Posted in episodes

Episode 24: Better Together

The homework for the episode:
Martha: New52 Justice League, vol. 1: Origin by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, and Carlos D’Anda
Pete: A trio of musical albums: The New Pornographers: Together (2010), Neko Case: Middle Cyclone (2009), and Destroyer (aka Dan Bejar’s band): Kaputt (2010)
Calee: Captain America: Civil War, the 2016 film directed by the Russo Brothers and starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., and Sebastian Stan

Iconic superheroes meet for the first time against a powerful foe.

I don’t know how to give a synopsis of three musical albums, but basically: a Canadian pop supergroup makes super fun music, and so do two of its individually famous members.

Two superpowered leaders disagree, splinter their team, and form their own teams so that Steve Rogers can defend his assassin bestie.

Calee Schouten returns for our one year anniversary! In honor of getting the band back together, as it were, we’re talking about various forms of teamups.

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: 1848: Year of Revolution, 2008 book by Mike Rapport
Martha: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild video game for Nintendo Switch
Calee: Arrested Development, 2003 TV show created by Mitchell Hurwitz and starring Jason Bateman

There is no Martha, only Zelda, and the taming of beautiful ponies therein. Pete shows all of us up by once again bringing actual LEARNING about FACTS for his credentials, while Calee gives Martha the elevator pitch on why she should watch a culturally iconic tv show.

With the insane popularity of comic-based film right now, pop culture is pretty saturated with teamups. For our homework today we looked at the Big Two from the Big Two, and Pete threw us all a welcome curve ball by introducing a real-life teamup in the form of the pop supergroup The New Pornographers.

Some of the questions we examine are:

  1. Do the members of these teams gain or lose anything by being part of a team?
  2. Does our familiarity with the individual members/components of these teams help or hurt our enjoyment of the teamup? Does DC or Marvel relying on character archetypes contribute to that feeling?
  3. The goal of a team-up is usually to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. Do we feel that the team-ups we looked at here succeed or fail at that?

We also talk about about how these teams succeed or fail, and how we feel about the individual members in their private endeavors versus their team efforts. We may or may not throw some shade at DC (and a bit at Marvel, we are nothing if not equal opportunity shade-throwers).

For our next episode, we are joined by friend of the show and fellow podcaster Josh Brown to talk about Formative Media: the stories and media that influenced us as children, shaped our tastes, and made us the discerning consumers of pop culture that we are today. We will probably all get very emotional and nostalgic!

The homework for January 31:

Martha: Princess Mononoke, the 1997 Studio Ghibli animated classic (specifically the English dub featuring Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Gillian Anderson, and more)
Pete: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the 1950 novel by CS Lewis
Josh Brown: The 1983 children’s tv show Reading Rainbow, specifically the episode for “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and two more episodes of our choosing (find them on YouTube here)

Find Calee on Instagram @trickylemon. Find Pete on Twitter @piko3000, and find Martha on both Instagram AND Twitter @magicalmartha.

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, and find us on Facebook.

And remember, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for a show, give us a shoutout here or send us an e-mail to show@homeworkpodcast.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in extra credit

Some More Favorites from 2017

(Written by Martha S.)

I touched on the fact that the things that usually make my Top Ten end of the year lists are some combination of things that I think were best, and also things that are my favorites, and somewhere in the Venn diagram of those things is the top ten I eventually summon. The point is, the things that are best are not always the things that I love, since I occasionally have trash taste and also will prioritize things that give me feelings over things that are technically excellent (IT was a very good example of this).

Logan, for example, on Pete’s list, was probably one of the ten best films of the year – but I did not leave that theater desiring to ever watch it again, because it was so exhausting and such a raw experience. I recognize that it is a stellar film (because the Academy won’t, amiright), but I would rather watch Wonder Woman ten more times.

I realize this makes me seem like a lazy consumer, and in many ways, I am – which is not to say I don’t enjoy being challenged by media, but rather that the structures under which I want to revisit something are more specific than wanting to study something in-depth.

ALL OF WHICH IS TO SAY, that here are some other truly excellent things I experienced this year, which did not make it into my list for the episode, but that I would like to give credit to.

