National Chicken Month: Something to Crow About!

Le Poulet. The Graphics Fairy. 23 September 2019,

In honor of September being designated as National Chicken Month, please enjoy this list of famous chicken characters and how they rank against one another:

  1. Chicken Little – Chicken Little

            Honorable Mention: Buck Cluck

This classic tale follows Chicken Little, a rooster known for his anxious and dramatic behavior. “The sky is falling” is the tagline for which he’s most well-known. What I admire about this character is his determination to help his friends and unwavering sense of self in the face of adversity.

Chicken Little. Animation Confabulation. 23 September 2019,

Another character that deserves a spotlight is Chicken Little’s father, Buck Cluck. Raising his son by himself after the mysterious death of his wife, although Buck does not always understand his son and his fantastic ideas, he tries to support him the only way he knows how. Buck really comes through for his son and comes to understand him in a way that only a parent can.

  1. Chicken Run*- Ginger

*available through Bloomington Residential Hall libraries only (see IUCAT)

Cooper, Lee. Ancillary Product 1 – Movie Poster – Research into Aardman’s “Chicken Run.” A2 Media Studies. 24 January 2012, Accessed 23 September 2019.

Ginger and her fellow chickens battle against the owners of Tweedy Farm. As the smartest chicken of the group, she employs the help of circus performer chicken Rocky in order to rescue her friends from impending doom at the hands of the Tweedys’ chicken-pie-making machines. This character’s resourcefulness, compassion, and drive make her an excellent contrast to the typical image of the chicken.







  1. Moana– Hei Hei
Moana. IMDb. 23 September 2019,

Unlike the previous character on this list, Hei Hei is not the smartest. Part comic relief, part animal sidekick, this rooster is the perfect character you want to hate but can’t because they are just too clueless. In the end, he really does come out on top and you will be rooting for this little clucker by the final scene.

  1. Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire – Torchic
Torchic (Pokémon). Bulbapedia. 23 September 2019,

To finish out the list I would like to include a chicken character that does not get the love and recognition it deserves. Torchic is a fire-type character from the Pokémon video game franchise. As a playable starter, you can raise this chicken to become an awesome, giant fighting bird. This character is the only one in the entire franchise whose creation was influenced by the chicken and in this author’s opinion, is the superior starter for GEN 3.

Most items on this list are available at IU Media Services (click on the link to navigate to the IUCAT record for each item) and all are available on campus. Come by and let us know who tops your chicken list! CC


Pecking tin chicken wind up toy. Collywobble designs. Etsy. 23 September 2019,

Our guest student blogger Casey Callas is a senior at IU studying Psychology/History. When she’s not working, you can catch her hammocking around campus.


Remembered, Not Forgotten: Film Stars, Addiction, and Comebacks

Some movie stars are just as famous for their drug and alcohol use as they are for their film roles. Sometimes we see their worst moments splashed across the tabloids right next to pictures of them in a designer tux or gown at a red carpet event. Addiction doesn’t care if you are rich and famous; it strikes all kinds. Yet some of the stars who have struggled most—and most publicly—have achieved long-term recovery and gone on to deliver some of their best work. Below is a list of actors that have been able to fight the perilous battle of substance abuse and come back strong to play iconic characters we know and love.

  • Robert Downey, Jr.

The superstar we all know and love has a tragic history due to his drug addiction. Born in 1965, Robert Downey, Jr. (or RDJ) made his big-screen debut at the age of five, appearing in one of his father’s films. While poised to have an incredible future in the spotlight, he was unfortunately introduced to drugs at an early age—by some reports as early as six years old—and within a few years, he was addicted. In 1997, RDJ was arrested and prosecuted for various crimes. His addiction to drugs even cost him a seven-year relationship, and by the time he was out of jail he had alienated his family, had no money, and his spouse had left him.

Life Freakz. “Success Story of Robert Downey Jr.” Medium. 28 Jan 2018,

Fast forward to 2001, when he met his future wife, Susan Nicole Levin (now Susan Nicole Downey), whom he credits with helping him with his former drug and alcohol habits and also revitalizing his career. In 2007, he was cast as Iron Man and the rest is history! Robert Downey, Jr., is now one of the most highly paid actors in the world with a net worth of a whopping $250 million!

