My Top 5 Movies, Ben’s, and a Request for You to Vote

Changing your life, going to grad school, entrepreneurism, and all-time favorite movies are the topics this week. I’ve got a new partner, Ben Atkinson, a former student of mine from over ten years ago. After a stint as a molecular biologist, Ben went back to school for an MBA in Marketing & Entrepreneurship from Indiana University. He also started his own web company, Night Phoenix Enterprises, which hosts this site.

Ben and I discuss the movies briefly and arrived on a list of four for you to vote on.  Vote on the movie you’d like to hear us discuss.  We’ll let you know the results of the poll just in case you want to watch and weigh in with your thoughts too. The poll is in the right sidebar–>
Ben and I each choose our Top 5 Favorite Movies:


  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  2. Jurassic Park
  3. Back to the Future
  4. The Life Aquatic
  5. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
great book, 80s, Love on the Big Screen, hilarious, William Torgerson
photo from
  1. Say Anything
  2. Wonderbodys
  3. American Beauty
  4. Secret Window
  5. High Fidelity
Johnny Depp suspense story Heaven Forbid novel gripping William Torgerson
“You Stole My Story!”
from rottentomatoes .com


To close the show, Ben and I each gave some shout outs to culture we have been enjoying.

Ben and I hope you’ll comment/criticize our movie choices and tell us about your own All-Time Top 5 Movies.  I feel like revising my choices already.

Until then, in the words of Bill and Ted…

“Be Excellent to Each Other”




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What do a bunch of New York college students think of when they think of Indiana? (or the Midwest)

crystal meth, tornadoes, no public transportation, that 70s show, Indians, horses, the Derby, overalls, flat land, Indiana University known party school, dirt (3x), rural (2x), river, republicans, nowhere land, tumbleweeds (4x), western movies (2x), lots of driving, Middle of Nowhere (4x), Country, Boring (5x), farms (8x), Indianapolis, Indiana Jones, lots of land, cows, basketball, boonies, do you mean India?, sunny, hot (2x), wild, barren, plains, cowboys (2x), guitar, country music, Pacers (3x), Junior Gold bowling tourney, accent (4x), no idea, small (3x), cacti (2x), mountains, coyotes, snakes, Colts (2x), quiet  (4x), Larry Bird, potatoes, Michael Jackson (3x), close-knit, corn, flat, Hoosiers (2x), Dorothy, I’ve heard they talk like you’re supposed to talk, Peyton Manning, Reggie Miller, wide open (2x), cold, country (2x), animals, relax, agriculture, Notre Dame, Noodles and Company, hillbillies (2x), snow, never thought of it before this, I know it’s a state, good music, Bible belt, conservative, small town people, Where’s that? (2x), hicks, hospitality

I've never seen a tumbleweed in Indiana!

From “Torg”:  Why am I asking my students such a question?

A while back I wanted to finish the following:  my novel A Viking on the Subway, a script adaptation of Viking, revise my collection Horseshoe so that it is a novel-in-stories, and then do a script for it too.  I’ve finally finished all that, and so I’m turning to the next project.  I’ve been thinking that I want to write something that comes from my students at St. John’s University for my students at St. John’s University.  What I mean by that is that I think all of us here at SJU have a unique opportunity to meet and talk with people from all over the world who have all sorts of backgrounds.

Yes, we do have cornfields.

Even for those who are from the city, I often find that each student’s neighborhood, block, or building may not be very diverse.  In other words, a lot of us tend to hang out with people who are like us.  For this book, which might involve a road trip from NYC to my home state of Indiana, I’d like to draw on all the chances I have to see beyond stereotypes, write a story that flies past those stereotypes, and hopefully tell an interesting story that my students past, present, and future would enjoy.

My initial impression was that most of my students not from the United States wouldn’t have even heard of “Indiana.”  After all, did you know that Cote d’Ivoire is a country or that the Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia?  Perhaps you do, but I’m a bit embarrassed to admit, I’m not sure I did when I showed up here to teach writing.  For the most part, my students nailed it with “farms” being the most common answer.  I’m not quite sure where all the tumbleweeds came from.  🙂

Indianapolis, Indiana