Thursday, November 30, 2006

Scenes I Use

Several students have asked for recommendations for movies that use sound and/or music well. Here is the tip of the iceberg.

2001
32 SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD
THE ABYSS
ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1939)
ALIEN
ALIENS
ALTERED STATES
AMELIE
AMERICAN GRAFFITI
AND GOD SPOKE
APOCALYPSE NOW
BACK TO THE FUTURE
THE BEAR
BEAUTY & THE BEAST (animated)
THE BLACK STALLION
BLOW OUT
BROADCAST NEWS
DAS BOOT
DIVA
CAST AWAY
CITIZEN KANE
THE CONVERSATION
DELICATESSEN
THE EXORCIST
FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, FEW DOLLARS MORE, and THE GOOD, BAD & UGLY
FRANKENSTEIN (1931) & BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN
GODFATHER I & II
THE GRADUATE
HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1972)
IRON GIANT
JURASSIC PARK
KING KONG (1933)
LIVING IN OBLIVION
LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY
M. HULOT'S HOLIDAY, MON ONCLE, PLAYTIME et JOUR de FETE (Tati) *** MUST SEES
MALCOLM X
THE MATRIX
MONSTER'S INC.
THE NAKED GUN
NEVER CRY WOLF
NORTH BY NORTHWEST
ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST
THE PARTY
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE
PRIMARY COLORS
PSYCHO
RAGING BULL
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
SEVEN SAMURAI
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN
SNEAKERS
STAR TREK II: WRATH OF KHAN & IV: VOYAGE HOME
STAR WARS & EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
TAXI DRIVER
T2
THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE
(original German version, NOT the dubbed version which is edited & remixed)

TOUCH OF EVIL
TOY STORY I & II
TROIS COULEURS: BLEU, ROUGE et BLANC (Kieslowski), THE DEKALOG and DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE
UNFORGIVEN
USUAL SUSPECTS
VERTIGO
VIVRE SA VIE
WALLACE AND GROMIT: THE WRONG TROUSERS
WHAT'S UP TIGER LILY?
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY
WIZARD OF OZ

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Office Hours

Due to the usual end-of-semester madness, I will not have normal office hours next week.
Here are my office hours for the rest of the semester:

Wed 11/29 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM (normal)

Tue 12/05 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM (changed)

Wed 12/06 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (changed)

242 Students: Final grades will be posted as soon as I get today's quiz results back, which should be no later than Friday.

Join the MPSE!

Click here to JOIN THE MOTION PICTURE SOUND EDITORS and see lots of movies for a low annual student membership fee of $35. Click on "Download Student Membership Form" (not "Affiliate" Membership Form) and get me or any faculty member (it does not have to be sound faculty or an MPSE member) to sign it for you during office hours. You must also send a copy of your ID and a check along with your application to the address on the form. It may take more than a month for membership card to be sent to you.

Monday, November 27, 2006

310 Reminders

Wednesday is our last regular class. This is the last call for Extra Credit Proposals! E-mail me if you have not done so already.

Wednesday is also the last day to turn in any late assignments, including last week's assignment.

There WILL be a quiz. All quizzes are cumulative, but this quiz will focus mostly on the TIME CODE lecture material from last week.

You should have received an e-mail with your schedule for the rest of the semester. Table screenings are THIS FRIDAY.

242 Reminders

Our last class is tomorrow morning.

There WILL be a quiz. All quizzes are cumulative, but this quiz will focus mostly on the TIME CODE lecture material from last week. I'm sorry, but my cheap-ass MP3 recorder failed again last week, so there's no lecture notes on the web site.

This is also the last chance to turn in any late material.

NOTES ON A SCANDAL

I was really looking forward to the film NOTES ON A SCANDAL, starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. The subject matter, an attractive female teacher having an affair with an underage student, seemed full of possibilities. Both actresses do their darndest, but the writing was very weak. There were several times where I felt like I was watching a film that was trying to be a comedy but failed. People were laughing... but in the wrong places. Too bad, I hate seeing good performances wasted.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Football Wrapup

It's official! USC is now #2 on the BCS rankings, which means that they will go to the national championship game if they beat UCLA next weekend.

