated that song, but they were trying to know what is happening against black people on discrimination in this world. Therefore, the person who made a category of the blaxploitation was so hard and got discrimination from other people like stop showing black people on the movie or something like that.
    About the western movie I haven’t watched many times, so it was good to know about this category of the movie. I think that there are a lot of western movie like cowboy show up in the movie and fight with the opponents or polices with riding horses, but the most famous movie in all over the world is featuring something other culture or history especially Egypt. The movies are called Indy Jones and the mummy both featuring with Egypt culture that the main characters are doing treasure hunting. I feel like the movie which sis featuring something other culture or history mostly get famous and big hit. According to Japanese historical famous movie in all over the world is Last Samurai that is featuring American culture? , and the main character acting Tom Cruise fits in Japanese culture and died as Samurai. After learning about the Western movie, I realized these things and it spreads my thoughts and curious.
    Professor Karl also gives me a lot of knowledge about a lot of movies and chance to discussion about the movies what we have watched, so we can listen about a lot of opinions from other students and blogging also one of the things to tell our opinions about the movies. I like this class that I like watching movies, so I can choose more category of movies like what we have watched and learned in the class.
    The movie what I get most impressed and think it is interesting is everything you always wanted to know about sex and Sun Rise. First one is the most interesting I think that it is humor that first movie we have watched that Dr.Ross felt in love with a sheep, and second movie was like similar with Inside Head which is a Disney movie working inside of head. I think that no one can conceive and make like these movies, so the director is creative. The Sun Rise what I got the most impressed is a silent movie because I have almost never have watched silent movie, so I realized that acting is really well in the movie. I can feel and recognize how the actor and actress feel. Therefore, I will try to watch a lot of kinds of movies from now on even though it is old movie because I can learn a lot of things.

    Like

  19. conan ⋅

    Overall I really enjoyed this class. At the very beginning of this class, what I thought about this class is that I was just going to watch some American films and talk about them and do the same things over again through this course, but to be honest, I think it was my favorite class among all the ones I’ve taken this semester. I got to see a bunch of movies that I would never have picked if I had to choose a movie on my own. I have learned a lot of differences and changes on American film styles from the past to modern period. We watched films in a chronological order over the course, so it did help to see just how American society changed over time. I think the thing about this class I liked was discussion. The reason I liked it because people have their own perspectives and opinions on the films and since TUJ has a wide range in diversity, it was interesting to hear opinions from different perspectives. I enjoyed hearing other people’s opinions every time after screenings. I definitely learned a lot about my classmates through the class discussion. Sometimes discussion got heated but I think it is a really good idea that we can express ourselves freely. And it’s also good that we can obtain the knowledge about films and personal experiences from both professor and from our classmates. On top of the class discussions, the blog allows us to expose our thoughts on class and films. I could learn a lot of things from reading others’ blog.

    Another thing I liked about his course is that it changed the way I watch a movie. I used to watch the movie without thinking about any technique and history of it. So it was nice to watch the films carefully with thinking about many things such as camera angles, lightings, and locations etc. I wouldn’t had watch films that I didn’t have much personal interest but I learned that it is important to watch movies that we wouldn’t naturally like because it exposes us to a great amount of genres and broadens our horizons. I would never have watched Vanishing Point or Ed Wood on my own, but it turns out I really liked them. If I had to choose my favorite film, it would definitely be Vanishing Point.

    I’m glad my knowledge about American Film industry improved a lot through this class. At the beginning of the semester, I had no clue of what the Golden Age of Hollywood, Exploitation genre, B-movie genre, Silver Era, and Para Cinema were. I got an opportunity to watch silent films for the first time. I am really satisfied with what this class has taught me.
    I want to say thank you, Professor Karl for showing us a great variety of films. I like your taste in film. Not only that, you taught us why a film is important to watch, and what we can learn through the film with enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to taking class with you next semester.

    Like

    • conan ⋅

      I forgot to mention, but I would definitely have liked to see older horror films because I like horror movies. I wish I could have compared and contrast with the modern horror genre. Also as some of us mentioned, I came to appreciate the films from other countries besides the U.S. I didn’t have any interest in European films to be honest, but it did grab my attention when we watched a few clips from European movies. Due to the short time we had each day in class, we couldn’t watch many of them, so I definitely want to continue on myself.

      Like

  20. mkt18 ⋅

    I really enjoyed this class. I had never watched every movies we watched in class because actually I mostly watch particular genre. Therefore, I did not know there are so many genres and histories which relates films, and they were fantastic. Before taking this class, I tended to choose watching films which were filmed after 2000, so it was a first time to see black white film, Western film, and so on. However, old films were amazing! I learned American culture and history rather than reading textbook of American History. I understand a film reflects a society at that time. I am not American, so films taught me how America has changed. I focused on clothes which actress wore while watching films. Depend on the era movies were filmed, I could see different style of clothes. I like clothes but I had never had chance to study old style clothes in America, so I enjoyed watching it. As time passed, woman`s clothes became more fashionable and I can see some clothes even today. I like clothes of Ed Wood! I was interested in women role in films. Clearly I could see difference of women role every films. Besides these things, I learned many from this class. Actually I did not have a chance to speak up during discussion, but I enjoyed listening classmates opinions. Professor`s lecture and classmates discussion taught me a full of knowledge about American films. I was lucky to be in this course because I could know new kinds of film. Overall, I liked this class, and thank you Professor Karl for giving great lecture and showing inter sting films.

    Like

  21. wakarinai ⋅

    I think this course provides a lot of insight on different aspect of the movie industry. This was not what I was expecting as I am used to mainly just sticking with the movie its self in other film classes that I have taken. Diving deeper in to how things are done and the struggle of this industry has given me a lot more respect for the process. Also it has shed new light on movies that are not “A” list films, and has made them more interesting to say the least. I would have preferred to have had more viewings during the course as it would have given me more of a basis to compare different movies of the same genre for the course itself. Yet, all in all it is definitely a course that I would take again and would recommend to someone who is interested in films, specifically American films.

    Like

    • White Rabbit ⋅

      I agree that the class really helps appreciate films that aren’t mainstream. Prior to the class, I was not well-versed with the B movies. I supposed I’ve watched some of them in the past, but very few, without a clear understanding of how they differentiate from mainstream films. I would also agree that additional viewings would help us compare different movies, although I can also appreciate that our class time is limited.

      Like

    • TaiwanSwag ⋅

      I have to agree with you and White Rabbit that this course really taught me well about movies other than the mainstreams and helps us to appreciate them more. I used to not be a movie person so I already missed out on a lot of great mainstream movies, and I had little to no knowledge on any off stream movies. Learning the importance of these movies and watched some iconic ones definitely ignited my interests to watch these lower budget films even more. Although a comparison for the movies from the same genre would be a nice addition to the course, this course was already providing huge amount of knowledge for a beginner like myself.

      Like

  22. liarina ⋅

    During this semester, I would say I have definitely learned a lot, especially in this course. It is my very first time to have class with Karl. At the beginning. I was so scared of taking this course because I have heard that the quiz is incredibly difficult (and I’m still worried about this), and I have almost no knowledge for American film industry since I am not an American citizen and not particularly interested in film study. However, I am now so glad that I am here because it helps me to gain the knowledge of the history of Hollywood and American film, and what is the different characteristics for each type of cinema. Furthermore, what is the effect of different era that could reflect on the film which produce during the time.

