Before tackling Animal House’s take on college administration (a theme that must be of interest to us all as Dartmouth prepares for the presidential transition in July), I’d like to consider the pause inserted quietly between the behemoth juxtapositions of Delta and the Administration “Bvilding.” Often overlooked, the scene in which Delta brother Boone unconvincingly comforts his dissatisfied girlfriend Katy nevertheless acts as one of the most applicable moments in Animal House to modern life at Dartmouth. Or at least to anyone familiar with the age-old Dartmouth tradition of consoling friends moping over the un-dateability of guys they meet in basements over FoCo brunch. Every one of those tired complaints emerges here: frat brothers are immature (Boone charms Katy merely by pouting, it seems). They value bro-bonding over campus romance — as soon as Boone proposes a weekend at Katy’s parents’ place, she automatically assumes the trip will include Boone’s frat buddies riding along to “empty my parents’ liquor cabinet,” and she’s not entirely wrong. Boone says, “It’s just going to be you and me…and Otter and another girl.” (For more on Animal House’s fascinating homosocial bonds, visit the previous Analyzing Animal House post). We can’t forget narcissistic, either. While… Read more »
With much of the post-Oscars attention focused on a ceremony some called banal (the choice of Seth MacFarlane as host really upped expectations of provocation), the real question remains —how safe were the Academy Awards choices this year? Yeah, Argo won Best Picture, Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress, Amour for Best Foreign Language Film and Paperman for Best Short Film, Animated, as everyone predicted (that last one maybe only for film nerds). But that doesn’t mean the choices weren’t controversial. In fact, this was probably the most exciting year for debate about the actual accolades in recent history. Here’s a look at some other potentially scandalous wins — and why or why not they should be questioned. Best Picture: Argo Leading the contentious tone of the choices is undoubtedly Best Picture winner Argo, whose screenplay’s inaccuracies and themes have been dismissed as promoting “a retrograde ‘white Americans in peril’ storyline.” The Iranian Mehr news agency even called the film’s Oscar success an “an advertisement for the CIA.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w918Eh3fij0 Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained As much as Django might have been the most fun to be had in theaters all year, Christoph Waltz’s win evokes all that seemed… Read more »
I had an enlightening moment over winter break. During one of those formal holiday dinners we all have with family upon returning home from college, I mentioned briefly that I finally saw Animal House (1978) for the first time over the course of the previous term. With what can only be described as a manic glint in his eyes, my father began to grin enormously. I was certainly taken aback: not that he’s not a stoic guy, but he usually reserves that sort of enthusiasm for discussion of the Giants, maybe Alien (1979). “How great is that scene when John Belushi’s looking in the sorority house window?” he asked. He needed to say no more (though he did proceed to mime John Belushi’s facial expression). It was a magical moment. As my father impersonated that stupefied look of wonder that has doubtless been immortalized in some GIF over the stroganoff, it hit me. We had just instantly connected over the crudest of scenes (check out 00:35 in the trailer for a refresher), the type cinephiles deride regularly for having no deeper value, and yet it was all so elementally hilarious. I understood in that moment that Animal House is the… Read more »
Though this week saw the Sundance Film Festival and further Oscar politicking, The Wrap’s big reveal on Thursday that J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars Episode VII (2015) has trumped all other news. Though just a few months ago Abrams told us he wouldn’t take on Star Wars, Disney’s choice rings of destiny. The marriage of J.J. Abrams and Star Wars, the ultimate consummation of devoted fan and pop culture icon, seems to be ordained by the Fates — or the Force. In all his work, Abrams masterfully evokes pop culture touchstones and assembles referential material into something modern and new — he’s Tarantino for the sci-fi set, with less pretension and a good helping of awe. Abrams’ previous film and television endeavors flirt regularly with Star Wars, deliberately or unintentionally and his oeuvre is a treasure trove for the Star Wars fan. In Abram’s early genre-mashup televison series “Alias,” the double-agent protagonist Sydney Bristow echoes Princess Leia in her intelligence, determination and notable acting chops. Like Leia infamously playing slave to Jabba the Hutt, Sydney assumes feminine wiles with the true intention of pursuing the ultimate goal of equality with the intelligence agency father figures that pepper the show…. Read more »
With such rich offerings in theaters, film awards season always produces an unavoidable sense of guilt. The limited-release availability of the nominated films — this year, those may include Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), Amour (2012), and The Master (2012) — and the requisite two-hour time investment make it utterly impossible, even for the most enthusiastic, to see all the nominees…. Read more »
It was a universally-acknowledged truth that the Golden Globes were a sad excuse for an awards show — until last Sunday’s ceremony, when the women at the wheel rendered the much-maligned ceremony, however unlikely, into must-see television.
Historically, the Golden Globes have been haunted by the nebulous nature of the organization that awards them, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Originally a group of journalists intent on dispersing Hollywood products to untapped foreign markets, the HFPA now aims to “establish favorable relations and cultural ties…by the dissemination of information concerning the American culture and traditions as depicted in motion pictures and television,” and donate Golden Globes proceeds to charity.
But what gives a group of journalists and public relations personalities the qualifications to hand out annual awards for film quality? Like many aspects of the HFPA, that is unclear. (For more information, visit The Telegraph’s nifty little explanation).