(Ch.11) Response Post due Nov. 14

11426429_1507764769472229_1977576128_n(Repose due: Nov. 14 before 11:59 pm) Read all materials from Chapter 11 (The Ten-Minute Film Review, Top Ten Things ‘Not” To DO As A Film Critic, Tips for Reviewing DVD/Blu-Ray, Film Screenings & Junkets, The Brief History of the Western, and The Western A-Z).

After exploring each section answer (2) two of the following questions (your post should reflect something different and original from other student posts in the strand):

  1. Why has the Western genre continued to survive for over a century on film since it is img_8493but a snapshot of American history?
  1. Based on the Western hybrid formulas mentioned – can you name two other films you feel would fit one (1) of these categories (other than a Western/Comedy or Western/Musical)? Why? (You must give examples that are congruent with what you’ve learned about Western themes, ideas, storylines, etc.).
  1. After viewing the James Cromwell video package (produced after attending a Junket) share two things you thought were interesting about his life in film.
  1. After listening to the interview with S. Craig Zahler (writer & director) of the unknownWestern/Horror film “Bone Tomahawk” – share some things that you found interesting about his approach to filmmaking and the Western.
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19 Comments Add yours

  1. jguberman242 says:

    1. Why has the Western genre continued to survive for over a century on film since it is but a snapshot of American history?

    As the reading addressed, Western films typically are geared towards white males who have an interest in history and action. My boyfriend fits right into that category and he LOVES Westerns. I personally don’t see the appeal. I hate historical things, and I have a weird quirk that, if I don’t like the setting of a movie or a book, it’s a LOT harder for me to get interested in anything else about it. I don’t like Western settings. However, for the target audience, Westerns will always be of interest because there are a lot of historical figures to be portrayed, and there are a lot of options for fictional characters in a variety of situations in settings and stories that are familiar and beloved in the hearts of the typical viewers. There are a lot of people out there who simply love a well-choreographed fight scene, and so long as Westerns continue to have such battles, viewers will always come.
    As far as the history junkies go, American history is closer to the hearts of American viewers, naturally, and therefore often has a lot of appeal.

    3. After viewing the James Cromwell video package (produced after attending a Junket) share two things you thought were interesting about his life in film.

    I found it interesting that James Cromwell shared his thoughts on how each role he plays is like a different aspect of himself. Since, after time, more and more opportunities arose for him, he had his pick of scripts. He was apparently, whether aware of it at the time or not, drawn towards roles that he could identify with in some way or another. I feel like that’s the case for a lot of actors– they either pick roles that they can identify with, or they pick roles they are intrigued by (in the case of Jennifer Lawrence, for example, she picks roles with a lot of emotional depth, and often the characters have damaged pasts because she *can’t* relate to them– they’re new and interesting to her). It makes me wonder what kind of roles I would be drawn to if I were an actress.
    I also found it interesting how Cromwell took such a drastic turn in life goals. He wanted to get into mechanics, despite having two entertainers as parents, and despite being born in Hollywood. So many people would give anything to be in that position, and he almost turned down the opportunities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      I think that your comments speak to the heart of genre study. Why are some people connected to one over another? Why do some absolutely hate one genre yet love another? Wonderful job connecting your boyfriend’s love of Westerns (but not yours).

      I think sometimes we try to run from careers that our parents had yet find ourselves drawn back to those very things – like in Cromwell’s case.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mallory Moore says:

    1. Why has the Western genre continued to survive for over a century on film since it is but a snapshot of American history?

    I think that a lot of “snapshots” of American history get idolized, and so they have a lasting impact on our culture. For example, girls my age tend to idolize the 1920’s because they see it as classy, jazzy, and fun. I think that the wild west is still idolized because it represents a time when people had big dreams, and the west lay open as a place to fulfill them. It was exciting and just a little scary, two things that people look for when they go to see a movie. People tend to go to the movies in general to experience things that they wouldn’t normally get to, and so any kind of adventure provides a good escape.
    It might also be that people take pride in having something that is specifically American.

    2. After viewing the James Cromwell video package (produced after attending a Junket) share two things you thought were interesting about his life in film.

    Like Jen, I also found it interesting that Cromwell ended up playing roles that reflected different parts of himself. However, I was a little surprised when he said that he enjoyed playing the role of the man who got to make contact with another species, because making contact “will happen.” I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant, maybe he was saying that humans will continue to progress. But it really sounded like he was saying that he believes in aliens. Personally, that sounds a little wacky.

    I also found it interesting when he said that studios always knew he was a good actor, he just had to prove that he was useful to them. That sounds so intimidating and harsh! I can’t imagine the pressure for anyone trying to be an actor and prove that they are “useful.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      I think you nailed it here Mallory: ” I think that the wild west is still idolized because it represents a time when people had big dreams” – this speaks to hope, and opportunity. That is something we all want to relate to.

