Friday, October 19, 2007


What your correspondent will feel like after teaching 4 3-hour classes every Wednesday for the next two months.

I think I'll just ease back into this blogging thing. Don't want to overdo.

The Mrs. and I watched 300 today, courtesy of my colleague Larry the movie guy. Short review: beautiful to look at, but as for the script, let's just say it wasn't quite "St. Crispen's Day". On that latter point, in fact, it got to the point that I told the Mrs. that I should open all my classes with a rousing "Ha-uuuu!" complete with writing instruments thrust into the air.

This weekend's agenda will consist of working up battlefield-type speeches when we engage those scourges of composition classes, sentence structure errors.


Ariel said...

Seriously? You're teaching 12 hours a day on Wednesday? That seems unreal.

I've thought about watching 300, but haven't yet...It goes without saying that no war speech is ever going to trump St. Crispen's Day.

John B. said...

Seriously. If you look at the picture, you'll note the arrows in our hero's chest.

On Mondays, though, I teach "only" 9 hours, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it's kick-back-and-relax time, with just one class. Wednesday's the outlier because I have a 16-week class that meets on that day to go along with the 3 MW classes.

As for 300, it's basically an exercise in (visual) style. I was expecting some real intensity, but I think the stylization ends up robbing the film of its umph. The Lord of the Rings' fight scenes are much more intense.

Thanks for stopping by, Ariel--and congratulations on Asher's birth.

Winston said...

I finally got around to 300 a couple of weeks ago and came away unimpressed. The premise was fine, but the filling out of the story line was too predictable. Acting was overdone, almost forced at times. I usually like sagas, but this one used so much blood and guts violence to cover up its lack of substance, that I tired of it before it was done.

I'm probably wrong on all counts, but that's the way I saw and called it.

John B. said...

Yeah--the blood and guts is part of that style, too: I doubt very seriously that blood actually spurts out of a body when it's skewered with a spear . . . or, for that matter, that you'd actually hear it come out. All that actually distracted me from the violence depicted. The basic outline of the story, they did get right (apart from, in the film, the absence of the Spartan navy), but yeah: not a whole lot of "story" . . . which, of course, makes the the big set speeches stick out even more in their oratorical thinness. But then again, as someone in the film says, fine speeches are the Athenians' thing. The Spartans are fighters, dammit.

In short, I added it to that list of movies that I was (once) curious about and don't feel the need to see again, much less add to the old Amazon wish list. And, sadly, I don't feel a whole lot richer for having seen it.

R. Sherman said...

Haven't seen 300, yet. The EMBLOS imposes a "one per month" limit on war/action/shoot-em-up's. Something about blood pressure.

Anyway, with 12 hours of classes on Wednesday, I wish you well. Just try to remember where you are.


Ashley said...

Although I have no idea how many hours you were teaching every day last year, I feel very fortunate to have had your class first thing in the morning!
Best wishes! Hopefully your classes will be more, well, something that will make those days not feel entirely like a losing battle. And if not, the holidays will be all the better!

Sheila said...

"Them teachers, they got it easy. I know a fellow, he only works twelve hours a week. Ain't that a kick in the ass?"

Pam said...

Geez. Now that's a teaching load. I'll never ever complain again (or for this week at least).

fearful_syzygy said...

Personally, I really enjoyed 300, but I suppose I wasn't in it for the content. It's a comic book, and as such I think it's spot on. True there weren't that many rousing speeches, but I think they would also have stood out like sore thumbs. St. Crispin's Day is amazing on its own, sure, but it also fits, which only serves to augment its amazingness. It would have been out of place in 300 in my opinion, which operates with another aesthetic; any speeches have to be able to fit in bubbles above the characters' heads, and the more they say, the less room there is for awe-inspiring action. The thing is a feast for the eyes, and while you might argue that there was a bit too much shouting and slow-motion, there sort of has to be, if it's to stay true to its inspiration. I felt the critical objections to it as an allegory for the current "clash of civilisations" was overblown and ill-conceived, at least if you are prepared to accept a film like this on its own terms. Watching it, I felt like I was fifteen again. I just get the impression that that's not a sensation everyone wants a film to deliver.

John B. said...

A full load for the semester for us is 5; this fall I'm teaching 7, four of which started this past week. So, my load is partly by choice, though I did agree to teach one of those classes when its teacher had to drop it at the last minute. At any rate, I'm glad to see you weren't led astray by Sheila's snark above.

Yeah--I know all that, and I do think 300 succeeds on its own terms. I suppose, in thinking back over things again, that I didn't feel let into the film; there wasn't room for me to enter into it vicariously. Whether that's by design or due to a lack on my part, I don't know. But either way, I don't think it was a bad film. It's just not one that I feel the need to see again.

Pam said...

Wow - that's a load. I can't even imagine. How do you even manage it? I've always felt like an inadequate teacher - and I'm definitely caught up in the whole research thing and my teaching prep time gets pushed aside. I'm pretty sure that I've become the kind of teacher that annoyed me when I was in graduate school...