Hollywood assignment: Three choices

Source of Avatar photos: Avatar's Facebook fan page

You have three options for your Hollywood assignment. You may:

  1. Watch a movie that is aimed at a young audience (ages 14 to 21), write a review about it and post it online.
  2. Produce a YouTube video about a movie that targets a young audience, and show it to the class. If you choose this assignment, you may join with one to two other classmates.
  3. Watch a movie that is aimed at a young audience, and make a Facebook fan page about the movie.

Lights Camera Jackson with Leonardo DiCaprio

The assignment is worth 20 points, so make sure not to miss it. The assignment is due Oct. 7.
If the idea of writing a movie review – choice #1 – is a scary thought, just think of Ryan the Movie Critic, a teen-ager who has written more than 200 movie reviews since June 2007.
Jackson Murphy, better known as Lights Camera Jackson, is another kid reviewer. In 2010, he reviewed the upcoming Oscar nominees while on Fox & Friends and predicted the winners in the major categories. His website states:

Jackson began his career as a movie critic in January 2006, at the age of 7 1/2, on Radio Disney station WDDY, Albany (NY). Currently his reviews are seen each week in over a million homes on Time Warner’s YNN Network of 24-hour news stations throughout Upstate NY. He also writes a weekend reviews column for The Record (Troy, NY) newspaper.

Guidelines for choice #1, the movie review:

  • Please write at least 500 words.
  • Give your opinion on why a viewer should see or not see the movie.
  • Examine the movie as if it were a cultural artifact, as done in the “Hollywood Goes to High School” textbook. What does the movie say about American society?
  • Go beyond the surface in your review. Be original. Don’t just rehash what others have said without adding anything to the conversation.
  • Back up your opinions with supporting arguments. If you say a movie had a terrible plot, explain why. Be specific.
  • Include essential details about the movie: names of key actors, running time, rating, year movie was released.
  • Also note anything that is special about the movie. Did it have a huge budget? Was it controversial in any way? Did it break new ground in technology?

If you review an older movie – a movie released in 2009 or before – please include a reason why the movie is relevant now.

Before you write your review, read these how-to columns – here and here – to get some tips on how they are done.

Grading of movie reviews

Keep in mind that I’ll deduct points for the following:

  • Improper grammar and punctuation, spelling
  • Vague ideas and opinions that aren’t supported by thoughtful reasons and arguments.
  • Failing to meet the 500-word requirement


  • There will be an automatic 5-point deduction for students who misspell the name of the movie title, movie studio, a character, actor, producer or director.
  • Papers containing material lifted verbatim from other reviews will receive a failing grade.
  • No late assignments accepted without an excused absence.

Guidelines for choice #2, the YouTube video
Create a video of at least 1 minute and 30 seconds that includes a synopsis of the movie, plus commentary and/or interviews. Turn ina half-page memo stating the name of your movie, the year it was released, a three-sentence summary of the plot and the names of all who created your YouTube. Limit: Three students.

Guidelines for choice #3, the Facebook page
Make an unofficial fan page for a movie that targets a young audience. Turn in a note stating your name and the URL for your Facebook fan page.
Create a Facebook fan page that includes such things as:

  • Release Date
  • Genre
  • Studio
  • Links to websites about the movie
  • One- or two-sentence plot outline
  • Stars of the film
  • Director
  • Screenplay
  • Producer

See the Facebook pages for Avatar and Batman: The Dark Knight
Hollywood Goes to High School
Hollywood blockbusters

5 thoughts on “Hollywood assignment: Three choices

  1. John Sgromolo

    “American Pie” Movie Review By: John Sgromolo
    Rated: R
    Running Time: 1Hr 35Min
    Released: July 9th, 1999
    Directed By: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
    Written By: Adam Herz
    In this hilarious comedy, Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) is a senior in high school who with his three best friends, are on a mission to lose their virginity before prom night. On the way to reaching their, so they think impossible goal, they run into many twists and turns along the way! From jocks to band geeks, each of the “foursome” has their own story. When Jim meets Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) a smoking hot foreign exchange student, he doesn’t know how to handle the situation, but with some egging on from his buddies, he gets himself in a bit of a pickle. Jim’s Dad (Eugene Levy) had a few “life talks” with Jim, which often, well let’s just say, turn out a bit awkward. The biggest “player” out of the group, Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) has some encounters with a few not so willing girls who already know his motives, which challenge “Stiffler’s” manhood. The nice guy in the group Kevin Myers (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is the only one in the group who has a girlfriend, Victoria “Vicky” Lathum (Tara Reid). They have been dating for a while, and they think that it is about time that they take their relationship to the next level. On the road to the mighty “night of pleasure” they run into problems that some would say could be “hard”. The nerd of the group, Paul Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) is a different breed. “Finch” isn’t about the standard high school lay. He is more cultured, looking for the “older type”. Let’s just say that “Stifler” wasn’t too happy with “Finch” when he wanted to go after his mom (Jennifer Coolidge).
    Sgromolo’s Opinion: I think that American Pie is an outstanding movie that hilariously represents the struggles that kids go thru in high school. I was laughing the entire time because most of the concepts I can remember dealing with back when I was in high school. Dealing with drama, pressures of sex and being accepted, and having to understand who they are as individuals. I think that people will really be able to relate to most of the scenarios that come along in the movie. The writers did a great job of putting in situations that are very relevant to high school and to the American culture. My favorite part of the movie is when they find “The Bible”. It is this book that has been passed down from high school kid to high school kid for years. In the bible they write all of their past experience and it is “supposed” to help the next in line. American Pie is a must see.
    Our Society: American Pie shows the day to day struggles that the American high school teenager faces. I think that it shows that we are constantly judged by our peers, and often times in high school, things that are “cool” are often not the best things to do in life. Young people feel such pressure to be accepted that they lose sight of the important things in life that they will need to take with them down the road, for example, education.

