Movies Post * Due by 8am on September 25, 2014

A quick reminder: we won’t be meeting in the classroom on 9/25 – go to the Event Center!!!

Choose a popular film – one that either made a lot of money, or received a lot of critical acclaim (or both). It doesn’t have to be recent, but it should be Hollywood (meaning, large-scale, mass market, produced for the largest possible audience) and begin working through a semiotic analysis of the film.

What archetypes or metaphors did you notice in the film?  Does the film seem particularly postmodern to you in any way?  Were you able to recognize any double-coding?  Does the success (critically, box office-wise, or both) seem overdetermined to you?  Why or why not?

The most successful film of 2014, so far, has been Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie has already made $632 million and has received a surprising amount of critical acclaim for a science fiction film that is a comic book adaptation – these types of films tend to do okay in terms of box office, but almost never receive the level of critical praise Guardians has gotten.

In terms of archetypes, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is not the typical action hero, but he fulfills another type of common contemporary movie hero – the website TV Tropes (incredibly useful for TV and film semiotic analysis) calls the type “Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass” – Quill seems like a foolish idiot at first, but turns out to be a very effective superhero by the end of the film.

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is another popular contemporary film archetype – the gorgeous woman who also happens to be an incredible fighter – think about all the women in the X-Men film series. Almost all the characters in the film are archetypes, but I’ll stop here before this post becomes longer than the film.

This movie is crazy-postmodern. It literally couldn’t exist without all of the films it references, from Footloose to Saturday Night Fever to the Star Wars and Star Trek series, as well as Battlestar Galactica – and those are just the references I caught off the top of my head.  This creates a nearly constant space for double-coding, as anyone who recognizes the references is having a different movie-watching experience from someone who doesn’t.

I definitely find the success of Guardians of the Galaxy to be overdetermined.  We’re at a sort of high point of comic book adaptations and whenever we reach a crest for any kind of film genre, there’s often a snap-back – either parodies of the genre (think Scream or Not Another Teen Movie or any other number of parodies) or there’s a lighter, more self-referential (more postmodern!) response like Guardians.  Finally, the dorky anti-hero is very popular with today’s movie audiences, plus the film appeals to the largest money-holding, movie attending market (the tail end of Generation X and the beginning of the Millennials) by dropping in heavy references to their childhood: the movie’s constant references to the 1970s and 80s and the pop music of that time.


14 Responses to “Movies Post * Due by 8am on September 25, 2014”

  1. The movie I chose is “instructions not included” starting Eugenio Derbez made about $99,067,206. It was critic because some people didn’t think Eugenio did good directing AND staring in the movie. The movie was the highest-grossing Spanish-language film and the fourth highest-grossing foreign film in United States, and it also broke a record in Mexico.
    Although I enjoyed the movie a lot I did see a few archetypes for example “bajo la misma luna” the plot of the movie is not the same but some how it feels like it and the fact that Eugenio also starts in that movie and his characters are so alike makes it archetype. But over all I feel that the movie was great and I was not surprise with the success it had. It was an emotional movie and the vibe that it gave made it relatable in some form to the audience.

    • Wow another great choice, this movie makes me cry at the end. It is one of those movies that doesn’t have a happy ending, but the message that resides with me is a beautiful one. (:

  2. mdgutierrez Says:

    The movie I chose was “mean girls” because it’s a classic. I remember first watching it back in 3rd grade, I didn’t understand it much but as I got older the jokes in the film made sense because the movie appeals to teenage girls going through high school. The movie became relatible to every girl in America, most of the girls who have watched this movie can quote it by the top of thier head. This movie had a 17 million dollar budget but made $129,042,871 at the box office.

    • I was going to chose this one, but I was like: “nope”, because I was most certain someone would chose this awesomly funny movie.

    • I’m probably the only girl in the world who hasn’t seen this movie!!! The crazy thing about it is I can quote it because my friends do it and I know what they’re talking about–If this makes sense.

  3. The movie’s I chose are the fast and the furious movies. Each movie has made a ton of cash and I believe the phenomenon has an incredibly huge fan Base. I think it might of even archetyped other street racing movies that came after like need for speed and red line but then again I don’t know that for a fact just like I don’t know if archetyped is a word and if it is If I even used it correctly anyways, 😛 I think the fast and the furious movies are awesome and I think the films deserve plenty of props which plenty people would agree so I think the success is very much earned and I also believe people have much respects for the movie series because it made street racing and street racers go to a wholeother level and each movie has made fast and the furious fans want more. R.I.P Paul walker

  4. The film that I chose is, “Click,” where the main character is Adam Sandler. Adam Sandler movies are personally my favorite and have a large audience. Although the movie, “Click” may not be the most popular among the movies Adam Sandler has been in, it does take a lot of money to direct the film he is in, since he is such a popular actor. Most of his films are comical, but this one was both sad and happy. It gives a great message that is repeated in many ways, being that family comes first.

    When it comes to determining archetypes, Michael Newman (Adam Sandler), plays the role of a workaholic father, who is perceived as, “being old” by his two children who are growing up. He has, what you can call a normal, day to day life where he feels pressured into providing what is best for his family, which I believe is an idea that is repeated. He gets so frustrated with all the daily distractions he receives from his life, just as all the controls that power his electronics; that he is finally triggered into buying a universal control. I believe that this, “Universal Control,” is a metaphor that teaches him, and the audience, that every problem in our life’s, doesn’t have a universal solution. He figures all of this in a very sad but comical way, which is why I love this film because I believe that because of hardships, I am able to see a brighter side of life.

    There are also many other recognizable archetypes, like his two children and the sadness of a parent that is watching their children grow up. There is “The Angel of Death” (Christopher Walken), also known as Morty, the guy that sells him the control at Bed Bath and Beyond. Morty happens to work in the, “Beyond section” another great metaphor that compliments this movie. Last but definitely not least, is his loving, and very beautiful; I might add, wife: Donna Newman (Kate Beckinsale), Michael Newman’s wife and first love, that struggles along in helping him through all the struggles that he is going through till she can’t anymore. I think that is a very empowering message for woman today, whom is very supportive and isn’t receiving the attention and respect she acquires as his spouse.

    This film is very postmodern when it comes to ideas that are presented to the audience. It has the themes, the background music, the settings, and the ideas that have been brought to my attention in other films; that I cannot think of at this moment, due to lack of memory relocation of all the movies I have watched. (Haha)

    This movie is most definitely over determined, but that is what I love about it, because in the end when he returns back the remote, he is able to live a present life with his family. I just love the beauty in that message, that power, doesn’t give happiness; only we as normal human beings can do that.

  5. Titanic is a 1997 American epic romantic disaster film .The film achieved critical and commercial success.With an initial worldwide gross of over $1.84 billion, it was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark. It remained the highest-grossing film of all time, until Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar surpassed its gross in 2010. A 3D version of the film, released on April 4, 2012 (often billed as Titanic 3D) to commemorate the centennial of the sinking, earned it an additional $343.6 million worldwide, pushing its worldwide total to $2.18 billion. It became the second film to gross more than $2 billion worldwide (after Avatar).

    Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio ) is the American,free spirit archetype from the wrong side of the tracks.Jack gives his life to save Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet ) when he puts Rose on the floating door in the ocean and dies himself.Acts of self-sacrifice like this are considered to be the exemplary trait of a classic hero.
    Titanic is a great metaphor to society in that the people in the ship are being warned,the iceberg is in front of them and they cannot seem to turn the big ship fast enough to hit it.Governments cannot do anything concrete,there doesn’t seem to be strong leadership in the world on critical issues because of the influence of special interests in businesses.The people in power just turn a blind eye to the environment-the ocean.All they do is to make money.

    I believe the film is postmodern though I don’t have any concrete evidence.The success of this film seems overdetermined to me.The film received steady attendance in theaters plus it’s target audience was worldwide.

  6. The movie I am choosing to talk about is Shrek 2. It is in the top 25 of all time box office hits and EVERYONE has heard about the movie. The movie is a continuation of the typical love story where Shrek saves Fiona from distress and they fall in love and marry. In Shrek 2 Shrek has to deal with his in laws. Shrek 2 surpassed the expectations and some critics even think it was funnier than the first movie.
    The archetype in this movie would be Fiona who is a damsel in distress like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty,etc. But she is not very typical because in the end she does turn into an ogre.
    I do not believe that it is very postmodern and very over determined after how well the first film did. It had made $436,471,036 in the box office and is #8 on the list.

  7. Toy Story 3 was a box office hit entertaining families all around the world. It was the highest grossing film of 2010. I think it earned over a billion dollars! This postmodern film is about Andy going off to College and the toys are afraid they won’t be being played with ever again. This movie makes me cry everytime I see it.
    When it comes to archetypes, Woody (the cowboy) is protrayed as the hero in the movie. When the toys are accidentally sent to the daycare, Woody has to find a way to escape. The daycare is controlled by Lotso (the bear) like a dictatorship, so Woody and the other toys desperately want to leave before Andy leaves for college. They all have their unique traits that may remind of us of someone. No toy gets left behind-thats the motto.

  8. armstrong251994 Says:

    War of the Worlds was a big hit when it came back out in 2005. It was a remake from the 1953 War of the Wolds. It earned around $77,061,953 on opening weekend. This is a post modern film because it shows how people are afraid of what may be watching us and what may have been on our planet already. I love to see if aliens actually do exist and our watching us.
    The archetypes, Tom Cruise is portrayed as the divorced father who wants to spend time with his kids. Then lighting came around during a storm but it was aliens in pods going inside machines underneath the ground. The aliens represent another science way of life that makes us afraid of what we want to know. Tom Cruise and his family have to survive from these blood thirsty aliens, which they can only survive from. It is a great movie to relate to our time to really know if there are others that are among us.

  9. The movie I choose is ” Transformers”. Transformers were a big hit scoring millions of dollars on opening day. Transformer was a great movie and overall a big box office hit. The movie starts off with a normal boy that maybe we can relate to that happen to find something in his family history that brought the Transformers alive. I think that this played in on a lot of peoples fantasy of finding something about themselves or someone close to them that could potentially saved the world. I also felt that way because Shia Lebouf was so realistic that we all could maybe relate to him. I also think another thing that played a major part was that it was an action movie. It included a lot of actions, things blowing up, car transforming into different objects and a lot of other dynamics that kept me and others glued to their seats. I love action movies and especially a good one and Transformer did everything right.

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