In the NFL, New England beat the Chicago Bears and are the first team to gain 300 years on the Bears in a game. They also had four turnovers and two pass interference calls, and both teams combined for a total of nine turnovers in a sloppily played game from both sides.

Buffalo beat Jacksonville in a last-seconds field goal, 27-24.


LITTLE CHILDREN

From the author of ELECTION and director of IN THE BEDROOM, LITTLE CHILDREN is not only a weak film title, it's also a weak film.

Like ELECTION, the film follows a group of crossing plot lines and characters. Unfortunately, in this film, one of the two major characters (played by Patrick Wilson) is completely uninteresting. The other characters are complex and flawed, but the film lacks Matthew Broderick's inherent likability to carry the film. Most of the acting is very good, although Jennifer Connelly is completely wasted. Unlike ELECTION, there were also plot problems, with characters making decisions that seem silly and yet have complex reactions on their lives. Still, it had moments.

USC WINS BIG!

USC beat Notre Dame easily, 44-24, which should push them up to #2 in the BCS. If they beat UCLA next weekend, they are home free. But then they have to face Ohio State...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sports Weekend Preview

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a lot of great football games over the weekend.

In college, #18 BC was upset by unranked Miami, Florida. #11 Texas was upset by unranked A&M.

#5 Arkansas had any long-shot hopes of a championship ruined with an upset by #9 LSU.

Tomorrow, USC plays Notre Dame. If USC wins they will probably go to the BCS game in Phoenix on January 8th. USC is favored by 8; I think it will be closer and pick USC by 6.

Sunday, Buffalo plays the Jaguars, who are favored by 3. Should be another close game for the Bills. The game of the day to watch is Chicago at New England, with the Pats favored by 3 over the 9-1 Bills. The Pats lost two in a row but won last week, and the home field advantage will help them over da Bears.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lots to be Thankful For!

On the Eve of Thanksgiving, I have a lot to be thankful for.

Just under two years ago, I was in a coma for two weeks while doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with me. I had two major surgeries and was in the hospital for a total of a month, and I am extraordinarily lucky to be alive. I am thankful for the excellent doctors at St. Joseph's in Burbank.

My recovery was extremely slow. I was on a walker for two weeks and disability for three months. I was on a cane for five months, and in physical therapy for nine months, and I didn't consider myself fully recovered until more than a year had passed. This thought occurred to me when I was marching back and forth in front of 242 class the other day (to demonstrate the concepts of sync) and I was winded at the end, and again today as we went hiking and I got short of breath. Although my lungs do not expand the way they used to before the two surgeries (for pneumonia, pleurisy, empyema, and pericarditis), they are a lot better than they were at their worst. It used to take me about ten minutes to walk down the stairs from the bedroom to the living room. Walking up was even worse, it took all my energy, both mental and physical. I remember the first time I was home alone and had to walk up the five steps from the living room to the bathroom by myself. I was very close to not making it. The change between then and now is astronomical, but for quite a while, I thought I would never recover. So I'm thankful that I'm alive and well.

I'm especially thankful for my wife. She saved my life as much as the doctors did. When I went into the hospital, I had no idea how sick I was. I thought I would be out in a few days. I was in a coma before I knew how bad things were, so all the important decisions had to be made by my wife. I can't imagine how difficult this must have been for her. She had gone home to the east coast because her father has been very ill and she needed to be a caretaker for him. It was right before Christmas when I got sick, and she had to fly back out here to be with her unconscious husband. At the time, they had no idea what was wrong with me, and even now they still don't know what caused the initial infection. On Christmas Eve, the doctors told her that I would not survive another week unless something was done. She was confronted with different options from different doctors, and wisely rejected one doctor who had completely misdiagnosed me, and she instead decided on emergency surgery. Thanks to her decision, and the care I got from the other doctors, I survived long enough to eventually beat the infection. I'm also forever indebted to her for being by my side throughout my recovery. Even when I was unconscious she visited me twice a day and read the sports page to me. She left being her father's caretaker to take care of me for months at home, then went back to her father. She had to cook, clean and take care of me like a full-time job. I can can never make up to her for what she has done for me.