Iron Man (2008). IMDb. 11 September 2019,
  • Daniel Radcliffe

Everyone knows him as the “The Boy Who Lived,” but not many people know about his struggles with alcohol addiction. Daniel Radcliffe was cast as Harry Potter at the young age of eleven and soon became a superstar and a household favorite.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001). IMDb. 11 September 2019,

But it turns out that not many young stars can handle the pressures of immense fame. Daniel unfortunately became addicted to alcohol and admitted to drinking excessively to cope with portraying Harry Potter. However, the actor has since bounced back and has been sober since 2010, after realizing how the addiction started affecting his work on set. As of 2018, he still continues to star in movies but has now focused his skills on the theater—something he has always loved doing. Kudos to the young star for bouncing back from a play most movie stars can’t recover from.

  • Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore made her acting debut at the tender age of six, starring in the film E.T. The future superstar has come forward with her own addiction story, admitting that she started drinking at the age of nine and quickly became addicted to drugs soon after. Much of her teenage years were spent overcoming her addictions, and her mother put her into rehab following a suicide attempt by the star. She was sober by the age of fourteen, and even released an autobiography when she was sixteen. Despite the resistance of some of Hollywood’s power players, Drew returned to acting and established herself as one of the leading actresses we know and love today.

Drew Barrymore. IMDb. 11 September 2019,

These actors’ stories prove that we do not have to let our past define us, and that in the end, if you persevere and follow your dreams people will value you enough to forget about your past.

Stars: They Are Just Like Us

We all know that fame comes with stress and pressure. But anybody can experience excessive stress and the destructive effects of addiction. We have lost some great film stars to substance abuse over the years, but it is a good sign that more celebrities are willing to open up about their addiction and mental health struggles. It helps remove the stigma, and proves that they are human and sometimes need help like the rest of us. For most celebrities, the first step was to break the silence and reach out to a friend, family member, or health professional. If you or anyone you know is struggling with these issues, here are some resources for getting help:

National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Free Helpline

IU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) 24-Hour Helpline

IU Student Affairs Substance Use Services

Here are some documentaries about addiction available through Media Services (many more available):

Addiction: A Comprehensive View

Understanding Addiction

Portrait of Addiction

Media Services staff member and guest blogger Dhruv Madappa is pursuing a Master’s degree in Cybersecurity at IU.


Savor Them: Films with a Culinary Focus

As we enter early August and back-to-school thoughts arise, what better way to hang on to summertime than to enjoy the rainbow of foods—tomatoes, melons, berries, peaches—just now reaching peak ripeness. Our guest student blogger has some film suggestions to pair with your late-summer food picks!

Five Films for the Epicurious

  1. Big Night (1996)

Set in 1950’s New Jersey at a struggling Italian restaurant, this mouth-watering movie kicks off the list. The owners Primo and Secondo, two immigrant brothers, make amazing food, but their authentic Italian cuisine is too foreign for many of the locals and they find themselves losing business to rival restaurant Pascal’s. However, when they hear that famous Italian-American singer Louis Prima is going to be at the restaurant, they decide to go all in on one last big night to save their restaurant. Big Night is funny, touching, and full of incredible-looking food, including the pièce de résistance dish Timpani, a very complicated pasta bake on the bucket list of foodies and film buffs alike.

Big Night. IMDb. 08 August 2019,
  1. Delicatessen (1991)

Up next is the feature-length debut of French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet entitled Delicatessen. Set in the post-apocalyptic future when food is very limited, it centers on Clapet, a butcher and landlord who lures unsuspecting laborers into his shop to be killed for meat. However, when he hires ex-clown Louison who becomes romantically involved with his daughter, it all threatens to fall apart. Surreal, grim, and uncomfortable almost all of the way through, this film pushes the limits of the “food movie.”

Delicatessen. IMDb. 08 August 2019,
  1. Jiro Dreams of Sushi  (2011)

This documentary took Netflix by storm when it was added to the service in 2012. Originally released in 2011, it follows renowned sushi chef Jiro Ono, owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a small sushi restaurant in a Tokyo subway station which is the only sushi restaurant in the world with three Michelin stars. Even at 85, Jiro still runs the shop and is still trying to make the perfect sushi day after day alongside his 50-year-old son Yoshikazu, who will one day have to take over the restaurant. Filled with delicious seafood, this movie also manages to ask many big philosophical questions about life, work, purpose and perfection.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi. IMDb. 08 August 2019,
  1. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

Surreal, dark, and at times disturbing, French-English film The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover is a movie about a crime boss who takes over a restaurant with dramatic consequences. Written and directed by Peter Greenaway (A Zed and Two Noughts, The Draughtsman’s Contract), it’s full of twists and turns within the restaurant, all alongside the mouthwatering meals by the eponymous Chef.

