July 7th, 2009

The American Action Movie, w/guest Eric Lichtenfeld

Summer has long been synonymous with action blockbusters as far as Hollywood is concerned, for better (Predator) and for worse (the new Michael Bay Transformers film). What cinema genres gave birth to the American action film? How have action movies evolved based on the changing social and political climates of each era? And what sorts of characteristics are hallmarks of standout action films?

From The Road Warrior to Cobra, we’ll tackle it all — my guest is Eric Lichtenfeld, a film scholar who has contributed commentary tracks to landmark action films such as Predator and Die Hard, lectured at Loyola Marymount University, and is the author of the recent book Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie. [Originally broadcast on WLUW’s Under Surveillance in July 2009.]


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March 11th, 2009

The Depiction of Wealth in Popular Culture, w/guest Leonard Pierce

One of the many “taglines” of America is that it is the “Land of Opportunity” where anyone can succeed… and above all, get rich. How has this impacted the depiction of wealth (and the desire for wealth) here in the United States in contrast to other parts of globe? How has television served as a snapshot of American propserity in each particular era, from shows such as All in the Family to The Cosby Show and Friends? And how have economic issues been depicted in futuristic utopias (like Star Trek) as well as dystopias? Returning as my guest is freelance writer and pop-culture critic Leonard Pierce, who blogs about film for Nerve.com’s Screengrab and whose commentary can be found at his website, ludickid.com. [Originally broadcast on WLUW’s Under Surveillance in March 2009.]


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January 14th, 2009

Nuclear War in Mass Media, w/guest Ian Abrams

“Duck and Cover” has been replaced by “Shock and Awe” in the public lexicon where military matters are concerned, but the prospect of nuclear war has loomed for decades, even as the tensions of the Cold War have faded*. How have the worlds of literature, cinema, and television portrayed the experience of nuclear armageddon and its aftermath? My guest is Ian Abrams, former screenwriter and current associate professor at the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at Drexel University, and we’ll be examining everything from survivalist literary classics like Pat Frank’s Alas Babylon to Peter Watkins’ faux-documentary The War Game and the Stanley Kubrick dark-comedy classic Dr. Strangelove. [Originally broadcast on WLUW’s Under Surveillance in January 2009.]

* Check out this recent NY Times article concerning the worries over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.


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Kevin Fullam is a writer and researcher, with extensive experience in fields ranging from sports analytics to politics and cinema.

In addition, he has hosted two long-running radio series on film and culture, and taught mass media at Loyola University.

Episodes of his two shows, Split Reel and Under Surveillance, are archived on the Radio page.