    There are several things that making me feel this course is different from others. One of them is the blog. Unlike what many professors do, I personally like the grade is weighting by blogging instead of writing essays because this can make students express their ideas about the film and have an actual deep discussion. Another part is that I have learned l a lot although I did not say much in class. I still remember the first thing in this class that I learn is that Nigeria is ranked as the top five nations that make the most of films in the world. For me, that was surprising and totally unexpected.

    Furthermore, what we explore in class is amazing. The class materials cover every aspect of American film history from the silent era, the golden age of Hollywood, the rise of b-movie, the exploitation and sexploitation, midnight movie and cult. And among those kinds of cinema, I would say silent era, b-movie are my favorites for several reasons. Sunrise 1927 is the first silent movie I have even watched and it totally change my mind for black and white silent film. Before this class, I always consider it as boring and cannot bring up any interests of mine. However, through Sunrise 1927 and this class, I now know how to appreciate the classics. Besides, I do think in that era, movie is the purest production that it didn’t added too many special effect or anything. It was all about the acting of the actors to show the story with their talents and passions without any spoken dialogue which making me consider as fascinating to watch because there is nothing else is going to distract you from focusing on the film itself. In addition, for b-movie, I like it because in my opinion it is the kind of film nowadays that make it to the audience even though compared to the mainstream movie it only has a law budge and usually don’t cast with famous actors. Some people might think this as the bed because it somehow loses the certain value and attraction for them to watch. Nevertheless, it is the chance to discover something different and some new idea such as Slither.

    In this class, I have learned something and it makes me to have different kinds of perspectives to watch different cinema. Moreover, I have gained deep understanding for films from other classmates in class not matter during the class discussion or on the blog and that is the thing I like. So please offering or giving this course to other students, it would be really helpful for those who want to learn about the history of American film with the most interesting way of leaning and the most funny and enthusiastic professor in school.

    Like

  23. BIGANTEATER ⋅

    Although I didn’t keep up with the blogs like i should have, I really enjoyed this class. When I did blog I enjoyed that as well. I think its a really interesting aspect to the class that should definitely stay. Its common knowledge that most of the time people say stuff on the internet that they wouldnt normally say to anyones face but I found that to be not so true in this class. The ones that were out spoken and wreckless with comments in class were the same with the blogs except their outspokenness was amplified. So in that sense the blogs allow us to better know our classmates. Although identities on the blogs are anonymous its not too hard to piece together whos who so that makes it even more fun.

    The film selections in the class were good too because they were all films I have never seen. In prior film history classes that ive taken, the professors would pick iconic and relateable films. Maybe because TUJ is international and most people will not understand certain films because of cultural differences etc. But isnt that what a film class is for? To introduce new cultures, concepts, ideas, etc??? And thats why this class has been cool because Karl said I dont give a F*** where youre from or what your native language is, we are watching the most obscure films possible. Im exaggerating a lot with that comment but Im just trying to get the point across that appreciate the film selection. That is all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • IsThePartyOver ⋅

      I couldn’t agree more with your last point. I really appreciate the teacher’s effort to open our minds to new horizons. I don’t like how universities, which are to be the vanguards of knowledge and thinking, censor themselves not to hurt this new age of over-sensitive people who can’t take opposing views and realities. It’s like the Hays Code in a way, and it is something that teachers should try and fight against. Coupled with how we increasingly have an online environment where content is curated for you, we are headed to a scary, make pretend world where everyone loves and thinks like you.

      Like

      • Derp ⋅

        I agree with both of you. It can be frustrating how some university classes censor important films just for the sake of oversensitive people, despite the fact that some explicit films are explicit for a reason and it is the job of students and professors to discuss, analyze and discover something important to know. Somewhere inside my mind, there is a concern that we really are going back to cultural repression like Hayz code. Films that try to challenge negative issues we face today with explicit contents get bashed, while films that are so “normal” all generations can watch it brainlessly are appreciated as blockbusters.
        So we have to appreciate classes like this Karl’s class for introducing us to films we have never seen before.

        Like

      • Vera Lynn ⋅

        Very well said by all. I honestly fear for a lot of our classmates. When they graduate and are thrust into the real world, the one that doesn’t come with trigger warnings, and no one cares about their feelings, I don’t see them being able to deal with the basics of day to day living. When I hear kids say things like “your rights end where my feeling begin” it really makes me wonder how they are going to make it. College is supposed to be the time where you challenge your point of view and ideas, and open yourself up to new things. I really have to agree with IsThePartyOver when you say that it feels like we are going backwards. It fells so crazy to me that the people who are screaming a woman can’t or shouldn’t dress a certain way, or only a certain type of person can play a certain role, are the people on the left. People need to just let artists create. If they make something you don’t like, then don’t support them. Don’t try to make it so they can’t create.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nox ⋅

        In response to Vera Lynn,

        Since you quoted me I feel as though I should respond. Do you consider a dislike of racist and or inaccurate portrayals being overly sensitive? I view it as justified. In the real world those who do not fit the status quo are more than aware the world does not come with “trigger warnings.” Nor does it come a bevy of people who care about your feelings. The real world is cold, cruel, and unforgiving.

        Muslims, African-Americans, Gays, Lesbians, Trans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and every other minority group of people realizes this and understands it. This does not impede them from functioning from a day to day basis, but it does shape their outlook of the world and how they conduct themselves when faced with bigotry.

        You’re right when you say college is the time to open yourself up to new ideas, but that doesn’t mean you have to be open to something that will negatively affect your demographic, as history has shown. You say artists should just be allowed to create, well if you’re an artist, why can’t you create something that isn’t offensive and or demeaning to a marginalized group of people? If you can’t tell a joke without it being racist, you probably wouldn’t make a good comedian. The same can be said for films. If your vision can only work with Asians being stereotypical props or Blacks only being gangsters/thugs, it’s probably not a good vision.

        D.W Griffith’s Birth of a Nation was discussed I believe early in the class. Despite being praised for it’s technological progress as a film, it was viciously racist. It depicted black Americans in negative ways in every scene. Blacks were shown as rapists, criminals, lazy, incompetent, etc. It showed white actors in blackface eating fried chicken in a courtroom and white women jumping off cliffs to escape being raped by black men. These stereotypes of the black community are still prevalent today.

        The president at the time, Woodrow Wilson, called the film accurate and it was even shown in the White House. When your vision is broadcasted to millions of people, it can have devastating effects if it portrays a certain type of people as stereotypes and or inferior. The KKK did not burn crosses prior to Birth of a Nation, D.W Griffith thought the burning cross was a powerful cinematic scene and the KKK imitated it. Life literally imitating art.

        You are free to create what you want, but do not forget you are free to be criticized, especially if your art dehumanizes a certain group of people. Instead of telling the victims of inaccurate and incredibly harmful stereotyping oversensitive, ask yourself why you feel people should be allowed to create offensive content without repercussions? Yes, one can choose not to support something, but that does not invalidate the negative effects that are being broadcasted to those who choose to support it.

        Given the choice to support bigotry, I say no. That is not a case of being overly sensitive, it is an act of knowing my worth and refusing to aid in the demonization of people who look like me. I am not censoring anyone, certainly not you. I’m stating loud and clear I will not be reduced to a stereotype at the expense of freedom of speech. How free is someone if the only images you see of them are negative? How can one group of people be looked upon in a positive light if they are only ever vilified? They can not. Representation does not mean removing all white people from film, it means casting minorities as something other than their stereotypes, something positive. Frequently and consistently.

