My apologies. This is inexcusably late.
Bruno began recitation that day with a clip from Bowling for Columbine. It dealt greatly with the notion that the media is responsible for the incredible amount of fear in America. After the clip we had a discussion about whether Moore developed a sound argument/what problems the film and clip might have had. Some believed that Moore manipulates facts in order to create leftist propaganda. Others agreed but thought that at the same time he does create an interesting dialog between what the media does and what he does. Others argued that it is not Michael Moore’s responsibility to create a fair and balanced film, that task is more left for journalists. Moore is creating a point of view, and a persuasive one at that.
People argued that the issue here is not that Moore should make his films differently, it is the perception his films garner. People believe them as fact. His films are widely accepted and embraced by leftists. Once again, is this the artist’s responsibility? Is Moore being hypocritical? Or does he know exactly what he is doing? One thing is for certain: Moore’s films are widely accepted because they are simply so accessible. He is essentially a Hollywood filmmaker.
Next was the Waxman reading presentation. The piece dealt mostly with the rise of powerful films being made through the hollywood system between the years 1998 and 2001.
A major moment in the events leading up to this was Polygraph folding after being sold to Universal. This was important because Polygraph produced many independent films. Being John Malkovich, a script by a then unknown Charlie Kaufman, gets sent over to Universal, and ends up under the radar for some time.
Shortly after this, what ensues is an interesting balance between independent and old hollywood style films forming a delicate balance with one another in the film industry. Subversive films are greenlit, and then studios try to extract any subversive qualities from them. We also see a good deal of new unique directors rise to the forefront and get away with a lot with their films. Spike Jonze had a growing reputation as a livewire on set, with an unusual directing style. David O. Russel makes Three Kings and begins to have a reputation of being brilliant but often abrasive. With the film Traffic, director Steven Soderbergh is shockingly allowed to photograph his own film. Also, David Fincher’s Fight Club gets made and is filled with an incredible amount of violence for a mainstream film.
After this clip, Bruno then screened a clip from Fight Club, and we discussed its themes of how consumer culture lessens individuality.
As time was running out in class, we had another quick reading presentation for the Brutalized Bodies article. The article primarily discussed how films Like Fight Club and American Psycho are problematic with the subjects they attempt to address. Ultimately, they take advantage of anxiety and are gimmicky because they are really tackling much simpler issues like masculinity.
Then we ran out of time and didn’t really get to discuss American Psycho. Sorry this is so late!