Thursday, May 19, 2011

Week 7: HU121 Film In Society (Catch Me If You Can)

Discussion Question:
Do films like The GodfatherGoodfellasCasino, and Donny Brasco glorify the lives of those involved in organized crime? What about HBO's award-winning series The Sopranos? Why do so many people find Tony Soprano to be a sympathetic character? In Catch Me If You Can, Frank Abagnale, Jr. steals millions of dollars and lies his way through the world, yet somehow he remains relatable. Are these characters glorifying crime?

Discussion Answer:
I feel that films like The Godfather, Goodfellas, Casino and Donnie Brasco do glorify the lives of those involved in organized crime because they show that it is exciting, without consequence and can be quite profitable. This is also the case with the HBO's award-winning series The Sopranos. Tony Soprano is found to be a sympathetic character by many people because he is essentially a family man just trying to provide for them. Yes, these characters glorify crime, like I stated before because they show that it is exciting, without consequence and can be quite profitable.

Assignment Question:
  1. Compare and contrast Ethan Edwards (the protagonist in The Searchers) and Michael Corleone. If you watched Catch Me If You Can, contrast Ethan Edwards with Frank Abagnale, Jr. In what ways are they similar?  In what ways are they different? 
  2. Discuss the intercutting of the baptism scenes with the murders of the rival families.  What point is Coppola making about Michael? What point is he making about the sanctity of life? For those of you who watched Catch Me If You Can: Evaluate Leonardo DiCaprio's acting in this film and in general. The book describes him as a very versatile actor. Why?
  3. Don Corleone tells Michael that he had hoped he would be able to lead a different life than the one he chose, a life outside of the criminal world.  Do you think this would have been possible for Michael even if he had not? For those of you who watched, Catch Me If You Can: Compare and contrast Frank Abagnale, Jr. and Carl Hanratty. Who is the hero? Who is the villain? What motivates these men?
Assignment Answer:
  1. Ethan Edwards & Frank Abagnale, Jr. aren't necessarily evil people but they did live outside of the law. Ethan was outside of the law because he was seeking revenge for the tragedy that occurred to his family. Frank initially began being deceptive to meet girls and then into then excitement to see what he could actually get away with.
  2. Leonardo DiCaprio's acting in this film is one of his best, in my opinion.  It show how he can be a troubled son in one scene and a sauve airplane pilot in the next. Being able to do this is very important in this film because he is portraying someone who was able to deceive people for years on end. In general, Leonardo DiCaprio could do almost any role. From his start as a runaway on Growing Pains to a hopeless romantic in Titanic to a mentally handicapped boy in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (or which he received he first Oscar nomination).
  3. Frank Abagnale, Jr. and Carl Hanratty both had damage family lives, which caused them to devote themselves entirely into their work. Their work just happened to be on different sides of the law. Frank is clearly the villain, but only because he is breaking the law. Carl is the hero because his job is to catch people breaking the law but can be deceptive in order to get what he needs. Ultimately though, Carl general does come clean to clear his conscience. 


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