Critical viewing film log


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Airplane! Name:______________________
Director(s): Category:
Major Characters:
Ted Striker: Elaine:
Dr. Rumack McCroskey:

Minor Characters:
Capt. Clarence Oveur: Rex Kramer:


  1. The major plot of this film is a simple one. Detail the situation that constitutes this

plot. However, the subplot creates the conflict in the film. Identify the major

conflicts created by the subplot and discuss how the main plot is complicated by the


  1. Discuss how the film makes use of high melodrama. Be sure to cite specific examples from the film (hint: do not neglect technical enhancements such as the use of music, flash backs. etc.

Technical Concepts

  1. This film is a spoof on numerous different levels. Identify three films that are

spoofed. Comment on the effectiveness of the allusion to these other works.


2. Not only does Airplane! Spoof specific films, it also pokes fun at different groups

of people. Identify three such groups and comment on what about them is being


  1. This film makes use of several comedy concepts and terms studied in this class.

Please cite an example of each of the following:
a. slapstick:
b. black comedy:
c. break away furniture:
d. burlesque (let’s keep these answers tame):

Comedy Concepts:

  1. This film gives equal time to auditory as well as visual humor. It makes use of sight

gags as well as jokes. Discuss the balance of these in this film. Cite a detailed

example of each and focus on how they keep this film rolling at a high pace and how

they catch the audience off guard.

  1. A spoof naturally relies heavily on the viewer’s “pop cultural literacy.” Thus any

spoof risks becoming dated to the point where the audience does not recognize the

allusions to other films, current events and the pertinence of cameo appearances. Has

this happened to Airplane!? Is this knowledge necessary for the film to remain

humorous? Be sure to cite specific examples to back up your argument.

Some Like It Hot Name:______________________
Director(s): Category:
Principal characters & actors:

Joe (a.k.a. Josephine): Jerry (a.k.a. Daphne):

Sugar Kane: Spats Columbo:

Minor characters:

1. What is the setting? What does the opening sequence convey about the time period? What are Jerry and Joe doing for a living?

2. What series of events leads Jerry and Joe into being at the wrong time at the wrong place? Discuss their plan for saving themselves? How is it practical, yet comical, at the same time?

3. Comment on the film’s conclusion and its relation to the film’s title.

4. List a minimum of three comedic devices and their overall effectiveness in developing character, plot and theme.

1. Discuss the differences between Joe and Jerry? How do they change by the film’s end?

2. What is Sugar Kane’s role? Is she a sympathetic character? Why or why not?

Technical Aspects
1. How does the soundtrack add to the film’s tone? Choose two tracks (tunes) and comment on their emotion and role in the film.


  1. How effective is the use of black and white? How important is the blending of fiction

and historical fact in plot development?

American Graffiti Category:
Director: Year:
Principal characters & actors:
John Milner: Curt Henderson:
Terry “Tiger” Fields: Steve Bolander:
Carol: Laurie:

Minor characters:


  1. What does the opening sequence of the film tell us about time and place? Is there still

a car-centered youth culture? How is it the same and/or different today?

1) How are the lives of the main characters connected? What do they share in common

in their small Southern California town? What is significant about it being 1962?

  1. What is ironic about the film’s conclusion?

3) Why does the director provide information about the fates of the four main characters after the film has ended?


  1. What is significant about Lori’s statement to Steve: “You’re leaving home to find a

new home, leaving friends you love to find new friends”?

2) What is the source of friction between Lori and Steve?

3) Why is John Milner admired by the other kids? Why is Carol attracted to him?

  1. Why would a recent high school graduate be apprehensive about going away to


Musical Score
1) How important is the soundtrack? How does it enhance plot, setting and theme? What would the movie be like without it?
L.A. Story Year:
Director: Category:
Major characters:
Harris K. Telemacher: Trudi:
Sara McDowel: Roland Mackey:

Minor characters: Ariel, Mr. Perdue

Roland thinks L.A. is a place for the brain-dead. He says, if you turned off the sprinklers, it would turn into a desert. But I think…I don't know, it's not what I expected. It's a place where they've taken a desert and turned it into their dreams. I've seen a lot of L.A. and I think it's also a place of secrets: secret houses, secret lives, secret pleasures. And no one is looking to the outside for verification that what they're doing is all right.” - Sara McDowel:

In satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with the intent to bring about improvement
1. List 5 separate scenes in which Steve Martin points out various idiosyncrasies of Los

Angeles. What comment on L.A. is he making in each instance?





