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Why Space Jam Worked

If we’re being honest with each other, the idea of throwing Michael Jordan together with the largely dying Looney Tunes franchise was a risky decision at best. And there wasn’t much of a precedent for a film like this either, as at the time blending animation with live-action wasn’t very common. So how did this film become a landmark of this blend of genres alongside films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? This essay will discuss the attributes of Space Jam that made it such a success and revived the Looney Tunes franchise.

  • Hmmm, interesting. Maybe bring in a film like Who Framed Roger Rabbit as a point of contrast. – Stephanie M. 8 months ago
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  • I would suggest comparing the original Space Jam to the recent sequel/reboot/whatever that was. Did that one work as well as the first? Why or why not? – noahspud 7 months ago
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  • I just want to note that Michael Jordan was probably the most important athlete in the world/one of the top of 3 athletes across the world at the time of the making of Space Jam. So having Michael Jordan in the film was a huge selling point. – Sean Gadus 1 day ago
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What can we learn from existential philosophy in today's epidemic climate?

How do famous works of existential philosophy: particularly those published in the late 19th/early 20th century fit into the role of human extant today? Specifically to the younger generations that are experiencing a deep uncertainty and fear towards the future? This can be drawn from works by Hermann Hesse, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, etc.

  • This is an interesting topic. I do think history repeats itself and that there is a lot to learn from philosophy. Also, learning from how humanity survived other hardships and catastrophes is a good thing for people today as well. – birdienumnum17 3 years ago
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  • I also hope someone will write about this topic. But to me, the more interesting perspective is how older people feel about their value and relation to the society given that the pandemic hits them the hardest and there is a growing sense that we may scarify the old and weak so that we can reopen the society for younger people, who are eager to work and socialize. – ctshng 3 years ago
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  • "Existential" a word which I remember being confined to a more narrow understanding of specific writers, such as Camus or Nietezche, has now seemed to touch many things. As part of an essay addressing existentialism should be how it has been adapted and seems to pop up everywhere. – Joseph Cernik 2 years ago
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The Pretender (1996–2000): Retrospective

A look back at this series, the TV movies and ideas of how the story could have been concluded (include both official words and speculations).

  • What a classic series. I think it would be good to focus on how this show influenced others such as Dollhouse among others. – Joseph Manduke IV 8 years ago
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Storytelling in Gaming

Gaming in many ways is another medium that requires writers, and yet the approach to story telling in writing is unique and quite different as opposed to traditional storytelling via books. I propose an article that might entertain looking into the deeper facets of story and writing in the gaming industry and the unique approach that is taken in completing a script as opposed to traditional writing. Focus could be placed particularly on discussing the need for adaptability in characters, characterizing empathy and emotion within a character as we follow them while also playing as them, the duality of the protagonist and the gamer etc. which while coming naturally in traditional writing, have to be balanced against what is possible within the given game dynamics

  • Love the topic! May I suggest profiling Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery as part of the article? I'm an avid player and enjoy a lot of aspects of the game, including story. But I also find that the writing is somewhat lazy, and a lot of my fellow players complain that the story has dragged out way too long (because chapters aren't released every week, so there can be 2-3 weeks that you go without information and get a side quest instead). I think HM lends itself well to analysis. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
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  • I mostly only play video games that have a story too it. I don't game much nowadays due to school, but I always like the first and second Bioshock games. Red dead redemption is good for this too. Just wanted to throw some games to consider. – AbeRamirez 2 years ago
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  • If I may, I think that The Last Of Us (part I and part II) could be interesting to analyze in such an article. (Interesting topic, by the way!) Indeed, Part I won numerous prizes and was, among others, acclaimed for the quality and emotional depth of its storytelling, while Part II deeply dived the fans, mostly because of its writing and narrative choices. (Such an analysis may be the theme of an entire article, but perhaps the subject could still be evoked in the article related to the current topic!) – Gavroche 2 years ago
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The ethics of documentaries and films and tv series based on true stories

For many people, true stories are far more compelling than fiction and so there is an ever growing market for documentaires and tv series based on true stories. However, there are some ethical considerations that need to be taken into account.

Firstly, when filming documentaires, do producers have an obligation to represent information as wholly and accurately as possible? We can see the simple of nature documentaries wherein the lion eats the zebra, but the event can be seen as either a victory or a defeat depending on whether the documentary focuses ont the lion or the zebra. Do those who make documentaries have a responsibility to represent both perspectives?

Secondly, what kind of obligations should be held in regards to the subject of a documentary or a film based on a true story? Especially in the case of a tragedy, it is possibly for filmmakers to take advantage of a person’s grief for the sake of the story.
Finally, does the dramatisation of true stories in some way glorify the event? This is an especially pressing issue when it comes to films about serial killers, for example ted bundy when he was portrayed by Zac Efron, or Jeffrey Dahmer who was protrayed by Evan Peters. Following the release of Dahmer in particular, there have been complaints from the families of victims and a response from viewers that was shockingly unempathetic. Extremely wicked shockingly vile and evil even garnered fan girls for the serial killer Ted Bundy. Do dramatisations of tragedies create a warped discourse surrounding these tragedies?

