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English 4578

Guilty Pleasure: Special Topics in Film


Credit hours: 3
GEC categories:
Prerequisites: 6 cr. hrs. of English at 2000-3000 level, or permission of instructor.

Text Books:

Title Author(s) Publisher ISBN
Online readings

Example Syllabus:

Course Objectives:

Course Content: Our focus will be on films that aestheticize the criminal mind. All five of our movies relate their stories through socially deviant first-person narrators. As such, we are brought into a kind of forced intimacy with characters that ought to repulse us, but such repulsion frequently gives way to charm, and even when we are repulsed we are often fascinated too. We will contemplate why this style of film is so engaging (perhaps in spite of its unrelatability), and we will discuss the writerly and directorial choices that make such a film work: what kinds of social critique inform the decision to create a (book or a) movie told from the point of view of someone such as Henry Hill (Scorsese’s Goodfellas), Patrick Bateman (Harron’s American Psycho), “Hi” McDunnough (the Coen brothers’ Raising Arizona), “Verbal” Kint (Singer’s The Usual Suspects), or Alex DeLarge (Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange)?

Method of Presentation: Lecture, discussion, film-screenings.

Method of Evaluation: Paper, presentations, participation.


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