Preface

Scratch Cinema was established in May of 2019 by university students who share a love for films and want to gain experience towards professionally writing about them. I have been an editor for Scratch Cinema since July of 2019.

Some of my responsibilities as an editor include correcting any grammatical or spelling errors, reducing any redundant word choice, creating more sentence variety, and general fact-checking.

The following posts are a few of the film analyses that I’ve personally edited for the website. While they do not necessarily reflect my own opinions, they remain in compliance with Scratch Cinema’s administrative rules.

The Everlasting Controversy

This assignment was written for a Feature Writing class about a socially relevant issue that could be discussed through people affected by the problem and explained by an expert source.

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“The only real world violence that you’ll find from video games is if you hit me hard enough over the head with an Xbox or Playstation.” John Waldman, an avid gamer who has already burned through twelve hours of Halo: The Master Chief Collection despite being released just two days ago, says in response to the everlasting controversy concerning his favorite hobby.

Waldman was introduced to his favorite pastime at the age of four with Pokemon Blue by his older brother Adam who already owned the franchise’s trading cards and action figures. As a twenty-two year old Biology student at Millersville University who is graduating at the end of 2019, he frequently plays to de-stress from his intensive exams and three-hour labs.

“The appealing part of video games is how they make you feel so powerful while gaining instantaneous feedback.” Waldman explains in comparison to other types of work where he fails to see results after a short period of time. He doesn’t see his part-time job earnings until payday and doesn’t receive the grades on his projects for weeks. Role-playing games allow him to experiment with multiple personalities too, embodying a type of confidence that he might naturally lack, while not facing any consequences if he chooses to be mean to other characters.

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Margins of the Academy

This assignment was written for a Feature Writing class to specifically focus on an important story within an interesting person’s life.

“You’ve had eight abortions? Are you sure?”

Dr. Debra Curtis cringes when remembering this response, which has since been immortalized on a tape recorder. Anthropology field work require neutrality in order to establish rapport between the researcher and the subject. If somebody feels judged, he or she is less likely to provide honest answers.

She was interviewing Aniela, a woman from Guyana who moved to Nevis and lived there with her husband for most of her life. Aniela talked about her lack of educational opportunities and poverty, residing in a house without running water and cared for her dying father in the black of night. 

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Truth to the Lie: The Children’s Hour

This film analysis was written by Nicole Sanacore for Scratch Cinema. Sanacore can be contacted at nicolesanacore@gmail.com. The original post can be found here.

Maybe I love you the way they said I love you!” Martha Dobie, played by Shirley MacLaine, exclaims at the climax of The Children’s Hour. Released in 1961 and based on a 1934 play of the same name, The Children’s Hour follows Martha Dobie and Karen Wright (Audrey Hepburn) as their livelihoods and reputations are destroyed by a lie—that the two women, who run a small boarding school for girls, are actually lesbian lovers.

Martha and Karen have been friends since college, and while Karen is engaged to a doctor named Joe (James Garner), Martha has never had a serious romantic relationship. In fact, Martha seems resentful of Joe but tries to tolerate him for Karen’s sake. Her attitude toward him is not lost on Karen nor to her aunt Lily (Miriam Hopkins), who also teaches at the school. Martha fears Karen will abandon the school, thus abandoning her, if she marries Joe. 

The conversations between the two women about Joe and the school and the root of Martha’s fears of abandonment are, unbeknownst to them, being eavesdropped on by a troublemaking young student named Mary. Martha and Karen prohibit Mary (Karen Balkin) from attending a boat race with her classmates so Mary decides to pursue revenge for their supposedly unfair actions. She tells her grandmother only in a whisper, leaving the audience only to infer that Karen and Martha are in love with each other. Mary backs up her claim with the conversations she had overheard as well by blackmailing another student, Rosalie (Veronica Cartwright), into corroborating the story.

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The Everlasting Irony of Jurassic Park’s Legacy

This film analysis was written by Solomon Asher for Scratch Cinema. Asher can be contacted at solomonrasher@gmail.com. The original post can be found here.

Jurassic Park is undeniably one of the biggest and most iconic franchises from the past thirty years. After earning billions of dollars worldwide, it becomes ironic that the film that started the franchise in 1993 contains an anti-capitalist message. Jurassic Park criticizes how capitalism views life—particularly through the lives of prehistoric creatures. Michael Crichton’s novel adaptation looks at the ways in which investors will cut corners to increase their paybacks, and how science is only seen as a means to gain more profit rather than as a complex and true explanation for the natural world.

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In the world of Jurassic Park, dinosaurs are cloned using DNA from mosquitoes filled with their blood that was originally preserved in fossilised sap. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) hired scientists to use this DNA to clone dinosaurs, using frog DNA to fill in the gaps, so that he could create what is essentially a zoo with dinosaurs. The only people who seem to view the dinosaur clones as real and living creatures are the scientists—Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum)—whom Hammond has hired to receive an outside opinion and appease his lawyers. When they first see a dinosaur while arriving to the reservation, the three of them can’t believe their eyes. But Hammond’s lawyer, Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero), instead thinks about how they are going to make a fortune off this scientific breakthrough instead. 