        Tell me, who is truly going backwards? Those of us that are complicit in being viewed as caricatures because it’s what an artist envisioned, or those of us that stand up and demand better treatment because our current exposure does not accurately represent us or showcase us in a positive way?
        I’m going with the latter.

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      • Nox ⋅

        Actually Vera Lynn, could you point me to where I said “Your rights end where my feelings begin?” Because I can’t seem to find any post of me saying it. I believe you misread one of my posts. Also, you talked about providing a solution to Hollywood’s lack of diversity instead of arguing about it, but failed to offer a solution.

        We first have to accept there is a problem, which some have chosen not to do, and then we must devise a solution. Because simply “not supporting” an artists vision if it’s harmful and or racist does not change the fact their harmful/racist vision is now on display to millions of people, which keeps the status quo in tact. Individually you can choose not to support it, but long term it requires something more effective. If you believe you have a realistic solution outside of raising awareness and chastising those who promote such work, do share.

        Like

    • jonsnow ⋅

      I wholeheartedly agree. I wasn’t a frequent blogger and I’m not gonna lie I would dread having to write them because i wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about, but when it came down to actually thinking of what to say it actually came pretty naturally. It’s cool how in this class there is no specific narrative we’re all supposed to be following or getting, but rather we all form our own opinions and listen to each other and on occasion disagree with each other, which is another great learning experience in itself. The anonymous aspect was pretty liberating as well, because you can’t make any pre-judgments on the person to preclude your arguments or fear saying what you truly felt for fear of being recognized for your bold opinions.

      I’ve also taken film classes in the past where we literally only watched classic films that many many people have seen before like Citizen Kane and Annie Hall. While I enjoyed learning about those films, I already knew that they were huge films and influential on movies, but seeing these obscure movies that I’ve never heard before but had a direct connection to the content we were being taught, was a learning experience that I really appreciate Karl for curating.

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      • Vera Lynn ⋅

        Nox, I think its rather telling that you would assuming that I was quoting you. You did say something close to that, though I believe it was closer to “your freedom of speech ends when you start taking away someones humanity.” and then you preceded to make some pretty huge generalizations about white people.

        However, the quote from my first post belongs to someone from a Mike Williams class during my first semester.

        As for the rest of your post, clearly there is nothing I can say that is going to change the way you think, and there isn’t anything you are going to say that will make me start believing in censorship. Today is a beautiful day, I am going to go outside and see if there isn’t something out there to inspire me. I urge you to do the same.

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      • Nox ⋅

        Vera Lynn, why did you find it telling I thought you were quoting me after you said I’m worried about our fellow students and then proceeded to quote something when you knew I had said something of similar effect? My fellow students proved my generalizations, and Hollywood did as well. Were you absent the day we learned that at the top executive level Hollywood is 100% white and 98% male? It’s in the slides Karl provided, and available on blackboard.

        It’s *extremely* concerning that you took a Mike Williams class but see racism as justifiable because to vilify it would be censorship. While you’re out enjoying your day I hope you come upon a moral compass and realize that having an artistic vision does not give you the right to subjugate an entire demographic of people. With your logic Hitler didn’t deserve to be stopped because stopping his ethnic cleansing would be considered censorship of his artistic vision. I am genuinely concerned for you.

        I have plenty to be inspired about, condoning the subjugation and dehumanization of entire groups of people in the name of freedom just isn’t one of those things, Vera Lynn. Have a good day. Stay blessed. 🙂

        Like

      • Vera Lynn ⋅

        I think my moral compass is just fine, Nox. I don’t spend my days demonizing a whole race of people, and blaming them for my problems. What I do spend my time doing is writing, directing, and filming. And in that process I have cast gay, lesbian, black, latin, and asian actors. In fact. While you complain and express your concern for people like me, I am giving people exposure. And not because I am trying to check off boxes on a diversity quote, its because I think they are the right person for the job.

        Since you brought up comedy before, I want us to take a look at what the late great Patrice O’neal said about censorship. He said good ideas and bad ideas come from exactly the same place, and you need to get them in font of an audience to figure out what works. The problem with your way of thinking is, it seems to me, you don’t want to give ideas you don’t agree a chance. I don’t see that as being any different than what happened with Karl’s transgender movie. People didn’t like the idea, and they didn’t give it a chance in front of an audience. A world where an artist is working to please everyone, and not offend anyone i a world that is full of boring vanilla art. And no matter what artists do to please people like you, someone is always going to find something to take offense to. So rather than have people try to please everyone and fail, I would rather see artists try to make something that pleases them, and if it resonates with an audience, fantastic. If not, maybe they will like the next thing better.

        You might find it concerning that I hold the views that I do, even thought I not only took, but aced a Mike Williams class, but ask yourself what has what you do actually done for the people around you. What I do gives people exposure and a chance to shine on camera. What I find concerning is that you choose to spend your time complaining about people like me, rather than actually doing anything to create opportunities for people. Patrice also said that he wished that people that weren’t in the business of being funny, wouldn’t try and tell him how to be funny. They are not in that world, and they don’t understand it. I think that is a true statement for any creative field. Your complaining skills are on point, but you don’t seem to be very creatively inclined. Maybe it would be best for people like you to leave it to people like me, who are actually giving people opportunities, to figure these things out? I know you say that I haven’t offered any solutions, but I have in other places on these forums, and in class, and I believe that I am living the solution in what I do, and how to choose to do it. However, by all means, if you have an idea for something you wanna write and film, and I mean this with all sincerity, go out and do it. No sarcasm. Just go out and do it. The more variety that is out there, the better. If you don’t know how to do it, ask someone for help. But if all you want to do is complain, I have no more time for you.

        And just for note, I had a really nice day. I missed the bank, but I got a cup of coffee and watched families take pictures at the Christmas display outside the station.

        Like

      • Nox ⋅

        Vera Lynn, congratulations on casting non-white people in your work. You have single-handedly ended racism in film. Sarcasm aside, individually what you do is meaningful. It’s great that you give marginalized people opportunities. Individually, however, you alone are not impacting people the way Hollywood can. Until more people in positions of immense power decide to cast people from marginalized communities in leading roles regularly we will not see a change in America’s mindset.

        You talk a lot about me complaining, after patting yourself on the back for giving exposure to nonwhite people, I find that interesting. You see advocating for equality as “complaining.” White people said the same thing about Civil Rights in the 60s when Black Americans were treated far worse than they are today. If nobody ever brought these issues to light or said “we need to discuss this” nothing would change.

        You can not condemn me for shining a light on inequality in film, then praise yourself for your efforts with diversity. Do you think Gays, Black people, Hispanic people, etc sat around and waited for good white samaritans in positions of power to suddenly realize they deserved the same opportunities and rights they did? Absolutely not.

        As history will show you Vera Lynn, these people fought, died, and continue to do so in the name of equality. Telling me I’m “complaining” about inequality is a disgusting form of gaslighting. If nobody is aware of an issue, the issue will pertain. I will not apologize for “Complaining” about inequality in film, because I have nothing to be ashamed of and if Hollywood is not held accountable for it’s lack of diversity, it will continue to be mainly white, and mainly straight.