I'm forever changed by what happened. I'm a lot more appreciative of the simplest things in life, whether it's enjoying a baseball game at Dodger stadium, a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, a hike in the mountains, or a movie or TV show that moves me.

So for that, I'm thankful.

242 Extra Credit

Confirmation e-mails will be sent out after the holiday weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

VENUS

Peter O'Toole stars in VENUS, about an elderly actor falling in love with a young woman. Outstanding performance by O'Toole, as always, and the supporting cast is very good, but the script falls into cliches in the last third. Otherwise, worth seeing for O'Toole.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Football Wrapup

The BCS standings came out today, with a surprise. Michigan, who lost yesterday to #1 Ohio State, remain at #2, which means that the BCS Championship game could be a rematch of yesterday.

Most sports consider head-to-head records in the rankings. For instance, the Padres and Dodgers ended the season with identical records, but the Padres are considered the division winners because of their head-to-head record.

However, Michigan is only .007 above USC in the rankings. If USC beats #5 Notre Dame next week, they could edge out Michigan (whose regular season is over). USC would also have to beat UCLA the following week.

As I predicted, the Patriots easily beat Green Bay, shutting them out 35-0. And Buffalo won by a field goal, beating Houston 24-21.

Don't Pay OJ!

Sign the petition. Stop the insanity. Write to the Fox network AND your local Fox affiliate and tell them that you will not watch the program and that you will protest any advertisers of the show by refusing to buy their product.

Also write to all of the book sellers (including Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon & Wal-Mart) and tell them that you will shop elsewhere. If you want to stop this book and TV show from making it to market, you must do so soon, and you must kick them where it hurts most, in the pocketbook.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

NCAA Football Wrapup

#1 Ohio State beat Michigan by a scant 3 points. This means Michigan may still be ranked #2. Both teams have now finished their regular seasons. We'll have to wait for the BCS rankings to come out to see!

#4 USC easily beat #17 Cal, 23-9, but it may not be enough to move them up past #3 in the rankings. The good news is that they will at least go to the Rose Bowl.

#3 Florida hammered W. Carolina 62-0, but will still probably move down as a big win over an unranked team is essentially meaningless in the BCS. (Florida plays Florida State, another unranked team, next weekend.)

#6 Notre Dame, who beat unranked Army today, play at USC next week. A big win for USC could move them up to #2.

#7 Rutgers finally lost. Still, a great season that was totally unexpected. Always nice to see the underdogs do well.

242 Notes

Quiz scores were weak again. Expect a quiz this week. It will NOT cover the music material that is not finished (and may never be finished at this point). All quizzes are cumulative but focus on recent material.

ALSO remember that the extra credit assignment is due Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM via e-mail only!

GO TROJANS!

Friday, November 17, 2006

HOLLYWOODLAND

I finally caught up with HOLLYWOODLAND tonight.

A very good but flawed film. It uses a narrative device of a fictional private detective investigating the death of George Reeves, intercut with the actual backstory.

Ben Affleck, who plays Reeves (the star of the 50s serial SUPERMAN), does an amazing job of bringing to life the part of a hack actor playing a hack part. It's the best performance of his career.

In fact, the Superman scenes brought up bizarre childhood memories of watching the show in reruns in my childhood. They were very well done.

