Sunday, October 11, 2009

Film class blues

I haven't blogged here in quite a while. Maybe it's because I'm busy. Or maybe it's because I just haven't felt like blogging in a very long time. But I feel like venting a little, so bear with me here.

I just wanted everyone to know that the class entitled "Film of the 20th Century" at my school is useless. I would know this because it's part of my daily academic schedule. It is the most mind-numbing, ridiculous class I've ever taken.

We sit there and watch movies, but we never really discuss anything. We have tests about the actors in the movies and the scandals the actors were involved in. Of course, classic Hollywood scandals are fun to hear about, but they're not really beneficial in appreciating the art of film.

There is sort of this ongoing "joke" in that class, though. Well, I guess I'm the only person who finds it remotely hilarious.

Instead of watching actual Charlie Chaplin and James Dean movies, we watch movies based on their life. Although I'm not complaining--watching Robert Downey Jr. and James Franco play Chaplin and Dean, respectively wasn't too horrible; at least I wasn't watching Jennifer Love Hewitt play Audrey Hepburn--I think it would make more sense if we actually watched some Chaplin and Dean movies.

All we've done is watched this Chaplin short film and five minutes of East of Eden. Come on...

It's not really the "20th century," by the way. It's more like, "the 20th century starting from the 1930s." We've watched sentimental pieces of mush, such as Boys Town and Goodbye, Mr. Chips. We've watched the mildly amusing and funny My Man Godfrey. We watched a mediocre gangster flick, The Public Enemy. And we watched the fairly epic (for its time), King Kong.

Now we're in the 1940s, and we're in the middle of a fairly boring film called Sergeant York. At the end of this film, I'm supposed to think Gary Cooper is awesome, but I think High Noon would've been a better example of Cooper's acting abilities.

So how is everyone doing?


  1. LOL This class sounds absolutely ridiculous. But I guess you can't expect much from a public high school class about film art. At least they're showing older films and not pretending that film didn't exist before The Godfather.

    But, my God, could your teacher have picked worse films to show?! Mr. Chips and Boys Town are not examples of good filmmaking. Like, at all. The only thing to gleam from them is how not to make a movie. Why the hell would he/she bother showing them?

    Sergeant York is probably one of the worst films I've ever seen from Howard Hawks or Gary Cooper. Pure sentimental fluff from beginning to end. Noon, Mr. Deeds, Design for Living or Meet John Doe would have been the best picks to showcase Cooper's acting talents.

  2. Yikes. By any chance, do you have a list of what you'll be watching for the rest of this class?? I'd be curious to know what else you'll be studying.

  3. @James - My teacher said he loves Mr. Chips because he can relate to it, since he's a teacher too. But honestly, there must be much better films about teachers out there that he can show.

    He wanted to show Boys Town because he wanted to show us a Spencer Tracy film, although there are other more superior Tracy films out there that he could've shown us. But his reasoning was that this was the film Tracy won the Oscar for, so we must see it.

    Sergeant York is probably one of the most boring, aimless movies I've ever seen. My film teacher shows a different movie for each period; another period saw Mr. Deeds. He didn't show High Noon because we're watching movies by decade.

    Since we've moved on to the forties, life has gotten a little better for me in that class. We watched Gaslight, which was pretty good and now we're watching It's a Wonderful Life, which I completely adore, no matter how ridiculously sentimental it is.

    @Mad Hatter - There's a list posted on the wall of my teacher's movie collection. He shows different movies to different periods, so it all depends on how lucky my period is.

    For example, my period watched 1992's Chaplin instead of an authentic Chaplin movie. Other periods saw City Lights and The Kid.

    While my period watched Sergeant York, other periods were watching Gone with the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Casablanca.

    He told us about a list of movies his previous classes liked and it included The Godfather, Some Like It Hot, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and several other movies. My friend who took the class several years ago said he saw Cool Hand Luke, Wait Until Dark, The Searchers, Saving Private Ryan, and The Matrix. Yes, you are not mistaken: I might finally get to watch The Matrix this year.

  4. When you get to the 70s, maybe he will show "Deep Throat"?