Wk8M1 The Twenty-First Century

Today’s discussion is brought to you by Group 13: Angelo Lima, Alex Wilson, Keith McKnew & Steven Colonero

This modules screenings include:

Simple Plan, 1998 dir.  Sam Raimi

The Kids Are Alright, 2010, dir. Lisa Cholodenko

Kick Ass, 2010 dir. Matthew Vaughn

The Dark Knight Rises, 2012 dir. Christopher Nolan

37 thoughts on “Wk8M1 The Twenty-First Century

  1. Steven Colonero

    The Kids Are Alright is one of the more recent attempts to bring queer cinema into the mainstream spotlight by having two well-known actresses play gay characters. Brokeback Mountain also used this same technique back in 2005; do you think that The kids Are Alright or Brokeback Mountain displayed the homosexual relationship more realistically and why? Do you think that our cultural attitudes have changed since these films were released?

    In both The Dark Knight Rises and Kick Ass we see these “superheroes” get hurt, while in earlier adaptations of superhero films audiences would rarely see there superheroes get hurt. Do you think this is the director’s way to put more focus on the humanistic side of the character or do you think it’s a sign of the changing time and the need for more realism in our films?

    Did you find the violence to be over the top in the film Kick Ass or did you find it to be a realistic? Do you think this will lead to more violent adaptations of superhero films?

    1. Renee Schuyten

      I think that both The Kids are Allright and Brokeback Mountain displayed homosexual relationships realistically. One was a married lesbian couple with children, living openly in today’s society, addressing the idea of bisexuality, too. They lived in California, a progressive state. Brokeback was set in the 60s in rural Wyoming, among tough masculine cowboys. It told the story of the shame and guilt, the love and joy of a forbidden gay relationship. Although made in 2005, the times of the early 60s were much different setting than modern California. I think that the relationships had a much different feel from each other, given the times, locations, the sex of the characters and the sexual explicitness of the films.

      Absolutely attitudes are changing every day. There are now 13 states where same sex marriage is legal, there was a huge Supreme Court decision which shot down section 3 of DOMA allowing same sex marriages to be recognized by the Federal Government, and President Obama has said he supports same sex marriage… out loud, in public, on the record!

    2. Shenese Doll

      I think that both points are what explains reasons for films such as Dark Knight and Kick-Ass. The heroes are human, but in many earlier films, they are depicted as intangible at times. So in the week’s films, a more humanistic side is given to the heroes, in that, they do not always win, and wins do not always come easy and effortless.

      It is also a sign of changing times. With new years, comes new audiences and audiences who have grown-up or evolved. Our films should show how we have evolved. Audiences today do like more realistic film, even in very obvious fictional and fantasy stories. There is still a level of realism that we like to see.

    3. Parrish Colbert

      I think the cultural attitude towards gay cinema has changed because there is an expectation and prejudgment of how you view gays throughout your life.

      I think the reason heroes get hurt in more modern films is due to sometimes lack of a unique conflict to carry on the film because everyone knows spiderman would have never been touched if the film went according to comic book. At the same time what’s the fun in watching a fight with no doubt of what will happen next.

      I enjoyed the violence in kick ass i found it both very realistic and over the top but very hardcore. Kick Ass tells the story through it’s own adreneline-pumped violent way.

      Most super hero films now are trying to stay as true to form as possible and not veer away from original plot so I don’t think Kick Ass’s violence made that big of an impact.

    4. Christophe Freeman

      I believe both Brokeback Mountain and the Kids Are Alright showed homosexual relationships realistically. They both show relationships in which two people are trying to live together happily but have to deal with society’s view of their lifestyle. That is the current issue for the homosexual community and these films show those relationships in a new light giving the society the chance to see homosexuality from the inside looking out. I also believe these films reflect the changing times of our society. If Brokeback Mountain was released ten years earlier it would not have been as popular as it is today.

    5. Nick Neal

      I agree the Dark Knight Rises and Kick Ass represent the realist side of super hero movies. It shows their flaws, limitations and they exist in a more realist world without super powers.

  2. Angelo Lima

    What do you think Reagen’s thoughts of the society compare with the movies made from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s? Was the Back to the Future series one of the most influential films for the science fiction genre for the 80’s or was it Star Wars The Original Trilogy?

    1. Renee Schuyten

      Star Wars!!! Back to the Future was just about a kid going back in time (to relive those old filmmakers nostalgic memories of their glory days in the 50s – back to more innocent times) but Star Wars defined the genre by creating worlds and species, faster than light travel, and the FORCE. The whole 80s back to feel good movie time was what Reagan represented, a backlash against all those subversive free love and violence films of the late 60s and 70s. Civil Rights and Feminism rocked our world, especially the upper middle class white male part of it.

      1. Steven Colonero

        agreed, I remember seeing pictures how George Lucas used Nazi Germany as a way to put historical references in as the Sith. I have always found that interesting. It is really apparent at the end of the first film, when he receives his award. I also think that back to the Future still has a place in history for cinema if only for the fact that it was one of the biggest Sci-Fi trilogies of all time and is still referenced to this day.