2. Which of the following forms of satire is employed in L.A. Story? Briefly explain.
Horatian satire - After the Roman satirist Horace:  Satire in which the voice is indulgent,

tolerant, amused, and witty.  The speaker holds up to gentle ridicule the

absurdities and follies of human beings, aiming at producing in the reader

not the anger of a Juvenal, but a wry smile.

Juvenalian satire - After the Roman satirist Juvenal:  Formal satire in which the speaker

attacks vice and error with contempt and indignation  Juvenalian satire

in its realism and its harshness is in strong contrast to Horatian satire.

  1. Satire is most effective if it presents a stated or implied norm against which its subject can be

judged. Unfortunately, Harris is too much a part of the world (Los Angeles) to provide that

norm. In L.A. Story. How does Steve Martin as screenwriter solve this problem?

4. A parody is a composition that imitates the serious manner and characteristic features of a

particular work, or the distinctive style of its maker, and applies the imitation to a lowly or

comically inappropriate subject.  Provide one example of how the film spoofs either romantic

comedies in general or one film in particular.


  1. Given the classical symbolic interpretation of roads, highways, pathways, etc., what do you

believe the road sign represents?


  1. The film is considered to be a loose parallel to William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's

Dream and The Tempest. Which scenes invite comparison to the following elements found

in those two plays? Shakespearean elements include the following:

  • two confused couples exchanging lovers

  • the possible use of magic in order to bring the lovers to their correct partner

  • a magic storm stranding the lovers

  • the gods blessing the couple

  • a character named Ariel (The Tempest)

  1. List a minimum of 3 other references to Shakespeare.

  1. Steve Martin creates a character in Harris Telemacher who might be described as the “philosopher fool,” not unlike the Shakespearean fool. Consider the following exchange:

''Say, don't you have a Ph.D. in arts and humanities?'' asks one of his TV news colleagues on the air. When Harris responds affirmatively, she sarcastically states, ''A lot of good it did you.'' Of course, Harris is the “wacky” weekend weatherman.
List a minimum of 3 quotes that display Harris the philosopher and 3 quotes that portray him as the fool:








  1. How does a film like L.A. Story differ from one based on a plethora of jokes and sight gags

(think Airplane!) or from one which revolves around a central zany character (think

comedies featuring Adam Sandler or Jim Carrey)?


  1. What type of scenes feature the music of Enya? Are these scenes effective?

CAMEOS (matching)

_____1. British gravedigger A. Iman

_____2. Mr. Perdue, Maitre D' at L'Idiot B. Paula Abdul
_____3. Harris' Boss at the TV station C. Patrick Stewart
_____4. diner (Carlo Christopher) who D. Woody Harrelson

requests better seating at L’Idiot

_____5. Cynthia at luncheon E. Rick Moranis
_____6. roller skater in front of Tail O' the Pup F. Chevy Chase

The Graduate Year:
Principal characters and actors:

Benjamin Braddock: Mr. Robinson:

Minor character::
Mr. Robinson: the Braddocks:


  1. Explain the relationship in which Benjamin is entangled. Why does he become

involved with Mrs. Robinson ~ with her daughter?

  1. Discuss the double standard that Mrs. Robinson imposes on Benjamin. Why is this



  1. Note Dustin Hoffman’s slow deadpan delivery of his lines. How does this

complement his character? Ponder Benjamin’s humility and indecision about college.


  1. Watch closely the montage sequence in the pool. While the music lasts only a few

moments, Benjamin’s thoughts span more time. What is blended in with his

movements in the pool?


  1. The Graduate has been called both a comedy and a drama. What aspects of the film

are comedic? dramatic? Back up each claim with specific examples from the film.

  1. At some points in the film the music is almost too intrusive and the action too far-

fetched. How do these add to the impact and comedy of the film?

Empire of the Sun Name:
Director: Year:
Principal characters and actors:
Jim Graham (Jamie): Basie:
Minor Characters:
Mr. and Mrs. Graham, Frank, Mr. and Mrs. Victor, Dr. Rollins, the Japanese boy

  1. Explain the historical backdrop of this film. Which side is Jamie on? Why?

  1. In what way is Basie a “survivor”? Provide specific examples. Why do he and Jim part ways when the war is finished?


  1. Jamie has lived his entire life in Shanghai. What does it say, then, about his upbringing that he can’t communicate with the Chinese people? Focus in particular on the scenes in Shanghai after Jamie leaves his home.

