This week we started class by handing in our research paper proposals. Jaap explained the importance of incorporating our readings into our final papers. He also noted that texts other than those given to us in class that support out arguments will also suffice.
We started out discussion by watching the opening scene from Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys. Bruce Willis’s character is sent from the quarantined underworld to the Earths surface in order to collect and analyze a virus that killed most of the worlds population. Jaap then asked the class to analyze the clip through the lens of millennial tropes of anxiety. Some of the comparisons that were made between this film and other screenings from the lecture were fear of apocalyptic contamination and disease, skepticism of technology, acts of terrorism, anarchists, and being locked into a state of being.
After, Maggie and Matt presented on Henry Giroux’s “Brutalized Bodies and Emasculated Politics: Fight Club”. Their presentation covered Fight Club and how they used the spectacle of violence and masculinity. They talked about how the public image of masculinity was beginning to change in the 90’s. This was due to the shift in employment from hard labor jobs such as mechanics and construction workers, to office jobs. There was a dramatic shift from sociological to psychological. Lastly, they spoke on how new Hollywood movies had become “teaching machines”.
The class then watched a clip of Any Given Sunday. We spoke on the way the clip related to violence and masculinity We defined the idea of the “hard body” male character. A point was raised the the typical “hard body” male figure is more of an archetype than a description based on body type. Characters of 90’s films asserted their masculinity through violence while 80’s male characters were inherently macho and lived naturally violent lifestyles.
Lastly, David gave a great presentation on Bret Easton Ellis’s, American Psycho. The story is told through the first person perspective of Patrick Bateman. This allows the audience to see everything from through his perception. In the movie, Patrick Bateman appears in almost every scene. Bateman lives in a world of upper class Wallstreet workers where everyone shares the same consumerist values. There is a theme of mistaken identity. The characters’ identities are based on their possessions. Bateman’s identity is based on unimportant things such as his haircut and his suit. This complicates the theme on mistaken identity when 10 people in his office have the same haircut and suit.