Adrien Brody, on the other hand, gave the performance of a lifetime in THE PIANIST, and has been trying to find his acting chops since. His approach to the part of the detective is almost a caricature, and with Affleck's naturalistic performance within a performance, it calls attention to Brody's mannered acting. In fact, the whole narrative structure feels interruptive, with Brody's character an intrusion in the flow. The third act of the film also feels labored, and without the detective it might have flowed a lot better.

Yet the story and Affleck are so compelling that the movie is still worthwhile.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Weekend Football Preview

Someone has to lose the #1 Ohio State - #2 Michigan game on Saturday. Odds are on Ohio State by 7, which would leave Michigan likely to drop in the rankings.

If #3 USC beats #17 Cal (as they are favored to do by 6), USC would likely move up to #2 and be in the national championship again this year.

I'll pick Ohio State by 10 and USC by 10.

In the NFL, Houston is favored by 2 over Buffalo, but with the Bills recent near-upset of the Colts, I'll pick the Bills by 3.

New England is favored by 6 over Green Bay. Looking carefully at the stats, they are a surprisingly well-matched pair of teams, but I think the Pats will win easily.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER

Saw a preview screening of Curse of the Golden Flower tonight. I was pretty excited as it is the same director as Hero and House of Flying Daggers.

This film is as visually exciting as the others, and the sound design is once again excellent. The action sequences were absolutely amazing. There are a few obvious visual effects shots, but the director said there were less than 20 effects shots in the film... and 1000 extras, mostly from the Chinese army.

However, the plot was a little on the melodramatic side. It was more along the lines of a soap opera than an action film. Yet it's still worth seeing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

242 Reminders

Extra Credit proposals are due by class start Tuesday morning VIA E-MAIL ONLY, PLEASE.

There will be a quiz. It will not cover the music material as that lecture has not been finished yet, but it will include the "Audio" material from the beginning of the lecture.

Tuesday there will be a guest lecture on the History of the Stereo-optical sound track. Normally this is given by Ioan Allen (The Egg Talk), but Ioan is not well, so Tom Holman (THX) will be filling in for him.

USC moved up to #3 in the BCS rankings, leaping over Florida. With #1 playing #2 next weekend, it's possible USC could move up again and make it to the championship game.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

NFL Weekend

The Bills held their own against the Colts, but still lost 17-16. They played well but missed an important filed goal.

New England was upset by the Jets, 17-14.

Football Upsets!

#7 USC won easily as predicted today, 35 - 10 over #21 Oregon.

But more importantly, there were three big upsets. Arizona upset #8 California. Georgia upset #5 Auburn, 37-15, and Kansas State upset #4 Texas. Combined with the Thursday upset (#15 Rutgers beating #3 Louisville), USC has a very good chance of leaping back up to #4 in the polls. If they beat the two more ranked teams they play in the next three weeks, they will probably go to the Rose Bowl!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sports Weekend Preview

USC plays #21 ranked Oregon tomorrow. Favored by a scant 8 points, I expect at least a 14 point victory. With Rutgers upsetting #3 Louisville, USC stands to move up a notch with a win.


In the NFL, Buffalo has the bad luck of playing the only undefeated team, Indianapolis. The Colts are favored by a scant 13, so it will be considered a victory if it's a close game.

New England play the Jets. Favored by 10, they should easily win.

THE GOOD MOVIE

Saw THE GOOD GERMAN tonight.

I liked it a lot, but mostly for the design, which was clearly an homage to the film noirs of the post-war era. Beautifully shot, amazing art direction, and without question, the best score I've heard in a while, the movie was more about mood than it was about plot and character.

Thomas Newman invoked his ancestors with a big, old-fashioned movie score. Most of the cast was very good, with Cate Blanchett switching out of Kate Hepburn mode (THE AVIATOR) and into Marlene Dietrich. Clooney was very good as well. Tobey Maguire was a little out of place given his naturalistic approach to acting, when everyone else was giving a stylized 1940s performance.

The major failing was the plot itself, which was so heavy with machinations that one expected a huge revelation at the end, when in fact they just dusted up the loose plot ends.