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. IMDb. 08 August 2019,
  1. Ratatouille

Widely considered to be the greatest film to come out of Pixar studios, Ratatouille is beloved by children and adults alike. It follows a rat named Remy, who dreams of one day becoming a great Parisian chef, but must make an alliance with the human trash boy Linguini in order to do so. Visually stunning, gripping, and featuring one of the best food tasting scenes in cinema history, Ratatouille is a modern classic.

Ratatouille. IMDb. 08 August 2019,

What’s your favorite food movie (or scene)—bizarre, hilarious, or touching? Chances are, if you think it over, you’ll recall at least a handful!

Our guest blogger this week is Joey Bassett, a member of Media Services’ student desk staff since May, 2019.

Banned but Not Forgotten: Three Previously Banned Movies to Pique Your Interest This Summer

The Case of the Banned Film. Sexton Blake Library. Little Stour Books. 8 July 2019,

Film as a medium has always been subject to much scrutiny by cultural authorities around the world. Different beliefs and taboos in different countries have led influential films to the blacklist as a result of somewhat *ahem* questionable content. Over the years, however, standards change and once-discarded movies can quickly become acceptable. Despite this evolution, it can be quite hard to shake the word “banned” from a movie’s legacy once the damage has been done. For many, though, banned films are an intriguing look at what our culture deems acceptable – and unacceptable – in popular media. If that sounds interesting to you, head on down to Media Services; we happen to house a number of previously banned movies in our Teaching & Research collection. Let’s take a look at three of the most controversial titles ever to hit the silver screen, all of which can be found in our department.

  1. Pink Flamingos (1972)

Director John Waters has never been known as a friend of good taste. Along with frequent collaborator Divine and her crew of assorted misfits, Waters has consistently pushed the envelope of what a feature film could and couldn’t show onscreen. Nowhere is this more evident than in his most iconic film Pink Flamingos. In it, Divine stars as the “filthiest person alive,” a title she proclaims with pride. An ensuing competition to usurp Divine’s status leads into one of the most famously tasteless films ever made. There is a strong focus on sexuality, crime, and fetish in the film, among countless other taboos. The unabashed depiction of such themes led to a ban in Switzerland and Austria, as well as parts of Canada and Norway. This didn’t stop the film from becoming a cult classic on the midnight movie circuit, however. In a recent interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, Waters spoke about his acceptance into the mainstream and his recently published autobiography, Mr. Know-It-All: Tarnished Wisdom of A Filth Elder. Says Waters, “There’s plenty of rules that you can still break….I think you have to use humor and you can’t be so angry about it.” Today, Flamingos is considered a benchmark in queer cinema and punk aesthetics despite its one-time ban. Check it out at Media Services and experience the filth for yourself, if you dare!

The cast of Pink Flamingos. Digital image. IMDB.

2. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Wow – what a title! Filmed and marketed as a chilling and depraved documentary recorded by a lost crew, Italian director Ruggero Deodato’s film Cannibal Holocaust is considered a pioneer of the found-footage genre. It has also been considered one of the most controversial films ever released.

Italian film poster for Cannibal Holocaust. Digital image. Wikipedia. 15 December 2017.

The story, loose as it is, follows a supposed anthropologist and his team into the Amazon rainforest as they attempt to make contact with an indigenous tribe known for dabbling in cannibalism. They witness (and partake in) horrific violence directed at both people and animals. Eventually, the camera crew is attacked by members of the tribe and their footage is all that remains of them in the end. Upon release in Italy, the film’s director was charged with obscenity and eventually murder, as rumors claimed the onscreen deaths were in fact real. Though all charges were dropped, the uproar surrounding the film remained. Bans were imposed in the United States, Australia, Norway, Iceland, and several other countries. Viewers and critics remain divided on the film to this day;  yet it has been undeniably influential on movies such as The Blair Witch Project. If you’ve got a strong stomach, check it out and give it a try.

