Tag Archives: jeanine basinger

First Annual Mayoral Film Series in Middletown

Mayoral Film Series PosterYour first Fun Thing to do in Middletown, CT, this school year:

Middletown Mayor Daniel T. Drew and Wesleyan University’s Film Studies Department are pleased to announce that they are partnering to offer the first annual Mayoral Film Series in Middletown. The series will consist of three time-tested, classical gangster movies and will commence with a showing of The Maltese Falcon on August 22, 2015 followed by Angels with Dirty Faces, starring James Cagney, on August 29, 2015. The third and final film screening will be The Usual Suspects, on September 5, 2015. Films will be shown at 7:30 p.m. at the Film Department’s theater located at 301 Washington Terrace.

Mayor Drew personally selected these films. “These are among my favorite films and each is both entertaining and informative. I appreciate the Film Department opening their doors to the community and I look forward to seeing people at the screenings.”

Jeanine Basinger, Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies and founder of the film department at Wesleyan says, “We’re all delighted to work with the Mayor on this series. He is definitely a movie lover! All these films are crowd pleasers and the Mayor made great choices. It’s a pleasure for all of us at the Center for Film Studies to be able to present these films for the community.”

Admission is free, with a requested donation of $5 per person to benefit the Buttonwood Tree.

Screening Dates: Saturday, August 22; Saturday, August 29; and Saturday, September 5
Time: 7:30-10 PM
Place: Goldsmith Family Cinema, Center for Film Studies
Cost: Free, with a suggested donation of $5 for the Buttonwood Tree
Link: here.

An Interview with Film Studies Department Head, Professor Jeanine Basinger

“You’re having conversations about movies and about the work and about questions and disagreements… there’s so much that grows out of that so when someone graduates you’re not through talking to them yet about it all.”

Basinger is here pictured in the Goldsmith Family Cinema. This picture was taken from New York Times Article featuring her book "The Star Machine," about the height of the studio system in the 30s through 50s

Basinger is here pictured in the Goldsmith Family Cinema. This picture was taken from a New York Times Article featuring her book The Star Machine, about the height of the studio system in the 30s through 50s [Source].

As a newly admitted film major, one can imagine the anx-citement surrounding this interview. Jeanine Basinger, who is on record as “one of the most important film scholars alive today” and who built Wesleyan’s world renowned film program from the bottom up, is a name I have learned to revere since day one as a prospective film student. At the scheduled time, I dialed Professor Basinger’s office to be greeted with enthusiasm and an eagerness to get right to business. She expressed her hope that her husband would bring her a cup of coffee amidst her busy workday and we jumped right into the questions. She made the interview very easy for me, answering with depth and segue-ing effortlessly into questions I hadn’t even asked yet. We discussed the establishment of the College of Film and the Moving Image, which was announced just over a year ago, the liberal arts approach to cinema, and her relations with past film majors. By the end of the half hour, I was feeling reenergized, inspired, and more excited than ever to begin my journey as a Wesleyan University film major with Professor Basinger as a guide.

The following is the transcript of our interview, edited for clarity.

Could you tell me about the College of Film and the Moving Image – why the initiative was taken on and what differences it brings to the department?

The interesting thing is that all of the components that make up the college are things that we have in fact been doing for years. The designation of making it into the college is less of a change and more of a recognition of what we are and what we do.

Film Critic A.O. Scott to Teach Course on Film Criticism

A.O. Twitter selfie

We somehow missed this in our Courses of Interest Spring 2014 post, but NY Times co-chief film critic A.O. Scott is teaching a course called “The Art of Film Criticism” next semester. This was verified by President Michael Roth’s Facebook status:

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 4.02.24 PM

The course requires a POI (granted by the Film Studies Dept Chair Jeanine Basinger) and is open only to film majors, so you probably won’t be taking it. The description of the course:

This course will consider film criticism as a literary genre and an intellectual discipline, with the goal of helping students develop strong writerly voices and aesthetic points of view. Readings will include important critics of the past–including James Agee, Andrew Sarris, Pauline Kael and Susan Sontag–and examples of criticism as it is currently practiced, with special attention to digital media. Writing assignments will focus on the techniques and challenges of analyzing complex works of art concisely and on deadline.

Wesleyan Film Theses 2012: Part One — The Fellowship of the Text

It all began with the forging of the Great Papers.  Seven were given to the Film Studies Professors; immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings. And now those seven will be gifted to the race of Wesleyan Students, who above all else desire power. For within these papers was bound the strength and the will to govern over an entire campus.

This is it, folks. Come hear six great screenplay pitches and one historical/theoretical rundown from seven amazing senior Film majors.  The chosen few and their works are:

Douglas Bensimon ’12: The Nazi
Carolyn Cohen ’12: Squanderland
William Donald ’12: Off the Trail
Miriam Smith-Drelich ’12: Goodnight, Sunshine
Zachary J. Valenti ’12: Smokin’ Ocean
Jeremy P. Wolf ’12: Camp Goggles
Sarah Shachat ’12: Intrigue, Blood, and Naked Breasts: Strategies of the Epic Series on Premium Cable

Jeanine Basinger, head of the Department of Film Studies, says this is the best collection of written work she’s seen at Wesleyan. And she’s seen A LOT here.

Date: Sunday, May 6
Time: 2:00 pm
Place: Powell Family Cinema, Center for Film Studies
Cost: Free

“Wesleyan Thinks Big” Good To Go Post-Spring Break

Last November, I posted on this event voting thing that was going around Facebook. It was called “Best Professors at Wes,” and it was a space that offered the creation of an academic wish list.

