I've taught film and television studies at the University of Alabama since 1980 and been a visiting professor at the University of Arizona. I originally studied film at Brown University and then Northwestern University, where my Ph.D. was granted. I became professor emeritus in 2020.
I've been involved in college, alternative and National Public Radio since 1972--currently hosting a show on Alabama Public Radio called All Things Acoustic. Listen to it online or via APR's transmitters, Friday nights 8:00-10:00 pm Central Time.
Favorite American films
- Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
- Buster Keaton is sublimely funny in this silent comedy. His canny use of film techniques to generate humor proves that he was the most "cinematic" of the early comedians.
- To Have and Have Not (1944)
- A perfect mix of humor, romance and adventure. Howard Hawks molded the 19-year-old Lauren Bacall into an archetypal tough woman. And Humphrey Bogart was never more cynical. Plus, Walter Brennan has a great catch phrase: "Was you ever stung by a dead bee?"
- Lost in Translation (2003)
- Sofia Coppola's direction and Scarlett Johansson's performance are amazingly assured considering how young and relatively inexperienced they were. Bill Murray's mostly subdued take on a has-been actor is pitch perfect. (Runner-up Scarlett Johansson film: Ghost World.)
- All That Heaven Allows (1955) and Far from Heaven (2002)
- Although separated by 47 years, they're virtually the same film; and I mean that in a good way. Both films capture the essence of a repressive society where romance must fit within narrow boundaries. Director Douglas Sirk does it for the '50s while Todd Haynes does it for the '00s.
- Pulp Fiction (1994)
- Quentin Tarantino renewed my faith in the cinema at a time (the mid-90s) when it was flagging. Its style is audacious and Uma Thurman in an Anna Karina wig is stupefying.
- The Sitcom (New York: Routledge, 2019).
- Television Style (New York: Routledge, 2010).
- Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture (New York: Routledge). Formerly titled, Television: Critical Methods and Applications. 
- Editor, Star Texts: Image and Performance in Film and Television (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991).
- ScreenLex — an pronunciation guide for film/TV studies.
- Screenpedia — an encyclopedia for film/TV students and teachers; modeled on Wikipedia. As of 30 July 2016, I've made 2,099 edits on Screenpedia. Click here for the current total.
- Featured at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference 2006.
- ScreenSite — a resource for film/TV students and teachers
- TVCrit.com — the companion Website for the book, Television: Critical Methods and Applications
- My official homepage
- The TCF Department (deprecated)
- I've been participating in Wikipedia since 17:36, 23 March 2005 — starting out as JButler and switching to Jeremy Butler on 27 August 2005. I'm mostly interested in articles dealing with folk music and film and television studies.