3. Battleship Potemkin  (1925)

Originally created as a propaganda film for the former Soviet Union, Battleship Potemkin was a cinematic feat the likes of which had never been seen when it was originally released. Pioneering several now-ubiquitous film techniques including montage, the film was a revelation in terms of shot composition, plot, scale, and content. Chronicling the mutiny of the eponymous battleship in 1905, the film depicts the widespread chaos that spread through Odessa as a result of a clash between the oppressive government and the average citizens. In the most iconic sequence of the film, a battalion of unfeeling soldiers march down the Odessa Steps toward a crowd of unarmed citizens and send down a hail of bullets upon them. The violence of the Odessa Steps, though tame by today’s standard, alienated audiences around the world in 1925. This, coupled with the film’s overtly political messaging, led to a series of bans including one in the United States. Retrospective reviews, however, have lauded the film as one of the greatest ever made, and a progenitor of countless tropes and techniques. You can experience the classic today – it’s available in Media Services.

Still of the iconic “Odessa Steps” scene. Digital Image. Critical Commons.

Banned films are often those at the forefront of change in media and culture at large (this is one of many entertaining banned-film lists in circulation). Though the content depicted within these films and others may be jarring, they all have a lot to offer in terms of new ideas and perspectives. Whether you’re a fan of comedy, horror, or a nice classic, Media Services can help you find a banned film you’ll love. Do you have a favorite movie that’s faced bans or censorship? – TC

Tanner Chaille is a junior studying Media and Human-Centered Computing. You can find him playing retro video games and listening to podcasts.

Keeping Up With the Classics: 3 Games You Need to Play at Media Services

This month, at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), companies like Nintendo and Sony debuted some of their highly anticipated gaming sequels and most innovative soon-to-release projects. Some of these titles elicited disappointment. However, many of the sequels—games that are successors to already existing titles like the Pokémon series and Gears of War— were met with excitement and acclaim. Games from such famous franchises have a history of leaving an impression on their players, but before you think about spending money on new games coming out this year, let’s look at Media Services’ collection of classic games, the predecessors to some of E3’s best highlights.

  1. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild cover art. Digital Image. Express. 16 April 2019,

This year Nintendo announced the sequel to the critically acclaimed 2017 game, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Although it was only released two years ago, most would argue it has cemented itself as a video game classic already!

This open world adventure takes you to the magical land of Hyrule where you, Link (again), have woken up from your century-long slumber and must now save Princess Zelda (again) from Calamity Ganon’s evil influence. You start humble, with nothing but a pair of trousers and a tree branch, but in no time you’re already knocking out hidden shrines one-by-one and slaying mighty Lynels with a few well-timed strikes with your longsword. Stunning visuals and graphics aside, you can tell this game was developed intensively and thoroughly by creators who thought of everything.

Link vs. Ogre. Digital Image. Technobuffalo. 12 May 2017,

From the realistic physics you learn through play, to the minute details you can discover, Breath of the Wild creates a highly engaging environment that you’ll want to keep exploring. Luckily, Breath of the Wild is available for checkout at Media Services for the Nintendo Switch. Rent one of our media rooms and immerse yourself in Hyrule to your heart’s content!

  1. Final Fantasy VII

Twenty-two years ago, the gaming company Square released what most call the best game of its franchise: Final Fantasy VII. Now, a remastered version of what critics called “quite possibly the greatest game ever made” (GameFan, 1997), has been announced for release next March. The game takes place in Gaia, a world whose magical life energy is being exploited and processed by the powerful and malevolent Shinra Corporation.

FFVII Remake. Digital Image. Square Enix., accessed 27 June 2019.

You, Cloud Strife, an ex-Shinra soldier turned mercenary, must band with your team of misfit heroes and destroy the Shinra Corporation’s plots to drain the world of its life and turn Gaia into a dystopian, dying planet. This game is a superb demonstration of the late-90s JRPG gaming style and absorbs the player in an industrial sci-fi narrative about the environment. What’s not to love?

Media Services also has Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. Need a PSP to play it? No problem! We have those, too. And make sure to take a look at our other Final Fantasy games, like Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy Anthology, and Final Fantasy Tactics!

FFVII Cloud Battle. Digital Image. Just Push Start., accessed 27 June 2019.

  1. Star Wars: Battlefront

What do you get when you mix a legendary international franchise with addictive gaming mechanics? Star Wars games! At E3 this year, ReSpawn announced a brand new game that takes place in the galaxy far, far away; Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Unfortunately, it was announced that the game isn’t to be released until November of this year, so in the meantime, why not experience the classics? Developed by LucasArts in 2004, Star Wars: Battlefront is an action-adventure that places you right in the middle of laser guns, giant war machines… and Ewoks. You play as not one character, but an array of soldiers that are fighting on either side of the rebellion for victory.

