Bubba Made a New Blog.
One semester the theme for my research & argument class was "Legends, Lore, and Lies." I showed each class a different film (cause I didn't want to watch the same thing three times in a row every day), and one of them got the original Wicker Man. I'd forgotten how much nudity there was. Oops.
Amateur. I have shown Prospero's Books. One student walked out the first time, and ever since then, I say "I was going to show you this movie, but last time a student was offended, so I can't". Then they are all like "SHOW US! WE PROMISE NOT TO BE OFFEND!"
Smut, smut, smut.
Oedipus, as performed by vegetables (with cauliflower sheep)
That is AMAZING. I will be sharing this with colleagues who teach this stuff.
I've never shown a movie in my classes (and I can only think of one movie, a documentary, that would relate to what I teach), but I subbed for another prof on a movie day and performed the vital function of attendance taker/DVD maestro.The movie for that day was "Skin," the story of Sandra Laing, a South African girl who looked black but was born to two Afrikaner parents.Good lord... I know that Laing's life must've sucked in a huge, huge way, but I'm honestly sorry that I saw the movie. After 107 minutes of being beaten over the head with the "look!! racism is bad!!!!" stick, the students looked the way I felt--shellshocked--and we all shuffled out of the room very quietly.
I taught a class on "Taboo" once with a unit on menstruation. We watched Stephen King's Carrie. I had a student who FAINTED DEAD AWAY during the opening scene (when Carrie is showering and has her first period). Came to find out later that this student was both afraid of the sight of blood AND suffering from the swine flu (super dehydrated) AND was working hard preparing for a dance team audition (exhausted) so I guess that image just put her over the edge. Actually got decent student evals that year to my surprise. I think the drama of it all hit a "Dead Poet's Society" note that impressed a classroom of freshmen.
I had a student faint dead away one year when I decided to show Wit in Brit Lit I; I'm not sure whether he was upset by the medical content or just suffering from low blood sugar. Anyway, I stuck to Twelfth Night after that.Nobody has ever fainted during Titus, or during the eye-gouging scenes in King Lear, but I think the upper-level Shakespeare students are made of sterner stuff.
Also, like many, I've shown Gattaca in multiple classes on multiple topics. It is like the catch-all film for every discipline.
Class time is too valuable to spend more than 10 minutes per class showing films or videos. Still, my field is astronomy and spaceflight, which has produced some of the best film and especially television ever made. I show a few short films in their entirety. One of the best is "Powers of Ten," made by Charles and Ray Eames, narrated by Phillip Morrison. Another is "Infrared: More than Your Eyes Can See," by NASA, narrared by Michelle Thaller.During the first 5-10 minutes of nearly every class, I show snippets of films. It helps for getting my large, general-ed astronomy class for non-majors and my large, third-semester physics class for engineers settled down, and homework handed in. I do my best to relate the videos to the class content.For the astronomy class, I use the scene from "2001: A Space Odyssey" in which the ape throws the bone into the air and it turns into the spacecraft, as well as the scene in which the winged space shuttle docks with the wheel space station. I also used the scene in which the character makes a picture phone call, to make the point that we would now call that a Skype terminal, but the 9-year-old kid who answers will still be a 9-year-old kid. I also work through the history of spaceflight in 5-10 minute snippets before each class, most taken from the 1984 TV series "Spaceflight," narrated by Martin Sheen. I use a variety of others, too. Several are from the "Cosmos" series by Carl Sagan (specifically, the one at the old Cavendish lab, on the day I cover atoms, and the one in the Tuscan countryside on the second day I cover relavitity and black holes). One is the beginning of the time travel scene in the 1960 film adaptation of "The Time Machine," on the first day I cover relativity. Two are opening scenes from Nova, narrated by Neil Tyson (on the day I cover the origin of the Solar System, and on life beyond Earth). One is the discovery scene in the 1997 film "Contact," starring Jodie Foster, on the day I cover SETI. One is the opening of "Big Al" from the BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs series. One is the scene from "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (the 1951 original, of course, not the remake with Keanu Reeves), in which Klaatu corrects Albert Einstein's math. One is the stateroom scene from "A Night at the Opera": I show it on the day I start to cover stars, to emphasize that nearly everything we know about stars was figured out after this film was made (and also to demonstrate supernova physics). I got 10^6 of 'em.
One I've thought of using, but have never used, for a class that really pissed me off is the attack scene from "Threads." I may never use it: what if someone throws up? I do use the scene from "Dr. Strangelove" in which Slim Pickens rides the bomb during the day I cover nuclear physics, of course.