  1. Would you classify Jim and Basie as static or dynamic characters? Explain using specific examples from the film.

The Natural Year:
Principal characters and actors:
Roy Hobbs: Pop Fisher:

Iris Gaines: Max Mercy:

Memo Paris:
Minor characters:
Harriet Bird: The Whammer:

The Judge:


The Sacred Marriage Quest
A mythic hero or heroine makes a literal and psychological journey from a place of

ignorance/innocence to knowledge/transcendence guided by another male or female

figure and is ultimately rewarded by a sexual/spiritual union with that figure.

For the male hero, this “mystical marriage of the triumphant hero-soul with the Queen

Goddess of the world,” as Joseph Campbell explains it, is “the ultimate adventure,

when all the barriers and ogres have been overcome.” The woman as “Queen

Goddess” is often of supernatural origins, but since all women are the goddess’s

earthly representative, the sacred marriage can occur between mortals as well.

Such a marriage is often a boon for the hero, since it can represent the culmination

of his quest. Odysseus’s reunion with his wife Penelope – the goddess Athena’s

earthly incarnation – for example, represents the goal of all his wanderings.

The Father Quest
This quest requires the hero to find the father, or to find the father-potential existing

inside of him or even her. The core assumption of this myth is that to truly know

oneself, the individual must come to recognize the father or to be atoned (to become

“at one”) with him. Finding the father is finding the self. As Campbell explains,

“there’s a notion that the character is inherited from the father, and the body and very

often the mind from the mother. But it’s your character that is the mystery, and your

character is your destiny. So it is the discovery of your destiny that is symbolized by

the father quest.”

The Grail Quest
Cultures often have myths about redemption from evil, sin, or destruction. The Grail

quest or stories of crucified and resurrected heroes, such as that told in the story of

Christ, are representative of these types of myths. The Grail is the symbol of that

which has been lost and must be found again. In Campbell’s words, “the theme of the

Grail romance is that the land, the country, the whole territory of concern has

been laid waste. It is called a wasteland, a land where everybody is leading an

inauthentic life. It is a land longing for the redemption that only the enlightened

hero or savior can provide.”
1. What is Roy’s “call to adventure” and where is his threshold for adventure?

2. What serves as a magical “Excalibur” for Roy and what advice does Roy’s father give


  1. How does the film self-consciously acknowledge Roy as an Odyssean hero while

placing Harriet in the role of temptress?

  1. What does Roy tell Harriet on the train and, based on what he tells her, what are his

central goals in life. How is Roy similar to Odysseus in this sense?

  1. How is Harriet Bird dressed when she shoots Roy in the Chicago hotel room and which Odyssean character does she represent? Explain.

  1. How is the Grail Quest manifested in The Natural?

  1. What minor action on the part of Pop Fisher symbolically foreshadows the end of the drought in their wasteland? What scene symbolically suggests that the drought is over?

  1. Which Odyssean character does Memo Paris represent? Explain. What is the

mythological significance of her name?

  1. Which elements regarding the “Iris in the stands” scene constitute a “vision motif” and how can this motif be interpreted?

  1. Which Odyssean characters does Iris represent? How is the Sacred Marriage quest

manifested in The Natural?

  1. What advice does Iris give to Roy, where does she give it to him, and what is the

significance of both?

  1. What elements of the Father Quest exist in The Natural?

  1. Are there any specific or general parallels to Christ?

14. What action completes the monomyth of the hero’s journey?


1. Comment on the use of lighting in the following scenes:

  1. Roy’s initial arrival and meeting with Pop Fisher

B. Iris’ appearance in the stands prior to Roy’s clock-braking home run


(Allegories are like metaphors in that they involve comparisons; but in allegories,

characters are used to teach moral lessons. The characters of an allegory are

symbols of ideas or concepts about which the author is teaching a lesson.)
1. Read the Parzival legend. Briefly make connections between the following elements

from the legend and the film:

  1. Parzival was raised in the forest:

  1. Parzival travels in search of his future as a knight:

  1. Parzival is a naïve, simple fool:

  1. Parzival’s encounter with a “Hideous Damsel”:

  1. Parzival must wander for many years:

  1. Parzival inspires a maiden who has not laughed for years to laugh:

  1. Parzival almost accidentally defeats the Red Knight and assumes the dress of the knight:

  1. Parzival must heal the Fisher King of his wound:

  1. Parzival’s encounter with Blanche Fleur:

1. Read the handout titled “The National Pastime.” Briefly make connections between

characters/events from the film and the following:

  1. Babe Ruth:

B. Eddie Waitkus:

C. “Casey at the Bat”:
Field of Dreams Category:
Director: Year:
Major actors:
Ray Kinsella: Terence Mann:
Annie Kinsella: Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham:
John Kinsella: Shoeless Joe Jackson:


The Father Quest
This quest requires the hero to find the father, or to find the father-potential existing

inside of him or even her. The core assumption of this myth is that to truly know

oneself, the individual must come to recognize the father or to be atoned (to become

“at one”) with him. Finding the father is finding the self. As Campbell explains,

“there’s a notion that the character is inherited from the father, and the body and very

often the mind from the mother. But it’s your character that is the mystery, and your

character is your destiny. So it is the discovery of your destiny that is symbolized by

the father quest.”

