Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

This movie was created in response to the ‘Writers Guild of America’ in 2007/08 because writers wanted to show that they could produce movies and release them successfully without the need of studios. The movie was released on the internet and then later released on DVD, and it won several awards.

This musical is about a man called Billy, or ‘Dr Horrible’ who is an aspiring villain that spends the whole movie trying to prove himself as a villain so that he can join the ‘League of Evil’. However he becomes interesting in a girl named Penny and so we also see the romantic side of him as he tries to win Penny over from his nemesis and ‘superhero’ Captain Hammer.

I thought this movie was very entertaining and humorous, and I found the songs they sang surprisingly enjoyable. I enjoyed the plot of the story because I think it is very original. I think the movie favored the writers argument because it showed that with a small budget and a small cast, you could still make an enjoyable and successful movie. Ironically, it is the profits from the DVD sales that the director used to compensate his cast for the making of the movie. However, I think this is irrelevant in that the writers could still make a name for themselves and show the studios the why they are so important in the entertainment industry.

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‘Thank You For Smoking’ Part 3

This part of the book was definitely my favorite, as it was, I think, the most dramatic part of the book. Buckley describes the events that takes place when Nick is questioned and arrested by the FBI because they suspect that he framed his kidnapping. Nick is able to figure out that his kidnapping and resulted downfall, was actually initiated by BR and Jeannette, who are jealous of the relationship between the Captain and Nick. The rest of the book shows how Nick ends up pleading guilty in order to reduce his jail-time, BR dies from smoke inhalation (with Jeanette suspected of his death) and the MOD squad moving on from the jobs unto different things. At the end of the book, Nick even promotes how smoking is bad for you, which is something I predicted would happen.

I very much enjoyed this book. I think it is obvious that Buckley had fun with it and was able to draw on many ironic ideas which made the book absolutely hilarious at certain parts. I like how he is able to right a relaxed and interesting book that allow people to still be aware of the serious issue that is smoking (and even drinking and armed weapons). By the end of the book, readers are aware of the damage smoking can do, and people who smoke that read this book may themselves be obliged to quit because even the main character quit.

This book was nothing that I expected. I thought that it was going to be rather serious but it completely the opposite. I don’t think that the ending completely supports Nick argument throughout the whole book as he was a supporter of smoking for much of it! However, I think that is what makes the book so interesting, as it was an ending that readers were not expecting. What do you think?

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‘Thank You For Smoking’; Part 2

In this part of the book, Nick Naylor comes under serious threat when he is kidnapped and nearly killed by the anti-smoking rebels who made the call on the Larry King show earlier in the book. This kidnapping results in Nick becoming even more on a known figure, and getting a promotion. I think this is a rather humorous part of the book because Nick continues to gain popularity increase the sale of cigarettes by blaming the nicotine patches that nearly killed him (even though it was due to the fact that he had too many on his body at one particular time). I enjoy the way Buckley writes this novel because it is easy to understand and very entertaining to know what is going to happen next in the story.

The main argument in this part is obviously still the issue of smoking. Nick continues to gain respect from his co-workers from his highly publicized interviews and articles, and by the end of the section we even begin to see the starting of a possible movie begin to develop in which they are hoping to advertise their products by using well-known celebrities.

However, something that I find interesting in this section is how Buckley depicts Nick himself as becoming less interested in cigarettes. Although this is probably primarily due to the fact that he doesn’t enjoy the taste, it seems to me that Nick doesn’t even really miss the fact that he cannot smoke. I find it intriguing that he is able to continue his job so well, without getting the same thrill from smoking that he gained in the beginning of the book. I don’t think that Nick seems as interested in his actual work either. I get the sense that he is really doing it because he feels that he doesn’t want to let his co-workers and the Captain down, and I predict that by end the book he may well have given up his job to do something he really enjoys or will retire early. What do you think?

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‘Thank You For Smoking’; Part 1

The main theme and argument of this novel is the issues concerning and surrounding smoking (and alcohol and weapons). The main character is a communications specialist, Nick Naylor, who works in a tobacco company. A lot of the book is made up of the debates and disputes that Nick has with the media who think smoking is bad, whilst Nick and the company he works for is trying to convince people of the opposite opinion.

One of the first things I noticed when reading this book was the some-what care-free language that the author, Christopher Buckley, used in his writing. I think that the tone is relaxed, yet he uses strong vocabulary to emphasize what he is saying. For example, when he says;

“Mainly he testified in the endless tobacco liability trials, trying to confuse juries with              erudite, Kissingerian-accented, epidemiological juju about selection bias and                            multivariable regressions.”