    2. Shenese Doll

      I would say both were a major influence. Back to the Future paved ways for more modern sci-fi films as well as sci-fi based comedies. Prime example, Hot Tub Time Machine, sucks a group of friends to the past. And the men must not change anything to make sure that the nephew is born. If they change anything in the past, they risk returning back to the present without the nephew.

      Star Wars also paved way for many sci-fi and space related films, and is alone referred to in so many separate works and tv series.
      There are episodes of shows such as That 70s Show, Family Guy, that reference Star Wars. As well as other movies that pay homage to Star Wars.

    3. Nick Neal

      I kind of wonder how Tron relates to Reaganism. Because the outer villain is this huge corporation, so you’d think it would be anti-reagan. But in the software world, the tyranny is coercivelt atheistic (they punish people for believing in the users and call them religious fanatics) they all wear red, and it’s centrally planned. That seems anti-communist and therefore pro-reagan. That’s kind of similar to how it was hard to tell whether dystopian films back in the 50’s were about conformity or communism.

      All that said, I mean no offense by asking this, but what does this have to do with the moduel?

  3. Angelo Lima

    Would Return of the Jedi be the best demographic to describe the nation in the time of the Reagen/Bush era? What movie in this time period would show the best demographic of the nation? Explain?

  4. Angelo Lima

    What is the most influential and societal difference that Martin Scorsese has shown in his films from the time of Raging Bull to Shutter Island? How does this affect the way the audience views any of these films?

  5. Angelo Lima

    In the opinion of the viewer what Spike Lee film has the least race based contrast throughout one of his films? What is the film that shows the most? Does the audience viewing the film show sympathy of the subject matter?

    1. Levi Brown

      Inside Man? I remember the ending revealed that the heist was intended to steal back items stolen from Jews at a concentration camp. That bit of info is held back until the very end. I haven’t seen a lot of his works though.

    2. Shenese Doll

      She’s Gotta Have It is the least racr related film. This film is more about female sexuality themes and the case of the double-standard. Also She Hate Me is not really about race, but about same-sex female relationships and their alternative for having children through adoption/ or donated sperm. They instead both have sex with one man, so that their children can have the same father, and possibly be born close together.
      Crooklyn is one that is about race, but not about black/white/jew/etc race, but about racial relations within one family and how they fit into their neighborhood. It also deals with social class and differences. Where the main character, Troy lives in Brooklyn as the only girl among all brothers. And the difference of classes when she visit her cousins, who seem more higher up in social status than her family, and it is not noticed until they change her hair and clothes.

      Do the Right Thing, Bamboozled, and Jungle Fever probably deals with race the most. As far as mixed race dating, and stereoypes, as well as racial influences violence .

  6. Kendrick Branch

    I think the vulnerability of these heroes symbolizes a certain level of awareness amongst the viewers. Belton suggests there was a period where films “exposed fantasy as an avenue of escape for troubled characters.”
    Batman has always been a troubled character, but so is everyone else. The “heroes” in Kick-Ass realized imaginary characters can only inspire real people to do what needs to be done, but real people (like Bruce Wayne) get hurt.

    The violence, in my opinion, kept the story from being too real, and to make it as visually graphic as a comic book.

    1. Christophe Freeman

      I agree the violence only added to the aesthetic of the film Kick Ass. The film was trying to be as action packed as comic books seemed so the violence was fitting. I do believe the heroes in films these days are meant to inspire people. They are based on “real” people and gives people hope. People believe they can be a hero and virtually do what Batman did because after all Bruce Wayne is just a human.

  7. Alex Wilson

    In both Kick Ass and The Dark Night Rises, we see normal people (without superpowers) putting on suits, masks, and using tools/weapons/machines that could all potentially be used/created/obtained in real life.

    What is the appeal (if any) of this compared to a movie where the heroes have powers? Ex. X-Men or Superman

    Do you think that movies such as Kick-Ass, given the degree of realism, could possibly influence people to try and act like the heroes on the screen?

    1. Levi Brown

      I think the appeal of people without super-powers fighting crime is appealing because it depends upon someone’s ability to do something. Kick-Ass is probably more plausible than attempting to be Batman, Wayne does have a lot of money to back his crime-fighting whereas Kick-Ass bought a cheap-suit and some batons.

    2. Levi Brown

      These films are influential and they always have the chance of influencing someone to act out like the characters onscreen but sadly, in most cases, when someone does this it’s never been good. Years back a man changed himself to look like Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro from Taxi Driver) and tried to kill Ronald Reagen just as the character tries to kill Palantine in the film.

    3. Steven Colonero

      I think movies like Kick Ass give people hope that they can fight against “The Man”, and that these people are just like us, they dont have superpowers, unlike many superheros. Kick-Ass is a great example because the main character is nerdy and doesnt seem like he would stand up for him. In the case that people try this, well Im not really sure if that would ever happen just strictly due to the fact that you dont know who your fighting or if they have a gun. But I think it gives the average moviegoer something to aspire to and stand up for what is right.