The Literal Journey Home

For A. Bartlett Giamatti, home plate is the “center of the universe, the omphalos, the navel of the world.” More importantly, home is the goal of both teams on the field. It is the ego-locus, where every individual in the field wants to eventually arrive. Not surprisingly, it is also the same place he or she starts. It is literally “home.”

The field represents a dynamic journey, a battle in which the batter faces numerous obstacles on his quest to round the bases and return home. If he makes it around the bases and reaches home, it is because he is often aided by others along the way, team members who either advance him around the bases or make sacrifices for him to be able to advance. If he reaches home, he does so not for individual glory but for the team’s win and the fans’ pleasure. In sum, the batter engages in a hero’s journey outward and homeward in which he faces many obstacles, but also encounters many helpers along the way. If he succeeds, it is for the good of the community at large rather than his personal aggrandizement. - Susan Mackey-Kallis

1. In what ways is the journey home in Field of Dreams a geographical journey home to

the garden (an Eden represented as a return to the Midwest, America’s heartland)? Consider American Puritan belief vs. mid-nineteenth century industrialism, family farming vs. farming conglomerates, the commercialization of baseball, and the demise of 1960s activism and idealism.

  1. How does the opening montage sequence establish a context for understanding Ray’s

ambivalent relationship with baseball, his father, and coming home?

  1. What do we learn about Ray and Annie which would help to explain why they would

be willing to take a huge financial risk on such an outlandish dream? Cite specific

scenes from the film.

Film critic Roger Aden refers to the field as a “therapeutic place metaphor” which

allows “All of the major characters troubled by some event in their past to use the

field to atone for their actions and find a heaven on earth.”
4. In light of this, discuss the journey home for Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919

White Sox.

  1. How and when does Annie seem to revive her 1960s idealism?

When we refuse a call to adventure, we are rejecting the natural process of growth and responsibility. The adventure doesn’t go away just because we refuse it; it becomes a horrible mirror, reflecting our weaknesses and fears and becoming a source of bitterness and frustration. When we refuse a Call, we find ourselves facing the same types of situations again and again because if we don’t confront our fears, needs, and weaknesses, they will haunt everything we do.

  1. How is Terence Mann a good study of a man who has refused his Call? How did his

life change when he rejected his call? What aspect of his apartment symbolize the

consequences of rejecting his call? Explain.

7. Upon which real life author is the character of Terence Mann based? What is their

chief similarity?

8. What is Terence Graham’s journey home?

9. What was Archie Graham’s true calling? What decision does Archie face all over

again when he steps across the line to save Annie from choking? How might his life

have been different if he had not accepted that call?

10. What is the American Community’s journey home?

11. What is Ray’s “call to adventure” and how does he react to it initially?

12. Which character serves as a mentor or guide for Ray on his journey? Explain.

13. Are Ray’s challenges more physical or psychological? Explain.

14. In which scene does Ray reach the Abyss of his journey?

15. What is Ray’s Revelation, when does he achieve Atonement, and what imbalance

in his life is corrected during this Atonement? In other words, how is the father

quest manifested in Field of Dreams?

1. What is the theme of Field of Dreams? Briefly discuss a minimum of 3 examples of

how this theme is manifested.


1. Around which real life baseball scandal does the plot revolve? How does this event

relate to the theme of the film? Which critically acclaimed film dealt with this actual

major league baseball scandal?

Rocky Category:
Director: Year:
Major actors:
Rocky Balboa: Paulie:
Adrian: Apollo Creed:


1. What is Rocky’s “call to adventure” and how does he react to it initially?

  1. List a minimum of 4 incidents/elements of his environment that show that Rocky is psychologically ready to accept a “call to adventure.”



  1. Which character serves as both a threshold guardian and mentor for Rocky? Explain.

4. In what way are Rocky’s challenges physical and in what way are they psychological?

5. Which series of scenes best capture Rocky’s entrance into the Abyss?

6. What is Rocky’s Revelation, when does he achieve Atonement, and what imbalance

in his life is corrected during this Atonement?