One has to credit Clooney and Soderbergh for taking chances and making a black & white film with virtually no commercial value.

JD Drew

Dodgers outfielder J.D. "Just Disabled" Drew has filed for free agency. He had a contract for three more years with the Dodgers at $11M/year, but somehow felt that he could get more money elsewhere. His agent, Scott Boras, is well known for trying to milk as much money as humanly possible out of his clients. He might actually get a little more out of another team, but Drew is not exactly a popular guy, and for the money, most teams will want an everyday player, which Drew's history shows he is NOT.

I'm glad to see him go. This gives the Dodgers $11M a year to spend on someone who won't spend half his time on the disabled list. It means the Dodgers are more likely to pick up another year from Kenny Lofton, or maybe even Nomar, who has indicated that he would consider playing outfield if needed. However, Nomar in the outfield sounds like an injury waiting to happen.

So now the Dodgers need a starting pitcher to be their ace, another outfielders, AND another big bat on top.

Searching for BOBBY

I was five years old when Bobby Kennedy was shot. Being from Massachusetts, this was a big event in my life. I remember seeing the footage on TV and asking my father what had happened. He told me that Kennedy was shot. Somehow, even at age 5, I had known about John Kennedy, and said something along the lines of "that's old news." My father explained to me that it was his brother Bobby.

Emilio Estevez was six when it happened and he remembers telling his father (Martin Sheen) the news. (Funny how Emilio looks about ten years younger than me.)

I'm willing to forgive some of the problems with the film BOBBY because it really has its heart in the right place.

There are a lot of great things about the film. The cast is absolutely phenomenal. Look at this list!
Harry Belafonte
Nick Cannon
Emilio Estevez
Laurence Fishburne
Heather Graham
Anthony Hopkins
Helen Hunt
Ashton Kutcher
Shia LaBeouf
Lindsay Lohan
William H. Macy
Svetlana Metkina
Demi Moore
Freddy Rodríguez
Martin Sheen
Christian Slater
Sharon Stone
Elijah Wood

The movie sounded good and had a good score by Marc Isham. It also had fantastic art direction and wardrobe.

However, there were weaknesses. Some of the writing was a little self-conscious to the point of maudlin. Laurence Fishburne and Martin Sheen both have lengthy monologues that sound more like something out of an acting class than a feature film.

The film uses a technique I mentioned was also used on THE QUEEN. Like Diana in that film, Bobby Kennedy in this film is shown only through actual footage. It works pretty well, but in the climax of the film, they spend way too much time on him and a speech of his, rather than letting the characters we've learned to care about in the previous two hours finish their stories.

An interesting side note: Emilio says that the impetus for this film came when he realized that so many of the film industry people he knew were leaving the business because work in LA is drying up. He was doing a shoot at the Ambassador Hotel and realized, hey, here's a location they CAN NOT POSSIBLY shoot elsewhere. So he started scripting the film.

I admire him for doing this, and for remembering Bobby. We really miss politicians who had that idealism.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

242 Extra Credit

People have asked what the difference is between the proposal and the analysis.

The proposal is one paragraph.
The only reason I ask for the proposal is to steer people away from making a poor choice of scene. If you are unsure which scene to do, suggest several and I will tell you which one I think would be a good choice.

The analysis is at least two pages.


PART I: PROPOSAL PROPOSAL DUE 9:00 AM 11/14

Choose one of your favorite films and select a sequence that is two to four minutes long that you enjoy that DOES NOT FOCUS ON DIALOG OR MUSIC but is instead designed around sound effects, Foley and/or backgrounds. (Although the scene may include some music or dialog, it should not be designed around it. It should be an “effects scene.”)

IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO THIS ASSIGNMENT, YOU MUST NOTIFY ME NO LATER THAN NEXT WEEK. Please let me know exactly which clip you will be showing. E-mail me a copy of your proposal.

IF YOU DO NOT TURN IN A PROPOSAL, I WILL NOT ACCEPT AN EXTRA CREDIT ASSIGNMENT FROM YOU.

PART II: ANALYSIS ASSIGNMENT DUE 9:00 AM 11/21
Type up a brief analysis of the sound design in the scene. Try to analyze what elements are present and how they function. Try to write as clearly and thoroughly as possible in a critical and analytical manner, the same way we do when we analyze clips in class. E-mail me the assignment.

Your typed paper should be at least TWO pages long (double-spaced in a normal typeface, at least 500 words).

If you choose a clip that includes music, you should discuss its spotting and function, however, the main area of analysis should be the sound design.

If you choose to do this assignment, your grade on it will replace a lower quiz grade. Please note that if you already have a high average (a “B” or above), this assignment will NOT necessarily help your average significantly.

If you have an average below 80, you should definitely do this assignment, especially if you have missed more than one quiz.

Extra credit assignments that are turned in after the due date will be treated as late and will be downgraded. No extra credit assignments will be accepted after our last regular class meeting.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

HALLELUJAH!!!

I've tried not to go into political rants on my blog, as there are already too many that do that. (One exception was my Labor Day Rant.)

However, I can't ignore today's issues. For the last five years, the Republicans have slowly dug their own graves by continually overstepping their bounds and abusing their privileges, and most of all, by not listening to the American public. Today the Democrats take control of the House. They also have 28 Governorships, and are one seat away from taking control of the Senate. In addition, a lot of propositions were shot down, many of them conservative ploys to confuse the voters.

Strangely, California now has one of the most conservative governors with the Arnold's re-election. He won mostly by turning his back on the Republicans who financed his campaign, and he wisely distanced himself from conservative issues in the last days of his first term. Unfortunately, this is exactly what he did before the first election, so we can expect him to return to catering to the Republican right when the dust has settled.

However, by far the most important victory yesterday was one that was not an elected official: Donald Rumsfeld has resigned as Defense Secretary, after months of denial from both Rummy and Bush that there would be any changes after the election. Rumsfeld has disturbingly stayed the course in Iraq to the point of irrationality. It's very clear that the war has become a complete mess, and new leadership is needed to turn things around. I can only hope that this is the beginning of major changes in the operation. Unfortunately, we still have Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, although Rove's influence has apparently dropped considerably.

An excellent article on the Iraq issue was Fareed Zakaria's cover story in Newsweek last week.

I also sincerely hope that the Democrats don't blow this singular opportunity. They need to work together to unify the country now. If they try to whiplash in the other direction, then the country will still be too divided and ultimately things will reverse direction again in another coming election.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tivo Sound Thread

Interesting thread about sound on the Tivo Community Forum, along with typically stupid answers.

Failures of OUR FATHERS

I'm not a huge fan of war films to begin with, and in particular, right now, I'm even less a fan of a film that glorifies or romanticizes war in any way, because people might use it as ammunition to justify the current Iraq War.

However, based on the good reviews, I was looking forward to FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS. Unfortunately, I don't think the film lives up to the hype.

First off, is there some law now that war scenes must be shot to look like the opening of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN? I know Spielberg produced the film, but can't we use a different look?

The film is definitely a departure for Clint Eastwood. It uses a much bigger canvas than most of his films. Don't get me wrong, there are some great scenes, especially about the American Indian character. But there were a lot of narrative problems. The basic story (about the subjects of the famous Iwo Jima flag raising photo) is almost too simple to sustain a 2 1/2 hour film; yet somehow, the flashback structure makes the characters and storyline so blurry that it's hard to tell what's going on. In particular, the third act feels jumpy and unfulfilled.

I will say this, it's the best "big sound" job I've heard this year. Kudos to everyone involved with the sound design. And one of the reasons the sound worked was the fact the Clint laid off the heavy-handed score during the battle scenes. He let the sound play the scene, which made it feel more real. Unfortunately, the scenes that he does score later on feel melancholic and manipulative because of his music.

I think there was a good movie somewhere in there, too bad it didn't show up on the screen.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

NFL Today

If you had told me that at the end of the day today, there would be only one undefeated team in the NFL, I would have assumed it to be Chicago, meaning that New England would have beat the Colts.

New England put up a decent fight, but the Colts were consistently the better team tonight and remain undefeated. NE fans weren't too happy to see Adam Vinitieri kicking for the Colts now. Although he got two field goals, he also missed two, which is pretty bad for him.

Chicago, whom many had considered the best team in the NFL, lost to last-place Miami, whom many considered one of the worst teams. That leaves Indianapolis as the only undefeated team.

Buffalo had a good win over Green Bay, a win they badly needed.

242 Notes on Grades

Quiz scores last week were abysmal; by far the worst yet. I have structured this course so that it is top-loaded with the creative material, and therefore the technical material tends to be clumped more towards the end of the semester. For that reason, some people may think this class gets harder as it goes along. You will definitely have to read the book more carefully with the remaining chapters, and you will need to review your notes before coming in to class for the quizzes.

(However, there are still two guest lectures coming up, and I will try to fit in my lecture on film music in one of the remaining weeks as well.)

The good news is that almost half of the class did the first extra credit assignment. The second extra credit assignment will be distributed this week and will be due in two weeks. Also, grades will be scaled by dropping the lowest quiz score. So most of you are still OK.

However, there do seem to be a few people who are "daring" me to fail them. There are still three people who have not turned in Assignment 2. Remember, your grade drops with time: the later it is turned in, the lower your grade.

Amazingly, 2 of the 4 people who are currently failing the class chose not to do the ridiculously easy extra credit assignment (while several people at the top of the class did do it, even though it is unlikely to help their already high grades).

If your average in this class is under a C-, you MUST repeat the class next semester or drop out of the cinema program. You may not take 310 until you have a "C" or better in this class, which may ultimately delay your graduation as well. (Also note that if you skip a semester before 310, it makes it very, very difficult to find a partner.)

Also you must maintain an average of B- in required cinema production classes. If you are getting more than one "C" this semester, you may also be held back from taking 310.

I've taught this class three times before and never had so many people so close to failing. Please don't be the first person to fail this class when I'm teaching it.

Check my office door to see what your average is. Occasionally grades get entered incorrectly into the database. It is YOUR responsibility to check the grades that are posted. If you find a problem or have a question, see the SA Jonathan to double-check.

See you Tuesday. As always, the quiz is cumulative but focuses primarily on last week's material.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

USC Wins!

My prediction came true, and USC won big time today, 42-0 over Stanford, the big win we've been waiting all year for! (Of course, they beat the only team in the league that does not have a win yet, so it's not that much to brag about.)

LSU upset #8 Tennessee, so we may see USC back in the top 8 in this week's rankings.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sports Weekend

USC plays Stanford tomorrow, favored by 28 points. UCLA plays at Cal, with Cal favored by 17. This is the first time in history that they two LA teams will both be in Berkeley at the same time. Apparently, they are expecting the fans to be as disaster to the city, they've
taken out a full page ad in the USC paper begging them not to destroy the place.

On Sunday, New England plays the undefeated Colts in a Superbowl rematch. NE is favored by 3. Buffalo plays Green Bay and are favored by 3.

Better than FICTION!

Saw the film STRANGER THAN FICTION tonight. Although the reviews have been mixed, I thought the film was fantastic. I was a little skeptical going in, as self-reflexive art can be tedious and pretentious, but this was very well-written. The casting is great, and Will Ferrell continues to grow as an actor with a deep performance in this film. Dustin Hoffman gives an atypically understated performance. Definitely a film worth seeing, especially for people in the arts, who will see themselves in this film.

Also some nice subtle, subjective sound design. And one STAR TREK TOS sound effect!