        Ironically enough, Scarlett Johanson made a wonderful point on diversity in Hollywood in a recent interview. Of course, it’s also the studios who ultimately will make the movies, but I think when the audiences speak loudly and tell the studios what they want to watch, there’s an ear there.

        “The audiences will drive the direction of what is greenlit and put on the fast track. I truly believe that to be true, especially now in the time of social media. The voices cannot be ignored. So I tell people to keep asking, and to keep asking for diversity in Hollywood.”

        You said I don’t want to give these movies a chance. The key word here is chance. Hollywood always has a chance to go against the grain, to do better. 9/10 they don’t. If a character in a movie has been whitewashed or altered to look of another ethnicity (Cloud Atlas comes to mind.) then no I will not support it because that sends a message that it is okay. I will not reward harmful behavior with my hard earned money, and that is my decision to make. Minorities for the longest time have given movies “chances.” Gay people have had to watch straight people have sex on camera for decades, largely because they didn’t have a choice. I never heard adult homosexual men go “ewww” at a straight sex scene in a movie theater or walk out because they thought it was morally corrupt. Who’s really not giving people a chance? You know the answer to that as well as I do. Please do not use Karl’s transgender movie as an example of me being close-minded. Karl himself said that those involved with the movie wanted the trans character to be portrayed as a joke character or sensationalized, while he wanted them to be taken seriously. If people don’t want to see a movie about trans people most times it’s out of bigotry and because the only time they have seen trans people is when they’re being played by straight white men, often times as a joke. Me not wanting to go support Ghost In The Shell because they cast a white woman is not in any way shape or form the same as people not wanting to see Karl’s movie. I don’t want to see GITS because I don’t want to support whitewashing and send a message to Hollywood that it is acceptable. My reasoning for not giving a film a chance is completely different, especially given the fact GITS is technically a blockbuster movie, whereas Karl’s was not.

        You do not need to please everyone; you just need to not be blatantly racist/offensive. If your script includes an Asian character, cast an Asian actor. It is oh so incredibly simple, yet Hollywood refuses to do it. (Aloha comes to mind as well, which has an incredibly high Asian/Pacific Islander population. Hollywood couldn’t find one?) Why must your art perpetuate harmful stereotypes? You can create good, fantastic, amazing art without making a mockery of people who aren’t white. If you can’t figure out how to do it, you’re not a good director. Many films of the past were incredibly offensive. Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Mr. Yunioshi was extremely offensive and a racist caricature, but it wasn’t until the early 2000’s mainstream society viewed it as such. The freedom to create whatever you want is a double-edged sword. Artistic freedom has come at the expense of minorities for decades, we deal with the negative depictions we had no say in, white people do not. When Hollywood directors are not held accountable, they produce racist caricatures. Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles was also incredibly offensive and his image became immortalized as a symbol for Asian-American men. It is not asking too much for directors to not turn minorities into racist caricatures for their own selfish amusement. I do not and will not support movies that do this, because it is morally, to me, wrong and perpetuates stereotypes that are in effect to this very day.

        You claim I only complain and don’t do anything to resolve the issue. Have you asked me what I do, Vera Lynn? I’m a writer. I am paid to use my voice in a way that not only uplifts people that are marginalized, but offers hope. I speak to those in marginalized communities and develop plans on how to move forward in this society. I am always working towards the better treatment of marginalized people. I put action behind my words outside of class, that doesn’t mean I have to silence myself anytime I’m not working.

        I support black art, queer art, things that are not put on display for most of society to see in a positive light. I am not one-dimensional, I force conversations to be had and I hold people accountable. I read between the lines and highlight the ugly truth that not just Hollywood but American society in general tries to default on. “On Point” is African-American vernacular English by the way. You use our terminology but then say we’re complaining when we draw attention to our place in society and who keeps us there, just wanted to point that out.

        Don’t ever assume I simply “complain.” Martin Luther King Jr. had less than 20% approval ratings by whites when he died, yet 56% of white Americans thought Black Americans were complaining about nothing and hurting their own cause. This is the problem with your mindset, you refuse to listen. You believe that because you’re a director you are overqualified and do not have to listen to the “complaints” of those you so proudly cast not because of their skin tone, but because they’re the right one for the job. You are not the expert on the challenges minorities face and you do not know what’s best for them.

        Hollywood is the way it is because of that EXACT outlook. Most directors are straight white men, and that’s the way it’s always been. As a result, Hollywood puts straight white men before anyone else, and these men believe they know what’s best for those that live under their reign of tyranny. They do not.

        Quoting you again, College is the time we are supposed to be open to new ideas. Do those ideas close to you because you cast a few nonwhite people in your films? Does the idea that things are still exceedingly difficult for marginalized people to make it in Hollywood mean nothing to you because you, individually, have casted nonwhite people?

        In 2015 Viola Davis was the first black woman to win Best Drama Actress at the Emmy’s. We are still having firsts. That is because the current dynamic overwhelmingly does not reward those that do not look white. And it will not reward those if myself and everyone else who is not white simply says “Ah well, they’ll get to it eventually.” Equality is never won through silence and complacency, Vera Lynn. The day I let you decide what’s best for marginalized people is the day I sign up to work on a plantation.

        Individual contributions are not enough. White people vote for Barack Obama and think we live in a post-racial society. They cast nonwhite people in their films and believe they’re a trailblazer for equality, no. Stop what you’re doing and LISTEN to those that know more than you on the issue of marginalization. White people can not run unopposed in Hollywood because they as a group of people do not represent America as a whole. They monopolize it and I, along with many others, (OscarsSoWhite) are working to change that so that EVERYONE is accurately portrayed and Hollywood is not 70% white. If you are not interested in helping us achieve that goal, then you need not tell me of your accomplishments for promoting diversity, they are empty words.

        Oh and just a reminder, if nobody ever “complained” about whitewashing, Disney wouldn’t have felt it necessary to launch a global search for a Chinese actress to play Mulan. If Asian-Americans were represented accurately in film the search probably wouldn’t have had to been Global either. This “Complaining” you speak of seems to deliver results.

        Also, I’m glad you had a good day. I’m having a wonderful day and got a really good nap in.

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      • Vera Lynn ⋅

        Seriously? You say your big contribution is an uplifting message of hope? And you want to sit there and make snide belittling remarks about what I do? Like I said originally. The real world is going to be a really, really harsh place for you. People can’t survive and hope and warm fuzzy feelings.

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      • Nox ⋅

        3 pages of writing in response to you and all you can come up with is “The real world is going to be harsh.” That’s disappointing Vera Lynn. You proved my point once again with that weak reply. You completely ignored everything I said in my post, or rather stopped less than halfway through. Weren’t you just priding yourself on casting marginalized people? It’s one thing to cast a marginalized people, it’s another to be that person and speak out against injustice. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to demand diversity when you are the minority. You also skipped over the part where I said I back up my writing with action IN the real world.

        I made that very clear. Minorities already know the world is harsh Vera Lynn, you’re telling me the real world is going to be rough as if it was ever a walk in the park to begin with. You couldn’t be more off base. Do you tell military veterans war is ugly too? If you want to have a real discussion, formulate a better argument to back up your racist justifications. Otherwise, you are free to go into “The Real World” and cast minorities in your films while simultaneously believing they deserve to be reduced to racist caricatures by anyone with a vision and large quantity of money. I.e Hollywood Directors.

