April 13, 2008

Little Miss sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine, shine, shine!
“The Hoover family is the dictionary definition for the word dysfunctional.� (Jim Beaver, rating from video website). Every single character in the Hoover family had some personal and family issues that prevented them from really understanding each other but their journey to Redondo Beach California for Olives’ Little Miss Beauty Pageant forced them to come together to really communicate. In North American culture many people do not discuss their issues with one another and don’t ever really get over how they feel so that they never can truly move on. Dwayne, the older of the two kids has taken in oath of silence which I believe to be a symbol of U.S. culture and how we do not focus nor talk about our feelings therefore we get caught up in drug addictions, eating disorders, depression, and loads of anxiety. This physical journey for the Hoover family becomes a true spiritual journey.
The mother Cheryl was pressured by society to play the woman who cooks, cleans, and gives herself to her children and husband while she is struggling to be herself especially, when she is trying to do what is best for Olive. The husband Richard is obsessed with the idea that you can be whatever you want to be even though his family and he are having some financial and personal problems themselves. Grandpa Edwin is addicted to Heroin and only really finds true happiness when with his granddaughter Olive. Olive is the main protagonist who is very young and naïve but at the same time she is the one who encourages everyone to be themselves and helps them bring out their honesty. Dwayne is the son and Olives older brother who has decided to take an oath of silence until he gets into the air force. Dwayne is the stereotypical teenager because he hates his parents and is very dramatic. Lastly, Richard is Cheryl’s gay brother who used to be a professor but tried to kill himself after a breakup with his boyfriend. Cheryl is afraid for him so she is constantly dragging him wherever the family goes and makes sure he is always being watched.
There are quite a few scenes in this film that cause quite a stir and really play with the audiences’ attitudes and beliefs. When the family is at a restaurant and Olive wants the dessert her father is so caught up with Olive being a ‘winner’ that he says she shouldn’t eat it suggesting she might be fat. Here is where Olive gets a taste of how harsh reality is. Richard perhaps begins to realize that being obsessed with winning could be dangerous. The rest of the family realizes this and steps in to protect Olive. Another scene s where Dwayne flips out when his mother tells him that he will not be able to get into the airforce. Olive comes to his side and comforts him with a big hug and he knows that he has to suck it up and go back to the van and keep moving forward in life.
There are two big moments where the family really works together to accomplish something and this is where the characters spiritual journeys really brighten and develop. In these moments each character is an important member. The first example is when Olive gets left at the gas station and they are unable to stop the van so as Richard drives as slow as he possibly can without stalling the car Frank reaches out to grab Olive while she is running. The mother, brother, and grandfather are all part of her vocal support as they cheer her on. This is also true when Olive is doing her dance scene at the pageant and one of the judges threatens to pull her off. The family immediately comes to her aid and humiliates themselves willingly all for Olive and her self esteem. The other scene is when the family works together to steal their dead grandfathers body from the hospital. Each character learns a little bit more about themselves as they all strategize and successfully retrieve their grandpa and put him in the trunk.
Everyone has a different spiritual journey and their journeys are influenced by the people in their lives. Although the Hoover family was completely dysfunctional up until the very end they were able to finally accept that fate as well as the people in their family.

April 3, 2008

Priscilla Instructions

The road can be conceived as taking us away from home and into the wide open spaces of possibility and often returning us home. Robertson argues in Home and Away that the potentially libratory aspects of the road for masculinities in Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert relies on various racist, sexist
and essentializing tropes of authenticity to position a more authentic, because less fixed, gay identity. In its portrayal of a porous and mobile gay identity, Priscilla relies on contrasting and essentialized stereotypes of woman, immigrant, and native (and outback masculinity)* ---straw men, as it were, set up to frighten away those who venture away from home and into the Australian landscape. Do you agree or disagree? Give examples from the film to support your point of view. Do not repeat what students have already entered in prior blog responses. (*added by Prof Z)

March 8, 2008

Thelma and Louise Instructions

Is “Thelma and Louise� an effective feminist critique? Build an argument in the affirmative using one scene from the film. Include your definition of “feminism� in your response.

March 1, 2008

"Racing" and "Gendering" the Road

Compare and contrast the use of “the road� and “the quest� in Searching for Angela Shelton and The Grace Lee Project. In what different ways is “the road� raced� and “gendered� in these two personal quest documentaries? Give specific examples.

February 20, 2008

Use and Abuse of Camera Power

The camera in this film becomes a way for women to speak from experience and to “break silence� on issues of sexual abuse and trauma. How does the road function in this film? What is the story? What emerges from the road? Does Angela use her camera power responsibly to tell this story? Explain. If you were Angela would you have made this film differently?

February 17, 2008

Creating Counter-Cinema Instructions

In what ways is “Vagabond� a film that embraces the cinematic techniques and narrative structure of a feminist counter-cinema -- disrupting the power of the male gaze and the phallocentric capture of woman as object to-be-looked at? (Start your blog entry with a quote from the readings.)

February 6, 2008

Woman on a Motorcycle and the Male Gaze

A married woman mounts her motorcycle and takes off on a road trip to see her lover. She is marked as a rebel by her adultery, implied use of sex and drugs, and her love of mobility, speed, and solo roadway travel. How are phallocentrism and the male gaze maintained in this early road trip film? Is this film liberating for women? Explain,
using some of the vocabulary from lecture and the readings.

January 30, 2008

Week Two- "Easy Rider" The ALL American Road Movie

Question Section A: We blew it!

Due: Monday, February 4, by noon

At the end of Easy Rider, Wyatt makes a prophetic proclamation: “We
blew it!� What are your ideas on what this means about Wyatt and
Billy, American counterculture and American culture in general? Start
your reflections with a sentence from the assigned readings and
support your ideas with what you saw (in particular scenes, plot
elements, soundtrack, cinematic techniques) in the film. Be specific
about the film and use the assigned readings.

Please remember to be creative in your own thinking after you have read the assigned
readings, especially “The Road to Dystopia� (Klinger) and Driving
Visions, pp. 69-81.

Do not copy or repeat what another student has written. You can
elaborate on another student’s ideas but add more to the conversation.

Feel free to comment on what other students have written using the
Comment prompt.