FIMS Prof Pop Culture Club

Not sure what to read/watch/listen to during this fims-free summer? Want some dope media recommendations that are ~~~like sooooo fims~~~? FIMSSC’s got your back.

INTRODUCING THE FIMSSC PROF POP CULTURE CLUB! Every Monday in the summer, we will be updating this post with weekly recommendations brought to you by your favourite profs! Stay woke fims friends.

Professor: Warren Steele

"I Hate the Internet and The Future Won't Be Long

Both are novels by Jarett Kobek about best friends, Baby and Adeline. The first takes place in San Francisco in 2013, and is about the social crimes of Silicon Valley as told mostly by Adeline. The second is about them coming of age as art school undergraduates in Manhattan's East Village in the late 1980s. The characters and their stories are compelling, and Kobek is very funny.

GADA by littlebabyangel

It's dope. "

Professor: Isola Ajiferuke

"Given the various conflicts going on in the World, especially the one between the Israelis and the Palestinians, most people are asking for peace but what kind of peace? One based on equal rights and justice or peace just for the sake of peace? The three chosen items somewhat address this issue."

Professor: John Reed

"Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.
This book will live on your nightstand, coffee table. I’m probably the last person travelling through an airport bookstore to discover this must-read that starts before humanity and ends with the post-human.

“Utopia”. Torrent it or grab it on Channel 4/UK before Amazon’s remake comes out. Super violent, but with good reason. This has inspired so many other TV shows of late.

Wreck This Journal
-Just get it and wreck it, okay?

A Bigger Splash"
“Summer Island Drama with Beautiful People in gorgeous locations with a background about serious issues from the Director of ‘Call Me By Your Name”. On countless top 10 lists."

Professor: Mark Kearney

"A QUIET PLACE: It's a horror film of sorts but not the usual slasher flick where you can predict what's going to happen. What makes it stand out for me is that it's a film about sound and silence. Much of the film relies on subtitles because the main characters have to be quiet or they'll be in danger from aliens who only react to loud sounds. It's such a quiet film for so much of its time that when characters actually get to speak out loud it's a kind of release for the audience. That's all I'll say about it.

DYING LAUGHING: Because I also teach humour writing at Western, I'm always interested in films about the business of comedy. This one features a lot of well-known comedians such as Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Sarah Silverman talking about the ups, but mostly the downs, of being a stand up comedian. It really gives you insight into how soul-crushing that career can be, but ultimately provides the answer to why these people do what they do.

THE RIGHT STUFF: That book tells the story of the first American astronauts of the early 1960s and what they went through to become the space pioneers that they were. New Journalism was what we might called creative non-fiction today -- writing factual stories but using the techniques of fiction to tell them. It's been a long time since I've read the book (or seen the movie based on it), but I recall that there were passages in it that were so spell-bindingly written that I'd put the book down and just think "wow."

BABYLON BERLIN: Apparently the most expensive non-English language TV series ever produced. It's in German with English subtitles and is set in 1929 Berlin just before Hitler comes to power. I've seen about four episodes so far and it's been brilliant -- really intense, sometimes violent, and well written. It gives you a good sense of what Berlin was like in those significant years before the rise of Nazism. The main character is a police inspector who has been transferred from Cologne to Berlin, but there are several different stories weaving in and out of his. One of the guys behind this series, Tom Twyker, was the director of a really great film from 1998 called Run Lola Run."

Professor Atle Kjøsen

"Kvelertak – Kvelertak (band/album): Kvelertak is a Norwegian band that mixes rock with black metal, hardcore, and punk. With Keverlertak, rock music has hit its peak.

Terrace House (Netflix): This Japanese reality show is about six strangers—three men and women—living together while working, studying, trying to find love or figure out their life’s goal. In other words, it’s the Japanese version of The Real World, but instead of constantly drinking and creating drama, the cast members are in touch with their feelings, communicate respectfully, and in general act like adults. Yeah, it’s weird. What makes this show even better is that each episode has breaks with a panel of comedians giving hilarious comments on the development in the house.

Ex on the Beach UK ( In this binge-worthy reality show, a bunch of fuckboys and girls live in a mansion by an idyllic beach to enjoy a vacation, find love and make their kill lists longer… then their exes turn up one by one for maximum drama. I particularly recommend seasons three and five because that’s when the somewhat sociopathic “Bear” is a member of the cast. Delightfully trashy!"

Professor Amanda Grzyb

The Wire (tv series), Open Veins of Latin America (book), and The Shop on Main Street (1965 film)!

Professor: Susan Knabe

"The film Pride (2014) is a film that packs both a personal emotional punch -- for me it is a time capsule for an important and evocative time in my life (come out, dealing with the impact of AIDS on my community) -- and offers a way to think about how we forge connections that move us beyond narrow notions of identity in order to combat a toxic political system. The film is based on a true story of how a group of young gay and lesbian activists (LGSM - Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) and striking coal miners from a small village in Wales joined forces during the bitter coal miners strike in the UK in 1984-85. The sound track is amazing, bringing together both the club culture of the 1980s with labour anthems, and the performances from a super strong cast are stand out. The film provides hope for what solidarity among progressive movements might look like, and offers tangible proof about what is possible.

In 1986, LGSM made a short film, All Out: Dancing in Dulais (, as a thank you to the mining community they worked with, and it is clear that the filmmakers of Pride drew heavily on this material as well as the remaining members of LGSM. LGSM is still active politically in the UK, reframing themselves as Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants to tackle the political challenges of the refugee crisis in Europe and specifically the UK. The film was the inspiration for a group of my friends to form LGSR (Lesbians and Gays Support Refugees) here in London Ontario in 2015, to help raise money and provide settlement assistance for refugees from the Middle East.

Other feature films that deal with similar topics and which are always worth a look are My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) and Billy Elliot (2000), the former examining interracial same sex relations in the midst of Thatcher's regime, and the latter about a young boy's perseverance and determination to be a dancer set against the backdrop of the miner's strike in the north of England (it also has a killer 1980s soundtrack)."

Professor: John Reed (more John Reed!!!)

"Carpe Diem Regained: The Vanishing Art of Seizing the Day by Roman Krznaric."
Another airport classic that will live on your nightstand forever. Argues that ‘seizing the day’ has been co-opted, and seeks to restore its true meaning and practice.

"The Square"
A Cannes winner last year. Swedish art world comedy-drama with beautiful people in gorgeous locations with a background about serious issues from the director of Force Majeure. There is a gorilla scene that is easily the craziest scene of the year!. On Countless top 10 lists.

"I Love Dick"
Academic Art Colony black comedy drama from the creator of TransParent with beautiful people in gorgeous locations and tons of sex with a background about serious issues around identity politics.

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