7. In terms of the archetypal “hero’s journey,” what does the phrase “go the distance”

mean for both Ray Kinsella and Rocky Balboa? Note both similarities and


8. What are Adrian’s “call to adventure,” challenges, and transformation? Use

examples from the film to support your answer.


1. Why is Rocky an unlikely sports hero? List examples from early in the film.

2. What do Rocky and Adrian have in common?


1. Describe the montage sequence in this film. What is its purpose? Comment on the

effectiveness of the soundtrack during the montage and throughout the film.

2. Describe the lighting employed early in the film. What is the director’s purpose in his

use of lighting?

1. Is Rocky the type of boxing movie which is a grim, tell-it-as-it-is depiction of life in

the ring, a revealing exposé of the business side of boxing, or an uplifting rags to

riches story? Explain using specific examples from the film.


1. Upon which real life boxers are the Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed characters

based? What actual boxing match inspired Sylvester Stallone to write the script for



The Shawshank Redemption Year:
Director: Category:
Major characters:
Andy Dufresne: Warden Norton:
Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding:
Minor character:

Heywood, Captain Byron T. Hadley, Brooks Hatlen, Tommy, Bogs Diamond


1. Briefly discuss how each definition of the verb “redeem” applies to the film.

A.. to recover ownership of by paying a specified sum

B. to fulfill (i.e. a pledge)

C. to set free

D. to save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences

E. to restore the honor, worth, or reputation of

2. What is learned about dignity, courage, and hope from the rooftop scene?

  1. Identify a scene that highlights the importance of music. Explain how it is used and to

what effect.

4. What does the library represent to Andy?

5. Explain the term “institutionalized” as it is used in the film. Provide examples.

6. Discuss the symbolic importance the scene in which Andy escapes through a sewer



1. Give three examples of techniques (camera angles, framing, lighting, etc.) used to

establish the mood of the prison.




2. What is the intended effect of the camera angle used in the scene in which Andy is

about to be pushed over the edge of the building?

3. Explain the use of lighting in the scene in which Brooks departs.

  1. Discuss the director’s use of color and its impact on mood in the film. Provide

specific examples.


  1. Which scene makes reference to the 1962 film The Birdman of Alcatraz?

  1. What is the significance of the clip from the 1946 film Gilda which is shown to the


3. Andy finds a boxed set of Mozart’s opera “The Marriage of Figaro”Le Nozze de

Figaro in a stack of used record albums. What is the symbolic relevance of this


4. Explain the various ways that the novel The Count of Monte Cristo is relevant to then


  1. Explain the reference to the 1950 film Harvey starring Jimmy Stewart.

6. Which scene is reminiscent of the 1931 classic horror film Frankenstein?


Briefly describe three scenes that hint at or suggest the conclusion of the film.





List two examples of parallelism in the film and explain the purpose of each.




Life Is Beautiful (Vita è Bella, La) Category: Comedy, Drama, Romance, War
Director: Roberto Benigni Year: 1997
Awards: Earned Five Academy Award Nominations including Best Picture & Best Director

Won the Academy Award in the following categories:

  1. Best Actor in a Leading Role

  2. Best Foreign Language Film

  3. Best Music, Original Dramatic Score

Won 70 other major international awards

Principal characters & actors:
Guido: Giosué (Joshua):

Plot Structure

  1. What are the major differences between the first and second half of the film? Could the two halves be classified as different genres?

  1. Which scene marks the turning point in the film?

  1. How is the second half of the film impacted by the first half?

1) List 3 scenes in the first half of the movie alert us to the true complexity and dark side of Life is





  1. List a minimum of 3 coincidences that occur in the first half of the film:




  1. What is the overall purpose of Benigni’s use of coincidence?

  1. What is significant about the remarkable coincidence of the tank showing up and completing the “game”?


  1. Guido is a hero, but he is not a hero along the lines of Achilles or Batman. Guido is an

everyman--as a hero he has the cunning of Odysseus and the citizen virtue of Hector, yet his

courage and attitude towards life--not physical strength, money, privilege, or education--put

him in position to care for those he loves. List scenes which portray Guido as an everyman:

2. What does Guido’s relationship with Dr. Lessing reveal about Guido’s mental acuity? Does this

make the second half of the film more believable?

3. Discuss two sides to Dora’s personality; consider her behavior when she is around Amico and

when she is around Guido.

4. How does Joshua show his admiration for his father?

5. Dora can stay in Italy since she is not Jewish, being separated from her husband and son, or she

can follow her loved ones, risking her own life in the process. What is revealed by her decision

to get on the train?

Comedic Style

  1. Benigni's physical comedic style has often been compared to Chaplin's, and Benigni himself

acknowledges Chaplin's great influence on him and, indeed, on all comedians. "Charlie Chaplin

has influenced everything I've ever done. Just everything," Benigni has said. Examine the

following are characteristics of Chaplin and discuss how Benigni demonstrates that characteristic

in Life Is Beautiful.

  1. waif-like physique:

  1. oafish & authoritative opponent:

C. empathy for character:

  1. use of comedy to make a point (satire):

E. use of slapstick (physical comedy/ironic situations):

The Schopenhauer Method

  1. The use of Schopenhauer's ideas in the film is puzzling for several reasons. Guido misinterprets Schopenhauer's stress on the importance of the will to mean that the force of will is sufficient to create actions and manipulate one's surroundings. In fact, Schopenhauer's view is that life is aimless and painful; the will creates unhappiness and should be nullified if possible. List 2 ways in which Guido ironically uses the Schopenhauer Method with idealism and hope:




  1. List two scenes in which Guido creates a fictitious world for those around him:



  1. What is the overall purpose behind Guido’s magical creations?

  1. Does Guido appear to be aware of the gravity of the situation within the concentration camp? How might this help him and those around him?


  1. How does Uncle Eliseo illustrate the concept of silence as bravery in the film?

  1. How does Doctor Lessing illustrate the concept of silence as cowardice in the film?

  1. Is silence portrayed as an effective weapon?

Comedy as Social Commentary

  1. What is the twofold impact of the scene in which Guido, pretending to be a delegate from the Ministry, leads a classroom full of young children in a raucous lesson on the superiority of their race?

  1. How are Guido’s ethics called into question as he continues to portray life in a concentration camp as a game to his son Joshua?

  1. Explain the dramatic irony behind the scene in which Joshua runs away from the prospect of a shower? How does this scene crystallize the controversial nature of the film?

  1. What is achieved by juxtaposing Guido's made-up world of fun and games with the death and misery of the camp?

Symbols & Metaphors

  1. What is symbolic about the moment when Dora finally succumbs to Guido's pursuit?

  1. What does Doctor Lessing fail to do when he and Guido rendezvous in a corner during the dinner party? Why is this scene so depressing? How might the scene serve as a metaphor that explains the Nazi treatment of Jews during the Holocaust?

  1. What might riddles represent?

  1. How does Dora’s dilemma early in the film mirror the dilemmas faced by countless inhabitants

of Italy in the 1930s?

Dances With Wolves Year:
Director: Category:
Major characters:
Lt. John J. Dunbar: Kicking Bird:
Stands With A Fist: Wind In His Hair:
Chief Ten Bears:
1. List three scenes that provide the film with humor.



2. One critic refers to Dunbar as a “kind of prairie eccentric, a charming 19th century doofus.”

List 3 scenes which support this claim.




3. Why does Costner incorporate humor into what is essentially an epic drama?

4. Discuss four specific scenes in which Costner effectively humanizes the Native American







  1. Discuss four ways in which Costner creates authenticity in Dances With Wolves.

Provide specific examples from the film.





  1. Provide 3 examples of Costner making a point by SHOWING using a close-up or

detail shot to make a point rather than “telling” the audience.




3. Provide two examples of a panoramic shot.



4. Are they effective? How?


1. From whose point of view is the story told? How?

2. Provide two examples of the film breaking from a standard narrative pattern and switching

point of view.




Discuss two ways that Two Socks works as a symbol of the Sioux tribe:




1. Provide three reasons why the film might be classified as a revisionist Western. Provide

specific examples from the film.




2. Provide one example of the film lapsing into stereotype.

1. Describe the scene which depicts the following steps in the hero journey:

  1. Separation:

  1. Threshold:

  1. Challenges:

  1. Transformation:


1. What is the theme of Dances With Wolves?

Unforgiven1992 Western directed by Clint Eastwood

AFI’s # 4 all-time Western, # 68 on Top 100 List

Major characters:
William “Bill” Munny: Little Bill Daggett: Strawberry Alice:
Ned Logan: English Bob: Delilah Fitzgerald:
The Schofield Kid: W.W. Beauchamp:

Unforgiven (1992) is producer/director/star Clint Eastwood's own tribute to his legendary legacy in Sergio Leone's low-budget “spaghetti” westerns, and a return to his most successful film genre - after seven years (following his Pale Rider (1985)). In this modern-day classic western shot on location (in Alberta, Canada and Sonora, California), Eastwood reprised his film origins - as a gritty and weathered Western character (e.g., The Man With No Name) and as his urbanized “Dirty Harry” vigilante in Don Siegel's films - he even dedicated the film in the final credits to Sergio and Don, his mentor directors.

