The purpose of this assignment is to critically watch and review a movie with popular culture themes/symbols in terms of the sociological perspective and cultural theories.
Many say art imitates life, and we see a reflection of our society and its values in art and entertainment. Others say life imitates are many of our behaviors and values are modeled after what we see in art and entertainment. Either way, you will find examples of popular culture in the movies.
1) Select a movie: For this assignment, you will need to select one movie. Even if it is a movie you have seen before, you need to re-watch the movie with a critical eye towards the social construction of reality and illustrations of other sociological/cultural concepts. If you would like to analyze a movie that is not on the list, please send me a message to clear it with me.
Suggested Movie Options:
Million Dollar Baby
Boys Don’t Cry
Cape Fear (deNiro version)
Pretty in Pink
The Breakfast Club
It’s a Wonderful Life
Bowling for Columbine
Grapes of Wrath
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Gods Must be Crazy
Coming to America
American History X
Roger & Me
Inherit the Wind
Dead Poet’s Society
Mona Lisa’s Smile
Life is Beautiful
Lord of the Flies
The Truman Show
Meet Joe Black
2) Analyze the movie: After watching the movie, you will write a 4-6 page review, consisting of:
a) intro paragraph noting the relevance of the movie to the course
b) one page description/summary of the contents of the film
-How was the story presented?
——-i.e. flashbacks, sequential, from a particular character’s point of view, etc.
-What was the intention of the film and/or filmmaker?
——-Was this intention fulfilled or met?
-Did the way the movie was produced and presented affect the content?
-Were there specific scenes or occurrences, which stood out as being essential to the development of the story and/or to your understanding of it?
-Major substantive points of the movie?
-Any secondary points made?
-Any ‘unintentional’ results of the movie?
c) 0.5-1 page in which you discuss how popular culture themes were constructed in the movie use at least 3 examples
d) 1-2 pages in which you use at least 4 sociological/pop cultural concepts covered in this course to analyze the movie (cite class materials as you do so)
e) Analyze which issues emerged as the strongest…as the weakest?
f) Briefly compare the popular culture themes in the movie you watched for this assignment to another movie you have previously seen that had similar themes.
The paper should be typed, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins.
Please be sure to use sources and format citations in the APA citation format (including the movie).
- CO1: Compare and contrast culture, popular, high culture, elite culture, mass culture, low culture, subculture and counterculture.
- CO2: Describe examples of the different types of norms operative in popular culture, and how these are related to the process of social control.
- CO4: Apply key cultural theories and analytical dimensions for examining popular culture.
- CO5: Explain how various elements of popular culture inform or reflect our attitudes, behavior, and society and why the popular culture becomes popular.
- CO6: Illustrate diversity in popular culture and concepts of multiculturalism, ethnocentrism, and cultural relativism with reference to key stratifying factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, region and sexuality.
- CO7: Analyze culture within individual, social, historical, political, economic, and global contexts.
- CO8: Describe the cultural and social significance of popular culture in shaping the larger contemporary American society.
- CO9: Examine the roles of print media, art, music, radio, television, motion picture, the Internet, sports, fashion, and technology in the development of American popular culture.