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      • Vera Lynn ⋅

        No, I read your whole post. But your shitty tone doesn’t really make me want to give you any more of my time. Keeping telling yourself how right you are, and how you proved all the points, if that is what gets you through the struggle.

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      • Nox ⋅

        And that, ladies and gentleman, is how you lose an argument. You pretend to care about the plight of minorities until you’re so frustrated with your own racism being outed you call them delusional for not accepting your racist vision as their one and only fate. If you’re going to be a bigot, just say so openly. Don’t pretend to be holier than thou and act as though you’re doing more to help minorities than minorities do themselves. Nice chatting with you Vera, good luck with those white supremacist films, can’t wait to see em at the box office! 🙂

        Like

    • Nox ⋅

      Oh and thank you for admitting you were referring to me when you said “The real world will be harsh.” Vera. You feigned ignorance as though were surprised to see me reply to you, knowing full well you were subtly referencing my posts when you made the comment. Don’t throw shade in my direction unless you want to be read. You are the second person to bow out of the conversation after I eviscerated your argument. My tone is shitty? Let’s remember I have not replied to any of your blogs until I saw you throwing shade at me, which you admitted to. Don’t start none, won’t be none. You want an easy way out because you are mentally inept to deal with the reality of race, and I mean that wholeheartedly. You lack critical knowledge and life experience required to understand the full picture.

      You do not have the knowledge to make a case explaining your reasoning for justifying the subjugation of minorities. Within a mere few posts you went from being a proud person who casts minorities to telling me “whatever gets you through the struggle.” The condescending nature of your post is disgusting. I don’t have to lecture you on what the “struggle” is because Karl has provided numerous breakout sessions describing the challenges minorities face, and that’s just in the aspect of film. You’re not “giving” me your time Vera Lynn, I’m giving you mine. I’m doing you a favor, just so we’re clear.

      You yourself said people should stick to what they’re good at, speaking on race is not it for you. When confronted with the harsh reality (as you like to mention so often) of race and how it directly affects minorities, you can not handle it. Welcome to the real world Vera, you’re unprepared and can’t get through a simple conversation.

      When pushed your true nature revealed itself almost instantaneously. You don’t care about minorities or their struggles. Any minorities you cast in your films are irrelevant to the grand scheme of things. It’s your way of telling yourself you’re a good person and enacting real change in the world, when truthfully it’s just something you do so you can say you did it. No cookie for you. You do the bare minimum and hoist yourself up as though you’ve moved mountains. But continue to make your films and cast nonwhite people so you can use it against minorities when they ask you why you believe they’re entitled to being presented to millions of people as racist caricatures. I’m sure they’ll understand when it comes to art, minorities should accept whatever white people deem necessary to portray them as, because only white artistic vision matter.

      Like

  24. Pedro Rodrigues ⋅

    This class presents many crucial elements that support us, the students, in order to properly study about American cinema. For example, the blog itself is essential in order to all students express their opinion about the films and have a deeper reflection of the class content.

    Sometimes, while I was preparing to post on blogs, I had a blank and couldn’t think of anything interesting to write about. In some cases, I didn’t get the movie’s main idea, especially Vanishing Point, which is not very easy for interpretation. Despite that fact, I could find the answers to my questions in the class discussion and the blogs as well.

    So, the blogs are more than just a grading system, it is a tool of teaching. It provides a dynamical interaction between us, then this exchange of ideas support on people trying to learn more about the movies, or sometimes describing a new detail that they didn’t know before.

    In addition, the class discussion could be very useful in order to get all the background within the films. Especially, Carl cited many cool references and data about the films, which helped me to understand the way directors and producers think.

    In summoning, I thought the blogs were and still are a great idea that should be kept in this course. It brings more dynamical discussions online about the content, as well the class discussions and presentations.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. IsThePartyOver ⋅

    I acquired a lot of film knowledge from this class; names and terms I have heard mentioned continuously over these years but never got to look up now make all sense. The teacher was also well prepared and extremely resourceful; things which we don’t and can’t take for granted here. It is true that the presentation slides are crammed with a lot of information which at first may seem a bit overwhelming, but the class was well-paced and segmented, and the teacher managed to make sense of it all by the end of it.

    Most important, and I see this applies to a few others here, is that this class rekindled our passion for films or specific genres. For one, simply studying the development of film throughout history, from silent shorts to the big blockbusters today, and how it is intrinsically bound to how our mentality and creativity as humans have progressed is something to behold and appreciate. It makes me look fondly at the past and be excited for the future. Secondly, it can’t be said enough that the unconventional choice of films is greatly appreciated. Being unconventional did not detract from the educational purposes of this course; all the films succeeded in showing us how the concepts learned in the lectures work in practice all the same. We all benefit from the class more by experiencing new things than to revel on the already tried and tested classics. Therefore, as much as I love The Godfather, who have not watched it at this point? Discussion and analysis of it is plentiful out there. Furthermore, the after-screening lectures that analysed and contextualized each film we watched were extremely important to this rediscovery of my love for films. It allows for a deeper appreciation beyond our initial impressions, as we can see the amount of thought and creativity really put behind them. Even when they do not offer quality content per say, the class and teacher provided us with interesting angles to look at them and understand their importance. I for one gained a renewed respect and interest in B-Movies. If I were to suggest something, I would suggest perhaps giving the students two choices for each screening. The most voted get screened and on and on.

    Finally on to my favorite film, I would have to say Ed Wood. It is smart, funny, heart-warming, and relatable on many levels, not only for people with a filmmaking background. Now if you asked me what film I would want to make, that would definitely be Vanishing Point. I believe that a certain level of inaccessibility to a film makes it more impactful when you find an audience willing enough to plow through its many layers of metaphors and symbolism. That is the reason why I appreciate David Lynch a lot; he may not be my favorite director, but he is the one I would like to become if I could somehow. What surprised me the most was the whole exploitation film era, something which I had little to no knowledge of. It surprised especially in the sense of the amount of freedom that could be found forty, fifty years ago versus today.

    p.s.: I totally forgot to mention the in-class discussions. That was a huge plus, it made the class extremely more dynamic and interesting; I gotta say that I had never “fought” to be able to speak up in a classroom. The participation was great, naturally polarized to a few people, but still great. Some days that class felt almost like a battlefield.

