Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Movie Reviews

Today I asked some students to write a journal response to the quote, "Drama is life with the dull bits cut out." This seems like a pretty easy reflection and I have bright enough 11th grade students to tackle this type of creative thinking, but there are a couple of problems for non native speakers. The first is the word "drama" which I helped them define as films, television shows, and theater. I won't even begin to peel away the layers for other meanings of "drama" and the idea of a metaphor. The second problem is "dull bits" which is fairly synonymous with "boring/uninteresting parts" There were still lots of blank stares (not all...some really got it...) so I wrote a brief paragraph stating basically that I agree with the quote and used the example of James Bond 007 "Skyfall" and made up some BS response that I learned about the life of a spy, M16, some interesting deserted islands, etc. without the boredom of watching James do paperwork and all the slow parts of life in between. In other words, drama is very exciting life.

Well, my brief paragraph led to a discussion of "Skyfall". Because I liked the movie so much, and because there was nothing else playing, I saw the movie twice. I love the setting in Istanbul, the crazy bad guy, and the fact the James does not take the easy way out and retire, but rather comes back and uses his skills, experience, and talent to save the world...well M16 at least. As a matter of fact, I thought everyone liked this film. But, I was mistaken. My students did not like "Skyfall" or at least the scenes in Turkey. They were irritated that the film only showed the old parts of Turkey; the covered women, the old bazaars, the dusty streets, the donkeys and old motorcycles. They felt the movie showed only the less-developed parts of Turkey. They are tired of being asked by foreigners if they ride camels. They thought it was very unfair that all the new, shiny parts of  China were shown. They want the world to know they, too, are developed and modern. (Hence, the idea for this blog and this public service announce that parts of Turkey are developed and modern.You should come and visit...)

So, then I asked them what movie they would recommend. The answer from both the boys and the girls was "Twilight....." (whatever the third one is called) I asked "why" and they responded because it's "good." (Note to self...vocabulary lesson is necessary.) At this point the bell rang for lunch. With a smile on my face and the good fortune of finding my male co-teachers at a table, I grabbed a seat and gave a quick summary of the movie reviews from my class. Like me, they had only made note of the setting for "Skyfall" because we could secretly think "I've been there!" As a matter of fact, one teacher thought he would see the movie again just so he could see the scarves...he didn't even remember them. And, like me, my colleagues were more than amused to hear about "Twilight." Think American style guffaws that echoed across the very large dining hall. We were trying to think of one time when a boy would willing go to "Twilight" in the States, and we both agreed that it would only happen if his girl friend had a noose around his neck.

This brings me back to my original quote, "Drama is life...."

1 comment:

  1. Well, you can say you don't like twilight because it was filmed in Washington, but only in one small town that does not accurately reflect the culture and beauty of the state. Or you know, you could simply just say it was bad.