SPOILER ALERT: Troubled by The End of A Star is Born

Posted on October 10, 2018 at 9:34 am

SPOILER ALERT: Anyone who has not seen “A Star is Born” or any of the previous versions and does not want to know the anding should read no further.

Many thanks to USA Today’s Bryan Alexander for writing about the troubling ending to “A Star is Born.” Like the previous versions of the story, it ends with a suicide, and as I explained in my review, while writer/director Bradley Cooper brought some nuance to the conclusion, it still concerns me that suicide should ever be portrayed as noble or a sacrifice for others. As I told him:

“I sat through this whole movie, thinking, ‘I hope they find a better way of dealing with this,’ ” she says. “I don’t want anyone to think (suicide) is ever a choice.”

Minow was pleased about a scene in which Maine’s brother (Sam Elliott) tells a distraught, guilt-ridden Ally that the singer’s death was not her fault.

“That took the responsibility off of her,” says Minow, who thought that still didn’t go far enough. “You want to be sensitive about portraying nobility or catharsis through suicide. Suicide is nothing but sad. Always sad. We can do better in 2018.”

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Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Teen Views on Social Media

Posted on September 12, 2018 at 9:37 pm

Copyright 2018 Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media has released a new study about teenagers and social media.  The full report has suggested responses for parents to the findings to give teens support and guidance.  Some of the highlights:

They can’t stop. They won’t stop. Seventy percent of teens use social media more than once a day (compared to 34 percent in 2012). Interestingly, most teens think technology companies manipulate users to spend more time on their devices. Many of them also think that social media distracts them and and their friends.

Managing devices is hit or miss. Many turn off, silence, or put away their phones at key times such as when going to sleep, having meals with people, visiting family, or doing homework. But many others do not: A significant number of teens say they “hardly ever” or “never” silence or put away their devices.

Snapchat and Instagram are where it’s at. In 2012 Facebook utterly dominated social networking use among teens. Today, only 15 percent say it’s their main site (when one 16-year-old girl was asked in a focus group who she communicates with on Facebook, she replied, “My grandparents”).

Less talking, more texting. In 2012, about half of all teens still said their favorite way to communicate with friends was in person; today less than a third say so. But more than half of all teens say that social media takes them away from personal relationships and distracts them from paying attention to the people they’re with.

Copyright 2018 Common Sense Media


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Parenting Teenagers Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Get Over 100 Award-Nominated Screenplays!

Posted on September 7, 2018 at 8:00 am

Screenwriting Magazine is making available links to 100 Academy contender screenplays.  Whether you’re thinking of writing one yourself or just want to know your favorites a little better, this treasure trove is worth checking out.

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Not specified Understanding Media and Pop Culture Writers

Sophie Gilbert on What’s Wrong With Female Movie Journalists

Posted on August 22, 2018 at 8:00 am

I really appreciate Sophie Gilbert for writing in The Atlantic about something that has bugged me for a long time, the tired cliche of the movie portrayals of female journalists as completely unprofessional, and especially as always sleeping with their sources and subjects.  I complained about this in my review of the Amy Schumer romantic comedy, “Trainwreck.”

Gilbert begins with Amy Adams in “Sharp Objects,” based on a novel by former real-life journalist Gillian Flynn, who should know better.  “At the end of the most recent episode of Sharp Objects, “Falling,” Camille slept with someone who’s 18 years old, a murder suspect, and one of her primary sources.”  Gilbert discusses “House of Cards” and “The Gilmore Girls” and  she goes back to films like “Absence of Malice” with Sally Field and “Thank You for Smoking” with Katie Holmes.

You wouldn’t ever see Rosalind Russell behave so unprofessionally.

Copyright 1940 Columbia Pictures

And, as Gilbert explains, male journalists in movies don’t either. It’s time to find some other storyline for female characters.

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Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Behind the Scenes: Crazy Rich Asians

Posted on August 18, 2018 at 9:33 pm

I’m so happy that “Crazy Rich Asians” is such a great movie and so happy that audiences are enjoying it as much as I do. Some great behind-the-scenes commentary from director Jon M. Chu, with a lot of detail about what was real and what was done with digital effects:

In this scene, Rachel (Constance Wu) and the audience first see the mansion that is the home of her boyfriends’s crazy rich family.

And here he talks about one of the early scenes, where we see how the news of Nick Young’s girlfriend gets to Singapore. It reminded me of the telephone scene in “Bye Bye Birdie.” Look fast to see Chu’s baby son and also the author, Kevin Kwan.

The stars of the film talk about how much it means to them to be a part of a project with an all-Asian cast.

The Angry Asian Man blog has a fascinating description of what exactly was happening in the climactic mahjong scene.

One of my favorite critics, Inkoo Kang, writes about the film’s references and Easter eggs, and about the last film to feature an all-Asian cast, “The Joy Luck Club.” The success of “Crazy Rich Asians” means that we will not be waiting another 25 years for the next — and that this cast of exceptionally talented breakout stars will all be in other movies very soon.

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Behind the Scenes Race and Diversity Understanding Media and Pop Culture
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