    Like

  26. Derp ⋅

    I enjoyed this course, because I was able to reconfirm that American films have been the mirrors of historical events. Although I couldn’t relate to “Golden Digger of 1933” and other old American films before 1950s that much due to a cultural barrier, other films after WWII were quite enjoyable for me. Perhaps I was able to enjoy them more because the restriction of expression like Hays Code was removed or eased (sorry I don’t remember correctly) after/around 1950s. Watching old films with an old American way of verbal expression without idioms, jokes and humor that we are familiar with nowadays was not so easy to understand for me, unfortunately. As a person from outside America, I felt like it’s more enjoyable to watch films with major background known to other countries, such as cold war. That is why “THEM!” was my best favorite. I felt so happy that Karl covered it in the class!! My nerd talking aside, it was still very interesting and meaningful to learn about films that reflected something that Americans experienced like Great Depression and other things. So thank you Karl for introducing us–both American students and foreign students–to American films in a chronological order.
    Although the topic got a bit dark as our class proceeded to cover post-modern film and went through rather unpleasant realities of modern film industries, it was very important to know what has been, is currently, and would be happening behind the scene. I have taken similar class (literarily called “Film History”) in a university in America, but unfortunately it didn’t cover much of the reality that surrounds film industry. Not saying that it is a bad thing, but as those who want to go into film business, creative industry or anything related to it, I think it is important for us students to know the reality before actually stepping into the real world. Instead of jumping into the world you don’t feel comfortable with and regreting the decision, we can consider our career choice carefully so that we go to the right path.
    In addition, through this class, I came to appreciate other countries outside America; it was a good surprise that the government help fund the filmmaking process for the sake of the preservation of art. Though a film that is created as a pure art may be somewhat difficult to understand for some audience, I felt that such an attitude is very respectful compared to American film industry’s way of thinking that a filmmaking is a business (or some sort of “Mizu Shobai” in Japanese film industry). It was both slightly dissapointing but surprising that Japanese film industry is more of a sketchy business, while a culture of animation is more appreciated. It was kinda funny to know that some directors who made great Japanese films like “Death Note” started as directors for sexual films. I guess it was a surprise, since I have only been familiar with the particular side of Japanese film industry that created many great monster movies. I remember some people saying “the quality of Japanese animation exceeds that of Japanese live-action film outstandingly”, but now I’m guessing that’s true.

    Now I thought: Maybe it would be interesting if Karl taught a class about Japanese live-action films and animation! For us who study in an American university in Japan, it may be interesting to learn it. Just a sudden suggestion that popped up in my head, but it may be cool!

    In conclusion, I came to think about what makes something an art piece deeper than ever through this course. Post-modern films may have been “enjoyable” as consumable products, but we may not be certain if they are appreciatable as pieces of art. However, it is always important to make the film understandable and enjoyable to some extent without making the film too artistic in order to let as many people appreciate its content as possible. I feel that finding the good balance between these two values is a task left to future filmmakers to figure out…

    Sorry, my points must have derailed here and there, but I just wanna say a big THANK YOU to Karl for guiding us through the world of American film. It definitely widened my perspective on film!!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Sorabari ⋅

    I’ve enjoyed the course because we could watch the movies that we don’t usually decide to watch. By watching several genres and differences of historical eras, I could see the difference how the filmmakers try to make movies. For example, in B movies, they struggled to deal with low budget even though they have neat ideas like Ed Wood. Ed Wood reminds me of artists and authors in my mind because some of them couldn’t become famous but denied when they were alive, but their works got attention after they died. I assume that if they made a film or art works at the right time, they could become famous. However, becoming famous may destroy their ways of perspectives toward their works because they might try to make them for money or fame, not their satisfaction. Overall, I could touch the behind of the filmmaking industries by taking this class. Since Kerl mentioned that we didn’t have enough time to watch what we are supposed to watch during the class, I’ll go to rental shop and look at them so that I can see why he recommend to watch. Lastly, I’d appreciate Kerl and my classmates for opening my perspective of film industries and historical background in US. It’s quite interesting how the film history developed in US by another cultural background like me. Danke!

    Like

  28. liarina ⋅

    as speaking in the last class, some people mention about animation and documentary. I think it is also a huge lost that we don’t have enough time to go through these two types of film. Although while talking about American animated film, people will usually think of Disney and for as Karl said in class that he cut off this category because most American already familiar with Disney movies. However, in my opinion, there are still a lot about animated film that we can discuss about such as the productions from DreamWorks. Also, when talking about the classical animation of Disney, there are usually stick with those roles, and similar backgrounds story that we already know of. However, I think there are still something new can be discuss since the company are so devoted their efforts to produce new ideas and not only make movies but also for adults such as Up in 2009 and Inside Out in 2015, and that’s probably is something can be analyze beside the production aspect. Also, since animation might take more works then other kinds of films, it is also important to talk about if the people behind those successful animated movies can also be credited as one of the classmates mentioned this. I personally will think this is as an issue because it is not only happened in the American film industry but also in other countries.

    On the other hand, for documentary, I think that’s also another genre that I consider as interesting. In addition, Karl also mentioned in class that sometimes documentary is a controversy because it is hard to define that if it is necessary to show the brutal reality. Additionally, from the production point of view, documentary is being criticized the use of camera because sometimes director use hidden camera to record or capture the image, which disobey and quite different from normal film production since in documentary, you record and capture what happened instead of doing something on purpose to provoke someone’s reactions. In despite of it, documentary still be considered as arts. However, beside this factor, I still think documentary is extremely important because it uses as similar parts as other film such as the use of light and camera. It was a good discussion in class and a talk with Karl after class. it is the reason that I like this course so much because you not only learn inside the class but also outside the classroom which is amazing.

    Like

  29. postnroast ⋅

    American film has been a trip. The theme variations was extremely western and noir from almost beginning to end. The many obstacles that film encountered throughout our film journey manly related to taboo. The idea of taboo in film makes the film less of a commodity to those with religious backgrounds who are conditioned by the country to believe certain good and bad. These films in comparison to those In other countries lacked a depth of artistic value. This was mainly due to the algorithm of demand and supply for popular big hits. This caused film to generally have to group itself into a space or label that there film belonged to.

    religion + market + social trend = commodity.

    Like

  30. ihatenickelback ⋅

    Thank you Karl and American Film!
    I have been waiting for an opportunity to fill all the gaps in my film knowledge. I absolutely love film and love a wide variety of genres (especially exploitation and lower production quality movies), but I lack a lot of basic film history knowledge. This class helped me really understand my likes and dislikes, and more specifically gave me the historical and social context to understand why I like what I like.

    Westerns, in particular, I had previously had very little to no experience with, to this class really helped with that. I had a lot of guy friends growing up, and they would always gather to watch Indiana Jones and then a marathon of westerns. I would always get so bored during Indiana Jones (sorry, I hate me too), that I would doze off or leave before watching the westerns. I missed an opportunity but thankfully this class enlightened me! Still get bored during Indiana Jones, though…

    I am in love with early American films, and am so so glad that I was able to see some more from the eras before the 70s. Those are the eras I have previous film knowledge about. I wish we had gotten to see a movie or two from the 60s, however! I think there are at least a few that must be worth noting.

    I will admit that I partook in some of the heated comments, however late I was to arrive. I am grateful for the blogging element of this class, as it has allowed me to write even more frequently than I usually do and about a variety of topics, with a grade at the end for simply expressing myself and discussing what I’ve analyzed! However, I am a bit discouraged by one effect of the blogging aspect, as I am prone to be wherever I may roam on the internet, which the unfortunate revealing of the apparently large presence of severely socially (socially as in politically) uneducated and insensitive individuals at our wonderful University, all intensified by how far the right was from the left. I saw a clear right and a clear wrong, as many may refute, because of the simple fact that one side wanted to acknowledge inequalities and discuss them while another wanted to publicly expose others’ sexualities and call people who are educated and analytical “sensitive”. I hope that some people were educated by the backlash and may try to keep their mind a little more open and their mouth a little more shut when they don’t have anything true to say. And no, “truth” does not equal “what everyone is secretly thinking but is afraid to say because of these whiny, sensitive, triggered liberals”.

    It has been a great experience. Thank you all.

    And thank you again Karl! Keep laughing out loud!

