Movie Journals

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Journal 1
What’s cooking?
Explain the representation of women and their roles in their families. Explain the role of the generational conflict. How does the setting design tell about the characters? The film What’s cooking? is about four different families all coming from different cultures, but focuses primarily on the women of each. We have a Jewish mother who is trying to accept the fact that her daughter is a homosexual and trying to eases the acceptance. Then we have the Nguyens, the mother follows the Vietnamese traditions really tightly and depends on her eldest son to help guide her young children. In the Avila family we see Elizabeth, whose macho husband has left her for her cousin and has found consolation with a colleague. In the Williamses the wife is dealing with an infidelity from the husband as well as putting up with an annoying mother in law. These family problems show us that every women has the same problems no matter what ethnicity they are or culture. Throughout the film we see generational conflict. In the Williamses's family we see a conflict between the wife and the mother in law when they were arguing if the turkey was ready. The mother in law has different ways, “old styles” of cooking and preparing food, which causes them to bump heads. Also in the same family the father and son don’t see eye to eye in the son’s education. The son wants to go to Howard, an all black college. His father doesn’t want that for his son he tells him that he would rather like him to go to a University like UCSB and be part of the white patriarchal capitalistic society, but the son feels that it is more important for him to cope with his minority group. The visual designs used to portray the houses tell us a lot about the families. The Williamses house is the biggest out of all the homes. This shows that they are of a high socioeconomic class. When compared to the Nguyens we see that the Nguyens are of a lower socioeconomic class. We also see this when they are preparing the mash potatoes for the thanksgiving dinner. The Nguyens use their hands to mash the potatoes while the Williamses use a blender to mash it for them. The Nguyens are clinging to their Vietnamese traditions so tightly they haven't a clue how to listen to their children. The Seeligs house décor seems to be old school insinuating that they have lived in the neighborhood for a while. They seem to be conservative keeping their old traditions. We see this when the father doesn’t want his daughter to tell his relatives that she is a lesbian and has a girlfriend.

Journal 2
Hairspray
Explain how Tracy challenges the ideology of her time. Explain how she challenges the way women are perceived. Explain how color acts as a way of explaining the world of the film.
Tracy challenges the ideology of her time in many different aspects. Tracy lives in the 60’s when society was dominated by a white patriarchal system. Segregation was still going on but it was on its last terms. Tracy challenges the system by questioning why the African Americans only danced one a month on Negro day and why they couldn’t dance along side with the white kids. Questioning the Jim Crow laws that were a big part of society at the time, which kept people segregated. She also challenges the patriarchal society when she confronts the police which are the repressive state apparatus and how they don’t allow integration.

Tracy challenges the way women are perceived in films. In most films women are these skinny tall beautiful women who get what they want. In hairspray Tracy is the opposite of this norm that has been adapted for women. She is a short big girl who is in love with the most attractive guy at school. Who in reality has no chance with him what so ever. Despite all of this she makes him fall in love with her challenging the norms. Showing us that anything is possible to achieve and that the true character of a person is defined by inner qualities rather than outer ones...
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