Analytical paper reviewing
I. Perform ALL of the following tasks:
(1) Select one or two films from the course syllabus, and one or two films from the Supplemental Films List (see below), for a total of THREE films. The films may be from the same era or different eras, and they may be from either the Hero genre or the Monster genre, or both. If there is a film you would like to analyze that is not on the syllabus or Supplemental Films List, you will need to obtain the Instructor?s permission to write about it. Watch them. Take notes.
(2) Contrast and compare the Discourse of the Three films you have chosen. Ask yourself what they are saying. In order to make a convincing argument, you should apply, at minimum, Genre Theory, Narrative Theory, Structuralist Analysis, and Ideological Analysis to make a Preferred Reading of the films. Feminist Film Criticism, Semiotics, Film Aesthetics, and Psychoanalytic Film Theory may also be applied, as warranted. What do the films say about Heroism and/or Monstrosity?
(3) Contextualize the films in their historical moment of production. What do the films tell us about the era(s) in which they were produced? What does your Ideological Analysis (from Task #2, above) tell us about their relationship to Hegemony? How are the films similar or different? What do they tell us about the ways in which things have (or haven?t) changed in American culture, over time?
(4) Enrich (and possibly elevate) your own discussion with references to the discussions of Heroism and/or Monstrosity from David Skal and Grant Morrison. It is part of the purpose of the assignment for you to convince me you have completed the assigned course readings. Papers which cite the course lectures instead of the appropriate readings will be marked down for laziness. Likewise, papers which make only perfunctory, skimpy, and unconvincing references to the readings will not receive a favorable grade. Your discussion should be informed by the readings, especially if any of the films you have chosen are discussed in the books (check their indexes). Your paper should reflect both a grasp of the course methods (Tasks #2 and #3) and the scholarship to which I?ve introduced you, in order for your own papers to count as scholarship themselves, and not mere opinion.
The two discussions of Heroism and/ or Monstrosity come from the works of:
Morrison, Grant. Supergods. Trade Paperback edition. New York: Siegel & Grau (Random House), 2012.
Skal, David J. The Monster Show. Revised edition. New York: Faber & Faber, Inc. (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux), 2001.
(5) Begin writing your paper. If you attempt to write the paper without completing steps 1-4 first, you will have a difficult time. Organize your paper in three sections: (A) Your Claim (i.e. what you think, e.g. ?The films I chose demonstrate the persistence of racism in American culture,? or ?The films I chose show a relocation of Monstrosity from Europe to Corporate America,? or ?The films I chose show an uneasy transition for Heroism over the last 15 years,? etc.); (B) Your Evidence (i.e. how you know, e.g. the information produced by completing tasks 1-4; ?A structuralist analysis shows us?? etc. This section will probably take up most of your paper. This is where you might also include material from Skal and Morrison, if it supports your claim (or if you want to dispute some of their claims!); and, lastly, (C) Why it matters (or the answer to the ?So what?? question, e.g. ?If heroism becomes a personal matter unrelated to the common good, and the viewing public follows suit, lacking a model of civic action, how can the nation be expected to achieve a more perfect union??. This is another place where an invocation of (or argument with) Skal and/or Morrison might be appropriate and useful.
If you have trouble coming up with a clear claim, you are not ready to begin writing. One thing that can help you start forming a claim is to think about what made you choose those three films in the first place. And usually, when performing your analyses in Tasks 2-4, the evidence will begin to suggest a claim, just as having a claim will help you decide which evidence is relevant and which isn?t. Apologies if that sounds like circular reasoning, but there are gestalt/holistic aspects to this kind of thought process. Look for patterns of discourse that either repeat or contradict each other. Or, move on to the next step?
(6) Before turning in the paper for credit, make sure (A) you have completed each of the above tasks, as directed; (B) that you have proofread your paper for errors; (C) that your paper satisfies each of the Grading Criteria (see below); and (D) that you are not in violation of the Research Parameters or Academic Honesty Policy (see below).
II. Grading Criteria
Your paper will be evaluated on the following criteria: (1) Degree of mastery of the course theories, concepts, and methods of analysis; (2) An appropriate level of scholarship; (3) Apparent depth of thought and seriousness of approach; (4) fair and intelligent handling of the evidence; (5) Clarity of thought and written expression, including error-free spelling and grammar; and (6) Fidelity to and thoroughness in completion of the assignment (as directed).
III. Research Parameters
This assignment asks you to think for yourself, and perform your own analysis of the films you choose (primary sources). For the most part, it does not ask you to find what other people think by looking it up on the Internet or in the Library (those would be secondary sources). The only authorized secondary sources for use in the course are Turner, Skal, and Morrison. You should not need any other secondary sources to complete this assignment.
However, it is remotely possible that you would want to make use of additional secondary sources. In all cases (Turner, Skal, Morrison, or whomever) you must cite your secondary sources properly. That is, you must use internal citations in the MLA style (Author, Page number) and then give a full Bibliographic entry in your Works Cited page. Anytime you paraphrase or summarize another author?s ideas, you must cite them immediately thereafter using an internal citation in the body of the paragraph. If you use another author?s ideas and exact language (including a phrase), you must both cite them and use quotation marks around their words. If you use any secondary sources, give credit where it is due and cite them properly.
The papers should be 7-10 pages long (plus a Works Cited page, including your films and any secondary sources), typed, double-spaced, with fonts and margins of a reasonable size. You may use sub-headings to help organize the paper and signal transitions. Citations should be in MLA style. DO NOT USE APA STYLE.
Supplemental Films List
You may choose one or two films from the following list to analyze for the assignment. If you choose one film from this list, then you must choose two films from the in class list.
The Addiction (1995)
Alien 3 (1992)
Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (2015)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Cat People (1942)
Cat People (1982)
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
The Dead Zone (1983)
Doc Savage (1975)
Dracula?s Daughter (1936)
The Dunwich Horror (1970)
Fantastic Four (2005)
Fantastic Four (2015)
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf-Man (1943)
Fright Night (1985)
Fright Night (2011)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Green Lantern (2011)
Horror of Dracula (1958)
The Howling (1981)
Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Invisible Man (1933)
I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
(John Carpenter?s) Vampires (1998)
Lair of the White Worm (1988)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Man of Steel (2013)
The Mummy (1932)
Mysterious Island (1961)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Omega Man (1971)
Pan?s Labyrinth (2006)
The Phantom (1996)
Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Repo Man (1984)
The Seventh Victim (1943)
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Superman 2 (1980)
Superman Returns (2006)
Tank Girl (1995)
The Thing (from Another World) (1951)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Time After Time (1979)
The Wolf-Man (1941)
X-Men 2 (2003)
X-Men: First Class (2011)
Yellow Submarine (1968)
Films from class – Choose one or two films from this list. If you choose one film from this list then you must choose two films from the above list.
Super 8 (2011)
Something Wicked this way comes (1983)
The Avengers (2012)
Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Night of the Demon (1957)
Iron Man (2008)
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Black Cat (1934)
The Shadow (1994)
These are the Damned (1963)
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