      Cromwell has met an alien (me) & even though he grew up in the entertainment industry, he had to work for everything he got.

      Like

  3. alicebyrd20 says:

    I think that the Western has continued to survive for so long because it takes these universal themes – good guys, bad guys – and mixes them with a little bit of rebellion, guns and horses, for an entertaining period piece. The American West is incredibly romanticized; audiences like watching about what they perceive that time to be like. Westerns are our English period dramas. It has evolved into something so uniquely American, that it’s almost unpatriotic to not enjoy a good Western – whether it’s a serious one or a spoof, they all contain some predictable element or plot that makes them consistent within the genre. Because Western themes can be pretty generalized (bad guy terrorizes town, ragtag group of outlaws comes together to save them, etc) there is an almost endless combination of plots. I think that Westerns are “our” American movies, and that is something that a lot of people enjoy whether they realize it or not. It’s a cool thing to have made a mark on film with a period of our own history and I think that’s why it’s survived, although they portray a very specific time period.

    One film in particular that absolutely fits the Western/Comedy category is the Hateful Eight, which was a total spoof of Quentin Tarantino’s Magnificent Seven. I saw Hateful on Netflix, where it was originally released, and thought it did a good job of keeping consistent with the Western elements (cowboys, Indians, horses, guns, dirt everywhere) and storylines while making fun of the genre without overdoing it. I think this was a pretty intentional Western/Comedy. I don’t know that many filmmakers accidently blend the Western genre with another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Excellent thoughts here: “Westerns are our English period dramas. It has evolved into something so uniquely American, that it’s almost unpatriotic to not enjoy a good Western.” I appreciate your understanding of the endless plot scenarios because of simple universal themes.

      Like

    2. noeltmanning says:

      universal themes + English period dramas + almost endless combination of plots = Good thoughts. Thanks Alice

      Like

  4. kmanning2 says:

    1. Why has the Western genre continued to survive for over a century on film since it is but a snapshot of American history?

    I think the main reason is that it’s truly, authentically American. Just as we like our hotdogs and baseball, we like our Westerns. But, I think that you also have to take into account the many ways that filmmakers can go with Westerns. There are so many opportunities to merge the Western genre with other genres. Westerns can be set in different time periods (past, present, future, post-apocalyptic), have different landscapes (traditional wide open spaces, small towns, outer space), and have a vast array of characters (cowboys, Native Americans, women, children). They allow for the creative genius of the filmmaker and are not necessarily bound to the traditional format.

    3. After viewing the James Cromwell video package (produced after attending a Junket) share two things you thought were interesting about his life in film.

    I really enjoyed watching the video on James Cromwell. It brought back some really great childhood memories of watching the movie Babe.
    I thought it was interesting to hear him talk about how he can associate different characters he’s played with different aspects of his personality. I think that finding a way to identify with the character you’re portraying is the mark of a good actor.
    I also appreciated hearing him talk about how he looks different than the typical “Hollywood type.” He’s a bit taller, a bit lankier, and that’s one of the things that makes him special. His appearance actually allows him to mold into a wide variety of characters. He can be a farmer, a nerd, a businessman.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      American art form -good thoughts.

      Like

  5. 1.
    I think that the western, as it exists with a clearly defined good v. evil story, has continued to thrive with most because everyone wants to see the good guy win. That is why, in my opinion, super hero movies do so well. everyone wants the “bad guys” to find some sort of end–be it prison or death. With the western usually ending in a good old gunfight, the audience gets to see the evil people take a good long dirt nap. They look for the sense of adventure and the grand scale of things that appears in a western that you don’t always see in day to day life.

    3.After viewing the James Cromwell video package (produced after attending a Junket) share two things you thought were interesting about his life in film.
    The first thing that interested me about James Cromwell was his parents. With his mother being and actor he had to have grown up with film in his life. How different a perspective that puts on your view of film! The second thing that interested me about Cromwell is that he never thought he would make it in film. With the career that he had and the talent he brought in, it is hard to look back and not think he would make it big!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Great comparison between Westerns & Superhero films (good vs. evil).

      Like

  6. thoyle1 says:

    2. Based on the Western hybrid formulas mentioned – can you name two other films you feel would fit one (1) of these categories (other than a Western/Comedy or Western/Musical)? Why? (You must give examples that are congruent with what you’ve learned about Western themes, ideas, storylines, etc.).

    One film that I would actually put in the category of a space western would be the film Interstellar. The reason I see it as a western is because when I think of westerns and that time period, I think of expansion and exploring to regions we have never been before. Interstellar is all about exploration and reaching new frontiers. While is may not be a shoot em up space western like Guardians of the Galaxy, I would still consider it a western nonetheless.Another film I would call a Post Apocalyptic Western is the film Oblivion. In this movie, the majority of the earth is considered “unsafe” after a war with aliens so nearly all of the earth’s population is evacuated. What makes this a western is how the lead characters are trying to keep order down on earth until certain events unfold, forcing them into conflict.

