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The Marxist reading of Jaws

The climax of Jaws focuses on the endeavor of three men to save the town. Each comes from a different economic background: Hooper (wealthy), Brody (middle class), and Quint (working class). Quint’s ultimate demise and the use of his gun to destroy the shark could certainly be read as the working class man sacrificing himself for the security of the upper classes. I am curious if someone better versed in Marxism could dig deeper into Jaws as Marxist tale, or more generally as a tale of class and consumerism.

  • Fidel Castro used to argue that “Jaws” was a Marxist tale. Slavoj Žižek summarized this in his documentary “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology,” where he also gives his own reading of the story. As a matter of fact, “Jaws” has been interpreted in so many ways, such as being about patriarchy, immigration or fascism. This is a nice topic that could become a great article, as long as it acknowledges all the discussions and interpretations that the Spielberg’s film provoked in the last forty years (not an easy task), offering a new and original angle of analysis. – T. Palomino 2 weeks ago
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  • A Marxist reading of Jaws could definitely work though it sounds a bit abstracted. If you read Jaws, the shark as the fascistic "Other" it works. Because the unity of the in-group classes they're able to destroy the "Other" but importantly the working class is destroyed in the process. – SunnyAgo 1 day ago
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Film, Law, and False Depictions

The 2008 film, American Violet highlights some wicked practices of the criminal justice system when it comes to plea bargaining. Using this film as well as the real story that took place in Hearne, TX (as opposed to Melody, TX as portrayed in the film), what racial and social realities do we find in such movies? Why do films portray false evidence in instances where they do not necessarily have to? (For example, the film depicts only 2 ACLU lawyers rather than even remotely mention that it was a team working on the case). Finally, does the film provide an accurate depiction of America’s plea bargaining system or is it an exaggeration?

  • Definitely a topic worth looking into with the various lenses of race, class, and gender. – SunnyAgo 1 day ago
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How does misogynoir affect casting choice?

Leah Jeffries was recently cast as Annabeth in the upcoming Percy Jackson series on Disney . Rick Riordan, author of the book series it is based on, approves and endorses Jeffries as embodying the characteristics of Annabeth as he wrote her. Jeffries is a young Black actress and her casting was met with a lot of racist backlash.
Similarly, a few years ago Halle Bailey (also a young Black woman) was cast as Ariel in the live action The Little Mermaid. Her casting was also met with racist backlash.
Discuss the role misogynoir plays in casting choices and why it is important to cast Black women for characters that are not racially or ethnically specific.

  • Something also worth noting is some of the more levelheaded critics did not care about the race of the actors/actress. They questioned if these individuals being chosen for these roles was only because of their race. As many of these studios made a big deal about the race of the actor's, when many felt their ability to act should be the primary factor in them getting the role. Many accused Disney of Tokenism. I think that is a worthwhile angle to explore as well. We can also see something similar with the fans suggesting Micheal B Jordan play superman. While you naturally have those who hate the idea and make racist remarks online. You can also see some fans question why no one is suggesting Micheal B Jordan doesn't get cast as Icon, a black super hero who has yet to get a feature film or solo T.V series. – Blackcat130 3 months ago
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  • The thing that occurs to me about this is that there is a need to draw a distinction between people complaining about having Black actresses in particular roles, and people complaining about those who complain about having Black actresses in those roles. This is particularly important in the internet age because anything can receive attention it doesn't deserve as long as it can be packaged as "clickbait." If a tiny minority of less than 100 people is complaining about a Black actress in a given role, but then millions of people broadcast the views of this tiny minority in order to tear them down or make fun of them, then it will look like Black actresses get a lot more hatred than they actually do. – Debs 3 months ago
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  • Refer to examples throughout Hollywood’s history to bolster your argument. (Sorry I tried to update the topic but it posted before I could) – Anna Samson 3 months ago
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What makes a compelling villain?

Some movie villains have sympathetic motivations, whether its devotion to saving the planet ala Poison Ivy, drive to right a systemic wrong ala Black Panther’s Killmonger or Magneto, or desire for personal vengeance ala the Wicked Witch of the West or Clytemnestra. Some villains "just want to watch the world burn." Some are just hellbent on causing murder, destruction, and pain. Sometimes it seems the motivation doesn’t matter nearly as much as the character’s screen presence. Many movies try to add depth to their villains, only to leave lasting questions and plot holes over their villain’s arc. Are there any essential elements necessary for a great movie villain? Do we see any mistakes in creating villains that could be avoided by following certain rules of thumb? Sometimes it seems that the only difference between the hero and villain are a)who the narrative viewpoint sympathizes with and b) who’s destined to cross unforgivable lines. Is it okay that this is commonplace, or does it indicate a flaw in modern storytelling?

  • Thanks for the very helpful feedback T Palomino, I think there are two different directions I could take the question in, and I'm not sure which makes for a better prompt. The first is comparing various types of villains and the way they fundamentally shape the story and the hero, and how important the depth of their motivation affects the story. For instance, The Dark Knight has Joker, a villain with no deep motivation, but it also has Harvey Dent, and his arc is fundamental to creating a compelling finale. Other movies seem actually hamstrung by having a complicated and somewhat sympathetic villain, as they try to tell a good vs evil story. Perhaps the question could be comparing villains with complex vs simple motivations, how compelling they still can be, and how they shape the hero. Although perhaps this still too broad? The second direction I was considering was pointing out that many heroes have the same motivations as I listed, saving the world, righting systemic wrongs, and even obtaining vengeance. What does a narrative require to distinguish between its heroes and villains, and how often does an audience's viewpoint play more of a role in making the distinction, than the actual story and character choices? Infamously we have seen authors revamp stories to center the villains, such as Wicked recreating Elphaba, or the recent Joker film. Is the difference between a hero an a villain the amount of time the narrative spends focused on the aspects of the character that are sympathetic? Is it simply the lines each character crosses and refuses to cross? How important is the idea of morality in telling stories of heroes and villains? – ronannar 4 weeks ago
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Taken by acwright (PM) 4 weeks ago.
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The dog dies: use of animal death as an emotional pull in film

A number of movies, tv shows, and other pieces of fiction use animal death for one main reason. Generally, it’s to show a particular character is evil, and to pull on the viewer’s heartstrings by showing the death of an innocent creature (most often, a dog).

This technique is often very effective, and many viewers feel very emotional at the death of animals on screen, to the point that sites such as ‘Does the Dog Die’ exist simply to warn viewers who find animal death (among other things) to be too much. But due to being effective, some find it over-used, a bit of a cliche.

So, why is it used so often? Is it just so effective that it’s worth the cries of unoriginality? Is it just such a simple way to portray a character’s cruelty? And why is it so effective, anyway? Why is the death of an animal more effective than that of say, a child?

  • This topic is so refreshing and alluring. It reminds me of "Bad Moon" (1996), a movie about a werewolf who attacks a family, but the family dog, a German shepherd--the hero of the story--confronts the beast and saves the day (sorry if this qualifies as a spoiler). I wonder how many movies there are out there where the death of a dog is the main part of the plot and not just an excuse to sympathize with the main character or to trigger the journey, as in "I Am Legend" or "John Wick." – T. Palomino 1 month ago
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  • Building off of T. Palomino's comment, I feel like this topic could be fruitfully contextualized by unpacking the duelling tropes of "kick the dog" and "save the cat" as screenwriting techniques that are specifically poised as shorthands for modulating the audience's which characters are innately evil vs. inherently good. – ProtoCanon 1 month ago
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  • What I've always found funny about white America is that a dog dying on film was always viewed as more heartbreaking than seeing a black man attacked and maimed by dogs on film. On a different note, Cujo provides an interesting look into the death of an animal. Because we are introduced to Cujo before he is fully rabid, we see that he is a gentle animal. His eventual 'going insane' is not his fault. Thus, although we do not root for Cujo to be victorious in his pursuit of humans, it is somewhat tear-jerking when the animal dies. This also begs the question, are these innocent animals really innocent just because they don't act based on evil intentions in the same way as humans? – Montayj79 1 month ago
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  • I've often wondered why I'm so affected by the death of a dog in TV and movies. I love dogs, but I'm also a mom. When a child dies on a movie, I'm horrified and feel deep sympathy for the parent characters, but it doesn't affect me the same way as the death of a dog (ONLY speaking about media, of course!) I'm also widowed, so when a spouse or partner dies, I find it sad. Still...that deep, hurt, sad feeling after the death of a dog on TV is more affective. My thought is that it's because dogs are: 1. Totally innocent. 2. Completely loyal. 3. Totally trusting 4. Helpless 5. Unaware of mortality So, when you have a character who can do no wrong, who's entire personality is based on being loyal, trusts almost anyone, is mostly defenseless (they can bite, yes, but their loyalty toward people usually tells them to hold back) and especially is unaware that it is can die (or is dying, or about die) it completely tugs the heart strings. – brandy 2 weeks ago
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  • A couple things I'd like to point out. In this article please clarify that this hook is mainly used with dogs (even the article title can be reworked). You don't see turtle, rabbit, or cat deaths. The "dog" is a symbol not just a pet. It's a symbol of friendship and companionship, so is it just a way to restate "death of a companion" much like death of a wife - a construct overused already? Second, does it REALLY allow filmmakers to put less work into having to build that "I lost someone dear" empathy for the character? Losing a father, wife, or girlfriend is extensively overused and might have lost its touch. You see a movie with the lead having lost his wife and going on a revenge-killing spree is redundant, but doing the same for a dog is fresh (until it becomes mundane). Is that the sole purpose? I'd wager it is, but the piece needs to have at least 3-4 examples and the importance of the animal clearly marked out for reference and comparison. For example, how much screen time did they get? Did we see any bonding moment or did the movie start from "dog dead now, dust off your shotgun"? If there was no bonding moment (basically if the dog was not a character in the movie but a hook symbol), have we truly become that shallow or is this device such an ingenious shortcut to gaining sympathy and must be celebrated or at least respected? A lot to unpack here, but we really need at least 3-4 good examples. – Abhimanyu Shekhar 1 week ago
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Is Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Losing Focus or Just Getting Started?

With Phase 4 of the MCU introducing so many broad concepts, is it getting too messy & losing track of what makes it great? Or, are these the first steps of another genius plan to intertwine everything into another sprawling, mind-blowing epic? Consider the rapid influx of new characters and ideas. When we started in 2008, the MCU introduced a handful of characters over 4 years. The last 2 years have brought us at least a dozen throughout the movies and shows. This could be considered a benefit of the streaming era. Though one could argue this influx has led to a decrease in quality because there’s too much to keep track of. Quantity doesn’t always equal quality. For example, it’s a common criticism that the shows are coming out too fast and they don’t stick the landing because they’re only 6 episodes. Or many ideas seemingly contradict those that are firmly established.