Other notable snippets include the take-off scene from "When Worlds Collide," the scene in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in that ends with Connie Booth as the Witch saying, "It's a fair cop" (on the day I cover Galileo), the aerobraking scene in "2010" (on the day I cover the Outer Solar System), and the 1998 HBO series by Tom Hanks, "From the Earth to the Moon." (I work through the episode "Spider" for the engineers.)
Chapeau to you, Frod. I actually teach film, and my students could learn a lot from your choices!
Back in the Dark Ages, in my first year of teaching high school, I was part of a five teacher multi-disciplinary team-teaching debacle/experiment. One of my teammates was so excited--he had the perfect film to kick off the year! 2001: A Space Odyssey. Yes, it's a great film. But boy howdy, that 20 minute + or - stretch with no dialogue? With a roomful of 15 year olds? On a really really warm day in a building with no air conditioning?Oh the humanity.
Even back in 1968 when "2001" was released, critics complained that it was at least half an hour too long. It does not play well in its entirety: it's too slow moving for them. It does play well in 5-to-10-minute snippets. I only show 2-3 to the general-ed astronomy class, but I've worked through most of the film in for the engineers, from the scene where the ape discovers tools to the scene where HAL sings "Daisy."
"On a really really warm day in a building with no air conditioning?"This reminds me of the first time I ever saw "Lawrence of Arabia." It was not part of any class. It was during my first summer away from home, the summer between my freshman and sophomore years, and it was a student presentation. The air conditioning in the auditorium was broken, so it was stiflingly hot; they also had no drinks, but they did have plenty of popcorn. So, here I was, watching scenes of the Arabian desert, and I'm thinking, "Hey, this is GREAT! This is like being IN the movie!"
I wanted to watch 2010 three years ago when we happened to start the Jupiter chapter exactly as the year began. But I was afraid of the rabbis, so I just taught instead.
I've used the first 30-45 minutes of "Aliens" for the lecture about types of power and authority.
I want to take Frod's classes!One of my colleagues shows an entire film almost every day, a practice that is cheered (mostly) on The Site That Shall Not Be Named. But I agree with Frod about the value of class time and usually show only short films, or snippets that I show at the end of class. But I really like Frod's idea of showing them at the beginning. Great incentive to get their little butts in the chairs on time.Best films? Mind-blowing real-time animations of DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis. I urge everyone here to watch these and see what your body does at the speed of a jet engine millions of times each day. Free on DVD and for online streaming and downloading from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/dna/animations.html). Unfortunately not captioned. Worst film? One about baboons with a brilliant and patient primatologist who speaks in a slow monotone for the entire film. I was subbing for someone who shows this every semester. The students and I kept nodding off. I won't name the well-meaning scientist, but it's not my hero Jane Goodall.
"I want to take Frod's classes!"The problem with all of physics and especially relativity is that they snivel, "BUT IT's SOOOO HARD!!!" The first time they do this, I reply, "It does REQUIRE INTELLIGENCE." The second and subsequent times I go:SMACK! SMACK!!! SMACKSMACKSMACK!!!Don't I wish. But I do indeed do the first part.
2003 feature film called Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes. I show it because it SUCKS. It's Lutheran-funded hagiography of Martin Luther, and is so jaw-droppingly historically inaccurate that even the dimmest mouth-breathers in the class get that somethin' ain't right. I have the students write a critical review of the film at the end of our unit on Luther and the Reformation. If they can intelligently rip the film apart, I know they've learned something.
I did an extra credit option one term (in my high school days). They could watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail, then write a paper about what was historically accurate and inaccurate. Three of my brighter bulbs took this on with gusto, and they did a fabulous job. One of them went on to a Uni degree in Medieval Studies.
An animated version of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."As read by Orson Welles.
His reading of the opening lines of "The War of the Worlds" during his 1938 radio show was my favorite reading of this, ever.
I show an episode of DIRTY JOBS with Mike Rowe. Can't say which episode; it would probably out me. But Mike Rowe is funny and entertaining, even when what he's demonstrating is kind of oogy. It gets students' attention for sure.
I used the documentary "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" (2005) in my Business Ethics course. Good stuff.
Best: Glory for teaching the Civil War. My students were OBSESSED.Worst: London Hospital, because I totally forgot that it contained a scene with a botched abortion. Gross. (my bad students! rookie mistake of not rewatching said movie the night before just in case -- never again)
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