The Facebook event, now closed, asked the question: Which Wesleyan Professors would you like to see speak in a ten-minute TED-talk style arena?

Yesterday, following almost four months of quiet, the lineup has been revealed:

Mary-Jane Rubenstein: “Asceticosmologies: Modern Science as Religious Practice”
Matthew Kurtz: “Nature vs. Nurture: the Example of Psychosis”
Richard “Richie” Adelstein: “States without Romance”
Leah Wright: “The Death of Affirmative Action: Rethinking the Debate”
John Finn: “Poor Joshua: Private Space & The Constitution”
Jeanine “Badass” Basinger: TBD

Featuring President Roth as emcee, ready to drop sick beats. (Ten bucks if he beatboxes)

It is set to take place on Thursday, March 29th, from 8.00pm-9.30pm, at the Memorial Chapel.

Tickets will be FREE and available in Usdan during all mealtimes, starting March 26th. If you’re so inclined, you can also friggin’ reserve a ticket online. Hit up the Facebook event here.

Now, why am I posting about this event so damn early?

Simple: given the size of the Chapel, and given my caffeine-filled experience lining up for Scalia, I’m trying to give the organizers a clearer picture of whether they need to involve simultaneous video-casting, or if they need to move the event to a bigger location if interest and demand is high enough. So, if you’re totally into this event, RESERVE A TICKET NOW so that they can rack up the numbers and know where they stand.

Collaborators Share Quotes and Stories about Bay ’86

People call Michael Bay ’86 a lot of things – the Antichrist, a sell-out, even Hitler. In fact, it seems like most of the time when you hear something about Bay, it falls into one of four categories:

  1. A complaint by critics about the quality of his movies
  2. Discussion by fans about how his movies are fun to watch
  3. Acknowledgement by both parties that his movies gross a lot of money
  4. Use of his name as an adjective to describe a big explosion

This article from GQ entitled “Blow Up: An Oral History of Michael Bay, the Most Explosive Director of All Time” creates a fifth category of its own, featuring quotes from those who have worked with Bay (including chair of the Wesleyan film department, Professor Jeanine Basinger) as they “reveal the secret genius behind a true Hollywood visionary.”  The article is fantastic, and really gives you an interesting perspective – or, rather, a number of interesting perspectives – on one of Hollywood’s most controversial directors, and one of Wesleyan’s richest and most well-known alums. Read past the jump for some highlights.

What the holy Basinger

Ol skool.

It’s perhaps a truism to say that different people have different talents, or inclinations, or skills, or interests, or whatever. And though we don’t typically flinch when we hear that those abilities are banal stuff like, oh I don’t know, stamp-collecting, violin-playing, basket-weaving, wind-surfing, douchebaggery, or whatnot, we may cock our heads a little to the side when we hear it’s something particularly peculiar, like panda-production.

But the Ripley’s Believe or Not comic strip published yesterday didn’t just cause me to cock my head to the side, it’s friggin’ dislocated my JAW.

John Basinger, husband of Jeanine Basinger, high-empress and overlord of the hipsters (and/or film majors), was reported by Ripley’s to have spent 8 years memorizing THE ENTIRETY OF JOHN MILTON’S PARADISE FUCKIN’ LOST. No shit, homie.

Strip to be found after the jump.

More on Faculty Salaries

Ezra Silk ’10 was inspired by our earlier post about Michael Roth’s salary to do a little digging through other people’s tax returns and provide us with some interesting research on faculty compensation. Thanks Ezra. Check out his article in the Blargus. Highlights include:

Thomas Kannam, VP & Chief Investment Officer: $460, 610

Barbara Jan Wilson, VP President for University Relations: $260, 334

John Meerts, VP for Finance and Administration: $240, 060

Jeanine Basinger, Chair of the Film Studies Department: $213,420

Many of those who commented on our earlier post bemoaned the fact that many of our program budgets have been cut while our president is paid so much money. Just to clarify the discussion, we are working on compiling a list of the programs whose budgets have been cut. (Any help in this effort would be appreciated.)

Basinger on Obnoxious TV Wealth

Professor Jeanine Basinger is quoted in the L.A. Times about the flailing economy’s effect on Americans’ television viewing choices.

Rich-people-behaving-badly shows like “Dirty Sexy Money”, and “Lipstick Jungle” aren’t doing so well, while shows about wish fulfillment like “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and spoiled teenagers learning lessons on “Exiled!” are doing better:

Americans are too depressed about their own finances to entertain themselves by watching shows about money, according to industry executives and academics.

“People don’t want to come home at the end of the day and have more bad news about their money,” said Jeanine Basinger, chairwoman of the film studies department at Wesleyan University. “They don’t want to see the Enron scandal, they don’t want to see CEOs getting away with it.”

L.A. Times: Obnoxious displays of wealth on TV turn off many

Basinger on Wall St./Hollywood Intersection

Wes professor Jeanine Basinger gets a quote in the NYtimes’ article In Hollywood, the Wall St. Plots Will Thicken, where she weighs in on the effect of economic hard times has on what reaches the silver screen:

Jeanine Basinger, chairwoman of the film studies department at Wesleyan University, said that studios had the best luck dealing with economic issues when they did so with subtlety. For instance, “It Happened One Night,” the 1934 Frank Capra movie about a spoiled heiress running away from her family, is a romantic comedy that hints at the social turmoil of the Great Depression: a wandering thief desperate for money; a passing train populated with hobos. “Subtlety has always been the key,” she said.

The article itself is also really worth a read, if only for the awesome picture of Martha Stewart and Jim Cramer at the top.