    Like

  31. dinerbears ⋅

    I do enjoy this course a lot and watch so many different type of American films that help me understand more history background and evolution between past and present. All the film we watched during the class was my first time there are two film is my favorite which are, Sunset Boulevard and Gold diggers of 1933. I think Sunset Boulevard is very reality about the actor who in the movie industry between past and present and related to the real life. I think this Sunset Boulevard also influence a lot of American film because the story has good story, content and plot. Gold diggers of 1933 is one of my favorite movie in this course because I really like musical film I think this film has really good content and stage design. There are many scenes made me surprise when I watched it during the class time. For example, when they dance Waltz if the Shadow this scene made me surprise because this scene is so beautiful. Personally I did not watch movie that often usually one movie pre month. However, taking this course make me gain more idea and knowledge with American film and movie production behind the camera. Before I taking this course I thought America is biggest country to produce movie. However, I was wrong the biggest industry is India second is Nigeria and third is America. the reason makes me thought America produce highest total number movie because right now on the Netflix or cinema most of foreigner movie show is America films this give me some of stereotype America is biggest industry produce the movie. Even America is not the biggest country produce the movie at least they spend more money in the movie industry more than Nigeria and India the budget at least ten times. After I heard this make me feel more balance. I feel it is interesting that people might support the movie produce by their country. I can clear see this phenomenon happen in Japan and America. people might prefer not watch the movie in foreign languages and domestic the film by their countries. It is always happened in my hometown. Also I am surprise is highest rate that people visit cinemas which is four times pre years.

    Even ED woods and Final Destination documentary is not my favorite films or the clips during the semester however, I think this two film and clip are interesting because it is talk about the idea of production behind the camera. What kind of problem people might meet and what kind of stuff need to face and to deal with. If people taking production class or work with other production team outside of school when they watch two it, they will feel empathy. ED woods always remind me when we film the no budget movie there are so many things we need to deal wit. However, this movie also reminds me if you want to do something just to do it if you keep try it one day you can be success. Just like ED wood even his movie is weird and nonsense and only shoot one time and he would not shoot more in case the first version failed. I also search his works online. In the past people might think he is crazy however, if his work produce in now the day people probably think he has talent even the way he shoots is non sense and content is weird but they way he edited is pretty cool.
    Overall, this course is pretty interesting to know about the history, watch different film type, different ages movie and understand American society with different race.

    Like

    • dinerbears ⋅

      just want to add some more words after finished the quiz. i think hardest part in this class is quiz. This time the quiz is not hard as other media art class I took before. As other classmate warming i did not pay too much attention in very detail data and name, it made me feel struggle during the test. However, i think overall the test is not hard as i thought before but i still confused for the fill in the blank that part. we have to fill in the four blink by writing the movie’s name by their years. i think that part make me feel confused and strangle. Overall this course is interesting and gain a lot of idea for the classical American movie.

      Like

  32. Nox ⋅

    This class was interesting, to say the least. While I thoroughly enjoyed it, it also gave me a major headache. This was mainly due to the fact I spend most of my time in this class arguing with people who have lack knowledge of crucial events. When it comes to Blaxploitation films I enjoyed the section and thought you did a fantastic job mapping out the causes and effects, but I feel a lot of students unintentionally missed the message. Many did not understand how demonizing the stereotyping of this genre was for the black community. I know we have a limited amount of time in class but I feel maybe extrapolating on Blaxploitation films or adding in some additional history would benefit greatly. Shortly after Blaxploitation films, the war on drugs happened in America in an effort to fight the crack epidemic. Mind you, African-Americans had just broke through mainstream media and most people saw them as the stereotypes they were portrayed as in Blaxploitation films.

    At the height of the crack epidemic the majority of users were white, but black Americans were persecuted literally a hundred times over. Even a brief overview, not even a full breakout session, of how Blaxploitation films shaped the perceptions of black Americans post 1970s would be helpful. The stereotypes provided by the Blaxploitation films, such as black people all live in urban ghettos and associate with drug dealers, went hand in hand when Ronald Raegan declared the war on drugs in 1982. I see a lot of students expressing their love of blaxploitation films for their unique properties, which is great, but it’s a disservice to say it was all peachy keen just because a few great soundtracks came out of it. I am truly happy so many students enjoyed the blaxploitation section for the art, but I am frustrated at the lack of understanding when it comes to how blind people are to the very real consequences stereotyping can have, especially with major platforms such as films.

    Overall I appreciated the class and learned a lot about film, I look forward to watching more movies both new and old with the knowledge I’ve taken from this class.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. uruwa ⋅

    I’m not hugely into films, and don’t know much about the history of the industry, so this class taught me quite a bit using movies that overall I found quite interesting. I think my favorite section was the golden age of Hollywood, and the movies from the 1930s to the 1950s.

    The only thing that bothered me a bit was the way some people handled discussions on blogs. In some instances, people took to belittling who they disagreed with, and I find that to be extremely immature. It’s perfectly acceptable to have a differing opinion, and to discuss it along with bring up evidence to back up your arguments, but to attack the person you disagree with just because you can hide being an anonymous icon is ridiculous. Grow up, please.

    Other than that, I found this course to be extremely enjoyable. Finishing with Vanishing Point was perfect! Though I wish we could have seen a full-length horror film.

    The blogging was a bit tough to keep up with at times, but it’s definitely a good way to stay engaged in the class and see what others think. I definitely gained some new perspective from some fellow classmates this semester.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theSiren_Song ⋅

      I agree with this. I understand why Karl chose us to use Usernames, but at times I felt it allowed many to hide behind the anon name and use it to attack other students when they disagreed instead of holding an academic and informative debate. Maybe usernames for the blogs isn’t that good of an idea?

      Like

  34. itsthesky20 ⋅

    Before taking this class, I tried to anticipate what we were going to discuss and what films we were going to screen for this semester. Although I anticipated what was gonna happen I still did not know what to expect. So anyway, Yes I really like the class overall. I’m blown away by how much topics that we have covered all throughout this semester. From tackling the timeline of different kinds of films to going in depth discussing about each film that we have screen in class. I like the structure of how Professor Karl went about how to discuss each lessons in his class. I think it is really helpful that he went over talking about the history of the specific era first that we have talked about then discussed about the social and economical problems that happened in the specific time then provided his choice of film that best represents that specific era. I think that particular way of flow made me understand the topics easier. Because growing up in asia, I was not really exposed with american films and I especially did not know much of the american history itself too. So that method made me understand things much easier.

    Although I was not able to participate too much in blog conversations I really found it very interesting to have opinionated classmates about the films and the issues that we have discussed. Through that I was able to hear different opinions from other peoples perspective. That also opened my mind in some of the topics that we have talked about. I am by the way talking about both the blogs and class discussion.

    I also have to say that Professor Karl’s selection of films for screening were very interesting. Sunrise, Gold Diggers, Sunset Boulevard, Ed Wood, Jesse James, Vanishing Point and some off the short clips that he showed are I think such interesting films to watch. And I dont think I would watch films like these if it wasnt for this class. And as for somebody that is very interested in film production gaining knowledge on different types of films is important. Also I think seeing the changes in american film over time made me understand and notice some of the evolution in the technical side of film making.