  8. Nicholas Mertens

    I think that the violence in films like Kick Ass and Dark Knight rises definitely resonates to the stories being told here. These are both gritty movies that are showing the humanistic side of these comic book heroes.

      1. Renee Schuyten

        I think the violence was a bit gratuitous, but it’s really about the emotional effect that it has on the viewer. The violence wounds you and opens you up, so that other messages have an opening to have a profound effect on you. I feel more deeply for the poor kids, or for the love story, because my emotions are heightened.

    1. Nick Neal

      I actually think the violence takes away from the realism. For example when Hit Girl just flat out kills a woman in cold blood. That’s incredibly dark, and “ethically suspect” to say the least, but it’s not exactly realistic. We wouldn’t expect a little kid to do that. I instead think the violence is meant to “cross the line” with viewers. That type of shock and disregard for ethics draws some people to the picture.

  9. Angelo Lima

    I found it interesting that when ever Jules was was alone with Paul in The Kids Are All Right that Jules would be herself instead of pretend to be someone she was not with everybody else. This shows the viewer watching the film that she actually had more trust in Paul than her partner Nic.

    1. Steven Colonero

      Ya I enjoyed that to. I always found that to be the directors and writers way of hinting at her bisexuality in that she loves Nic but she has feelings for paul as well. Something that is interesting in the fact that many films dont really hint at characters being bisexual its either one or the other. I think this really shows a change in the times of cinema we are currently in.

  10. Angelo Lima

    I enjoyed how the director portrayed a very casual look for the rural state that the characters lived in for the movie Simple Plan and when it came to acting this made the film flow so much better especially on how the characters were dressed.

  11. Angelo Lima

    I liked how the director incorporated an underrated style of superhero movies with an over the top style of drama representation which made the movie Kick Ass much different than any movie I have ever seen of its kind.

  12. Angelo Lima

    I like how the Dark Knight Rises keeps an even barrier between the good and evil characters without giving to much time for either side of the story. I really do not like when movies always center on the good characters and then barely speak of the bad characters point of view. I personally think it makes it more interesting when a viewer is able to understand where each character is coming from in the story, good or evil.

    1. Evan Halleck

      I couldn’t agree more if the villain is a really thought out one he should be just as interesting and focused on as the main character him self. I really thought Dark Knight benefitted from having so much focus on the Joker.

  13. Evan Halleck

    The Kids Are Alright is one of the more recent attempts to bring queer cinema into the mainstream spotlight by having two well-known actresses play gay characters. Brokeback Mountain also used this same technique back in 2005; do you think that The kids Are Alright or Brokeback Mountain displayed the homosexual relationship more realistically and why? Do you think that our cultural attitudes have changed since these films were released?
    Yes I think they did a very realistic movie about two men who love each other. I think that is a lot safer to make a movie about homosexuals now that Brokeback Mountain has won the oscar.
    In both The Dark Knight Rises and Kick Ass we see these “superheroes” get hurt, while in earlier adaptations of superhero films audiences would rarely see there superheroes get hurt. Do you think this is the director’s way to put more focus on the humanistic side of the character or do you think it’s a sign of the changing time and the need for more realism in our films?
    I think people can relate more if the character gets hurt or worn down. In the real world no one is perfect and superheroes used to be perfect which in turn meant no one can really relate. For kickass I think its very reaslitic in the beggining that is probably why I liked it so much. In the real world every one wants to be a super hero and if we really tried to be one we would probably end up getting stabbed just like in the film.

    Did you find the violence to be over the top in the film Kick Ass or did you find it to be a realistic? Do you think this will lead to more violent adaptations of superhero films?
    I think its very realistic like I said before because it is suppose to be about him trying to get rid of crime. With crime comes violence any super hero movie that is pg 13 is just doing it for money reasons if these characters really existed their lives would be full of violence.

  14. Allison Hudson

    I think that The Kids are Alright showed a realistic homosexual couple. The couple is loving toward their children and has the same problems/fights as any other couple. I do think it’s a little weird that Julianne Moore’s character sleeps with the sperm donor but I guess it’s to reflect the confusion of sexuality that the kids are feeling. I definitely think attitudes have changed since these films. Brokeback Mountain is a popular film even though its main characters are gay. There have been many more movies featuring homosexual characters, as well as TV shows. Younger generations are also becoming more tolerant and accepting of alternative lifestyles, so I think that gays will continue to be prominent in future films and shows.

    I think it does add a humanistic aspect to heroes. People always assume heroes are invulnerable and always come out on top. However, showing a hero getting hurt or breaking down emotionally helps us, as an audience, relate. The traditionally cartoonish superhero is being brought out of the comic book and into the real world. So I think it’s a combination of giving the hero a human side and bringing that hero into reality. In reality, everyone feels pain, gets hurt, dies. Though most heroes don’t perish, they definitely get beat up or find themselves in life-threatening situations. In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman is stabbed and it’s implied that he died. However, we see Bruce Wayne is fine at the end of the film and there is a possibility for a new hero to take his place. Eventually, just like any normal employee, Batman retires.

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