Shary, Timothy (Matthew) 1967-

views updated

SHARY, Timothy (Matthew) 1967-

PERSONAL: Born August 17, 1967, in Cheverly, MD; son of Robert James and Cecilia Rose (Nagle) Shary; married Rebecca Maloney, September 15, 2000. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Hampshire College, B.A., 1991; Ohio University, M.A. (film scholarship), 1993; University of Massachusetts, Ph.D. (communications), 1998. Politics: Green Party.

ADDRESSES: Offıce—Screen Studies Department, Clark University, 950 Main St., Worcester, MA 01610. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER: Educator, film critic, and historian. University of Massachusetts, Amherst, lecturer; Clark University, Worcester, MA, visiting lecturer, then assistant professor of screen studies, 1997—.

MEMBER: Society for Cinema Studies, National Communication Association, University Film and Video Association, Phi Kappa Phi.


Generation Multiplex: The Image of Youth in Contemporary American Cinema, foreword by David Considine, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 2002.

Contributor to anthologies, including Pictures of a Generation on Hold, Media Studies Working Group, 1996; Postmodernism in the Cinema, Berghahn Books, 1998; and Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice: Cinemas of Girlhood, Wayne State University Press, 2002. Contributor to periodicals, including Wide Angle, Film Criticism, Post Script, Film Quarterly, Journal of Popular Film and Television, Telemedium: The Journal of Media Literacy, and Point of View..

WORK IN PROGRESS: Editing an anthology of articles on youth in international cinema; researching masculinity in the films of Michael Mann.

SIDELIGHTS: Timothy Shary is both an assistant professor and a lifelong student of film history whose areas of special interest include contemporary American cinema, especially films about youth, and the films of directors Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, and Atom Egoyan. In addition to teaching at Clark University and contributing scholarship to film journals and anthologies, Shary is the author of Generation Multiplex: The Image of Youth in Contemporary American Cinema, a work of scholarship in which he argues that while some teen films exploit young audiences, they have increasingly become more responsive to the needs of teen audiences in their subject matter and representation of diversity.

Described by Library Journal contributor Andrea Slonosky as "an engaging and thorough look at American teen movies" of the 1980s and 1990s, Generation Multiplex examines the art of film as a reflection rather than a molder of adolescent culture. The book examines the depiction of teens in such films as the quirky Welcome to the Dollhouse, directed by Todd Solondz, and the mainstream comedy Porky's, as well as in such sequel-spawning slasher films as Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Shary credits the placement of large, multiscreen movie theatres in shopping malls frequented by teens as the impetus for the growth in the teen film industry, which he divides into such subgenres as "The Youth Horror Film," "Youth in Love and Having Sex," and "Youth and Science." The book includes a wealth of obscure films rarely studied in an academic context, and Shary appends a list of best and worst films for the more general reader. "Appropriately, Shary criticizes some film reviewers for their condescending attitude toward teen films," a reviewer noted in Publishers Weekly, and such criticism is balanced by Shary's own admission that his judgments in reviewing the almost 400 films mentioned in his book are also informed by his "personal ideological positions." Calling Shary "an unapologetic genre critic in an age of postmodern theorists and archival worker bees," Cineaste reviewer Thomas Doherty praised Generation Multiplex as "a remarkably comprehensive work" of film scholarship.

Shary told CA: "I've always been very fortunate in my educational opportunities, especially when I was a teenager, and becoming a teacher made me all the more concerned about how young people understand the mediated world around them. I was drawn to studying youth films because few scholars have taken them seriously, even though they are very important to the population they portray. The fact that so few schools in the United States teach any form of media literacy is appalling, and I hope that by showing young people how they can gain critical power through examining texts about themselves, youth will become more responsible receivers and producers of media."



Choice, January, 2003, W. Graebner, review of Generation Multiplex: The Image of Youth in Contemporary American Cinema, p. 833.

Cineaste, spring, 2003, Thomas Doherty, review of Generation Multiplex, p. 56.

Journal of American Culture, March, 2003, Harry Eiss, review of Generation Multiplex, p. 148.

Journal of Popular Culture, August, 2003, Donna Waller Harper, review of Generation Multiplex, p. 139.

Library Journal, November 1, 2002, Andrea Slonosky, review of Generation Multiplex, p. 93.

Publishers Weekly, October 14, 2002, review of Generation Multiplex, p. 75.


Clark University Web site, (January 29, 2003), "Timothy Shary, Ph.D."