Reading Film (Fall 2011)

a qwriting blog for ENG 110

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October 24th, 2011 by Kaitlin Stevens · Uncategorized

Someone help me revise my investigative proposal please since mine was apparently terrible. Email me if you are willing to help.

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Investigative Proposal Revision #3

October 24th, 2011 by Stephen Mahoney · 3 Investigative Proposal

Movies have many different effects on people once they have viewed the film, some people may feel more emotional about a subject or idea, while some people may feel as if they should buy something due to product placement. Some films fall in to the category of cult films or cult classics, these are films that develop a small yet extremely dedicated fan base in which the fans follow the movie so strongly that they can create communities that revolve around these films. Often these films are not generally accepted by the mainstream, a lot of them being science fiction, horror, comedy, or melodramatic films. Some people describe a cult film as a film that 100 people have viewed 1000 times, there are exceptions to this though, for instance the Harry Potter series or Star Trek or Star Wars series. These are films are not viewed as “great” or life changing movies for most of their viewers, but they have a very dedicated fan base, so dedicated that they will even go to the extent of tattooing their skin with quotes or characters from the movies. Movies that receive a cult following are unusual or flawed in one way or another, this is because they are usually made by low budget independent film makers with unknown talents. The plots in these movies are often very unique and quirky,and feature odd characters played by unknown actors, yet people still love the films. How do offbeat and eccentric plots in addition to profound character traits of protagonists and antagonists in cult classic comedies such as The Big Lebowski lead to it obtaining a cult like following?

Through studying cult films I will be able to determine how people relate to things that are offbeat and differ from the norm. Many people feel like they can relate to characters that are often outsiders and feel out of place, like those who are featured in cult films. Possibly through this study we can understand why people often feel ostracized, which may lead to different ways to help people who feel as if they are the outsider.

Some aspects of my study will be looked at from mainly two different perspectives. Those being a film makers perspective and an economists perspective. From viewing the study as a film maker I will be able to see how the plot and characters of a movie affects the viewers to a point where they can relate to a character or admire them as a God like figure. While the economist’s perspective will allow me to measure and compare the success’s of other science fiction films from the latter half of the 20th century to that of Star Wars.

To find my research I will need to watch and review movies that have been noted to be cult classics and compare them to any other movie that is not a cult classic, I will probably compare them to movies in the same genre that way there will be some similarities that I can notice. In addition I will also be looking at reviews and blogs for cult classics and non cult movies, and lastly I will do library research on Films and how they affect their viewers.


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Investigative Proposal

October 24th, 2011 by Kaitlin Stevens · 3 Investigative Proposal

Kaitlin Stevens

Assignment #3: Investigative Proposal


            I’m sure everyone has heard the name Robert DeNiro. He is arguably one of the greatest actors of our time. Many of his roles have been legendary ones, such as Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver”, Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein in “Casino”, and my personal favorite, James Conway in “Goodfellas”. It goes without saying that DeNiro has left his mark as an icon playing gangster roles, but the question I pose is: Which role does DeNiro grasp and immortalize better? Jimmy Conway or Sam Rothstein?

Of course, both roles played are unforgettable. DeNiro is an unbelievably talented actor. However, it is obvious that one of the roles had to be more significant in his career than the other. By investigating and analyzing this specific subject, I will be learning more about one of my favorite actors (one of America’s favorite actors for  that matter) and digging deep into what traits he possesses that make him such an impressive actor. I will be able to pinpoint the certain characteristics DeNiro masters in his acting method.

I plan on watching both movies numerous times and using skills I’ve learned in both this class and my Film History class to examine and interpret the qualities both characters possess, and the qualities that separate them from each other, therefore making one “better” than the other. I will read multiple reviews on both movies by acclaimed critics and try to understand their opinions on both characters and performances to determine which they seem to prefer. In addition, I will read both books that the movies are based on to get a better sense of what the characters are really like and offer my opinion and arguments on which character DeNiro did a better job of  grasping and why.

As I stated in the previous paragraph, some resources I will use are movie reviews and the books the films are based on. I also plan on researching the director of both films, Martin Scorsese, and seeing if I can use any opinions or statements of his to help get an answer to my proposed question. I am going to research the making of both of the films in depth to see which film DeNiro put more work and effort into. I believe that by researching this topic I will be able to give DeNiro fans and just people who are curious about his work a better sense of which role could be classified as his “defining role”, and additionally figure out which role he enjoyed playing more and why. 

