12 Years a Slave – A landmark in United States Cultural History

12 Years a Slave follows the life of Solomon Northup, an African American who lived in the North and who was not enslaved, from directly before he was kidnapped and sold as a runaway until he was reunited with his family. Films based on true events have to be analyzed or approach in a slightlyContinue reading “12 Years a Slave – A landmark in United States Cultural History”

History as Fiction, Fiction as History, and Comments about “The Butler” (2013)

(Feb. 29, 2016: Please note that my views regarding The Butler have changed significantly. Please see my dissertation when it is published for my revised analysis.) The Butler follows the life of the fictional Cecil Gaines, his wife, and kids from the time he is a child working as a sharecropper until directly after the electionContinue reading “History as Fiction, Fiction as History, and Comments about “The Butler” (2013)”

Women, Societal Expectations of Beauty, and “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006)

The Devil Wears Prada operates on binaries. On the one hand, it passes the Bechdel test and gets women out of the home under the man, but in a recasting of the Cinderella story, it reinforces all of the other stereotypes that control and confine women. Keep reading for full details! The Devil Wears PradaContinue reading “Women, Societal Expectations of Beauty, and “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006)”

Brad Pitt, Not So Hidden Racism and Sexism, and “World War Z” (2013)

World War Z is a poor movie that boosts Brad Pitt, racism, and sexism. For a fairly crowded theater, I have never seen it empty as quickly as it did yesterday.  Beware – spoilers follow. With a name like World War Z and the strong connotations associated with the words “world war,” I expected World War Z to be a warContinue reading “Brad Pitt, Not So Hidden Racism and Sexism, and “World War Z” (2013)”

Historical Perspectives, Cultural Readings, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Last night I watched the 2012 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (hereafter, ALVH) for the second time. As a historian, I always unavoidably see movies with a somewhat different set of eyes. After all, everything has a history and involves history; therefore, movies, consciously or unconsciously, unavoidably touch on historical issues, and involve political agendas, and other concerns for the scholar. InContinue reading “Historical Perspectives, Cultural Readings, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)”

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) and Gender

The Lincoln Lawyer (which has nothing to do with President Lincoln or things he would stand for), by everyday standards, is basically a good movie. It received positive reviews from the public and critics. BUT, its portrayal of women and gender really stood out to me as problematic. Check out Wikipedia’s brief summary of the film here. Continue reading “The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) and Gender”