Later in the movie, Sattler, who works as a paleobotanist, observes that some of the plants on the island are poisonous to the dinosaurs, but they were picked because they looked aesthetically pleasing. She foreshadows that the dinosaurs will fight back violently because these plants create an unsafe environment for the dinosaurs. The unsafe environment could be seen as an allegory for the unsafe work environments of the proletariat. The dinosaurs defending themselves acts as a metaphor for the violent but necessary revolution which has to happen if workers want to lose their chains.

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Paradise Lost: The Rise and Fall of Tony Montana in ‘Scarface’ (1983)

This film analysis was written for Flip Screen about one of film world’s most famous anti-heroes. The original post can be found here.

Matthew 16:26 asks the question “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”. Strangely enough, Scarface has the answer.

Scarface has been dubbed a ‘dudebro’ favorite for its iconic dialogue, tropical aesthetic, and excessive ultraviolence. While this reputation intimidates many moviegoers from Brian De Palma’s film, the powerful tale of a man’s rise and fall should not be ignored. De Palma found his inspiration from Howard Hawks’s 1932 version, which originally took place during Prohibition when people turned to organized crime as a way to survive unemployment and applied it to contemporary problems.

De Palma’s adaptation was conceptualized during the Reagan era: a time when the business philosophy assumed that “greed is good” and abundant consumerism was the norm. Tony Montana (Al Pacino) is even warned by Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia), the first drug lord who provides him with work, that he should never “underestimate the other guy’s greed” when making business deals.

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The Creative History of Pre-Internet Music Piracy

This assignment was written for a Feature Writing class to model “The Explainer” type of magazine articles.

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In the current age of internet streaming, which has killed pure album sales and underpaid musicians due to accessibility and low-cost, music piracy almost feels obsolete. Yet, according to Rolling Stone, about thirty-eight percent of internet users still pirate their music. Despite the high-profile shutdown of websites such as Limewire and Napster in the early twenty-first century, the vastness of the internet allows for bootlegging to thrive since websites can easily switch their domains while servers reroute their locations. Although the internet allows for file-to-file sharing to be easy and anonymous, the realms of cyberspace didn’t mark the beginning to this crime. So how was music privacy able to thrive in a world before the Internet?

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The Love Witch: Turning Intimacy and Romance into Feminist Horror

This film analysis was written by Nicole Sanacore for Scratch Cinema. Sanacore can be contacted at nicolesanacore@gmail.com. The original post can be found here.

In The Love Witch’s campy, technicolor universe, there’s little more to live for than love. At least, that’s what protagonist Elaine Parks claims in her many voice-overs to the audience throughout the course of the film. After being emotionally abused and taken for granted by her ex-husband, Jerry, Elaine sets out to find the love she believes she deserves⁠⁠—by any means necessary. Her dangerous obsession with love and equating sex to power leads her down a potion-soaked path of destruction. Once the audience looks past the dreamy aesthetic that director Anna Biller cultivated so well, the evil lurking beneath the surface of Elaine’s quest for love appears through the fog of bright pink tea rooms and glowing red burlesque clubs. The origins of this evil, however, are not as clear.

Elaine serves as a caricature of both patriarchal society’s “ideal woman” and the warped sex positive feminist. While she possesses all of the positive traits⁠—conventionally attractive, “knows her place,” shows enough vulnerability but is still confident⁠—she also possesses all of the negative traits⁠⁠—self-interested, manipulative, deceptive. This ideal woman is essentially an inauthentic and apathetic social chameleon, constantly changing herself to fit the needs and wants of the men around her while claiming that she’s empowered. She only keeps relationships if they can benefit her and ultimately help her reach her goal for finding idealized, over-romanticized “love.”

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‘Point Break’: The Action Film That Dared to Be More

This film analysis was written for Flip Screen while celebrating the last month of summer. The original post can be read here.

With this year’s releases of John Wick: Chapter 3Always Be My Maybe, and Toy Story 4, along with the long-awaited sequel Bill and Ted Face the Music to be released in late 2020, it’s safe to say that we’re in the middle of a Keanu Reeves renaissance.

Fans are coming from every corner of Twitter to express their appreciation for the movie star while looking back towards his earlier movies and with the end of summer approaching, it has given much focus to Point Break. While Reeves isn’t a stranger to action movies, Point Break has become notable in his filmography, and the genre of action movies in general, for being directed by a woman. (Kathryn Bigelow would later become the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director in 2009 for The Hurt Locker.)

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Teen Spirit: A Muddled yet Pleasant Debut that Celebrates Escapism through Music

This film analysis was written by Kaiya Shunyata for Scratch Cinema. Shunyata can be contacted at kaiyashunyata@gmail.com. The original post can be found here.

It’s almost impossible not to love a film that begins with its titular character listening to “Genesis” by Grimes.

Music is an important part of every teenager’s life, whether it be to drown out their surroundings or to act as an escape to a different world. Writer/director Max Minghella (whose acting credits include The Handmaid’s Tale and The Social Network) displays this with Teen Spirit: a coming of age film about a young girl who dreams of becoming a famous singer.  The film’s main character – Violet (Elle Fanning) – is a lonely highschooler who works as a waitress and uses music as an escape from her dismal surroundings and her strained relationship with her mother. What her mother doesn’t know is that after work, Violet frequently sneaks out to sing at a local pub. There – among a crowd of dismal elders – Violet meets Vladimir Brajkovic (Zlatko Burić) who believes her to have a real chance at becoming a singer. When an American Idol-esque singing competition rolls into town, Violet enlists Vlad to pretend to be her guardian while acting as her “manager.”

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