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LATEST REVISION. Revised Investigative Proposal #4.

October 23rd, 2011 by Natalie Bernabe · 3 Investigative Proposal

Natalie Bernabe

ENGL 110-13: Fall 2011

Dr. Kevin L. Ferguson

The Hays Code: Not Just Censoring Films of the 1930s.

            The Hays Code, which is a set of film censorship guidelines, was one of the methods most notable for the censorship of films that were deemed morally questionable in the 1930’s. The Hays Code’s namesake came from a Presbyterian elder named Will H. Hays, who was enlisted by Hollywood studios in 1922 in order to improve Hollywood’s image. This was in response to a series of a few off-screen scandals involving notable Hollywood stars. The Catholic Church played an important role in the establishment of the Hays Code by influencing the restriction of content that would be demoralizing traditional values that should be upheld in American films; such as portraying crime in a sympathetic way, or promoting sexual relations outside of marriage. These moral guidelines and restrictions in fact became the outline of the guidelines in the Hays Code. However, the Hays Code did not only review films that were filmed during the establishment of the Hays Code, but also to films that had been released prior to the code; or Pre-Code films. The primary method used to censor Pre-Code films was to review them, under the Hays Code, edit and cut content that were in violation of the Hays Code, and then re-release the film. The re-release of Hays Code approved Pre-Code films became a controversial issue in whether in fact this should be allowed. How did the Hays Code, influenced by the Catholic Church, justify the censorship of Pre-Code films, such as William Wellman’s 1931 film The Public Enemy?

I feel that investigating this question is important to understand why the censorship of film, under the Hays Code, was so deeply reviewed and controlled. The Hays Code had enough power in the censorship of films that they expanded to films that had already been showcased in theatres. It is also interesting as well, for although the Hays Code is not in effect today, the code’s goal might be sought out by a different person or a revised guideline. Answering this question will also help reader’s understand how films made today might still be influenced by the Hays Code, if at all. It is also important to discover if the justification for the review and re-release of Pre-Code films is sound and not biased or irrational, for then, what is the point of such an act?

My primary method of approach is from an ethical point of view. I will research the establishment of the Hays Code in full; to see who else had a part to play, other than the studios and Will H. Hays. I would use historical books for this; to study the Hays Code’s origin and its history, as well as look for biographies of some of the prominent Catholic Church leaders in order to note the specific amount of influence the Catholic Church actually had on the establishment of the Hays Code. This would then show me if their reasons are ethical and morally correct, for the influence the Catholic Church had on the Code. I would then look into which films the Hays Code, under the influence of the Catholic Church, sought to moralize; such as William Wellman’s 1931 The Public Enemy, and their primary method of review.

To help me further investigate the influence of the Catholic Church on the Hays Code, I will be searching for and referencing a number of electronica databases and journals, such as LEXIS-NEXUS and JSTOR for any Church publications that mention ‘censorship’.  This will help determine the exact influence the Catholic Church had on the movie industry, and its effect on the American people. Therefore, I will look for out the reaction of the public to the Hays Code, and the effect the Code had on them; to see if there were any backlashes at the studios and the Hays Code office. I will then research exactly how they censored William Wellman’s 1931 The Public Enemy, and if there are more like it. I would reference interviews, perhaps from people in the Hays Office, to the autobiographies of the directors that had their Pre-Code films changed, to see if the Hays Code has a sound justification for the censorship of those Pre-Code films.


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Investigative Proposal (Revised)

October 23rd, 2011 by Jeen Kim · 3 Investigative Proposal

Film is relatively young; it is roughly about 100 years old. However, within this short time frame, plenty has changed. The director, the one who is responsible for how the film conveys to the viewer, has changed as well. Directors from film’s “baby” years and contemporary directors have several differences (and similarities). How have directors of today, like Quentin Tarantino, changed from the auteurs of the 30’s and 40’s, like Orson Welles?

It is important to understand how certain events affect film, the industry, and it’s process. Directors were not always how we perceive them today, and they are what they are because of changes in the timeline of film. These changes affected the director’s process, responsibilities, debut, qualifications, training, etc.

The subject of history would be of much help in researching this topic. Events and things that were happening (on a small and large scale) during film’s evolution quite possibly could have had a direct or indirect impact on it. By comparing an “old” director to a “new” director, we could see just how much has changed by examining these differences in their times.

Resources of this investigation might include interviews, biographies and autobiographies (if they exist) of the mentioned directors. Also, databases and articles would be helpful pertaining to the research. Several books on film and film history can be of much use, too.

