Let's get animal: movies with misleading titles

What's with all the movies whose titles make them seem like kid-friendly animal flicks (you know, like Snakes on a Plane) until you plunk down your $12.50 only to discover that you've been fooled? (It's enough to make you want to Black Snake Moan. Ugh, sorry.) Thanks to Cinematical for these animal movies that ain't:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
What It's Not About: A tabby trapped on top of a house ... in the summer
What It Is About: A Southern family in crisis
What Does the Animal Represent? Maggie "The Cat" Pollitt (Elizabeth Taylor), who tells her neglectful husband, "You know what I feel like? I feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof." (Ever the romantic, he replies, "Then jump off the roof, Maggie. Jump off it.")

Raging Bull
What It's Not About: The running of the bulls in Pamplona, from the bull's point of view
What It Is About: The rise and fall of boxer Jake LaMotta
What Does the Animal Represent? LaMotta. He's an angry guy.

The Squid and the Whale
What It's Not About: An unlikely under-the-sea romance
What It Is About: A dysfunctional family living in Brooklyn
What Does the Animal Represent? The exhibit of a giant squid fighting a whale at the American Museum of Natural History (so yes, this one does have animals in it -- but not until the very last scene. Plus they're dead.)

105439__pinkpanther_l.jpgThe Pink Panther (1963)
What It's Not About: A wildcat with fabulous fashion sense
What It Is About: A bumbling French detective in search of a notorious jewel thief
What Does the Animal Represent? A valuable diamond with a flaw that resembles a leaping (pink) panther.

Elephant
What It's Not About: A day in the life of Babar
What It Is About: Two students go on a shooting spree at an Oregon high school
What Does the Animal Represent? Gus Van Sant took the title from a British film about violence in Northern Ireland, by director Alan Clarke -- who in term was alluding to the phrase "elephant in the room," i.e., a problem no one wants to talk about.

12_monkeys_large_01.jpg

12 Monkeys
What It's Not About: A bunch of simians serving on jury duty. Or banging away on typewriters.
What It Is About: A convict, hoping to earn parole, who travels back in time to 1990 to stop a devastating plague
What Does the Animal Represent? A mysterious animal rights group called The Army of the Twelve Monkeys, which is wrongly accused of terrorism.

Did we miss any? (Ha.) What are some of your favorites?

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College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy
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One would be forgiven for thinking that the Ides of March are upon us, because Julius Caesar is being taken out once again—this time from the Advanced Placement World History exam. The College Board in charge of the AP program is planning to remove the Roman leader, and every other historical figure who lived and died prior to 1450, from high school students’ tests, The New York Times reports.

The nonprofit board recently announced that it would revise the test, beginning in 2019, to make it more manageable for teachers and students alike. The current exam covers over 10,000 years of world history, and according to the board, “no other AP course requires such an expanse of content to be covered over a single school year.”

As an alternative, the board suggested that schools offer two separate year-long courses to cover the entirety of world history, including a Pre-AP World History and Geography class focusing on the Ancient Period (before 600 BCE) up through the Postclassical Period (ending around 1450). However, as Politico points out, a pre-course for which the College Board would charge a fee "isn’t likely to be picked up by cash-strapped public schools," and high school students wouldn't be as inclined to take the pre-AP course since there would be no exam or college credit for it.

Many teachers and historians are pushing back against the proposed changes and asking the board to leave the course untouched. Much of the controversy surrounds the 1450 start date and the fact that no pre-colonial history would be tested.

“They couldn’t have picked a more Eurocentric date,” Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who previously helped develop AP History exams and courses, told The New York Times. “If you start in 1450, the first thing you’ll talk about in terms of Africa is the slave trade. The first thing you’ll talk about in terms of the Americas is people dying from smallpox and other things. It’s not a start date that encourages looking at the agency and creativity of people outside Europe.”

A group of teachers who attended an AP open forum in Salt Lake City also protested the changes. One Michigan educator, Tyler George, told Politico, “Students need to understand that there was a beautiful, vast, and engaging world before Europeans ‘discovered’ it.”

The board is now reportedly reconsidering its decision and may push the start date of the course back some several hundred years. Their decision will be announced in July.

[h/t The New York Times]

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North America: East or West Coast?
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