  2. Oscar Maldonado

    Movie Review by Oscar Maldonado
    “American Pie Presents: Beta House”
    Runtime: 88 minutes
    Released Date: 26 December 2007
    Rated: R
    Directed by: Andrew Waller
    Writers: Erik Lindsay, Adam Herz

    Summary: Erik (John White) and Cooze (Jake Siegel) are freshmen at the University of Michigan and decide to join a fraternity and pledge “Beta House.” With Erik’s cousin Dwight Stifler (Steve Talley) as the unofficial leader of the fraternity they know that they are in and prepare themselves for a semester of crazy parties and wild adventures. But their fun is cut short when the leader of the newly established “GEK (“Geek”) House” Edgar (Tyrone Savage) plans to getting rid of the Beta’s, forever. After attacks from both sides Edgar finally snaps and challenges the Beta’s to the Greek games. An ancient campus tradition that went so far out of control it was banned forty years ago by the college. Now the Beta’s will have to band together if they are to defeat the Geeks and save their fraternity from Geek domination.

    My opinion: “Beta House” is one of those movies that you set down with a group of buddies and laugh the whole time that you’re watching it. It’s your typical fraternity movie with massive parties, a ton of drinking and sexual content. Really playing to the pre-constructed notion that every college freshmen boy has that college is just four years of parties, drinking and girls. But in a way this movie kind of portrays the common scenario, of the little guy getting bullied by the richer and more powerful person. It just so happen that in this movie the bullies are Geeks with their huge amounts of cash and perfect 4.0 GPA’s and the bullied are the frat guys with their chill party attitudes and live it up lifestyle. But for the most part “Beta House” is a nontraditional way of showing the viewer the conflict between the rich and the poor. An that just because someone has a ton of money, that does not give them the right to show it off in people’s faces, and use it in a way that will harm that people or at the very least cause them grief.

    Impact on today’s Society: American Pie Presents: Beta House gives every incoming freshmen and high school student the wrong idea of what college is really like. They never get to see the twenty page papers, the massive amounts of homework or the five thousand page book you have to read. They get the idea that college is just a time to get crazy and explores oneself interests. It completely destroys the importance of getting a good college education to have a more satisfied life. It is movies like this that show the whole world just how dumb we are and how we can never be take stuff serious. Movies like this are re-shaping teenagers views of college in dramatic ways. From prestigious learning institution to places to go get girls and get hammered every night for the next four years.

  3. Cheyenne Klinger

    Cheyenne Klinger
    Professor Eaton
    October 7, 2011

    The movie: Easy A
    Release date: September 17, 2010
    Rated: R
Running Time: 92 minutes

    Directed By: Will Gluck

    Written By: Bert V. Royal

    Review: Easy A is a film that depicts the life of a teenage girl named Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) who feels isolated in the realm of her high school world. When Olive lies to her friend Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka) about losing her viriginity during a one-night stand Olive takes the rumor and runs with it, only to improve her social and financial status. The word quickly starts to spread and she cant help but love the attention so when a friend who constantly gets picked on confronts her about helping him out by pretending to sleep with him, she agrees. This deed of pretending to sleep with boys so they look cool in exchange for money continues and Olive’s reputation starts to go down hill. Coincidentally Olive is learning about the Scarlet Letter in her English class and finds herself in a parallel world with Hester Pryne. She beings to wear the scarlet letter “A” on her clothing as a symbol of her sexual double standards. As her lies begin to intensify Olive realizes she must face reality and fix the things she’s done before the religious fanatic Marianne (Amanda Bynes) gets her expelled and ruins her life forever.

    Opinion: Easy A is a fun movie with a great mix of romance and comedy. Emma Stone plays the perfect role in this movie, making it funny but also a bit serious at times. The movie took you to places that you didn’t expect but it also had many scenes that one could relate too, for example when Olive struggles with being popular, and then again when she struggles with how to deal with the lies she has told and the people she has hurt. In addition, the movie had characters that you knew. For example, the religious fanatic Marianne, everyone knows the extremely religious person who you feel is always judging you but in reality they just want to be accepted too. My favorite part of this film is when Olive finally realizes that she must accept the lies she has told and decdied to bear the scarlet letter “A” on her clothing. Overall I would rate this film an 8/10.

    On society: The movie, categorized as a comedy and a romance, seems to bear some truth behind its humor. Many girls face the challenge between choosing what’s right and choosing what’s “cool”. Like Olive, many people struggle with the feeling that they need to be number one on the social ladder in high school, and they soon find out that being at the top isn’t all that its said to be. This film is a good depiction of society right now because the age for teenagers losing their virginity is getting younger and younger because it’s a “cool” thing to do. This film is different then other movies because other movies showcase losing ones virginity as a “cool” thing but Easy A went against that and showed how the topic of virginity is tangled with falsification, especially in high school.


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