Battlefront Cover Art. Digital Image. Steam., accessed 27 June 2019.

The game strips itself of all seriousness by letting you play as either side whenever you want, emphasizing the gameplay rather than a moral compass you feel obligated to follow. It’s literally anyone’s game! But don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself. Star Wars: Battlefront is available at Media Services for Xbox, along with Star Wars: Battlefront II (PS2), Lego Star Wars (Xbox and Wii) and even the Knights of the Old Republic series (Xbox)!

Battlefront Gameplay. Digital Image. Word Press. 10 May 2011.

Whether these games give you nostalgic butterflies or introduce you to a world you’ve never experienced, these games are sure to keep you preoccupied while you wait for the next generation of games to take over. All of these games are available to play at Media Services; all you need to bring is your campus ID and some refined hand-eye coordination and we’ll take care of the rest. Which one would you want to play first? – BC

Brandon Carr is a junior majoring in psychology, with minors in Japanese and counseling. Brandon enjoys walking around campus and getting chai lattes with friends.

5 LGBT Films to Watch This Pride Month

June is LGBT Pride Month. In 2000, Pride Month was officially designated by President Bill Clinton as an annual observance, and every year many events occur across the US and globally to highlight the diversity and history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Pride Month 2018. Awareness Days. 21 June 2019,

The last few years have seen an explosion in blockbuster films featuring LGBT characters and relationships. From dramas like Moonlight and The Favorite, to coming-of-age stories in Love, Simon and Booksmart, and celebrity biopics Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, the complexities of LGBT life are making their way to the silver screen like never before.

Historically, LGBT characters in mainstream cinema were closeted, villainized, and mocked (perspectives on this history up through the mid-1990s appear in the documentary The Celluloid Closet). The gay or transgender character is the source of horror or laughter in everything from Silence of the Lambs to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. When LGBT characters are the protagonists in their own stories, these narratives often end with death, betrayal, and heartbreak. The message that this sends is that LGBT people cannot lead happy, complex, or dignified lives.

The recent wave of more positive and nuanced representation does not mean an end to all negative cinematic depictions of the LGBT community; the shift in American and global attitudes toward sexuality and gender is ongoing and incomplete. However, Pride month is an opportunity to recognize the resilience of LGBT communities and filmmakers who have worked from the margins to shift the mainstream dialogue.

With these Pride month recommendations, I wanted to share five limited-release films made by and about LGBT people. Whether you’re in the mood for history, spoken word, drama, or feel-good romance, Wells Media Services has got you covered.

Before Stonewall (1984)

Before Stonewall. IMDb. 21 June 2019,

Ever wondered why Pride month is in June? The simple answer is that the Stonewall Riots started on June 28, 1969, in New York City. The facts of the Stonewall Riots are complicated and much debated, but they are understood as a key historical flashpoint for the LGBT rights movement in the United States. Before Stonewall tells the story of the Riots, but also illuminates LGBT American history since the 1920’s.

Where to find it: Streaming via IUCAT, both on and off campus.

Tongues Untied (1989)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Marlon Riggs’ experimental documentary Tongues Untied. Riggs combines dance, spoken word, and documentary to express the pain and beauty of being a black gay man in America. Tongues Untied made history due to its form and political content. Despite controversy over the film in the public sphere, this documentary, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and originally aired on PBS, would become an award-winning work.

Tongues Untied. IMDb. 21 June 2019,

Where to find it: Media Services Teaching and Research section (click link for call number), or streaming via IUCAT.


The Way He Looks (2015)

The Way He Looks. IMDb. 21 June 2019,

Written and directed by Daniel Ribeiro, this Portuguese film portrays a tender love story between high school students Leo and Gabriel. Leo navigates his blindness, burgeoning sexuality, and the trials of being a teenager with the support of his best friend Giovana. The film represents sexuality as well as disability with nuance and heart.

Where to find it: Media Services Browsing section.



Screaming Queens: the Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria (2005)

For another look into LGBT American history, check out Screaming Queens, a documentary produced by Gender Studies scholar Susan Stryker. Although Stonewall is commonly referred to as the first gay or transgender riot, Stryker shares the story of a 1966 riot in San Francisco. Like Before Stonewall, Screaming Queens provides a broader historical perspective on the criminalization of homosexuality and cross-dressing, police harassment of LGBT people, and resistance by the LGBT community.

Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria. IMDb. 21 June 2019,

Where to find it: Media Services Browsing Documentary section, or streaming via IUCAT on and off campus 

Tangerine (2015)

Tangerine. IMDb. 21 June 2019,

If you’re searching for a Sundance-premiering, independent-award-winning film to impress your friends with, look no further than Tangerine, a comedic drama about transgender sex worker Sin-Dee and her best friend Alexandra. Tangerine takes us on a wild, harrowing, sometimes hilarious ride through the culture and life of Los Angeles, as the two heroines hunt down Sin-Dee’s cheating boyfriend. The film is aesthetically impressive, especially considering it was shot entirely on an iPhone 5. Yes, that’s right, an iPhone 5!

Tangerine. The Movie Jerk. 21 June 2019,

Where to find it: Media Services Teaching & Research section (click link for call number).

Josie Wenig is a PhD student in Religious Studies, studying early Christianity, philosophy, and transgender theory.

Road Trip Movies!

National Road Trip Day – May 24

The Friday before Memorial Day kicks off the official start of summer with National Road Trip Day. The long weekend provides the perfect amount of time for a quick getaway with family, friends or an adventure all by yourself! Staying put for the summer? Live a road trip vicariously with these classic films of the genre.

#1 – Thelma & Louise (1991)

Thelma and Louise. 23 May 2019,

This 1991 hit stars Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon on the trip of a lifetime as they journey to Mexico in order to avoid the consequences of their actions (no spoilers here!). This film celebrates strong and self-sufficient women and the lifelong bonds of friendship. With a killer soundtrack and an ending that will make you sit and think, this film should be included on anyone’s summer watch list.

For fans of: A League of Their Own

#2 – College Road Trip (2008)

College Road Trip. 23 May 2019,

This goofy comedy stars Martin Lawrence and Raven Symone as a father-daughter duo who embark on a road trip from Chicago to Washington, DC, for a college entrance interview. Audiences will connect with both Melanie (Symone) and James (Lawrence) as they deal with the anxieties and triumphs of starting a new life chapter.

For fans of: We’re The Millers, Are We There Yet

#3 – Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider. 23 May 2019,

This classic film starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper follows two Harley-riding drug dealers as they journey to New Orleans. The influence of the counterculture movement of the late 1960s is evident throughout the movie, so if films with historical significance interest you then this is right up your alley! Join Hopper, Fonda, and Jack Nicholson as they experience adversity, understanding, and a really bad trip.

For fans of: Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid

 #4 – The Hitchhiker (1953)

The Hitch-Hiker. 23 May 2019,

This film noir might make you never want to road trip again! Inspired by the real life murder spree of Billy Cook, the story follows two friends during a fishing trip to Mexico. As you’ve probably guessed from the title, their encounter with a hitchhiker becomes a terrifying fight for survival. The Hitchhiker is also regarded as the first American mainstream film noir directed by a woman as well (Ida Lupino)!

For fans of: Deliverance

All of these movies and many more are available in Media Services. Come check it out today!

Casey Callas is a senior at IU studying Psychology/History. When she’s not working you can catch her hammocking around campus.


A Masterful Collection

This blog post is one of a series that highlights Media Services’ online streaming databases. More information and a full list of streaming databases is available here. Visit our department home page to discover the many ways we support teaching, research, and learning with both streaming and physical formats!

Among the many online streaming resources IU offers is Films On Demand’s Master Academic Collection, which houses over 17,000 titles in disciplines such as Anthropology, Communications, Criminal Justice & Law, History, Music and Dance, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and more.

Its home page, which can be accessed through the Media Services Online Streaming Databases webpage, has a familiar and easy-to-navigate array of films and videos arranged based on topic, producer, popularity, etc., much like Netflix. While educational, most of the videos seem far from purely academic or dry. Here, one can watch the entire Planet Earth II series, learn key leadership skills, and discover how soup cans and pop art changed the world.

Films On Demand home page. 18 March 2019,

Something unique to this resource is its variety of formats: it lists individual videos as well as video series, and it collects a variety of formats (from news segments and TED talks to full-blown documentary series). In the upper left hand corner, users will find a drop down menu that lists subjects, popular categories (such as Best of Ken Burns, Biographies, Exclusive to FOD, and Great Artists), and Featured Producers (including the American Museum of Natural History, Frontline, and PBS).

