Monday, June 29, 2009

June Movies: More Arrogant Profs!

Ok, due to travel, the summer movie season slid to a halt in June, with only one movie seen in the theater--Transformers Part Deux. Modest spoilers follow:

First, the movie was better than expected, with a good dose of humor and some nice action sequences. It was hard to tell at times some of the differences between the various transformers, but not a bad ride.

Second, this movie continues to perpetuate the typical stereotypes of professors, and hit home a bit uncomfortably. Rainn Wilson plays an astronomy professor in an early sequence at a school that looks like Yale but is apparently in the Philadelphia area. He begins the first lecture of the year, full of smarm. He gestures with an apple and then drops it, demonstrating the law of gravity. This is where things got uncomfortable for me, as I do tend to drop things in class to juxtapose the law of gravity--that the hard sciences have laws and we don't in political science (just theories, Ma'am); and I also use an apple on the second day of my intro class. I don't demonstrate gravity with it, but rather compare it to an orange and then to a frisbee, and I do, like Wilson's character, toss the (unbitten) apple into the audience. The purpose is to demonstrate different logics of comparison. Yet, the combination of fruit and classroom stunts with a character reeking of arrogance .... Well, I guess my students and teaching assistants would have the best take on the comparison between art (if one can call Transformers art) and reality.

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