The Shape of Water, film, directed by Guillermo del Toro
I am leading with this because if I had seen it before we recorded the episode, it would have bumped something off my list. It is a truly excellent, beautiful movie that cares about as much for logic as a Grimm’s fairy tale, which is to say, not at all. Sally Hawkins gives a lyrical performance, and I have been describing it to people as “Think about if Beauty & the Beast and The Creature from the Black Lagoon had a film baby,” and I stand by that.

Turtles all the Way Down, book, written by John Green
John Green is a hard author for me to talk about as an adult human because I can see so desperately what his appeal is for teenagers, I simply came to him too late in my life to be truly enraptured by his “talk like tiny adults” teenage protagonists. TATD suffers from this greatly, but it is also an incredibly raw, relateable story about someone dealing with crippling anxiety and OCD, and I approve of the conversations it inspired in my teen book club.

Rick and Morty, s3.07: “The Ricklantis Mixup,” tv episode written by Dan Guterman and Ryan Ridley
The fanbase for Rick and Morty may be terrible, but the show has reached some truly transcendent moments, and I particularly enjoyed this Lord of the Flies-esque diversion into Citadel life. Politician Morty is superior to Pickle Rick, don’t @ me.

Brooklyn Nine Nine and The Good Place
The biggest reason I didn’t include any episodes of Brooklyn Nine Nine or The Good Place on my list were simply that I couldn’t pick just one, and I wanted to get granular and stay consistent. But both of these shows have delivered consistently excellent, intensely watchable tv, particularly TGP 2.02 (“Dance Dance Resolution”), 2.05 (“Existential Crisis”), and B99 5.04 (“HalloVeen”), 5.09 (“99”), and 5.10 (“Game Night”).

All the Crooked Saints, book, written by Maggie Stiefvater
I am still a bit unsure about how I feel about this book! As a reading experience, it is excellent: it is whimsical, emotional, fun to read. However, it is a very Hispanic story about Hispanic people using Hispanic culture, written by….a white lady. I haven’t been able to find any quotes or writing by Stiefvater about the research process for this book, or who she did or did not consult while writing it, but my kneejerk reaction is that this is a bit what people are talking about when they talk about cultural appropriation: was Stiefvater’s voice the best voice to tell this story? Is this her story to tell?

Release, book, written by Patrick Ness
Patrick Ness wrote one of my favorite books in the universe (The Rest of Us Just Live Here) and I think it is an UTTER TRAGEDY that it has not been turned into a CW show about beautiful teenagers making terrible life decisions. That said, I truly loved about 70% of Release – the other 30% was a fairly obtuse fairy tale interweaving between the story of one summer day in not-quite-out Adam Thorn’s life, and I am still not quite sure what the relationship between those two stories is.

Thor: Ragnarok, film, directed by Taika Waititi
It was good! I had a lot of fun! It was also super dumb? Not in a writing or humor way, because I actually thought most of the humor was delivered excellently; the story, however, makes NO sense, and a lot of my favorite bit players from earlier Thor chapters were tossed aside very unceremoniously, which I did not appreciate.

Posted in episodes

Episode 23: A Year in Review

 

For this episode, Pete and I take a moment to reflect back on some of the very, very good media we consumed that was created in 2017 – everything from music albums to tv episodes, movies to books (of course). We also give you a peek behind the curtain to tell you what our favorite and least favorite homework of the year was – spoiler alert, we assigned each other our least favorite things, which maybe tells you a little too much about our own personal tastes, IDK.

Our next episode on January 17 is going to be pretty special – it’s our one year anniversary show, and to celebrate, we’re getting the band back together to talk about Team-Ups! The homework for the episode:

Martha: New52 Justice League, vol. 1: Origin by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, and Carlos D’Anda
Pete: A trio of musical albums: The New Pornographers: Together (2010), Neko Case: Middle Cyclone (2009), and Destroyer (aka Dan Bejar’s band): Kaputt (2010)
Calee: Captain America: Civil War, the 2016 film directed by the Russo Brothers and starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., and Sebastian Stan

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, and find us on Facebook.