If I were to read the above quotation by itself as a sentence, I have to say that I would be incredibly confused with what the author was saying. However, the way that Buckley phrases other sentences around it, make his story easier to understand and therefore much more enjoyable for the reader. I think that this also increases the author’s ethos because it shows that he’s an educated writer who is able to speak fluently and entertainingly.

I noticed that Buckley is writing in the third person, however he is also writing in the first person perspective of Nick, the main character. I think that this gives the audience a chance to gain different perspectives of the same story without even realizing it. By writing in the third person, Buckley summarizes the story and then he provides Nick’s thoughts which add extra depth to the story line.  An example of this is towards the beginning of the book when Nick was being interviewed on the Oprah Winfrey show and Buckley wrote;

“Nick would buy him a wig, too, and get him eyebrow hair transplants. Anything                      he wanted. He felt so badly about the cancer. Maybe, with some                                                radiation…Forget the kid! He’s history! Press the attack! Attack! Attack!

As demonstrated above, Buckley also provides a sense of humor in his writing which keeps the story more interesting and the audience more intrigued in what he is saying.

 

 

 

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Life & Debt

This documentary movie is based on the book “A Small Place” by Jamaica Kincaid, however it portrays the life of the country of Jamaica, not Antigua, which was the country used in the original novel.Something I liked about this film was how they used actual quotes from Kincaid’s book which were well linked the images that the film used. This allowed the audience to be able to visualize what Kincaid was saying in her book and therefore make more of a connection to the story.

There are several reasons why they may have chosen to do the documentary on Jamaica and not on Antigua. I think one of these reasons is that the author herself is named Jamaica, and it could be some sort of tribute to the successful book that she wrote. Another reason could be that Antigua is not as well-known as Jamaica, therefore by using Jamaica, the audience can relate to what they are saying because they recognize a country that is going through the same ordeals as the one the Kincaid described in her book.

The film describes the different financial and governmental issues that Jamaica is facing in their economy, including the banana and dairy economies, and relates it back to tourism within the country. Tourism is one of the main issues that Kincaid discusses in her book as she feels that tourists are half the problem for the developmental issues of Antigua. I think the film does well to link Kincaid’s quotes to the tourist issues and uses hard facts, such as interviews, with individuals (such as the former prime minister) to point out the issues of corruption within the government. The director did well to link the two equally so that it could accurately portray the book, and I think this is what accounted to making the film just as powerful as the book itself. What do you think?

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A Small Place; Part 2

Throughout the second half of the book, Kincaid carries on using the aggressive tone that was used in the first part. However, rather than criticizing the British, she talks about the problems within Antigua itself, more specifically concerning the government and issues concerning corruption within that; this is one of the main arguments that she discusses in the book. Another argument is that concerning the two different parts of Antigua, that being before and after the British invasion.

I think that Kincaid writes in the second person in parts of her book because she is speaking directly not just to the readers, but I think more specifically to the people of Antigua. Personally, I think that if I was a person from Antigua and read this book, and could relate to everything that Kincaid was saying, then I would feel the great urge to change for the better, and try to improve the country in which I grew up in. I think the second person is also directed to the government in Antigua. My identifying all of their flaws, it may want them to reduce the level of corruption and try to make Antigua a better place.  I think that by writing in the second person, Kincaid makes this the book a lot more personal and easier to relate to, and this may come across and anger. I don’t necessarily think that it is anger, more like passion because she is so desperate for Antigua for as lovely as she remembers it to be. What do you think?

 

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A Small Place; Part 1

As soon as I started reading this book, I was completely engulfed in what the author, Jamaica Kincaid, was saying. I appreciate the fact that she writes about where she is from so freely and expressively, which makes it easier for me to read and understand. I feel like the way she writes is similar to writing an entry to a diary; thoughts are flowing straight from her mind and unto the page, making the piece seem that much more emotional.

Kincaid’s main argument is between her home, Antigua, and people of the western world, more specifically, English people. Antigua was under British rule for a long time (when Britain still had a large empire), and she describes what Antigua was like before and after the British left and Antigua gained its independence. She criticizes the British, saying that they “thought they were civilized but they act like animals”, and how after the British made their leave, the people of Antigua started to act like them.

I think that Kincaid shows a very strong use of pathos throughout. She relates the problem as something that has happened through the whole of Antigua, not just herself, and this makes readers feel a sense of compassion for the country as a whole. She also entwines her personal feelings into the text. I like that she doesn’t try to hold back her emotions at all, and it not afraid of insulting anybody that reads the book, in fact, I think that is what makes the text so powerful within itself. What do you think?

