Film & Media Studies Theory

Whitman College – FMS 387

Leave a comment

Wild Paternity

While reading Williams I was reminded of this scene. I think that this is an example of a “paternal weepie.” It shows the taboo of men expressing emotion and is very similar to a maternal weepie (611). There is “wild paternal displays” as Denzel Washington will do anything, even sacrifice his own life, to save his son’s life (611).


Leave a comment

The Questioning Fiction

As we see that the movie of Moulin Rouge is in actuality the visual representation of the story of Moulin Rouge, it becomes postmodern. It is postmodern fiction. Moulin Rouge “raises questions about the very status of reality and the world (Malpas 24).” The viewers are transformed into an alternative universe, where love is seen to conquer all, but at the same time, asks the viewer to question this very society and ideology behind the thought.

During the song that is sung in the opening scene, it describes a man who traveled from far away to reach Paris. He is depicted as an unwashed man, who, as we know, enters the world of Moulin Rouge, the postmodernist fiction of “what happens … when boundaries between worlds are violated (Malpas 24)?”  The viewer sees what chaos ensues when two different worlds collide. The viewer has “questions about what sort of world is being created at each moment” of the film (Malpas 24). Is the world of Moulin Rouge a world where the characters believe that “all you need is love,” or the danger that is present with this outlook on life?

Since Moulin Rouge is also in the realm of “historical metafiction,” since we are to know that this is the story of the author’s life. But it also questions what is reality. The viewers are not to know if the author is a reliable narrator, it blurs the lines between “fiction, reality, and truth (Malpas 26).” With the switches between past and present, the film incorporates the past, but the viewers are left with little understanding. The world of Moulin Rouge is confusing and since the past is questionable about if it is fact or fiction, this is a result from the visual of Christian writing the scenes and dialogue.

The viewer will never know the truth behind the story; it will always question their ideas of the world and the ideology of love. The use of popular music adds to this confusion, since there are “intertexts to recognize” within the film as a whole (Malpas 26).

Basically the Disney World for history buffs.

1 Comment

Bamboozling Meet the Browns

I think Stuart Hall would see Bamboozled as a way of making social commentary, since it touches on many of the topic he discusses in this article. The variety show in Bamboozled, Mantan, was first to set out to poke fun of racism. Delacroix wanted to make a show that didn’t show black people as positive characters, but caricatures of themselves. They where to wear black face, act uneducated, and adopt a traditional Southern black accent, in attempts to be overtly racist. To his displeasure, the show becomes a hit, allowing favorable coverage to an openly racist view (162). While some people behind the scenes of Mantan, thought the show to be disgusting, even Sleep n’ Eat, it seemed to be that the audience did not catch the racist actions of the show.


They were seen as “clown[s] or entertainer[s]” and it was “never quite clear whether we are laughing with or at” them (164). As shown with the audience who enjoys the show immensely, even imitating the actors by dressing in black face and their costumes. They regularly use the n-word to describe their selves, whether or not they are actually black. Delacroix’s boss believes that he is a bigger n***** than Delacroix since he has a black wife and mixed children. The language that is used conjures up images of slavery and the superiority of the white race (163). Every detail of the variety show was supposed to conjure up the images of slavery, with the technique behind the black face, to the setting, to the cartoon images of Mantan and Sleep n’ Eat.


The variety show is juxtaposed with the standup routine of Delacroix’s father. His father’s standup routine seemed to accomplish what Mantan was failing to do, bring light on the subject of race, and not perpetuate it. This seems to be the case because both teller and audience are of the same race, not people who believe they identity by dressing in black face (166). Hall argues that there is a problem with anyone telling racist jokes, even if the teller is that race. Whatever “good intention of the joke-makers… they are not in control of the circumstances… in which their jokes… will be read and heard (166).”


All in all, I think that Hall would have thought that Bamboozled is trying to show the ideology of race, but the film falls into some problems. How are we to know how every viewer sees this film? Spike Lee is not in control of making the viewer recognize the satire. If people do not see that this is poking fun of racism, then in reality it is just perpetuating it, just like comedians.


My example is Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns. It shows the predominately (if not entirely) black cast in very racial stereotypical ways. Like a single mom trying to keep her sons off the streets and selling drugs.

1 Comment

Abjections of Bad Milo

I have yet to see the actual movie, but from the trailer, it seems to have multiple examples of abjection.

First starting with the obvious: the gore. While it is a “horror comedy,” comedic blood may have the same effects of horror blood. It possesses the images of mutilated bodies, which may cause the viewers to cringe and say that it “made me sick (Creed 253).” Where I am not a fan of blood or horror, this movie seems to be aiming for the audience who enjoys the perversity of the abject (Creed 253). To play the comedic angle, so the audience is laughing at the gore, not cringing.

The second abjection in Bad Milo is the parallel to the idea of the monstrous-feminine and the archaic mother. Although Milo is “birthed” from a male (and therefore, the symbol of the womb does not exactly fit), it is similar to the example of Alien, “the ‘mother’s’ body has become hostile; it contains the alien whose one purpose is to kill…, just as Milo is “birthed” from the man to kill or harm the person causing stress to his “mother (Creed 260).”

Female genitalia is considered a “mysterious black hole,” in the Bad Milo trailer, a “mysterious black hole” is shown as a doctor attempting to solve the mystery of Milo performs a colonoscopy. The protagonist’s “black hole” is just like a female’s black hole, “[giving] birth to equally horrific offspring (Creed 261).”Since this is not happening to a woman, it really isn’t seen as a threat of castration, however, as in Alien, “it represents a man giving birth, to deny the mother as signifier of sexual difference—but here birth can exist only as the other face of death (Creed 261).”


The Fake Hipster

Well I guess Tom and I had a similar idea.


When you think of hipsters, you conjure a distinct picture: a skinny person wearing skinny jeans, flannel, thick rimmed glasses, carrying a mason jar, biking, unclean, vinyl records, and probably from Portland or Brooklyn. They seem to stick out from the fashion and masses of mainstream culture.


Hipsters are men and women who value counter-culture, they are shunning most ideas of what mainstream culture have told us. They have a certain look to them, with their clothes, hair, and even attitude (as exemplified above). The subculture has created a consensus of how to show their interests to society (Blue 80).  They are rejecting the mainstream consumer idea by shopping at thrift and vintage stores, shunning our capitalistic economy. However, these aspects are supposed to make them different from the mainstream world, hipsters are technically conforming in their own culture, creating a cultural hegemony. Consequently, they have become sort of hypocrites; they are living their subculture’s equivalent to the mainstream idea they hate.


But as the anti-mainstream fashion has caught on, there are people who are falsely calling themselves hipsters. With the rise of stores like Urban Outfitters and American Apparel, these “hipsters” are not turning away from the consumer world; they are spending up to fifty dollars on a shirt that is supposed to cater to the hipster demographic. “Real” hipsters are supposed to put “distance between producer and consumer,” buy buying second hand clothes (Red 91). With the emergence of hipster retail stores, those who buy their clothes are only perpetuating the oppressive nature of the business and consumer. The idea of buying hipster looking clothes from such retail stores generates the “’negotiated’ mix of both ‘commercial’ and ‘authentic’ (Blue 82).” It could be the lack of knowledge that many have of what exactly is the hipster subculture, but if one identifies as a hipster and shops at these certain stores they are just adding to the hegemonic nature of this sub-culture.

1 Comment

Girls Scouts: Just Another Big Business


The Girl Scouts logo is widely recognizable, whether it is because of their cookies or their presences at any grade school. The logo, and the organization behind it, acts as a myth for the idea that the Girl Scouts only want to foster the leadership of women, however, Girl Scouts is just another big business. They are not only in the business of empowering women, but also in the business of money.

When I first see that the logo is of three silhouetted females (two white and one green), paired with the lettering of “Girl Scouts” denotes that this is an organization started for women, by women. The faceless women show that the Girl Scouts have no specific look, they do not discriminate, accept everyone of every background and race. While the logo does not show much, it connotes so much more.

To me, the connotations of seeing the distinctive logo are that of young girls forming friendship, gaining leadership skills, and going to Girl Scout Camp. I see the images of smiling adolescent girls zip-lining and learning new skills plastered on bright colored Girls Scout cookie boxes. I think of the green vests filled with patches and pins that invade schools on a troop-meeting day.

Those images are actually the backbone of the myth of Girl Scouts. While we do think of these images, it is mostly forgotten that money is a common factor in the skills that are taught within Girl Scouts. The mission of the Girl Scouts is to empower women and to teach them new skills. But behind this female empowerment, we must first pay: to be apart of a troop, for a uniform (and a new one every time you go from Brownie to Junior, Junior to Cadet, etc), for the camps, for the cookies, and for the patches. The Girl Scouts take the opportunity to make learning skills into a money making endeavor, to sell cookie you must have leadership skills and you learn to make change. The Girl Scouts even give incentives to sell a specific number of boxes, and no since middle-schooler can deny the fact that they want the awesome prizes, they HAVE to sell 250 boxes! The combination of learning new skills and getting prizes, that Girl scouts embeds, results in the sales of hundreds of boxes of cookies, worth $4.50 a pop.  The Girl Scouts pressures scouts to independently work on a patch and to try to get as many patches as possible, so the organization of the Girl Scouts get $1.50 every time the scout gains a new skill that they encourage. It all comes down to money.

Money and business: an integral part of our culture today. In our world, everything revolves around big business and consumption. Consumption allows us to get what we want and creates further wants. Big business and money designate power to those who have more of it than other; the rich get richer and the poor stay poor.