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Investigative Proposal

October 22nd, 2011 by Huy Le · 3 Investigative Proposal, Uncategorized

Huy Q. Le

English 110

Prof Ferguson


The films industry went through changes over the years with the regards to the amount of censorships that influenced a lot of films. Almost all the films people watch in the theater today, most involves some sort of sexual content, drug used, and violence no matter what the genre of the film is, Sexy and erotic images in films scenes can be displayed in a varieties and kinds weather its action, comedy, erotic, and horror. To look at how films get to where it is today, we look at the early days of films industry, and to focus on how censorship took place and whether films today is regulated or censored to how it was then.

Sitting in the movie theater I always thought that people look at pornography as degrading but at the same time some movie that we watch isn’t that far away from what we call a porno. Actors walking around with the lingerie and scene that are so suggestive, exploitative, outrageous and excessive but no one seems to complain rather they actually like enjoy seeing those film , some director even shows these scene in trailer to attracts viewer. Now I understand that there showing lingerie and suggestive sex scene isn’t pornography but is it too much? And is these things regulated? If they are is it regulated too loosely?

In the US, films are rated by the Motion Picture Association of America, but they only rate the movies that is submitted it to them, these rating however are not enforce by law enforcement, Is this consider as censorship?

To look at censorships history we go back to look at the history of censorship in films, looking at movies like Kids   , and Natural born Killer  to describe the violence and sexual content of these movies and how the audience reacted making these 2 film so controversial. Along with a closer look at the rating and censorships system as a whole


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Investigative Proposal (pt. 3)

October 22nd, 2011 by Eric Dorcean · 3 Investigative Proposal

Eric J. Dorcean

October 25, 2011

ENG 110

Investigative Proposal

                We live in a world that is constantly evolving. Technological advances have not only changed our very way of life but they also change or approach to it. This is made apparent with the constant changes of cinematic technology particularly with three dimensional effects or 3D for short. Nowadays, more and more films are being made into 3D films to attract more viewers, particularly children. How do some films make use of 3D effects in order to entertain children?

            There are many different aspects that people, both young and old, consider when deciding to go to the movies. These aspects include what actors are casted, what music will be played and of course whether or not it will use the latest special effects. Since it would take much too long to do sufficient research in all these different fields, I decided to instead focus on one aspect of film to develop on. Even though I’m not looking at all works of cinema or all different types of audiences, by answering this question, I should be able develop some theories on the bigger question: Why do people go to the movies?

            How do we go about answering this question? First we would have to do research on the development of 3D technology over the years. Next, we would make note of films that are centered on attracting young audiences and who also make use of this special effect. After gathering enough research material, we can approach this from a psychological standpoint. We could seek to compare scenes that greatly emphasize 3D effects and find similar aspects that might stimulate a childes interest.

            In order to answer our question, we must ask another: which films would prove to be the most useful? As I mentioned before, we would have to select films that both make use of 3D effects and that appeal to young audiences. One series of film that meets these criteria would be the Spy Kids 3D and Spy Kids 4 movies. Since they are of the same series and have similar stories, it should prove to be easier to compare use of 3D effects then with two unrelated films because we can focus on the use of effects more.

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Investigative Proposal revised

October 19th, 2011 by martinvukaj · 3 Investigative Proposal


Martin Vukaj

English 110

Prof Ferguson





Investigative Proposal


Film, a rather contemporary art, has evolved in many ways since its first inception in the early 1900s. Introduced in the earlier part of the 20th century, it has progressed as an art form and is used in many forms today. The Great Train Robbery, created in 1903, introduced great film techniques and new film technology, which were unseen before. With the use of cross-cutting, on location shooting, and camera movements, these new cinematographic elements led to an astounding new view of films, especially given the primitive time period. Over the coming years, new cinematographic elements would come into play which transcended the film industry, and some of these new cinematographic elements were possible with the advent of new technology. Taking a look at films pre-depression and those during and post the depression era, an analysis of the techniques and technology used will give us, as film viewers, a better understanding and appreciation of films. The films themselves, pre, during, and post depression are an indication of a change of the techniques, technology, and the stylistic and cinematographic elements which are contained in them. How did new film techniques, such as cross-cutting, on-location shooting and new camera movements, along with the introduction of new technology in films such as sound on film and technicolor change and advance the film industry from 1930 to 1945, and what effect did these changes have on the film viewing population?