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‘The Uses of Anger’ by Audre Lorde

This article was written by a woman named Audre Lorde in 1981 for the newspaper, ‘The Feminist Press’. I feel like it is a very powerful and inspirational piece with a strong message behind it, therefore it is something that woman could relate to especially at the time it was published.

Over time, women have become more acknowledged in society and now have more apparent positions in the majority-male workforce. However, I think that when Lorde wrote the article, women were still classified as strongly inferior to males, especially black women. In this article she describes the use of anger with regard to racism, and as it is a feminist paper, she pays particular attention to racist interactions between black and white women.

Lorde mentions that she is “black and lesbian” and how she uses anger to deal with situations and encounters related to this. From the article I get a sense that this status puts her and women like her at the bottom of the social hierarchy because it is so widely unaccepted at the time. In the first two pages of the article she describes personal encounters she has been involved in and why these things would lead to the anger that she and ‘her colored sisters’ are obliged to feel. In this sense she also uses a lot of pathos because she is telling the readers about actual personal experiences and her responses to these experiences that she had. I noticed that she had strong ethos because of the fact that the newspaper is published by the City University of New York.

Something I noticed from this article is that she doesn’t respond to anger in the way you would think she would. I was pleasantly surprised to read of the ways in which she dealt with the anger in the different situations that she encountered. She described ways in which to deal with the anger positively and use it to one’s advantage in trying to make a difference and changing the situation that a black woman would have been faced with at that time. I think that is what makes this article different from others on the same subject matter, because rather than complaining about the situations that she’s faced with, she comments on ways to improve them and therefore this makes readers more inspired to want to change what they were going through. What do you think?

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Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace is a movie based on the British politician and abolitionist, William Wilberforce, and the story of how he played a major role in the abolishment of the slave trade from the entire British empire in the 1700s.

At the beginning and throughout the entire film, we see that Wilberforce is severely ill. We later learn that this is due to the failure of his bill being voted for in the House of Parliament, resulting in him developing what the doctors think is a chronic illness called colitis. When Wilberforce meets his wife-to-be, Barbara Spooner, she encourages him to tell his story and eventually to propose his bill again where it is finally accepted.

Wilberforce and his team (of those included where Thomas Clarkson and Oloudah Equiano) tried and failed for their bill to be accepted for many years. The British Parliament were against the abolishment because they felt that it would diminish their role as the strongest empire in the world, and cause their enemies, France, to take over. However it was pointed out several times in the film that although people were against the slave trade, many of those people were not brave enough to admit this, and I think that this is one of the main reasons why his trade was not successful as early as it should have been.

In this film we see Equiano as part of Wilberforce’s abolishment team. He shows Wilberforce the conditions of which slaves were put in when they were sailed across the Atlantic, and also the shackles there were kept in. It is shown that Equiano sold over 50,000 copies of his narrative, but unfortunately was not alive for the abolishment of the trade. I think that although Equiano didn’t necessarily have the largest role in this film, he was definitely one of the most important because he was the one who provided visual evidence to Wilberforce and explained it in a first hand account, and I believe this was the deciding factor in Wilberforce’s decision to start this movement against the Parliament.

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Equiano’s Interesting Narrative; Volume II

Equiano works to maintain credibility throughout his narrative by being very descriptive with his story telling. He constantly names all the vessels, the years on which he boarded these vessels and the individuals he was associated with on his travels. It was important that he maintained his credibility for his audience because he needed his story to be believable and therefore make a strong impact. The disgust he shares for the West Indies somehow makes his story more authentic for instance when he said “I thus took a final leave of Georgia; for the treatment I had received in it disgusted me very much against this place…”. I think this narrative also appears to be very authentic because of the fact that all of the names of vessels and individuals that Equiano has been associated with have been recorded and can be traced back too.

It is very important to know where Equiano was born because people are more likely to take heed of his story if he was born in Africa. If it became aware that he was not born in Africa, then people would wonder why they should believe the rest of his story. I doubt that his narrative would have been as successful as it was if it was a known fact that he was born elsewhere than in Africa. As well as this issue, it is mentioned several times that Equiano himself was needed to sell slaves for his masters as well as slaves that were sold in his own village when he lived in Africa. People may find this hypocritical and therefore wonder why they themselves should do anything to make a difference for the slave trade.

I personally think that Equiano story is authentic, however there is no doubt that there were obviously some fictional aspects included in the story to make it more ‘Interesting’, especially as the narrative has been edited and re-written so many times. What do you think?

 

 

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