Featured this month are videos related to women and gender equality, in honor of International Women’s Day. Showcasing this resource’s attention to variety, the videos are quite varied–from a six-minute documentary about London’s domestic slaves to a series called “The Ascent of Woman: A 10,000 Year Story.”

Films On Demand home page. 18 March 2019,

The internal search engine is also very easy to use. One can search based on format, subject, type, copyright dates, language, and producer. It is quickly apparent when searching for a specific topic that this site can isolate segments from longer videos that address what is being searched for, which is a unique feature that could be very useful for writing research papers or targeting interest areas without having to comb through an entire series.

Portrait of Allen Ginsburg and Bob Dylan by Elsa Dorfman. Wikipedia. 18 March 2019,

In honor of April being National Poetry Month, I typed “poetry” into the search box, and an astonishing 4,315 results were found. The first result was a series called “Poetry Heaven” that includes segments titled “Why We Write” and “The Lure of Poetry.” In addition to exploring questions of why we write, the videos feature contemporary poets–as well as Allen Ginsberg who has since passed away–reading and discussing their work. Poetry is as much an oral art as it is written, so videos like this are key to our full experience of the poem (if we are not lucky enough to hear Joy Harjo or Robert Hass read in person).

Scrolling down, there are short segments on how to appreciate poetry, an educational series that teaches literary terms such as rhyme and meter, and even an clip of Amiri Baraka in conversation with Maya Angelou about how Marxism influences his search for concrete reality in his poetry.

There are 105 search results for Maya Angelou herself, among them a recent feature-length film about her life and words, several hour-long interviews with Bill Moyers, and a video of Dr. Angelou reading at President Clinton’s second inauguration.

Maya Angelou reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. Courtesy, William J. Clinton Presidential Library. 18 March 2019,

All in all, Films on Demand’s Master Academic Collection is a stunning collection of videos and films on every subject imaginable. Whether you’re looking for a way to unwind from a long day, amp up your research, or just curious about the connections between Handel and hip-hop, this streaming resource has something for you. AL

Media Services staff member Anni Liu is a graduate student in Creative Writing at IU, published poet, and essayist.

It’s SWANK, and It’s Swell!

This blog post is one of a series that highlights Media Services’ online streaming databases. More information and a full list of streaming databases is available here. Visit our department home page to discover the many ways we support teaching, research, and learning with both streaming and physical formats!

Swank is an online platform where IU students, staff, and faculty can watch feature films. Online streaming services are a modern convenience, but the St. Louis-based Swank company has actually been active since 1937. The founder, P. Ray Swank, got his start offering projection service “on demand” and on location. There were plenty of movie theaters back then, but, just like today, people also needed to show films outside the theater environment (think classrooms, churches, union halls). That’s where Swank’s service filled a gap. Back in the day, the Swank company would show up with a 16-mm projector, some film canisters, and a human being to roll film, change reels, and fix breakdowns. Today’s Swank service does a similar thing, minus the canisters and projector. Nowadays, the company works with universities, hospitals, and even cruise ships, providing a digital platform and taking care of the legal side of distribution and licensing for feature-film content.  

Indiana University Bloomington Access Page for Swank Streaming Service. 13 Mar 2019,

At IU, many different departments use feature films as teaching tools. The Media School is an obvious example. But because feature films can help shed light on practically any aspect of human experience, films are used in history and arts courses, cultural studies, gender studies, and others. Classes in the hard sciences can use Swank as well, to discuss ideas like how science is depicted in Frankenstein (1931), or the implications of artificial intelligence as shown in Ex Machina (2015).

Frankenstein. Digital Image. IU Swank. 2 March 2019.

All you need to access this resource is an internet connection. Just enter your IU login credentials at this link: There are over 200 films that you can watch from all sorts of genres and decades. As the collection expands, there is more to browse through. However, if you are looking for something in particular, Swank also has an advanced search tool, plus an option for searching by genre.

Advanced Search. Digital Image. IU Swank. 2 March 2019.

IU provides the Swank service so that instructors can require feature films in their course curricula. But you can also watch films on Swank for their sheer entertainment value! There is some crossover between the titles on Swank and other services (like Netflix), but Swank has some content not found elsewhere. If you want to use film resources to enrich a class research project, be sure to check Swank!

Mexico Remixed: Swank highlights

Throughout Spring 2019, IU continues to celebrate Mexico Remixed. There are classic and contemporary Mexican and Mexican-American films available for viewing on SWANK! Check out this sampling below, browse in IUCAT, or go directly to the Swank platform itself.