After providing research and studying this topic, the information gathered will provide the film viewing population a better insight and appreciation of films during this era. We will also gain knowledge in new technology and techniques used in films, as well as the cinematographic and stylistic elements, some of which are also used today. Through the research and information accumulated, the evidence will ultimately try and prove that from 1930 to 1945, the film industry underwent major changes and leaps forward to become the

The methods being utilized for this research are few and far between. Research would begin with an analysis of cinematographic and stylistic elements found within films from that time period. To find out how films evolved, and discuss some of the major factors that caused films to change in how they were made. An analysis on the many advances in technology would also be utilized. Finding how the implementation of color came to be and the use of different camera angles, are just a few examples of new technology and film techniques that arose during this era. I would also analyze the unique stylistic elements found in many popular directors of that time as well. On a final note, this research will all be combined in an effort to discover how the film industry changed and transcended over this period of time.
Possible resources that could be used are also a variety as well. I would look at films from this time period, pre, during, and post the depression era. I would also look at reviews from this time, as well as reviews from contemporary time, in order to see differences or similarities in the view of film style and portrayal. I would also gather research and use books coinciding with film technology that arose in this time, such as technicolor and advancements in sound. An analysis of many big name directors from this time will also be used, to understand the stylistic elements and techniques used, in comparison to techniques found in earlier films and used by directors. Articles and possible biographies or autobiographies on directors will be used to understand their standpoint on how these new additions in film either helped or hurt the industry. I would also gather studies on movie attendance ratings to see if the changes and advancements in film had an effect that coincided with attendance in movies as well.

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Class Summary

October 19th, 2011 by Jeen Kim · Class Summary

Class started with this video. After, time was assigned for free writing.

Then, we passed around our investigative proposals for peer evaluations. The point of this was to point out where the proposals lacked and where we could improve/edit.

Some things to think about were:

Did the question have a question mark?
Was the investigative question too narrow, just right, or too big?
Was it too broad, open-ended or a yes or no question?
Was the question solely opinion based, true but arguable, or a true statement?
Was the topic overwhelmed with sources, can it be investigated, or is it too hard to research?
Was the approach a general major as the discipline, an appropriate method, or a sub-sub-sub discipline?
How many key terms were there(on a 1-8 scale)? 4-6 was deemed satisfactory.

We then commented on other proposals:

Here is your question, rephrased as a statement…
Someone might say your topic is not worth pursuing because…
The method or discipline you are going to use is…
Here are two more things I think you need to know in order to answer your question…

A revision of the investigative proposal is due Saturday, October 22nd at midnight (or Sunday early morning).

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Nick LoBello’s Investigative Proposal

October 19th, 2011 by nlobello824 · 3 Investigative Proposal


Throughout the history of motion pictures the way society portrays film is much different. In most cases of modern film, it is evident that good acting is less of a focal point rather than action and special effects. Back in the 1950’s, we would never see a movie such as Michael Bay’s Transformers; we would see a classic such as 12 Angry Men with Henry Fonda. This picture took place in a single room consisting of twelve men just talking about the outcome of a murder case. The acting alone got the film an Academy Award nomination for “Best Picture”.


The reason this would not work today is because of the lack of imagination and concentration modern moviegoers possess. People today are more than satisfied with a poorly casted, high-octane type action film such as Transformers. Our society does not have the mental toughness (so to speak) to watch movies directed by men such as Alfred Hitchcock, as opposed to the new Michael Bay movie we are all used to. I’m not saying all modern movies are like that either; there are certainly exceptions such as The Social Network where there was very little action and special effects, but there was good acting and a good storyline to back it up.


It is a shame time has drastically changed the format of modern movies because the actors are not any less talented; it’s just that the type of movie demanded for has changed. Modern actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks could have, and actually have been in movies that demanded the high quality of acting our generation is not used to. That is one of the main reasons that the truly “Great” actors and actresses we still have left are getting well past their prime. It has been years since actors like Robert DeNiro and Meryl Streep have made classics such as Taxi Driver and Kramer vs. Kramer. In modern times these great actors are stuck with movies such as Killer Elite and It’s Complicated.


Perhaps if modern cinema was the same as it was fifty years ago people may have gotten sick of motion pictures. That’s why change isn’t completely horrible in a sense that if society responds so strongly to action packed movies why should this be viewed as a problem? I guess it’s a good thing that society changed because if society remained stagnant over a period of 50 years or so our country wouldn’t evolve technologically, or intellectually; but there still should be move modern films resorting back to the old format of more acting, less action.

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