And remember, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for a show, give us a shoutout here or send us an e-mail to show@homeworkpodcast.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in supplementary material

Episode 22 Follow-up: Villainous Revelations

(Written by Martha S.)

I almost assigned homework for this episode that was very much not heroic in nature – ultimately, I did not, because I liked that our discussion was learning towards those moments in media that make you want to stand up and cheer, not that make the bottom drop out of your stomach. I am, however, fascinated by this kind of face-heel turn, particularly when I as the audience get to realize that a narrator or protagonist I’ve been following is not the person I have been lead to believe (in short: I love a well-written unreliable narrator).

The homework I almost assigned is a novel by Laure Eve title The Graces, with a narrator you come to realize is incredibly unreliable. We don’t even get to know her real name – the first person narrator chooses the name River, and not only refers to herself as such through the whole novel, but only relates when others call her that as well. Her name remains a mystery to us even when her past is revealed, which is perhaps the point: River’s chosen name, and the narrative she chooses to tell about herself, is more revealing than any name given to her by a parent.

In The Graces, River is a new student at a high school dominated by the Grace siblings, three high schoolers that occupy the upper social echelon that we’re all familiar with via teen dramas. The Graces are beautiful, popular, witchy, and a little bit other – people are just a bit afraid of them. Through the course of the book, River desperately tries to work her way into their inner circle, becoming a friend, confidante, and eventual parasite to their familiar dynamic. River, you see, has a secret: for all their talk of magic and ritual, the Grace siblings are mere pretenders to the magical throne. River has real powers, in that she can make things happen just by wishing them.

She wishes a girl would shut up. That girl gets laryngitis. She wishes a boy, competing for the affections of her crush, would go away. That boy is swept out to sea.

The reveal of River’s power, and her awareness of this power, is a remarkable moment in the book, because of how unassuming and meek she has made herself seem to the reader. I think there is a manipulative way of pulling off this reveal, that feels cheap and like the author has been hiding information from the reader; there is also the reveal that makes you go back through the book to look for all the clues that lead to this place, and realize it’s not so out of the blue after all.

The other example that I want to bring up is Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which manages the character crystallization moment for both its hero and antagonist characters, in a way that neatly swaps your expectations of both of them. Doctor Horrible is an essentially good guy who aspires to villainy; when he finally has his determining moment, it is hollow and riddled with despair. Likewise, the “heroic” Captain Hammer, who has been a vainglorious scoundrel through the whole story, finally achieves his crystallizing moment for us all to realize: he’s a coward.

One of the things that a crystallizing moment can do for a character is not only show you who a character truly is, but cause you to reflect on your expectations for a story. It’s always satisfying for a story to fulfill what you want from it; I would like to posit that it can be just as satisfying for a story to fulfill a desire you didn’t even know you had.

Posted in episodes

Episode 22: Moments of Character Transcendence

The homework for the episode:
Martha: The Wee Free Men, 2003 novel by Terry Pratchett
Pete: Serenity, 2005 film directed by Joss Whedon and starring Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyck, and others
Caitlin: Wynonna Earp, 2016 TV show, episodes 1.02 (“Keep the Home Fires Burning”) and 2.12 (“I Hope You Dance”)

A nine-year-old girl faces down a cruel, immortal queen who dares invade her home and steal her family.

A ragtag crew of mercenaries stands against the ruling power in the universe, determined to confront them and make right an act of abject horror.

Two women (and a few determined men) chase the legacy of a legendary gunslinger by defeating his demons, and they do it while a baby is being born.

We are joined for this episode by friend of the show Caitlin Flynn! Welcome, Caitlin! Caitlin also happens to be Pete’s cousin, and yet another Oak Park native.

This may be our most ethereal topic we’ve covered yet, but it’s a good one to look at in the framework of a narrative (and we try to at least define what we mean by “character transcendence” before getting too in the weeds on it). Basically, we’re looking at stories where a character has a defining moment that tells us who they are and what they’re about. But first….

