Movie Worksheet: Mad City (the Media)

This is a worksheet based on the film "Mad City" starring John Travolta and Dustin Hoffman. It aims to show students how the media is a powerful tool that can shape people’s opinions and self-awareness. Students will do gap-filling exercises, account for the meaning of an idiom and use it in a sentence, compare different portraits of the same situation, write an essay. I have included a table with linkers to help students writing their essay.
Before watching the film and start working with this worksheet I recommend showing your students the film's poster to speculate on the film's plot. You can ask them these questions:
- As you can see, the two main characters are played by Dustin Hoffman and John Travolta. Which object is each of them carrying?
- So what role do you think they will play?
- Why do you think they’re standing behind a window in the poster?
- The film’s tagline is “One man will make a mistake. The other will make it a spectacle”. Which of them do you think will make a mistake and which will make it a spectacle?
- What mistake do you think he will make?
- What do you think of when you hear the word “spectacle”?
- Why do you think it is used in this tagline?