ACT III - Confronting Cinematic Stereotypes: Struggle, Redemption, and Second Chances in Modern Film

Our community enrichment cinema course continues with Act III in fall 2023. Participants will watch and discuss three films that depict struggle, redemption, and second chances in different cultural settings.

Each class session will include a pre-screening lecture followed by a showing of the film. Afterward, audience members will be able to engage in conversation about the events featured, the ways directors presented the subjects, and cinematic techniques used that may answer some questions while raising others.

Each class begins at 6:00 p.m. in Morgan Auditorium at Penn State Schuylkill’s Student Community Center.

Cost: $30 for community members 
Free for Penn State Schuylkill students, faculty and staff members (see campus newsletter for details)

Register today > 




Film Schedule

Rocky movie poster

Wednesday, September 27, 2023
(John Avildsen, 1976) 

In the 1976 sports drama Rocky, viewers are introduced to Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) – a struggling boxer in working-class Philadelphia trying to make it big time in the ring while working as a collector for a loan shark. At the same time, Apollo Creed, the reigning heavyweight boxing champion, announces a plan to hold a title bout in Philadelphia during the United States Bicentennial. Creed decides to spice things up by searching for a local contender to challenge him in the hopes of securing an easy win. He chooses Rocky as his challenger, who sees the opportunity as his only shot at the big time. Rocky challenges Italian-American stereotypes and questions the American Dream. In 2006, the Library of Congress selected the film a culturally significant artifact of American cinema.




The Fighter movie poster

Wednesday, October 25, 2023
The Fighter
(David O. Russell, 2010) 

The Fighter centers around the lives of professional boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his older half-brother and former boxer Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). The film details "Irish" Micky Ward's arduous path to a welterweight championship. Micky is managed by his mother Alice and trained by his older half-brother, Dicky, whose peak success was going the distance with Sugar Ray Leonard in 1978 until he fell into substance use disorder. Set in Lowell, Massachusetts, the story challenges the stigma of addiction and questions the implicit value of the nuclear family. Bale gives one of the best performances of his career, paying homage to Rocky in this unforgettable story of perseverance, loyalty and love.



Crazy Rich Asians movie poster

Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Crazy Rich Asians
 (Jon M. Chu, 2018)

When Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a Chinese American professor at NYU, travels with her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) to his hometown in Singapore for his best friend's wedding, she discovers Nick's secret. Based on the novel by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians follows Rachel and Nick's journey as a couple after Rachel discovers that Nick is part of one of the richest families in Singapore and considered one of the most eligible bachelors in Asia. Wu and Golding have undeniable chemistry in this romantic comedy that reflects on the immigrant experience through a class-based lens. Crazy Rich Asians leaves the audience questioning the complexities of love, identity and cultural allegiance.

Meet the instructor

D.J. Higgins

This course is taught by Dr. D.J. Higgins, assistant teaching professor of film/video and music at Penn State Schuylkill. Dr. Higgins earned the Doctor of Philosophy in Modern Languages from Middlebury College and is an active filmmaker, having directed, written, and produced several award-winning short films.