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Martha: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
Caitlin: The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

It’s a very literary edition of credentials (probably because we’re all trying to meet our Goodreads reading goals at the last minute). Caitlin and Pete are both frustrated by the lack of a third installment in Patrick Rothfuss’ series, while Martha has only amazement for anyone willing to commit to the Wheel of Time novels at this point. She’s also abandoned her professional TBR pile in favor of Mira Grant’s newest watery horror expedition, and she has no regrets about that.

So, what DO we mean exactly when we say “moments of character transcendence”? It’s a lofty phrase, but what does it mean? The characters we’re examining – a witch-in-training, a lost and damaged super genius (and her various protectors), and a pair of feisty demon hunters – all have a moment that crystallizes who they are, what they stand for, and what their stories are trying to say.

The two main questions we drive at in trying to pinpoint these moments are 1. Where in the story do the characters achieve this crystallization, and 2. What do these moments say about the characters? Additionally, we delve into how these moments help us as the audience understand what the narrative is trying to say.

A warning: Martha gets incredibly emotional pulling out a quote from The Wee Free Men, and everyone braces for an argument over Serenity that doesn’t end up going down. We also don’t address in the episode that we all picked stories featuring women, who are all strong but not Strong Female Characters, which in retrospect was probably deserving of some kind of mention!

We’re taking a bit of a break for the next release day – due to holiday travelling schedules, Pete will be responsible for making sure you all have something to listen to, although what exactly that will be is TBD! After that, on January 17 it’s DYDYH’s one year anniversary! We will be joined by our very good friend and original co-host Calee Schouten to discuss something that is also TBD (but we’ll get you that info as soon as possible).

Happy holidays to all of our listeners! We appreciate every download, view and share. See you in 2018!

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, and find us on Facebook.

And remember, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for a show, give us a shoutout here or send us an e-mail to show@homeworkpodcast.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in episodes

Episode 21: Transformation

The homework for the episode:
Pete: The Wicked + the Divine, vol. 1: The Faust Act, by Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen
Martha: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Sarah: Fright Night, 1985 film directed by Tom Holland and starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, and Amanda Bearse

We are joined for this episode by friend of the show Sarah Caputo! Welcome, Sarah!

We’ve talked about identity and character growth, and now we discuss Transformation and all the ways it changes us (heh). We have some feelings about character agency, the virtues of self-driven transformation vs. the non-consensual kind, and the use of metaphor, among others – and can we just say a special Thank You to Sarah for getting us to watch this masterpiece of 80’s camp horror?

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Political blog posts linked from Twitter (like this one)
Martha: Animal Crossing Pocket Camp on mobile
Sarah: Live show from Maria Bamford

Pete is reading about depressing political stuff as per usual, but it does sound like his reading would be helpful to anyone trying to lie to the FBI (spoiler alert: don’t). Martha has once again been drawn into the seductive world of mobile gaming with the new Animal Crossing property, while Sarah, the lucky duck, got to experience Maria Bamford LIVE and IN PERSON.

We go a little long in this episode – I would apologize, but we got very swept up in the discussion of character agency, and that is a topic I (Martha) could discuss FOREVER. So be glad we didn’t go EVEN MORE longer! Anyway, in this episode we discuss the following broad questions:

  1. How do the characters in our homework transform? How do their physical, emotional or mental transformations inform their characters and character growth?
  2. Are these character transformations metaphors or stand-ins for anything? If so, what are they representing?
  3. What difference does self-induced vs. non-consensual transformation make to our characters?

We get a bit in the weeds on this one, but only in the most interesting ways, I promise. Our homework subjects run the gamut from pop stars to vampires to plastic surgery-obsessed teenagers, which makes for some extremely interesting parallels. Martha gets to blow Pete’s mind when she informs him that Uglies was written in 2005, paving the way for basically all dystopian supergirl fiction. We all get super excited about Fright Night because let’s be real, Prince Humperdink playing a vampire named Jerry is basically the best thing ever. We also get deep into a discussion about character agency and where the line is between agency and compulsion.