  • There's no doubt that Moon Knight was an amazing show, despite it's six episode trend. However I think the only good movie that has been made this year is Spider-Man No Way Home. It was something that the fans wanted, and overall it was a good movie. For me personally, I think Multiverse of Madness was thrown way out of proportion by some fans, with people saying online that certain characters were going to make appearances, which then hyped up the movie a little too much for some of the characters we got. Don't get me wrong, Multiverse of Madness is still a great movie, but I do agree with the fact that Marvel are trying to pump out as many shows and movies they can with unrealistic deadlines, and not really considering the impact this may have on their fans. – Interstellarflare 1 month ago
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  • This is a really interesting topic, one I've been wondering about. With the first phase, there was something tying all the characters together, Nick Fury and SHIELD, and it was clear there was an overall story being told, of these various superheroes and how they would join together in the first Avengers film. Now after Endgame it feels as if we're at a new beginning, and despite (as mentioned) the incredible number of stories that have already been told, it's much less clear if there's any larger story in mind. On the one hand, the focus and vision of Phase 1 was essential in making it the juggernaut success it was, particularly when compared with the DC films of the same time, where there was clearly no overarching story but just a desire for tentpole films. On the other hand, the Multiverse of Madness in particular made it clear that there are a tremendous number of potential directions the MCU can go in, many of which are quite exciting, and it's understandable if they're still exploring which stories they want to tell. It's also unclear when the downfalls of such ambition really matter. The MCU wanted to do Civil War as the third Captain America movie despite the extent to which it didn't really make sense, the number of issues with the lines drawn, and the way the fallout was almost overwhelmingly discarded in time for Infinity War. But thanks to other successful elements, these issues seem not to have mattered for the MCU in the long run. Are there any clear indicators for what the future holds? – ronannar 4 weeks ago
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Bald of Evil: Questioned

Nosferatu, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Lex Luthor, Kingpin, Bane, The Penguin, Golum, Voldemort, Thanos, Red Skull, The Night King… They all are villains. And they all are bald. And the list can go on and on. Male baldness is often used in fiction to equate villainy. This works even better when the hero, in opposition, has lustrous and abundant hair (e.g., He-Man vs. Skeletor), since there is an ancient sociocultural belief that hair is a symbol of health, virility and virtue. However, in “Unbreakable” (2000), Shyamalan fools the audience by introducing a villain with a copious afro (Samuel L. Jackson) opposed to a hairless hero (Bruce Willis). The plot twist is undoubtedly perfect. What other examples of this unusual representation can be found in film? What could it mean to challenge the stereotypical trope? Why would it be worth exploring?

  • Nick Fury, Aang, Monkey King (in the Forbidden kingdom), Luke Cage, Luke Hobbs, Vision, Saitama, Ikkaku (Bleach). There is quite a few bald heroes. Even though I approved the topic, I think fact that a characters is bald, is irrelevant to the morality of a character. But, I would be willing to hear an argument on why being bald plays into making a character comes across as villainy . – Blackcat130 1 month ago
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  • Following the last comment, I feel like baldness is also often used on 'monk' characters. – AnnieEM 1 month ago
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Bald Women in Film

There are mainly four reasons women have their heads shaved in films: 1) toughness (“Alien 3”, “G.I. Jane”), 2) illness or scientific experimentation (“Life in a Year”, “Stranger Things”), 3) rebellion, counterculture or villainy (“Mad Max: Fury Road”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”) or 4) mysticism (“Dr. Strange”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales”). Of course, some of these reasons may overlap, but usually bald women in film are depicted as an abnormality, as a product of trauma, as the result of an extraordinary and life-changing event that catapults the plot. Why is getting a buzz cut for a woman a decision that needs to be justified and have a deeper meaning or rationality? Why does society feel the need to point it out publicly, to joke about it? Why people tempt to question the sanity or sexuality of a woman who decides to wear short or no hair? Are women supposed to have long, silky hair in order to be beautiful, feminine or just not weird? But most importantly, how does the film industry handle it? The normalization of western beauty standards might be being reinforced (imposed) by the way bald women are often portrayed in movies.

  • Hair is usually something we associate with beauty and youth. While this is an area that society associates with women more often then men, both are regularly mocked for their lose of hair. It is a reoccurring gag in One Punch man. Often times when a man is balding (as opposed to willingly shaving their head) they are seen as old, unattractive, and infertile. As if something if wrong with them. This topic could easily apply to both gender. – Blackcat130 2 months ago
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  • It would also be interesting to extend this exploration into race - often the film industry depicts and utilises Black hair as a symbol in a different way than they do white hair. This is particularly true with women of colour, as we see continuous references to weaves, natural hair, and 'butch/masculine' short-haired WOC stereotypes. – seriouscourt 1 month ago
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