Blue Valentine: A Love Story (2011). That’s what it says on the movie poster. But is this what the movie is really about? A romantic, sustained, and profound lifelong bond between two people? Well, maybe it isn’t.
The present: Dean (Ryan Gosling) is an overall likeable, easygoing slacker. His job, painting houses, allows him the ‘luxury’ of drinking beer in the morning. He’s not a radiant source of bliss but being married to Cindy (Michelle Williams) and getting goofy with their little daughter Frankie (Faith Wladyka) is what he calls “his dream.” However, Cindy, a nurse, has higher aspirations. To her, Dean’s “dream” is nothing but an endlessly depressing nightmare.
The past: Charming high school dropout Dean works as a furniture mover and meets med student Cindy. To him, it’s love at first sight. To her, it’s so-so. He makes jokes, she laughs; he sings and plays the ukulele, she tap dances to the tunes. Her father hates him, but that’s not an issue because love conquers all – right?
Ah, Christmas! The holidays are around the corner, and this means a combination of an incredible amount of delicious food (don’t we all love Grandma’s cooking?!) as well as presents and some quality time with our families that we’ve either looked forward to or have secretly dreaded for months. Either way, I’m sure that by now you have probably established a little family tradition of your own when it comes to deciding on your ultimate Christmas movie selection. So let’s look at a few movies that should definitely make your list.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
George Bailey has spent his entire life devoting himself to the people of Bedford Falls. Broken and suicidal on Christmas Eve, he decides that his family and friends would be better off without him. What he doesn’t know is that they have prayed for him to get through these hard times, and that their prayers have been heard: His guardian angel Clarence falls to earth to show him how different the lives of his loved ones would have been if it wasn’t for him. Heartwarmingly beautiful and deeply moving, It’s a Wonderful Life teaches us how much it means to look after one another – a message that makes this movie worth watching over and over again.
On behalf of the American Studies Blog, we would like to extend our sincerest congratulations to Lauren Solomon whose winning entry in the category “Best Books & Fabulous Films” can be read below.
Mindhunter: Harnessing the Minds of Monsters
Nothing captivates an audience like the inhuman and horrific acts of a serial killer. After Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes aired on Netflix in January 2019, followed in May by the release of the biographical crime thriller, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, also based on the Ted Bundy story, the U.S. has become mesmerized by stories of serial killing. With that rising fascination, people can’t seem to stop talking about the second season of Mindhunter.
14-year-old orphan Ponyboy Curtis lives with his older brothers Darry and Sodapop in a city somewhere in America. They are part of a greaser gang which means they smoke, they fight, they swear. The author was only 16 when her novel The Outsiders hit the bookshelves and disturbed America’s sense of decency. Afterwards, Susan Eloise Hinton’s life was never the same, and the attentive reader might wonder if the opponents of The Outsiders feared something more than improper manners.
As we approach the 5th anniversary of the American Studies Blog (http://blog.asjournal.org/), we decided to celebrate by asking you – our readers – to participate in the joyful occasion of our first blog competition.
Although blogging has changed over the years, it’s still a great platform to voice your ideas and share content with people around the world. Now choose a topic that fits into at least one of three zeitgeisty categories and try your talents:
Access America (Popular Culture, History, and Current Events)
Best Books & Fabulous Films (Reviews and More)
Teaching Tools (Tips, Tricks, and Tools of the Trade)
In their 2016 book, Fintiaanien Mailla, three Finnish women take readers on a journey into unknown territory. Meeri Koutaniemi (photo journalist), Maria Seppälä (journalist and documentary filmmaker), and Katja Kettu (bestselling author) introduce us to Findians, a group of people who practically nobody has heard of, at least until now.
Between 1860 and 1940, approximately 400,000 Finnish emigrants left their homeland for North America in search of a better life. They mainly settled in Minnesota, Michigan, and Ontario. 400,000 is an amazingly high number, especially when one considers that Finland only had a population of about three million people in 1900. In their new homeland, the Finnish came in contact with the Ojibwa people. Relatively quickly, the indigenous people and the Finns noticed that they had much in common: