"JUST TRAIN YOUR BRAIN"


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"American Dream Forever"

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CLIP 1. What is the full title of this movie? What is this mans greatest talent? Do you agree with his last phrase in this episode?

The full title of this movie is The Mysterious Yearning Secretive Sad Lonely Troubled Confused Loving Musical Gifted Intelligent Beautiful Tender Sensitive Haunted Passionate Talented Mr. Ripley. Here we can see Tom Ripley (Matt Damon). It may seem very difficult to reveal the greatest talent of this many-sided man. Its obvious that Tom Ripley is a real expert in imitation of peoples voices and habits, in forging their signatures, and in cheating, but, to my mind, all these skills are only components of his main (mortally dangerous, I should say) talent the talent to be a fake somebody. As far as we can see, Tom prefers being a fake somebody to being a real nobody, because he considers his talent to be the only means to help him to achieve everything in life, but Im convinced that you remain nobody without such valuable things as love and friendship, which Tom neither had nor has. ( )

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Movie title The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), episode characters Tom Ripley and Peter Smith Kingsley. Top Ripley is a very talented young man who is skillful in many aspects: besides playing the piano excellently, great singing, ability to talk with different voices, his greatest talent is to cheat, to pretend, and to lie in order to delude people, to make himself look as another person. The phrase Its better to be a fake somebody than a real nobody fully portrays the essence of Toms soul, his inner world and provides the viewers with incentives for his actions. Mr. Ripleys initial goals of are positive to acquire friendship, love, respect of the mighty, admiration, etc., but no goal, in my opinion, even the positive one, can justify the usage of rascally actions, such as lie, fraud, and murder. I believe that it is always better to develop ones own personality and to be proud of ones own achievements or take responsibilities for ones own mistakes. ( )

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Movie title The Mysterious Yearning Secretive Sad Lonely Troubled Confused Loving Musical Gifted Intelligent Beautiful Tender Sensitive Haunted Passionate Talented Mr. Ripley (Tom Ripley, Peter Smith-Kingsley).

Dog-in-the-manger

Thats who you are;

And lying, and forging,

And acting so far.

You aint a Nobody,

But you are a Fake!

Hey guy, cut it out,

Step right on your brake!

Quit kidding around

You wield fabulous charm.

Then, play to the point,

Gosh, stop causing harm!

      ( )

CLIP 2. How would you describe the young mans feelings? What is irritating him so much? In your opinion, why are young people sometimes overwhelmed while entering on a new stage of their life?

The Graduate (Ben Braddock, Mr. Braddock, Mrs. Braddock, Mr. McGuire). The young man (Ben) is clearly worried about his future, yearning for it to be different from a "standard career path" prepared for him by his parents and dictated to him by his social status and his class-conscious "friends". I wholeheartedly believe that it is the meaningless chatter and the unceasing displays of attention and mostly fake affection that brought about Bens feeling of irritation, especially at a time when he seeks solitude and some time to think about what awaits him in the adult world. It cannot be doubted that it is common for young people to feel overwhelmed and worried when they are about to enter a new period of their life. I am inclined to think that high expectations and the sense of uncertainty can account for such feelings. After all, young people often look up to both their parents and their peers and their main aim is to not fall short of parental expectations while managing to satisfy their own ambitions with regard to their peers achievements. ( )

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The movie is The Graduate. Mr. Braddock, Benjamin, and Mr. McGuire play the main parts in this episode. Benjamin is just out of college and he is facing a turning point of his life. Before his life was planned and directed by his family; there was a road he had to follow and so he did. Now, it is him who has to make decisions that are new, difficult, controversial and often painful. He is seduced by a woman his parents age and has to find an adequate response and react to the situation, as well as to many other situations, in this unfair world of adults. All young people are dreaming of the time they grow up and become adults, but then they are scared by this new world and the decisions they have to make and the responsibilities that accompany them. When you have to start a new phase of your life (new job, new relationship, etc.) it might scare you, and you may want to go back to the time when the decisions were made for you. ( )

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Movie title The Graduate. The characters of this episode are Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), Mr. Braddock (William Daniels), Mrs. Braddock (Elizabeth Wilson). Embarrassment could be the right word to describe Bens feelings in this episode. I suppose he is irritated by the whole situation in which he suddenly found himself: being surrounded by a lot of people whom he barely knows expecting Ben to become somebody very respectable, meaningful - a worthy member of American society. Meanwhile, Ben is not sure about what he can and wants to be, what he is expected to become. The feeling is familiar to every person starting something big and new: the feeling a rock-climber has when he comes to the very top of the mountain and the only thing he finds there is precipice. ( )

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Movie title The Graduate. This episode discloses true feelings of Ben Braddock, newly graduated student, the pride of his parents and award-winning scholar, who is struck and uncomfortable with common attention. His parents friends invited to admire his merits bombard him with endless questions about his future plans, but he hardly can answer. Like all the youngsters who have reached the legal age, he has to decide upon his fate on his own - and he abruptly comes to feel the burden of uncertainty and responsibility. I can bet my shoes that every single person in this world has once felt lost in the same way, because for each of us there comes the day when we have to make our personal choice about what we are and if we are going to defend our right to be someone. This choice determines our whole life: once wrong it can spoil everything, forever. ( )

 

CLIP 3. Americans have a great sense of humor and know how to laugh at themselves. What aspects of American life are satirized in this episode?

This movie, "Addams Family Values", as well as the other ones in the Addams series, makes fun of many things, American values not the least of them. The Addams girl, Wednesday, performs the main part in the episode, but other characters such as Pugsley (as the turkey), Amanda Buckman (Sarah Miller), and Gary and Becky Granger appear as well. Satirized in this episode is the US history: it is not a secret that American settlers had to defeat the Indians to get their land, but the results are highly controversial, with some people arguing that it was necessary, and others claiming it all to be a big senseless massacre. Another thing made fun of is the attitudes of some rich Americans to life: the parents are clearly racist (Indian? Enough said), and the play is elitist (Sarah Millers speech about the Indians not having had certain advantages, or Pocahontas's compliments). Americans are also depicted hypocritical about their past, which, in my opinion, is not entirely true: by creating special conditions for Native Americans they actually tried to somehow apologize and make up for the sins of their forefathers, which is a lot in itself. ( )

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"Addams family values," the main characters of this episode are Wednesday Addams, Amanda Buckweat and Wednesday's brother as the Turkey. I suppose here we can see not only some aspects of American life being satirized but also American drawbacks. This always smiling face concealing sincere thoughts, self-admiration, contempt towards someone different despite all political correctness... One good thing - if they laugh, the problem is 1/4 solved. ( )

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Movie Title Addams Family Values. In this episode we can see Wednesday Addams as Pocahontas, Amanda Buckman as Sarah Miller, Becky Martin Granger and Gary Granger as directors, presenters and prompters of their play. The tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving Day appeared long ago, and this holiday is very significant for Americans, although many people do not remember when, how and why it came into being. Double standards in evaluating people of different skin, disregard of different culture and behavior, snobbism and superciliousness of white wealthy people are satirized in this episode. ( )

 

CLIP 4. Why is this gentleman defending the boy? Which American values are revealed in this episode?

This clip is an abstract from the movie Scent of a Woman, and in the episode we see the main characters: Charlie Simms, the student of a private school, and Frank Slade, a blind retired army officer; there is also a headmaster who is accusing Charlie of being silent about who committed an act of vandalism. Frank Slade is defending Charlie in this trial, because he feels that Charlies unwillingness to be a snitch is not mere stubbornness, but nobility, and that this nobility is the spirit of the school as it should be. Besides, he has come to respect and love Charlie, who has been of great help to him, for example when he prevented Franks suicide. Such American values as contempt for cheating and bribes and love for fairness are expressed in this episode together with the ability to speak out eloquently and win the favor of the audience by being honest and frank with it. ( )

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Movie title Scent of a Woman. In this scene we can see Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (portrayed by Al Pacino) delivering an ardent speech in the defense of Charlie Simms, a student of a private preparatory school (portrayed by Chris O"Donnell), and Mr. Trask (portrayed by James Rebhorn) conducting the trial. In my opinion, being a real soldier, Frank Slade is doing his job: defending the truth, protecting an innocent person walking the path made of principles. When he starts his speech, no one takes him seriously: a blind, alcoholic and ribald defender is not a good choice, for sure. Well, yes, he is blind, but does anybody need eyes to see whats good or wrong, to feel the real spirit? And how allegorical it is when a blind person opens the listeners eyes to the values which they, cradle of leadership, have lost: integrity, courage, manhood and friendship - values that are not just American, but fundamental for the whole human society. ( )

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This is a clip from Scent of a Woman, the main character is a blind military retiree Frank Slade (played by Al Pachino); a poor but very bright student Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell), the headmaster Trask (James Rebhorn) and others are present as well. Frank is protecting Charlie because the young man is on the verge of expulsion, for he saw his rich schoolmates playing a mean trick on the headmaster, but Charlie Simms refused to give them away no matter what. Mr. Slade gives a speech that is flashing all around to sell or nor to sell people issue, as someone put it in one of the modern versions of Hamlet. The focal point of the speech is brimming with emotion, it is a cry for pondering a question about moral dimensions spirit, courage, integrity and sticking to ones principles that are vital in America and are supposed to be such in this school in particular, as it is a cradle of leadership of the United States, according to Principal Trask, and these are the values leaders should be made of, according to Frank Slade. ( )

 

CLIP 5. In your understanding, what does it mean to be a real American?

"Citizen Kane" (a feature film directed by Orson Welles) tells us the story of a media magnate, Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles), his life and career in the publishing world. The finest example of the American Dream becoming reality, at least at first sight, the film turns into a satirical pamphlet, castigating one of the most typical representatives of real Americans, who strive for reaching the utmost heights of power and fame. We see the full picture of Kanes degradation, as he starts with the desire to be in use for the community providing necessary information, and then turns into a person abusing his power to indulge himself - Kane takes control of the newspaper, marries Emily Monroe Norton (Ruth Warrick), a Presidents niece. Its not for nothing that the film is entitled "Citizen Kane"; in my opinion, the word "citizen" in this case emphasizes the mentality of the whole nation. ( )

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Movie title Citizen Kane. To my mind, the main characters of this episode are Charles Foster Kane, who is spoken about a lot, and America its spaces, its people (at least, we can see a map of the U.S.). What does it mean to be a real American? Does it mean to live in America?.. or to love the U.S.?.. maybe to celebrate the Independence Day?.. These answers are partially right, but for me to be a real American means to have a fire in your soul that gives you power and energy to work for America, for the people of America, to improve your own skills and make your American dream come true. ( )

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Movie title "Citizen Kane" (1941). This film is about Charles Foster Kane, performed by Orson Welles, who is also the film director. Mark Twain once said: An Englishman is a person who does things because they have been done before; an American is a person who does things because they havent been done before, which can be proved by the fact that this is the most innovative work in the history of cinema. It is also said that Americans possess the love of liberty, the pursuit of justice, the urge to invent, the desire for wealth, the drive to explore and the quest for spiritual values. Like most of the residents of the USA, Charles Foster Kane is a self-made man. He embodies the American dream and prefers to make business, not love or war. But the most important thing, which, from my point of view, makes a real American, is that he is really proud to be a citizen of the country where you feel freedom with every breath. ( )

 

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