Eastwood plays a weakened, once-violent but reformed gunfighter - and an aging pig farmer - in this serious, dark, film-noirish, violent tale of retribution.

The script was originally titled The William Munny Killings. The nominated original screenplay by David Webb Peoples is taut, revisionist and believable, radically redefining, and realistically debunking and demythologizing the grandeur and romanticism of the Western genre.

Unforgiven is a Western made in an era when the popularity of Westerns was at a low ebb. However, the R-rated film was commercially successful at the time of its release and its acting was universally praised. It also was Eastwood's first film to pass the $100 million mark. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won four major ones:

Best Picture (Clint Eastwood as producer)

Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman - his 2nd Oscar after winning for The French Connection (1971))

Best Director (Clint Eastwood)

Best Film Editing (Joel Cox)

The non-winning nominations:

Best Actor (Clint Eastwood lost to Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman)

Best Original Screenplay (David Webb Peoples lost to The Crying Game)

Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (lost to Howards End)

Best Cinematography (lost to A River Runs Through It)

Best Sound (lost to The Last of the Mohicans)
Eastwood's film helped to revive the reputation of Westerns, becoming only the third Western ever to win the Best Picture Academy Award. Two years earlier, another Western film Dances With Wolves (1990) took the top honor. The first Western to win the Best Picture Oscar was Cimarron (1930/1931). Unforgiven was one of a few films instrumental in re-shaping the way movie-goers thought of the Western. None of Eastwood's films did a better job of distancing the actor from his Dirty Harry alter-ego.

Intro by Tim Dirks,


Critic James Berardinelli comments, “The story opens with two branches that will eventually intersect. They're speeding freight trains on a collision course, although it takes a little while to figure that out.” What are these two branches and what side story is interjected?


  1. How are the opening and closing shots of the film similar? How do they underscore the idea of the passing of an era?

  1. Provide examples of how the set design helps to establish classical elements of the Western


3. What is communicated by the exterior and daytime interior shots?


  1. How is William Munny initially depicted as the classical violent man who has been


  1. List two scenes that provide the film with humor. Why does Eastwood inject a touch of

humor into the film?
3. Describe the scene in which the audience witnesses Will’s transformation into his old self.

SYMBOLISM (Briefly interpret the following symbols)
1. Munny’s difficulty in mounting his horse

2. Schofield Kid’s myopia/nearsightedness

3. Little Bill’s dream house

4. Munny’s getting sick prior to transformation

    1. Munny’s remark to Delilah: “What I said the other day about you lookin’ like me,

that ain’t true. You ain’t ugly like me. It’s just that we’ve both got scars.”

One of Unforgiven's assets is the way it overturns conventions. Unforgiven looks like a Western, it has many of the conventions of a Western, but it doesn't feel like one. Provide four reasons why the film might be classified as a revisionist Western. Provide specific examples from the film.




Clint Eastwood's reputation as a Hollywood icon was founded on two roles:

The Man with No Name, who starred in three of Sergio Leone's "Spaghetti Westerns" (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good The Bad and the Ugly)

"Dirty" Harry Callahan, who made five appearances during the 1970s and 1980s.

Unforgiven was seen by many as a reaction to (although not a repudiation of) the Dirty Harry character.
To some, Dirty Harry was the embodiment of violence without consequences, of a shoot-first, ask-questions-later mentality.
In light of this background information, what are possible themes of Unforgiven?

Ghostbusters Category:
Director: Year:
Principal characters & actors:
Dr. Peter Venkman:
Dr. Raymond Stantz:
Dr. Egon Spengler:

Minor characters:
Dana Barret/Zuul (the Gate Keeper): Winston Zeddemore:
Louis Tully/Vinz Clortho (the key master): Janine Melnitz:


1. What event precipitates the formation of the Ghostbusters?

2. What is the most significant subplot in this film? How does it relate to the main plot?


1. Provide examples of Bill Murray’s use of cynicism and sarcasm in his portrayal of Dr.

Venkman.. In what way is Dr. Venkman unlike his fellow ghostbusters?


  1. Much of the humor in this film is based on witty/ironic one-liners. List your five favorite one-liners. Which of these are examples of understatement?




  1. The writers in this film created a unique jargon (technobabble) to accommodate characters involved in the business of “paranormal investigations and eliminations.” Provide at least 3 examples of this terminology.



  1. List two (2) instances in which special effects contribute to the humor of the film.

How or why are these scenes funny?

  1. How are the comedic styles of Bill Murray and Dan Ackroyd different from that of

Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis? Provide examples.

1. Describe the montage sequence in this film. What is its purpose?

Chariots of Fire Name:______________________
Director(s): Category:
Major Characters:
Harold Abrahams: Sam Mussabini:
Eric Liddell: McCroskey:
Minor Characters:
Aubrey Montague: Sybil:
Lord Andrew Lindsay: Jenny Liddell:
Jackson Scholz: Charles Paddock:

Narrative Structure

  1. What is the setting of the story and how is this a frame story?

  1. How is continuity maintained as the scenes alternate between Harold and Eric?

Historical Connection

  1. Point out references made at the beginning of the movie to the horrendous price paid

by Britain in the First World War.


  1. Do you believe that Harold has a healthy attitude towards running? Point out specific scenes to support your answer.

  1. Describe Eric Liddell’s running style and explain its connection to his personal beliefs.

  1. What did Sam Mussabini mean when he said that neurotics made the best sprinters?

Do you know why he said it? Do you agree?

Film Technique

  1. List and discuss 3 ways in which this film achieves a high level of verisimilitude.




  1. In which scenes does the director employ a slow motion technique? Do you believe

this enhances these scenes? How?


  1. Compare and contrast the role which religion plays in motivating Harold and Eric to

become great runners.

  1. Is Harold’s belief that his world is anti-Semitic accurate? Discuss specific scenes in support of your answer.

  1. Was Liddell correct in his refusal to run on Sunday in a “respectful but firm resolve to do what was right”?

Das Boot (The Boat) Name:______________________
Director: Category:
Major Characters:
Captain: Lieutenant Werner:

Minor Characters:
1st Lieutenant: 2nd Lieutenant:
Chief Engineer: Navigator:

  1. From whose point of view is the story told? How is he different from the other men on board and how does this impact the way the story is told?

  1. How does the narrator’s role change during the course of the film? Why? What are his attitudes at the beginning of the film and how do they change by the conclusion?

  1. What is significant about the fact that the submarine is a German U-Boat and not an American submarine?

  1. Why does the Captain decide not to rescue men from a burning vessel after he has

destroyed it? Do you agree with this decision? Why or why not?

Cinematic Techniques

  1. Describe the camera technique used by the cinematographer, Jost Vocano, during many of the scenes filmed on board U-96. What effect does this have on the viewer?

  1. Describe the sound effects used in the film? Why is the element of sound more significant in this movie and what effect does it have on the viewer?


  1. How is the final scene ironic and what theme does it reinforce?

  1. What do you think the director is hoping to communicate in this film?

Big Trouble in Little China

Principal character: and actor::

Jack Burton:
Gracie Law:

Minor characters:


Wang Chi:

Lo Pan:

Egg Chen, Mau Yin, the Chang Sing and Wing Kong.

1. What circumstance causes Jack to become involved with this adventure in Chinatown?

2. Why must Lo Pan marry a girl with green eyes? For what reason does he choose to marry two girls?

3. Who is the narrator of the film? What role does he play in the final showdown?

1. Jack Burton appears uncomfortable with his involvement in this adventure. Why? What role does he play in the fight scenes?

Critical Viewing Daily Film Log

I. This film makes extensive use of special effects and film tricks. Name two techniques in the film and the specific scene/shot where they are utilized.



1. This film blends comedy end action. It is a mix of slapstick/visual tricks and spoken one-liners. The character of jack Burton is comedic in both of these ways. How is his comedic appeal visual? auditory? Include specific instances from the film.

2. Note five chop socky spoofs. Note how each enhances the comedy of this film. How is each different from what you would see in a serious martial arts film?





Sixteen Candles




Principal characters & actors:

Samantha Baker:

“The Geek”:

Long Duck Dong:

Minor characters:

1) What is the setting? What does the opening sequence convey about Samantha Baker and her family? What things are worrying Samantha? How important is a girl’s 16~ birthday?

2) How realistic is the depiction of daily life of these suburban high school students? How is life at CRHS similar?

3) How important are “serious’ relationships for modem teens? Are most teenagers looking for serious romantic relationships? Why or why not? What advice would you give to a teen­ager in love?

1) What is the function of “The Geek”? Is he a sympathetic character? Why or why not?

2) Is the relationship between Samantha and her father sentimentalized or realistic? How important is the father-daughter relationship in real life? What about the protagonist’s relationships with her siblings and her grandparents?

3) What is Long Duck Dong’s function? Are we laughing at him or with him?


1) Discuss the major theme one possible minor theme. What remains constant with teenage relationships from generation to generation? Are most teens seen in a favorable light in Sixteen Candles?


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