Oscar! Oscar!

With the 89th Oscars showing on February 26th, people are trying to see all the nominated films before the big ceremony! While most of the films nominated for Best picture are still in theaters, there are 88 other years of great films for you to watch! Here is a small selection of wonderful films that are available at the Wells Library, so maybe you could have an old fashioned Oscar party while watching these films!

  1.  Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner- This film rocked the world in 1967 where it portrayed an interracial couple in a positive light in a world where interracial marriage was illegal until June of 1967, six months before the premiere of the film. The legendary actress Katherine Hepburn won Best Actress for her portrayal of a mother whose daughter brings home an unexpected guest.

2. The King’s Speech

This film won the coveted Best Picture Oscar in 2010, and it was well deserved. This film follows King George the IV as he overcomes a life long stutter during the beginning of World War II.

3.  Spirited Away

Hayao Miyazaki is known around the world for being a genius in the realm of animated movies. Out of the thirteen feature films that he has created, this is the only one that won an Oscar, in 2002 it won Best Animated Feature, the second Oscar granted after 2001 to the film Shrek. This film is visually stunning and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats as they follow the heroine, Chihiro as she falls into the realm of spirits in effort to find her parents.

I hope this small selection of films has got you interested in films that were deemed worthy of getting an Oscar. There are many more, on the Oscar film database, just be sure to cross check them with IUCAT and if we are missing any of these seminal films be sure to let us know!


Fantastic Mr. Fox: A Kid’s Film for Adults

Many of the works of the beloved children’s author Roald Dahl have found their way onto the silver screen. From Matilda to The BFG, Dahl’s written work has taken on a second life in the form of film. Perhaps this is because of how unique Dahl’s children’s fiction is, and how readily his material lends itself and adapts to the screen. Dahl’s work is distinctly mature for being stories meant for children. His stories are often darkly comedic and occasionally find themselves bordering the morbid. Anyone who has seen Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory knows that the wicked are punished, often brutally, for their impropriety. Dahl’s stories show how the good and the pure ultimately overcome the iniquitous and immoral. Such mature themes make it difficult to classify film adaptations of his work as “kid’s movies.” But that is the beauty of Dahl’s storytelling: he does not flinch from the notion that children can be adult, or that adults can be childish… Continue reading “Fantastic Mr. Fox: A Kid’s Film for Adults”

Adapting Media into Films: What Works and What Doesn’t

When books are adapted to movies, it’s impossible to copy the original word for word. Often times subplots, scenes or other elements in the book are left out of the film to meet an acceptable runtime, and this can harm a reader’s appreciate of the film version. Since a book is interpreted differently by all who read it, it’s impossible for the person adapting the work to please every member of the audience. When I watch an adaptation of a book, I’ll often walk out thinking “man, I wish this was more like how I imagined it,” but there’s one movie adaptation that is so faithful to the source material that audiences everywhere thought “man, I wish I imagined the book more like that!” This adaptation is Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, based off of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novels

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The Media Services Top 10 Films of 2016

Media Beat Blog Header2016 has been all over the board in film- many disappointments, many surprises, and now it’s time to forget all of the bad films and just focus on the ones that spoke to us. Film is an art that allows people to connect, listen to stories, and learn about characters, and sometimes, even learn about ourselves. We asked our staff and coworkers this week to send in their favorite ten films of 2016, and using an algorithm, combined the lists into one Top 10 that takes into account everybody’s vote for every movie. What follows is the official Media Services Top 10 Films of 2016…

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The Female Gaze

Media Beat Blog HeaderSo, the United States of America didn’t end up electing a female president… the president-elect we do have thinks Time Magazine’s Person of the Year should go back to Man of the Year. Women are, on the whole, paid less per dollar than men for doing the same job, and their reproductive rights are constantly under attack. 2016 was a great year for the unchecked egos of certain male figures, but a bummer for ladies and those who support them…

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Remake, Reboot, Prequel, Sequel…?!

3Media Beat Blog HeaderThese days our theaters are flooded with movie ideas both new, old and something else entirely. As many have come to realize, not all of these films are original ideas; a lot of movies are reboots of a franchise, remakes of a classic, or simply continuations of other movies, either with a prequel or sequel, or spin-off. I’d like to point to two of the more recent additions from this year: Blair Witch and The Magnificent Seven

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2016: The Fall of Film, the Rise of TV?

Media Beat Blog Header12016 has now become, to many, a terribly disappointing year in cinema. There are only a handful of films that have genuinely (and positively) surprised people, as well as garnering a respectable amount of buzz… but of all the films that have had a lot of excitement surrounding them… almost all of them have either flopped or been seen as just “bad movies”.

On the other hand, it seems that television shows, mainly streaming shows on Netflix or other original series, have grown to become popular and well-received, even after just one season. It’s almost as if TV is surpassing film in quality of story this year. Of course, there are, and always will be, exceptions to any rule, but I’d say there have been many more disappointments in film than TV this year, and many more surprises in TV than in film…

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Board Games at the Library!