    1. Why has the Western Genre continued to survive for over a century on film since it is but a snapshot of American History?

    I think the main thing that has gotten people to keep going to Western films at first was the older generations remembering the old west and the westerns that they watched as kids. Now I think it is more dependent on people simply wanting to know what it was like for the older generation. We never got to experience the old west or the films of the time, so we have a natural curiosity to want to know what they are like. I also think that they have survived because they have integrated other genres into the western films like The Ridiculous Six, or Cowboys and Aliens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Tanner -“Intersteller” – excellent choice and observation.

      Thanks -NTMII

      Like

  7. 1. Why has the Western genre continued to survive for over a century on film since it is but a snapshot of American history?
    I think that the success of the Western film genre could connect back to one of the reasons that people enjoy super hero films. A common theme in Western films is that the people are oppressed or mistreated and need someone to defend them (i.e. “Pale Rider” and “Magnificent 7”). The cowboy vigilante that rises to the occasion is probably the kind of figure that much of the male audience mentioned in the readings would like to emulate, as they are often tough, living above the law, somewhat mysterious, and quietly heroic. I would also imagine that there is an audience for the films interested particularly in the history of these films. So many of them depict towns that were probably recently settled because so many people were relocating to the west. I tend to associate the time period more with stories like that of Laura Ingalls Wilder, since I grew up reading those stories. I enjoyed learning about the journey and the struggles that she and her family faced from her perspective. Meanwhile, I would think that a lot of people would want to learn about them from different points of view, such as those portrayed in western films.

    3. After viewing the James Cromwell video package (produced after attending a Junket) share two things you thought were interesting about his life in film.
    I was interested to hear Cromwell mention that he didn’t feel like he had a career until the movie “Babe,” and that it was then they he started to realize what he wanted to accomplish. In terms of when that movie was released compared to some of his other projects featured in the junket, it would seem that he had been acting for a while before discovering that purpose. Like Kathryn mentioned, I thought it was interesting to hear Cromwell discuss his how his physical appearance is different than others that usually appear in Hollywood productions, and how he even notices the contrast between himself and other actors. Tying into that, it was interesting for him to note that when watching himself on screen, he can see the differences among the characters that he has played. Lastly, I found it neat that he has worked on films that have to do with causes he cares about, such as animal rights in “Babe,” and Native American rights in “The Education of Little Tree.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Great comparison with the superhero aspect.

      Cromwell: I loved how he’s brought into causes.

      Like

  8. Why has the Western genre continued to survive for over a century on film since it is but a snapshot of American history?

    In my opinion, the western genre has survived because it embodies American ideals and is a True American story. One critic said that the western is America’s “The Odyssey,” because it gives America a story to be proud of – our own story. With that being said, I think the western will need to fight to stay alive in future years. There has been a serious decline in the genre’s popularity in recent years, because a stereotypical western just doesn’t appeal as much to the audience anymore. A few have succeeded (such as “Django Unchained”), but usually by breaking the mold.

    Based on the Western hybrid formulas mentioned – can you name two other films you feel would fit one (1) of these categories (other than a Western/Comedy or Western/Musical)? Why? (You must give examples that are congruent with what you’ve learned about Western themes, ideas, storylines, etc.).

    I think the film “Interstellar” fits within the Space Western hybrid formula. The film is about exploring new worlds in search of a planet to inhabit. It covers themes of honor and sacrifice (a dad leaves his children on Earth so that he can search for a new world for humanity), and it displays the brutality of the harsh planets, much like westerns show the brutality of the west.

    An example of a post-apocalyptic western is “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” It displays characteristics of the revisionist western – characters whine, cry, and beg in the film, and one of the main (human) characters is a villain who steps in to seek revenge on the apes.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. noeltmanning says:

    Great thoughts about the hybrids & about the “future of the western.” “Apes” was a great choice.

    Like

  10. myfilmbabble says:

    Why has the Western genre continued to survive for over a century on film since it is but a snapshot of American history?

    I believe it continues to survive because of older generations who grew up watching Western films, and they like to watch something that feels like “home” to them. Kind of similar to when we watch movies from our childhood, it’s the same effect. Also, people who are into history will watch Westerns as it’s a flash back to the older time periods.

    After viewing the James Cromwell video package (produced after attending a Junket) share two things you thought were interesting about his life in film.

    I found it interesting that Cromwell, although he had parents in the entertainment industry, didn’t feel like this was the industry for him. He grew up in Hollywood, and had all opportunities right at his feet, but to him, he didn’t believe it was his path. I also loved how he mentioned that to him, film isn’t just about producing a film, but about working on something you are passionate about, and something that can make a difference.

    -Brittany Parker

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Brittany – I think this quote is true about anything we can do -“working on something you are passionate about, and something that can make a difference..” Thanks NTMII

      Like

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