April 22nd, 2009

Hollywood's Depiction of the Quest for "Happiness," w/guest Molly McAshan

How do we define “happiness?” How has that search been depicted in film and television throughout the years, through introspective characters who seek greater meaning in their lives (American Beauty), to displays of marital trauma and the breakdown of long-term relationships (The Ice Storm, War of the Roses)? Has the defining of the American Dream as one based on material wealth had a deleterious effect on our well-being? And what does the increasing presence of therapists in society (Mad Men, Ordinary People, Sopranos) say about our sense of satisfaction with life? Returning as my guest is Molly McAshan, a Chicago-area mental-health professional and a film blogger. [Originally broadcast on WLUW’s Under Surveillance in April 2009.]

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February 9th, 2009

The World of Neo-Noir Film, w/guest Mark Conard

Whereas classic film noir (French for “black film”) typically defines movies — mostly crime dramas — depicting moral ambiguity that were released in the 1940s and 50s, the neo-noir genre has been borne out of America’s disillusionment with societal institutions and the search for our “identity” as opposed to any particular culprit. From issues involving artificial intelligence and what it means to be human (raised in Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi tale Blade Runner) to those of distorted memories (Memento) and nihilism (Fight Club), we’ll examine the world of neo-noir cinema. My guest is Mark Conard, associate professor of philosophy at Marymount Manhattan College and editor of the book Philosophy of Neo-Noir, a collection of essays that explore the philosophical foundations of neo-noir through film. [Originally broadcast on WLUW’s Under Surveillance in February 2009.]

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October 7th, 2008

Mental Illness in Popular Culture, w/guest Molly McAshan

About a year ago, I wrote an essay for the online magazine The High Hat on the depictions of mental illness in film and television over the years — you can find that essay here. However, a few months earlier, I’d done a radio show on the very same subject with my friend and fellow cinemaphile Molly McAshan on that same topic. The original broadcast was split into a few parts since we were in the midst of a station pledge drive at the time, but I’ve condensed the show for your listening pleasure. As a mental-health professional in Chicago, Molly has a great deal of insight on the challenges that actual psychologists and psychiatrists face. (Do therapists typically have therapists of their own, a la Dr. Melfi in The Sopranos? Molly says yes.) She also has a film blog called Celluloitering, which I’d recommend even if she did give a thumbs-up to Burn After Reading. (I know, I know — but I think the Coen Brothers are overrated. I realize I’m in the minority on this one…) [Originally broadcast on WLUW’s Under Surveillance in 2007.]

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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.