Here at the Wells Library, we pride ourselves at providing the materials and services you want and need. In Media Services, we have decided to bring in a new feature to our brand new space in the Wells Library Basement.

We have added Board Games to our space!!

That’s right, for any tabletop and board game enthusiasts we now have a plethora of board and card games at our disposal. Now, unlike the rest our items available for checkout the board and card games have to remain in the Media Services area. If you have any questions about borrowing, please talk to us at the circulation desk!

Onto the Games!

A great game that is a great introduction to strategy is a classic, chess! Chess has been around since the 6th century and is great for everyone to play! The game is played on a chessboard, where each player has 16 pieces and the object of the game is to trap the king piece. It may look simple but chess is game of the mind and reading your opponents moves.

chess board


Another fantastic board game is Settlers of Catan, a strategy and resource building game has been popular in America and across the world.  Players assume the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources. Players are rewarded points as their settlements grow; the first to reach a set number of points, typically 10, is the winner. The players roll dice to gather resources, players can trade resources with other players and use resources to build everything from roads to settlements. The game can accommodate 3-4 players and 5-6 with expansions. Game play can take as little as an hour depending on the players. This game is for anyone above age 8.

Catan Board

The last game to boost, is Cards Against Humanity

A quick note about this game, it for 18+ players, and that all of the cards used in the game could be considered offensive. There are a lot of swear words, so be sure to keep your voices low when you play this game. The tagline of the card game is that it is a party game for horrible people.

Don’t let that dissuade you from trying it, it can be a lot of fun especially with old and new friends. The game mechanics are very simple, each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card. The player who uses the black card then chooses the white card that they think is the funniest or what they find most amusing. The game lasts as long as people want to play or until all the black cards have been played.


Be sure to come checkout these games and the rest we have gathered in Media Services!


The Mid-’90s Female Bildungsroman, Part 3 : “Clueless” and Supratextual Intertextuality

Every tumblr girl’s favorite cult film “Clueless” turns 21 years old this very week! Some ragin’ celebrations are in order, of course, but first and foremost, I’d like to raise a toast to the film’s writer/director Amy Heckerling, without whom we may never have uttered a single “whatever.” Much has been written about the enduring influence of “Clueless” on popular fashion and language (ranging from outfit listicles and .gif recaps to academic papers in film studies and linguistics)–rather than retread these stylistic grounds, I’d like to take a look at how these lasting influences turn “Clueless” into a locus for a supratextual* intertextuality†.

Now, of course, Heckerling isn’t the only author responsible for the genesis of “Clueless”; indeed, the film’s central conceit and characters are themselves reinterpretations from Jane Austen’s 1815 novel Emma, whose titular character shares the same affably scampish spirit of Heckerling’s Cher Horowitz (played by Alicia Silverstone). Austen wrote Emma as “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like” (see her memoir here); she wrote Emma for herself, for her own titillation, perhaps for a therapeutic literary companionship. The personal nature of this character creation evokes a sense of the autobiographical, a personification of the ego specific to Austen, or at the very least an idealized confidante or partner.

One-hundred and eighty years later, Heckerling picks up the thread of Emma through Cher and extends the same affection for Cher that Austen held towards Emma: though our protagonist may be ostensibly superficial, “Clueless” is entirely compassionate and demonstrative of Cher’s essential goodness. In developing Cher, Heckerling invokes not only Austen’s Emma, but her own Emma; Cher is constituted through the crossing paths of each author’s interpretation of Emma. And since Cher is borne from Emma–an entity that always already contained the constituting signifiers of Cher–when Austen created Emma, she also created Cher. So then both authors are continually in the process of creating both images of the Emma/Cher persona–this persona is not static but is instead continually constituted through her relationships with her authors and with the audience that simultaneously consumes and produces specific personal inflections of her. So when we see Cher, we see double: we see her, we see Emma, we see Heckerling, we see Austen, and we see ourself constituted within her, all done up in Fred Segal.

Beyond this constitution-via-reception, we also embody and deploy the multitudinous persona of Emma/Cher when we adopt the most salient of Cher’s sartorial and linguistic signifiers. Just as Heckerling reconstituted the Emma persona through Cher, when we send off a dismissive “As if!” or wear coordinating plaids, we reach back through Cher to Heckerling, through Emma to Austen, re-re-constituting the image of Emma/Cher by way of these non-textual “texts.” In this way, “Clueless” serves as an intertextual crossroads, whereby any number of casual watchers enter into a personal dialogue with one of English literature’s greatest figures. We are active participants in the present-day continual development of Austen’s and Heckerling’s protagonist–her bildungsroman becomes ours.


* As in, beyond a literal or narrative text proper. As discussed with “Party Girl,” clothing can serve as a sartorial text; similarly, neologism and slang can serve as a non-narrative linguistic text.

Intertextuality, as discussed by Julia Kristeva, acknowledges that any text does not exist as essentially separate but instead is an intersection of other texts, is not fixed in meaning but instead dialogic. All texts are inherently (at least) “double” in meaning by nature of their intertextuality.