Posts tagged: film

Films that Teach

By , October 8, 2011 10:48 am

Brad Mehldau – Exit Music (For a Film)

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Being a teacher for the last 7 years has utterly ruined my ability to watch films and enjoy them on their own merits. As the opening titles scroll forward, I think about my classroom. As the plot develops, I think about my school setting. As you get to know the film characters, I think about the LAUSD administrators and managers. While I suppose some may see this as an asset, it can be a bit annoying at times.

As evidence, I present the last 3 films (“Buck”, “Moneyball”, and “Contagion”) I’ve seen with the “teaching lessons” I’ve learned as a result.


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Title: Buck

Actual plot: This documentary portrays real-life horse whisperer “Buck” Branaman as an ordinary man who has made an extraordinary life despite tremendous odds.

Teaching Take-away: You can be firm without being harsh. You can be strict without being disrespectful.

 

 

 

 

 


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Title: Moneyball

Actual plot: The story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.

Teaching Take-away: Use data, use data, use data…but use it right.

 

 

 

 

 


imageTitle: Contagion

Actual plot: A thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak.

Teaching Take-away: Always be sure to keep your classroom stocked with hand sanitizer.

 

 

 

 


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

By , December 10, 2010 2:14 pm

The Rolling Stones – 19th Nervous Breakdown

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Finally, it’s that time of year again when the good films are getting released. Last night, I joined two colleagues and attended Darren Aronofsky’s latest endeavor, Black Swan, which retells Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in meta-narrative style, with the added twist of potentially psychotic characters. Don’t think Tchaikovsky really envisioned that.

Nonetheless, Black Swan was a pretty amazing film, especially as it exists alongside of two other great films of 2010 which deal at least, in part, with the pitfalls of mental health, namely Shutter Island, and Inception.

And finally, even if Black Swan really isn’t your cup of tea, the third time’s a charm and it gives me a chance to play a great Rolling Stones song on this blog.

And now, off to the weekend!

Film Trailer Music

By , September 4, 2010 11:44 am

I always arrive at films early in order to catch the trailers, of which I’d have to say approximately 90% do justice to what they’re attempting to market. Yet, once in a while, I catch a trailer that, regardless of the quality of the film it depicts, absolutely gives me the chills. More often than not, this is caused by an uncannily brilliant pairing of images and music. Many times the film itself disappoints, yet I go back to the trailer and

Three such films this year (of which I’ve only yet seen one) have sent shivers down my spine. And regardless how these films turn out (Animal Kingdom actually turned out to be phenomenal), their trailers will always stick with me.

Legend of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

Thirty Seconds to Mars: Kings and Queens

 

 

The Social Network

Scala and Kolacny Brothers: Creep (Radiohead cover)

 

 

Animal Kingdom

Air Supply: All Out of Love (Yep, that’s right. Air Supply makes this trailer memorable)

 

Gold stars all around (yep, I’m a teacher) to these films’ marketing departments!

Any others I’m missing?

Monotony, Cliché, and Flaming Arrows

By , May 29, 2010 10:04 am

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Save two hours!

Save twelve dollars!

Go see another version. Please. (I hear 1991 was a good year…)

One Louder

By , May 14, 2010 4:41 pm

So I’ve become a new fan of the website movieclips.com, which allows users to search for particular movie clips based in a keyword or film title.

The best part?

I can make connections (albeit, tenuously) to real life math applications. For instance, today’s lesson on simplifying radicals can be applied in a formula for finding the velocity of a tsunami given it’s depth.

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Oh yes, you guessed it. :) Simply had to connect it to this clip.

Sequels

By , May 7, 2010 10:36 am

The Bad Plus – Iron Man

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Two weeks ago, my neighbor excitedly told me that he had already purchased tickets to opening night of the new Iron Man 2, slated for release today. I mentioned that even after seeing the excellent Iron Man a few summers ago, I was feeling a bit ho-hum about the sequel. This instantly started a debate as to whether there were, in fact, any sequels that live up to the original. After much debate, we were able to reach some consensus, and the following is the list we came up with:

  • The Godfather (part II)
  • Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Dark Knight
  • Start Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Anything else I’m missing?

A Soggy Saturday

By , March 9, 2010 4:56 pm

A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran

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image I know, I know….that’s not how you pronounce it (phonetically “Ron”), but after years of mispronouncing the title of this epic Kurosawa film, I finally got around to actually seeing it, this past Saturday, during a rainy Los Angeles afternoon. It’s usually this time of year that we can’t really decide if it’s still winter, or whether it might actually be spring.

My students find themselves much in the same dilemma. Some days are fantastic where they ask great questions, show immensely high degrees of intuition, effort, and drive. Other days, like the soggy March rain that comes out of nowhere, seem to suggest otherwise.

Yet, spring is around the corner, and although I’m sure I don’t appreciate it’s coming as much as my Northeast readers certainly do, it’s great to be able to walk outside without a jacket, to breathe the smell of the freshly mown lawn, and to be able to begin trash talking baseball with some of my colleagues.

Bring it on…

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