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.
Potentially humorous incident
I went to the UAB blood lab to have bloodwork done. The blood tech had me sit in a pneumatic chair that raised me a foot. She and I chatted a bit and I learned that she herself cannot give blood because she is deathly afraid of needles. Students’ “Incidents”
- Zach: "As I got my flu shot last year the nursing student giving it to me was talking to the other nursing student about how she was skeptical of the covid vaccine."
- Gardner (a woman, in case it's not clear from her name): Bates' House of Turkey labels their bathroom "hens" and "roosters." I walked into the "hens" bathroom and there was a old guy in there who told me I was in the wrong bathroom. When he walked out, I heard a whole lot of laughter. When I walked out, people at the restaurant said, "so sorry, we tried to tell him..."
- Alex: I just recently put in my two weeks notice for my job as a math tutor. The next day, one of my students asked for my work schedule so she could have me as her tutor more often. This is the second time that this has happened to me at a tutoring job. I feel bad that these kids like me that much, but not bad enough to stay.
- Logan: I was hired to work the holiday shift at Honeybaked Ham when I was 14, even though you can't work until you're 16. I worked there for an hour and a half before they realized their mistake and fired me. They did give me my full paycheck and a $60 ham as compensation though.
- Marguerite: Back in high school, I went on a date with this guy, and after a bit of talking about this and that we started talking about family. Turns out we shared a distant cousin, meaning in some odd way, we were related. The link was distant enough for us to not know each other, but too close for comfort, despite my being from Alabama. We did not go out again.
- Mayeth: Last year, after my 18th birthday, I made a tinder account. On my very first tinder date, the guy would keep fist bumping me after every sentence. Like, “What’s your favorite color?” “Blue” “Ayyy, mine’s pink” *fist bump*.
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.