    Like

  35. Pedro Rodrigues ⋅

    Even before the beginning of this class, I loved to watch movies, find out specific details and learn more about the history of cinema. I have to say that this class became a big deal to me, especially because of the pleasure of learning about something I like. Every movie called my attention in a different way, and sometimes not. But I tried to research to understand more about those ‘incomprehensible’ films. Surely, I will miss the discussions, but all the things that I have learned will be useful when I choose a movie from Netflix. Thank you, Karl, for making this class more interesting and accessible for the students who didn’t know much about the cinema universe.

    Like

  36. theSiren_Song ⋅

    There’s a TON of information in this term. I really think with the amount of information you give us in this term it may be beneficial to possible split the term test into two, midterm and final test. Just because of the amount of information we need to study and digest can become incredibly overwhelming. If not that, then a study guide would be incredibly helpful.

    Other than that, I found the course incredibly enjoyable. It was a deeper look at an industry I’m somewhat familiar with. I knew of Cult and B-films, but I didn’t realize how much deeper films went with C-films, all the way to Z ones. I didn’t even realize Midnight films were actually a thing in the industry. I just thought stuff like “Repo: The Genetic Rock Opera” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” were cult films that were shown for fun at the local quirky movie theaters. There’s a whole genre of films like that. I’m curious to look them up now and see what else I can find along those lines that i like.

    Watching Jesse James reminded me how much as a kid I enjoyed getting the older hollywood films from the library as a kid and watching them with my family. I’m thinking that during the break I’m gonna binge watch the Marx Brothers films and re-watch them, with a better appreciation this time with the knowledge I have now of the time when they were creating films.

    Thank you Karl for a fun term. I’m glad I took another class with you before I wrapped up my final year at TUJ.

    Like

  37. KillDozer ⋅

    I thought this was a really enjoyable class. I spend a great deal of time watching and talking about movies anyways so it was a good fit for me. Knowledge that I thought was otherwise useless in my day to day life proved to be pretty useful here, this being my first film class and all. My main love is B-movies, horror, cheesy action flicks, that kind of thing, so would have liked to screen a bit more from those genres, maybe something from Cannon films for example to really put an exclamation point on the whole B-movie section. Actually, more screenings in general would really be my only recommendation for future classes, it did feel like we stayed on certain topics for a bit too long and sacrificed some screening time. Getting the whole chronology of American film was a big plus though, and being exposed to some older films that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have watched on my own.

    I was really pleased with how civil all of the discussions were. I know from experience how heated things can get when people are going back and forth on movies, especially in regards to movies and genres they feel strongly about. Also, Karl was really good about prepping people for some of the more extreme things they’d see and hear, and while I’m almost impossible to offend at this point, the consideration was appreciated. Karl’s positive attitude and sometimes very animated talks made the lectures much more interesting as well. I learned a lot in this class and had a fun time as well. I’m really looking forward to my next class with Karl, whenever that might be.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. jonsnow ⋅

    I’ve learned a lot more in this class then I ever expected to. I feel that Karl truly cares about the content of his curriculum and has curated a great selection of movies and subject matter to educate us on American Film. One of the things I loved most was that a lot of the subject matter was surprising or actually differing from popular opinion. I feel like that’s something exciting to find in a class, because who wants to learn things in class that they already know? It was cool to find out things that actually turned out to be different from what I had originally thought. I also loved that we got the opportunity to watch films that we maybe wouldn’t see in our own free time. I know I would have never sat down to watch Sunset Boulevard on my own time unless someone highly recommended it to me, which no one ever did. However it was a film that I ended up greatly enjoying, and grateful that I had to watch for a class. For me, a good class exposes you to new information that challenges your own thoughts or popular opinions. I think these movies and subjects did that really well. The discussions after the screenings were great too because it’s always good to hear other people’s perspectives and see what they infer from the movie and compare them to my own opinions. This is also a great function of the blogs. It’s nice to hear everyone’s first impressions of the film in class right after the screening, and even more interesting to read everyone’s opinions after they’ve settled in more and had more time to think about or research the movie we watched. I also really appreciated Karl allowing us to expand our discussions outside of just the screenings or breakout sessions, because film is such a broad subject that can go into a lot of other tangents, so the extra space to freely discuss was extremely useful. Learning the history behind the films we watched was another benefit of this class. One of the best things about the movies we were shown was that they each had a specific place or role in movie history that I was unaware of before taking this class, and we got to see how it contributed to/represented that period of time. As for any improvements, I personally would also like to see animated films incorporated into the curriculum. Maybe not so much the technical aspects behind animation, but the history behind it and its incorporation into mainstream movies. I personally am still a big fan of animated movies and would be interested to learn the conception behind them and how their production or success can be measured against live action films. All in all I learned a lot more than I originally expected to, and I’ve really enjoyed taking it. Thank you Karl!

    Like

  39. TaiwanSwag ⋅

    I remember coming in to this course at the beginning of the semester expecting a lot of writing and screening of boring movies. However, it was not really the case for this American film class. I took an analytic class of American film and literature two years and it wasn’t a great experience. The reason was because that I had to read the novel, watch the movie, and write a long essay analyzing every aspect of the film. However, this course was quite a different experience after all. I was really surprised when I knew that there is no extensive writing required for the course, and instead we would be writing blogs throughout the semester. This is the first time that I am writing blogs for 50% of the semester grade, and I love it. Although we are actually writing the same amount of words, we had the chance to do them regularly so we could really invest our time and thoughts into it. However, I feel like there needs to be some changes to make this grading system even better.

    I would have to admit as a procrastinator myself, I usually wait until the deadline to finish my assignments because the limited of time and pressure helps me to be more efficient. But since there is actually no deadline for all the blogs, instead just slight deduction on points, I went back to my bad habits and tried to catch up at the end of the semester. So I believe if there is a deadline for every single blog entry, it would motivate people to start blogging early if they wanted to pass, at least for the procrastinators like me. The best part of the changes is, you would never have to keep reminding people to blog!

    I could go on and on talking about what I learned during the semester, but what surprises me the most was that movies, or the movie industry in general, are not as simple and straightforward as I thought it would be. I used to think that the word B-movie is to described bad movies in general, and then there comes all these exploitation films and independent films that I never knew about. Movies could be more than just entertainment, and could be used as a way to spread political propaganda and even served as an escapism tool for the audiences.

    As you might know I wasn’t really into watching movie until I came to TUJ and studied about films, so this course created the chance for me to catch up with some of the most important and iconic movies back in the 20th century. Also, I remember hearing a lot of the famous names before coming in to this course but I never knew what they did or contributed in the movie industry. After the semester, I felt like I am so much more informed because now I could connect these names with what I heard about them and it all makes sense now.

    I think at the end all the elements from this course, whether the grading system or the content, encouraged me to study and express my thoughts in the blogs. I actually had a good time studying for the test and that never happened before. Although due to short class periods we usually have to watch edited version of the film instead of the whole, most of them worked perfectly and makes me want to go back and watch through the whole thing sometimes. I would really recommend this course to people who wanted to know more about American films, or just movie in general, because I learned a lot from just only 3 months of courses, and I really enjoyed the class.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. mkt18 ⋅

    This class was really enjoyable class but hard class for me. Because I did not know about the films in the U.S and i did not have knowledge about the films. However, I could totally enjoy the films in the class. They gave me a great impression towards American film. Today, the Hollywood is know in the world and the biggest film industry in the world. I could understand it becuse through history and social event, American producer creates many genre and admires audience. They were like pioneer or leader in the film industry. Thank you Professor to give use many opportunity to improve grades.

    Like

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