To complete this assignment, follow these steps:
Read through this entire assignment before you start doing any of the steps, so you will see what you need to accomplish including the specific questions that you will cover in this paper.
Review and study the section “Six Major American Genres” in Chapter 3 (pp. 82-102) so you can learn how to distinguish one genre from another and how to apply the genre descriptions to films. Review the tutorial videos for this chapter: Video Tutorial: Genre: The Western. Also, you can find more information and some additional genre descriptions at the AMC filmsite.org web page.
Watch one of the movies listed below.
Even if you already saw it, you must re-watch to give the level of analysis and specificity this assignment requires. You will need to include specific, detailed examples from the film to help prove your points, so choose a movie you would enjoy picking apart (analyzing) in terms of genre.
The Big Lebowski (dir. Coen Bros, 1998): comedy, thriller, film noir, musical*
Blade Runner (dir. Scott, 1982): sci-fi, thriller, film noir
Children of Men (dir. Cuaron, 2006): sci-fi, drama
Inglorious Basterds (dir. Tarantino, 2009): war, thriller, comedy
Singing in the Rain (dir. Donen, 1952): musical, romantic comedy, reflexive film
The Shining (dir. Kubrick, 1980): horror, drama
High Noon (dir. Zinneman, 1952): drama, Western
* The genres listed next to each movie are not official designations; they are possibilities you might discuss when considering genre-conforming or genre-bending. Movies have traits of one or more genres; these are not fixed categories into which film-makers or film critics put movies. You might decide that a movie could fit into a genre that is not on the list; just be sure you can prove your point.
Review these documents.
Guidelines for Writing about Movies: Understand and follow conventions for academic writing in general and movie analysis in particular. (Reminder: what you write represents your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and opinions, so you can avoid using statements like “I feel” or “in my opinion.” You should notice that only one question below asks for your opinions; other answers call for strictly objective analysis which is written in third person.
Film Writing Assignments Grading Rubric: Understand how your paper will be graded, and strive to meet these expectations.
Plagiarism + Originality Detection: After submitting your paper to the dropbox, check your Turnitin similarity report to ensure that your paper has no plagiarism and has an appropriate percentage of quotations. The majority of the paper should be YOUR words and ideas. Find and fix any problems, and resubmit before the deadline.
Cite sources if you quote or paraphrase an outside source, including the textbook or filmsite.org:
Distinguish your ideas from those of others by naming the source in the sentence or in a parenthetical in-text citation.
Distinguish your words from those of others by naming the source in the sentence or in parenthetical in-text citation AND putting quotation marks around the borrowed language.
Provide an MLA Works Cited list. For help with this, go to Purdue Online Writing Lab MLA Style Guide. All works cited in your writing (quoted or paraphrased) must be on this list, and all works on this list must have been used in the paper and cited (MLA Works Cited lists do not contain works consulted). You should have an entry for the film you write about, too.
Format your document. Dress your paper for success.
Use MLA document format: guidelines for formatting your paper (scroll down to the heading “General Guidelines”)
Use an MLA style header (your name, professor’s name, class, date in left corner of page one)
Do not use over-sized fonts or under-sized margins. Your paper is not being graded on length but on the depth of your content.
Number each response to match the questions.
Do not combine answers into an essay.
Do not include the text of the questions as this will affect the non-originality percentage in your Turnitin similarity report.
Write your analysis by answering all questions below (number your responses).
(approx.100 words) Provide background on the movie you watched, including the following:
title (remember to italicize movie titles)
names of the director, stars, and any other noteworthy personnel (e.g. screenwriter, photographer)
other noteworthy facts (e.g. awards won, revenue)
where you obtained the movie to watch for this assignment (e.g. streamed with Netflix, DVD purchased from Amazon.com)
(approx. 200 words) Freeze the movie after it plays for exactly one hour and one minute. Describe the scene, including the following:
What is the setting: time (in history, time of year and day), place (country, particular outdoor or indoor location), social environment.
What is happening at that moment? Where are we in the narrative?
Who are the characters, and what are they doing?
What is one distinctive quality of this moment? Choose a particular element, e.g. prop, sound, lighting)
(approx. 300 words) What is the movie’s main genre? Choose a genre listed above next to the movie, or choose another. You will defend your position in this answer. (For example, someone might reasonably argue that Children of Men is predominantly science fiction, while someone else might argue that it is primarily a drama. Nobody could reasonably argue that it is a comedy or a musical.)
Your topic sentence for the paragraph should state your claim about the predominant genre.
Describe that genre, listing specific traits. Consider elements such as theme, narrative, character, settings, and so on.
Then, discuss specific ways in which the movie is typical of the genre. Provide at least one example to illustrate each genre trait you listed. This will constitute the bulk of this paragraph.
Discuss specific ways in which the movie ignores, doesn’t match, or overturns genre traits.
Strengthen your answer by comparing this movie to one or more movies of the same genre.
(approx. 300 words) What are one or more secondary genres for this movie? Traits might be almost as prevalent as with the predominant genre, or they might show up occasionally or as influences. (For instance, The Big Lebowski has elements of a musical, but that is not its primary genre.) Here again, use a suggestion on the list above or argue for one or more different genres.
Your topic sentence for this paragraph should state your claim about the secondary genre(s).
Describe the genre(s), listing specific traits. Consider elements such as theme, narrative, character, settings, and so on.
Then, discuss specific ways in which the movie is typical of the genre(s). Provide at least one example to illustrate each genre trait you listed. This will constitute the bulk of this paragraph.
Strengthen your answer by comparing this movie to one or more movies of the same genre(s).
(approx. 100 words) This last question is your chance to review the movie and add your personal ideas about the film. (Re-read your responses to the questions above to ensure they provide strictly objective analysis rather than personal commentary.)
Did you enjoy the movie? Why or why not? (Provide specific reasons rather than generalities like “It was boring” or “It held my attention” or “It was funny.”)
Did the genres work well together? Did the combination contribute to or detract from the movie? Did the mash-up produce any surprising effects?
If you watched this movie in the past, what new qualities or innovations did you notice this time, now that you have completed the first part of Intro to Film?
Review, revise and edit your assignment before you submit it. Check it against these instructions to be sure you didn’t get off track. Use the Writing Center staff at your campus or through the essay dropbox course (Ask me if you’re not sure about this) if you want to get another set of eyes on your work. Finish this assignment in time to use the Turnitin similarity report to help you check for proper citations and percentage of source material.
To complete this assignment, follow these steps: