English | American Film Culture
L295 | 2196 | Sperber

L295 2196 SPERBER
American Film Culture

4:00p-5:15p TR (40) 3 CR.
4:00p-5:15p W FILM SHOWING


In this course we will examine films as cultural documents.  We
will focus specifically on movies about sports and consider them in
their cinematic and historical contexts (and use a number of
readings on American sports history to aid us).  We will study how
and why these films portray athletes, coaches, and sports situations
in certain ways and at certain levels of seriousness, and what these
portrayals reveal about American society and culture.

In cinematic terms, sports movies form a distinct sub-genre and
we will discuss this frequently and view films representative of all
forms of the sub-genre, from the classical Hollywood studio period--
Pride of the Yankees and Knute Rockne--All-American--as well as more
recent classical genre films--The Natural, Field of Dreams, Rocky,
Hoosiers and Rudy--and also revisionist sports genre movies--Raging
Bull, Eight Men Out, and North Dallas Forty.  In addition, we will
study mixed-form genre films like Bull Durham, A League of Their
Own, White Men Can't Jump, The Program, and Hoop Dreams, as well as
parodies like Major League and Caddyshack.  Students can see these
films during the Wednesday night showings; however, these films are
also available on video tape in the Main Library Media Center, in
some dorm libraries, and in many video rental stores--thus students
can view them in a library or at home.

Student responsibility in the course includes a number of short
papers, and a class presentation on any current or past sports movie
of the student's choosing, as well as a mid-term and a final exam.
Students have the option of substituting a major project for the
final exam.  The major projects can consist of: a research paper on
any filmmaker or topic connected to the course; OR a creative film
project, e.g., a film script or a short film or videotape on any
topic prompted by the course.

You do not have to be an English or Film major to take this
class.  We will use a textbook that explains cinematic terms, and no
student will be handicapped by a lack of background in film.