I used to require all students in my college-level film courses to write at least one term paper each semester. Recently, however, I have dropped that requirement (though I still allow some students to submit optional, extra-credit essays to boost grades they receive on multiple-choice tests). Why? Well...
The following are verbatim excerpts from actual student term papers I have received over the years. They're not all from one class, one semester or even one institution. But I promise you: Not one is the work of a student enrolled in a Remedial English or an ESL course. And most are from juniors or seniors.
Again, let me emphasize: These excerpts aren't from e-mails, or blog postings, or hastily scribbled answers on exams. These are from term papers.
“By killing so many people at war, I can see how mental illness can come to you.”
“There is this one part when a gun comes out his coat and starts shooting people.”
“Travis Bickle, portrayed by Robert De Niro, portrayed a psycho-pathic veteran, eager to dispose the world of anybody associated with death, corruption or sexual practices.”
“Captain Willard, played by Martin Sheen, stretched his emotional limits to a high notch.”
“From the Left that perspective centered on negative nations of our evolvements inherent immorality, racism, stupidity, duplicity, and overzealous world police role.”
“Now America had leaders who lied and made broken promises, similar to the 1980s war films, the government’s trust shook the nation.”
“America was viewing some truth to a veterans’ eye.”
“In films, bloody killings, drugs, sex, and rock music overshadowed films and people wanted the truth.”
“However, there was the American film industry that gave the normal public of what Vietnam was really about.”
“As the films goes on the audience see it develop as a path that the characters metamorphosis into something that they were not originally.”
“Both films truly a masterpiece set the standards for all films which came and went that 'Platoon' and 'Apocalypse Now' are the pioneers of films portraying the horrors of war.”
“Throughout the course of the semester coincided with the growing face of war through time.”
“As time progressed, the wars being waged out in the world and the movies shown in and around these times increased, not only in tactics and technology, but in a war’s ability to be supported and evocative of compassion if the proper means of setting public agenda.”
“Martin Sheen plays a character distraught by war, accompanying feelings of carelessness for life and people in general.”
“Politically, I know that I am allowed to say such things at the expense to which such mentality has provided mine, as well as the rest of the nation’s security.”
“The film being that it was made in the late eighties, times were turning and the nineties, more expressive views were becoming prominent in America.”
“Deniro’s character comes out better of the two but only proving that he has a strong will to begin with, that war not for the weak of heart, which I guess is everybody who has a problem blowing their brains out.”
“This ‘madman’ is played by Marlon Brando and is a man who has figured it all out but seems to have crossed some line in doing so.”
“This movie was criticized by not portraying the war how it really was and I believe it was not to the American’s public appeal because this war to begin with had a rough start.”
“I also believe that by having this movie be narrated in the thoughts of this soldier hits the audience at home that this is how their loved one feels and suffers out there.”
“Among those three friends, Steven that was married just before he came to the Vietnam War loses his leg and become a legless amputee.”
“There would be a lot to take on in production, budget and marketing with the real situation of the front. Film makers accurately representing the war on screen would be quite difficult to portray on low budgets, not to mention all the negative attention toward our own soldiers and our bleak situation would look bad to the people.”
“Morality is always an issue when such brutal incidents occur.”
The horror. The horror.