Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Cultural Significance of Star Trek

During my private lesson tonight, Yukia and Shosei asked for some recommendations for movies and tv shows to watch. Not just good ones, or ones that I really liked, but ones that had significant cultural impacts on America and it's language. First we had to throw out movies that they had already seen, so that really meant older movies. After browsing the AFI top 100 list I chose:

Gone With The Wind
The Wizard of Oz
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

I think that quotes from the first two movies are just so pervasive that they were safe choices, and the blog reading world won't disagree with too strenuously. Butch and Sundance, well I'm not convinced of. I quite like the movie, but I guess it was more that it combines a lot of different elements - the American Western, yet a slice of the 70's, interesting anti-heros, etc. I dismissed Casablanca as a two quote movie, Citizen Kane because it's boring and Godfather because...I don't know why?

As for TV shows that was hard too. Except for the first one. Star Trek. Shosei has seen a couple and knows who Spock is. But Yukia hasn't a clue. And well, like it or not Star Trek really influenced America. Not just with quotes and names, but with a vision of the future. I know, I'm getting all deep about Captain Kirk and Tribbles and suchwhat, but I think it's true. The other two shows I suggested were Friends and M*A*S*H. As much as I'm a Friends addict, I'm not sure about that one, either. But, it does give a general snapshot of current language...I think. Got any suggestions out there?


At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had to chime in on TV talk. My server was blocking all blogs, games, and TV/radio sites, so I haven't read you since 2/14. What about... (some are impact more than language) ... "Roots", "All in the Family," "Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Laugh In," "Saturday Night Live," "Animal House," "American Graffiti," "Apocalpse Now," "Forrest Gump," "Clueless" (gag me), "Shaft" (!), "The Simpsons"??????????? -- RLM, TV addict in SC

At 7:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about THE REAL WORLD? And not just because that is how your brother makes his living. (OK, because that's how he makes his living.) As for movies; ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN would top my list. I agree with the ones you threw out and CHARIOTS OF FIRE doesn't fit your requirements. Mum

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) said...

My Japanese students used to like "Back to the Future". When it came out Michael J. Fox was a big hit in Japan. The nice thing about it is that it contrasts two periods of American life: the mid-1950s and the mid-1980s.

The 1992 version "Of Mice and Men" is interesting on many levels as is "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Cool Hand Luke"--just to show that America has its rough edges.

As for TV shows, if you want something up-to-date and snappily clever, try "Veronica Mars".


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