American Me

American me poster. Digital Image. 15 December 2017

IUCAT summary: Inspired by a true story, this is the story of a vicious Latino prison gang leader, doomed by his past to a life of harsh, unforgiving violence after his release from jail. He grows up in East Los Angeles, joins a street gang and is in prison while he is still of an age to be in high school. By the time he is back on the streets again, he is a skillful, educated criminal.





Frida poster. Digital Image. 8 December 2017.



IUCAT summary: The life of artist Frida Kahlo, from her humble upbringing to her worldwide fame and controversy that surrounded both her and her husband, Diego Rivera.







Bread and Roses

IUCAT summary: A group of immigrant workers takes a stand against the million dollar corporations who employ them.

Bread and Roses poster. Digital Image. 4 November 2017.

More titles:

Like Water for Chocolate

Pan’s Labyrinth

Sin Nombre

Born in East L.A.


Mental Health: Fact and Fiction on Film

This blog post is one of a series that highlights Media Services’ online streaming databases. More information and a full list of streaming databases is available here. Visit our department home page to discover the many ways we support teaching, research, and learning with both streaming and physical formats!

Mental illness has been a subject in the entertainment industry for decades and, much like the field of psychology, it has been evolving—in my opinion, for the better. However, better does not mean perfect, and in honor of Mental Wellness Month, I will talk about a couple of movies that depict mental illness with varying degrees of success, as well as offer suggestions for further information about mental illness and wellness.

In Iron Man 3, we see Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, dealing with the trauma brought on by the first Avengers movie. We see this manifest in many ways throughout the movie. One of the first scenes we see is one of his suits of armor reacting to the panic brought on by a nightmare. Iron Man 3 also has a good example of how triggers  work. Triggers can be anything from a smell, to an image, to a few words. They remind the traumatized party of the event and cause a mix of reactions such as short tempers, panic attacks, and anxiety disorder. In Iron Man 3, we see drawings done by children, small conversations, and dreams of past events all triggering these reactions in Tony throughout the movie.

Iron Man 3. IMDb. 22 February 2019,

When looking at Tony’s friend Rhodes, his romantic partner Pepper, and a child named Harley, many of us in the audience will see a little of ourselves. Rhodes mentions that he is worried about Tony, because he has not been acting like his usual self. Pepper sees his behavior as reckless and dangerous. The child, Harley, picks at Tony’s psyche. Harley is very much there for the progression of the plot, but he is also a perfect visual of how some people react to those with a mental illness. While one party (Rhodes) tries to push for the truth, the other (Pepper) pushes Tony away for their own safety and well-being, and yet another (Harley) is just along for the ride. But no party is painted negatively for their role or responses. If you can find yourself in any of these characters, you can start to understand how your response to a person with mental-health issues might affect their mental state, either positively or negatively.

Iron Man 3. IMDb. 22 February 2019,
Iron Man 3. IMDb. 22 February 2019,

Split (Italian release). IMDb. 22 February 2019,

Split is a psychological thriller about teenage girls who are kidnapped by a person with an identity disorder. The antagonist has 24 personalities that are slowly counting down to the most violent one. Each personality has different mannerisms, clothes, and speaking patterns. While this is extremely common in persons with the disorder, it is also extremely ­uncommon for these identities to talk back and forth to one another.



Split. IMDb. 22 February 2019,
Split. IMDb. 22 February 2019,

Split and some of M. Night Shyamalan’s other movies such as The Visit are unfortunate examples of mental illnesses being played up for the sake of entertainment and drama. This can be a disservice to viewers and real-life disorder sufferers alike, since the audience may not be well educated in various types of mental illness and might take some or all of the movie’s portrayal as truth.

In addition to many fiction films on mental illness, including classics like PsychoA Beautiful Mind, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Media Services has non-fiction films on the subject, including many psychology-related streaming databases. Some resources, such as Counseling and Therapy in Video, allow patrons to research therapies for different mental disorders, or learn about the last century’s most important psychological experiments and breakthroughs. Others, such as this video on PTSD, help users understand a specific mental health problem and how it works. There are also hundreds of compelling documentaries that offer a window into social, or sometimes highly personal, experiences of mental illness and/or mental healing. TL

Tamara Lane is a recent graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in Japanese Language and Culture and a minor in Studio Art. Current obsessions: Kingdom Hearts 3 and comic making.