Read This Before You Watch “Tales from the Hood”

Our chronological series moves into new territories of Black representation with “Tales from the Hood” (1995), directed and co-written by Rusty Cundieff (with co-writer Darin Scott) and executive-produced by Spike Lee. With this film, we finally encounter a commercially successful horror film not only aimed at Black audiences but one with a Black director, BlackContinue reading “Read This Before You Watch “Tales from the Hood””

Read This Before You Watch “The Babadook”

Australian writer-director Jennifer Kent made quite a splash with her debut film “The Babadook” (2014). Not only did this film become an early poster child in the trend toward “elevated horror” – a term which may always have been more about non-horror fans finally starting to look at horror films seriously than about some hugeContinue reading “Read This Before You Watch “The Babadook””

Wrap Up of “Five Feet Apart”

The title of our final teen movie “Five Feet Apart” (2019) in this series works especially well because until you actually see the film, you might think it’s an error. Maybe they should have called it “six feet apart” instead to more accurately reflect the appropriate amount of social distance. During this pandemic we haveContinue reading “Wrap Up of “Five Feet Apart””

Wrap Up of “Us”

From the very title of Jordan Peele’s unsettling film “Us” (2019), we as viewers should already expect to feel implicated in the horrors that follow. After all, don’t we casually think of ourselves as “us” all the time? Maybe we think of ourselves as “us” because we’re Americans. Or, maybe we group ourselves into “us”Continue reading “Wrap Up of “Us””

Read This Before You Watch “Five Feet Apart”

Everyone involved with making“Five Feet Apart” (2019) had to know from the start that this movie would be endlessly compared to “The Fault in Our Stars” (2014), the megahit teen romantic drama with the tragic twist that the female lead has terminal cancer. “Fault” got there first and did it best, so well in factContinue reading “Read This Before You Watch “Five Feet Apart””

“Five Feet Apart” Discussion Questions

Write a paragraph or two in response to each of the following prompts. What the significance of the title “Five Feet Apart”? How does this movie introduce us to its protagonist, Stella Grant? What is she doing when we first see her? What sort of a sister, daughter, and friend is she? What are herContinue reading ““Five Feet Apart” Discussion Questions”

Read This Before You Watch “Us”

Jordan Peele’s second feature film, “Us” (2019) begins as a story about a family of four taking a vacation in Santa Cruz, but the son’s “Jaws” tee shirt and his penchant for wearing a werewolf mask tilted up on top of his head provide early hints that this trip might end up as more thanContinue reading “Read This Before You Watch “Us””

Discussion Questions for “Us”

Please write a paragraph of two in response to each of the following prompts. What is the significance of this film being titled “Us”? How is the idea of “us” complicated by the emergence of uncanny doubles in this film? “Us” has a lot of complicated elements, but sometimes it can be helpful to brieflyContinue reading “Discussion Questions for “Us””

Read This Before You Watch “The Half of It”

This week we’re watching another Netflix original, the clever and charming teen romantic comedy “The Half of It” (2020) written and directed by Alice Wu. The core dramatic narrative is a familiar one, the sort of tale that goes back at least as far as Shakespeare and probably much farther, but these days we wouldContinue reading “Read This Before You Watch “The Half of It””

Discussion Questions for “The Half of It”

Write a paragraph or two in response to each of the following prompts. Maybe you thought this would be the week I let you off the hook and didn’t ask you to explain the title of the movie, but you’re wrong. That’s exactly where we’re starting. What is the meaning of this title, “The HalfContinue reading “Discussion Questions for “The Half of It””