On December 20, we are joined by friend of the show Caitlin Flynn to discuss the (poorly worded, perhaps) topic of Moments of Character Transcendence. Our homework:

Martha: The Wee Free Men, 2003 novel by Terry Pratchett
Pete: Serenity, 2005 film directed by Joss Whedon and starring Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyck, and others
Caitlin: Wynonna Earp, 2016 TV show, episodes 1.02 (“Keep the Home Fires Burning”) and 2.12 (“I Hope You Dance”)

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, and find us on Facebook.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @tinyrevOKC and Instagram @tiny.revelations. Check out her Etsy store Tiny Revelations, where you can find very cute art, cards, and now even shadow boxes (which make great gifts).

And remember, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for a show, give us a shoutout here or send us an e-mail to show@homeworkpodcast.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in extra credit

Is it time for Christmas music yet?

(Written by Martha S.)

In our most recent episode, I told you all that my family is pretty dedicated to about half a dozen Christmas albums that we have been listening to on repeat for the last 30 years. I gave you one name – A Very Special Christmas, circa 1987 – and now I’m going to tell you the others, because they’re great albums and we’ve finally arrived at the ~socially acceptable~ time of year to be listening to Christmas music.

I’m gonna list these in alphabetical order, because I’m too close emotionally to try and rank them by favorite. I’m ALSO going to include links to my favorite tracks where applicable, for no other reason but that I feel like it.

The Bells of Dublin, The Chieftains (1991)
“A Breton Carol,” ft. Nolwen Monjarret

A Celtic Christmas, Windham Hill (1995)
“Soillse Na Nollag (The Lights Of Christmas),” ft. Altan

Christmas Extraordinaire, Mannheim Steamroller (2001)
“Do You Hear What I Hear”

A Christmas to Remember, Amy Grant (2007)
The title song, duh

Traditional Christmas Classics, various (1989)
“Sleigh Ride,” by Leroy Anderson

A Very Special Christmas, various (1987)
“Do You Hear What I Hear,” Whitney Houston
“Gabriel’s Message,” Sting

A Winter’s Solistice, various (1992) (I think)
“A Wexford Carol”

An honorable mention must also be given to A Very Veggie Christmas from Veggie Tales (1996), which I was inexplicably obsessed with for several years (their versions of “Angels We Have Heard On High” and “He Is Born The Holy Child” were my favorite for a very long time).

 

Posted in episodes, extra credit

Extra Credit episode 20.5: Holiday Faves

Hello and welcome to our holiday break episode! Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we’re all super busy making pies or eating turkey or watching football, so we have a nice light episode for you. No homework required!

We still have credentials for you, because continuing education is a very important part of being a pop culture podcaster:

Pete: American Ulysses by Ronald C. White, specifically the audiobook format
Martha: Pokemon Ultra Moon, Nintendo DS game

We’re all about nostalgia on this episode, from Martha returning to her favorite video game franchise down through all the specifically Christmas holiday specials we kind of said we wouldn’t be talking about. We touch on some family traditions, like Pete’s family seeing a movie on Boxing Day to Martha’s family listening to the same six Christmas albums every year, pretty much on repeat. The point is: our  pop culture traditions are as much a part of our holiday experience as trimming the tree or opening presents.

Here’s the full list of the specific media we discuss (general traditions not included):

Martha

Remember the Titans, 2000 film directed Boaz Yakin and starring Denzel Washington
The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993 film directed by Henry Selick and starring Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara and Danny Elfman
A Very Murray Christmas, 2015 Netflix special starring Bill Murray (and others!)
A Very Special Christmas, 1987 compilation album (full track and artist listings here)
A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965 film directed by Bill Melendez, written by Charles Schultz, and scored by Vince Guaraldi
The Twilight Zone, 1959 television show created by Rod Serling

Pete

The West Wing, episodes 2.8 (“Shibboleth”) and 3.8 (“The Indians in the Lobby”)
Elf, 2003 film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Will Ferrell
The holiday musical stylings of Sufjan Stevens
The Dark Knight, 2008 film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale

What are your go-to holiday favorites?

Posted in episodes

Episode 20: Masks

The homework for the episode:
Pete: Mother Night, 1961 novel by Kurt Vonnegut
Martha: Hannibal, episodes 1.01 (“Aperitif”), 1.07 (“Sorbet”), and 1.10 (“Buffet Froid”)
Mark: Enigma, graphic novel by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo published by Vertigo Comics in 1995

We are joined for this episode by friend of the show and Pete’s brother, Mark Rhomberg! Welcome, Mark!

We’re back to our metaphorical roots, examining plot and character elements in our discussion of Masks. We look at them both literally and figuratively, and there may or may not be a round of patting each other on the back for not assigning any straight forward superhero stories (although we still manage to talk about Batman, because, well, duh).

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Revolutions podcast, hosted by Mike Duncan
Martha: Monster Factory on YouTube, a Polygon production
Mark: Take Care, 2011 album by Drake

If Martha seems detached and quiet during this segment, it’s because her internet kept dropping her from the Skype call. Awkward! She joins in long enough to talk about the piece of pop culture she’s ACTUALLY excited about, her brand new MoviePass (although she’d be more excited about it if it would actually work!). Pete gets down with history and everyone gets to chastise Martha for not being able to recall any Drake music.

You may have noticed we had no pre-reading post up before this episode – that is an accident of busyness, and nothing more! The big questions we address in this episode:

  1. What is the impetus a character might don a mask, and what function does that mask serve? What are the literal and figurative masks our characters wear?
  2. How do these characters get “lost” behind their masks (if, in fact, they do)?
  3. How does the idea of wearing a mask assist a character function in society when they might not otherwise be able to do so, by being their “true” selves?

We also touch briefly on the pros and cons of wearing a mask, how that can be used as a defense mechanism, and the central issue posed by Vonnegut in the introduction to Mother Night: “We are who we pretend to be.”

Our theme was inspired by a tumblr post by Neil Gaiman, which we discuss and which can be found here. The Wonder Woman page can be read here; it’s a page from Wonder Woman Annual #1, written by Greg Rucka and art by Nicola Scott and Liam Sharp.

We don’t get into a lot of detail, so for anyone who didn’t read Enigma, our discussion probably gets a little confusing – in brief, the reader finds out that the title character was basically abandoned down a well for most of his life where he developed psychic powers, lived off lizards, and never learned human feelings. When he is found by the world, he adopts the guise of this esoteric comic character in order to have some kind of purpose that isn’t just psychically manipulating lizards or his mom.

On November 22, we’re doing something a little lighter and going guest-less to talk about some of our favorite media to consume around the holidays. Your homework is to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas because it will probably come up!

Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at show@homeworkpodcast.com, and find us on Facebook.

You can follow Mark on twitter @MARKRHOMBERG. Check out his awesome bars Splash Studio and Nine Below if you’re ever in Milwaukee.

And remember, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for a show, give us a shoutout here or send us an e-mail to show@homeworkpodcast.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in supplementary material

Footnotes to Episode 19

(Written by Martha S.)

At some point in the episode I remarked that I thought it was interesting that we all picked genre media – what I mean by that is that we all picked media that falls outside of “realistic fiction.” “Genre” books or film is typically a term applied to science fiction, fantasy, horror, anything that has a distinct genre other than literary fiction, drama, comedy, etc. And I think it’s worth noting that music and sound potentially has a larger role to play in these kinds of narratives, because they do more work to indicate the intended tone or mood of a piece of media.

For example: picture the opening sequence of Jaws.

Without the iconic music, it’s a woman swimming in the ocean (until she gets eaten by the shark, obviously). We as the audience don’t know to be anxious about her nighttime swim without the music; that’s what causes our deep-seated dread. The camera work does a lot of heavy lifting, especially once Chrissie Watkins (played by Susan Blacklinie) starts getting yanked under the water and the camera forces us uncomfortably close to her panic. But it’s those iconic musical beats that underscore the danger and sear the scene into our minds.

Keep those beats in mind. Because genre film can also be more easily changed by the musical undercurrent. Remember the scene in Jurassic Park when Grant and Sadler get to see dinosaurs for the first time?

The music is grand, sweeping, majestic. It makes me cry with wonderment, even as an adult woman. Now mute that clip and play it again, with the Jaws theme underneath it instead. Giant dinosaurs, giant shark – it’s not hard to reimagine the scene as a scary one, when we’re not being told aurally that this is a moment of wonder and awe.