  • This is a brilliant and relevant point. In the onslaught of "based on a true story" kind of entertainment, I think there should be requirements for creators to go through to green-light certain projects. An example is Dahmer's father never giving consent to release tapes or create any of the documentaries surrounding his son. Blonde is a great example of the fetishization of Marilyn Monroe's trauma to the point of fabricating traumatic events while using her name to push a narrative that is only tangentially related to her. They knew that if they created a fictional starlet as the vehicle for violating and violent sexual assault, people would be horrified and it would never be cleared. There is an ethical issue at the heart of this topic. It would be crucial to provide equal examples of when it's done right in honoring the topic and when its simply glorifies one side. – LadyAcademia 5 days ago
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  • This is still so relevant today. Every time I see a serial killer documentary or a series like Dahmer, it kind of annoys me. I wish people would stop glorifying these killers because every time they're released it only creates new crazed fans of these killers as seen in the aftermath of Dahmer. It also most definitely is disrespectful to the victims and their families who have actually have to live through these events and now have to relive them because of these fans. – farhana1102 4 days ago
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11

The curse of originality

A common critique of any new movie, book, tv show or anything, a common criqitue of any new story in the written medium, (whether script writing or otherwise) is the lack of originality. Originality is defined as 1) existing from the beginning, 2) created personally by someone or 3) not dependent on other ideas. But is anything at all independent of ideas, or ‘original?’ One can now start to argue that everything’s been done before, from new world with strange creatures, to magical schools, to a climactic battle between good and evil. I pose three question: Does originality exist any longer? Does originality need to be redefined? Or do we need to change the way we criticize storytelling?

  • The book 'Reality Hunger' by David Shields is exactly about this, him claiming that everything comes from somewhere and is a type of collage. For this, you need to define originality. Everything we have everseen, heard or lived does influence us. There are tales of people thinking that they've written something original and then being told that their original story is almost identical to another from a long time ago; usually they have just forgotten being subjected to that original story. – heath 7 months ago
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  • I think storytelling should be defined by the depth of the narrative, not strictly the originality of the idea. – BVIS97 5 months ago
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  • in the jacobean era (and probably other periods) people would bring 'commonplace books' to the theatre with them and just write down what they liked so they could use it themselves. obviously there are some plagiarism problems there but it might be interesting to examine how our views on originality has changed – lizawood 5 months ago
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  • I think it’s also possible for works to poorly received precisely for their originality. An Australian writer Michael Winkler was unable to find a publisher for his novel Grimmish, so self-published. But the book got great critical reviews, has since been picked up by a traditional publisher, and has now been long listed for the Miles Franklin award. It is dfefinitely original, but that’s what put it off in the beginning from being published. Writers and artists will often follow their passion to strange places, and publishers may take ‘risks’ and get their work out there. But often work that’s original is also misunderstood, or doesn’t quite find its readership. – MelHall 5 months ago
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  • As far as I can tell, successful art and originality need not be mutually exclusive. You rightly suggest that many that many themes, many topics have already been expressed by brilliant minds. Nearly all great literature could be distilled into variations on a few themes, if one wanted to be so minute. But, just to stimulate some thought, I'll pose you a question: is anything at all NOT original? If art is, as Marcel Proust contended, a reconfiguration of our experiences, and no two people experience life identically (or, at least, no two people have the same frame of reference), then how could a work of art fail to be original, since it is gestated from a particular consciousness which has contents that will never again take shape in a similar way? How could the expression of one's vitality, one's essence, be anything but original when seen in this light? Just a thought. – ethanwatts 5 months ago
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  • This is definitely a topic that is so relevant today because creators lack "originality". Especially since a lot has been written over time, we can never be too sure if a so called, "original," idea that we have had is actually original or if it is something we've been inspired by through the subconscious after having read/watched/heard it already. Originality is so hard to come by these days and is something that is so craved in the media. It really is a sink or swim situation, and, as most have said here, originality should be defined by depth and how the story is actually told. One concept could have so many different ideas and meanings behind it, so therefore each concept can have different means of originality. – saskiawodarczak 5 months ago
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  • One could wonder if a piece's originality must be [pure originality]. Does anything like that even exist? However, every piece has the potential to be original in at least one or more aspects. If it follows the collage format - think about the collage technique used in painting: Are all of these paintings unoriginal? Such a claim is contested by anyone. But what makes them unique in that case? It is not the elements; it is the structure! How the various, unoriginal, little components are put together to create a fresh picture, new system, or unique narrative. A different structure might also imply that the new collection has a different endpoint and objective. That's one scenario! So, to discuss originality, we should slightly alter our understanding. There might not be such a thing as 100% originality. It's conceivable that there isn't such a thing as ultimate originality, yet there is originality in response to one or more aspects alone. Originality is not absolute; rather, it is relative. – Samer Darwich 5 months ago
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  • What's additionally interesting about this topic is an evaluation of whether originality in entertainment is really so different today than it's ever been. I see a note above that repeats a currently popular idea, that right now entertainment is particularly unoriginal. But when I think of movies from 90 years ago, there were countless remakes. Just look at how many Robin Hood and Little Women movies were made! Plus, when we think of really original storytelling from back in the day right now, how much of it struck audiences at the time as original as well? Star Wars or The Matrix might come to many fans minds as original, but there's strong arguments that neither is. All three questions are good, and in particular with the last one, just how useful is criteria of originality? – ronannar 5 months ago
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  • I believe that all new ideas sprout from an inspiration taken from the real world in some way or another. In that sense, I understand how you believe that nothing is "original" by the definition you provided. Therefore, when critiquing another story that definition should not be applied. – Aathi 4 months ago
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  • While arguably every piece of media is a derivative of some earlier piece of media, there is still plenty of originality out there to be had. Look at recent films such as Nope, which very explicitly shows its influences from films like Jaws and Close Encounters, or Everything Everywhere All At Once, a fresh take on the multiverse craze. Nope is highly original in its message and structure. Everything Everywhere is highly original in its world-building and story. I think that there is a big difference between these films and the constant sequels and prequels being spat out by Marvel or the remakes of old films. Sequels and remakes may offer some fresh perspectives--and the ones that do are often the best of these categories, but they do come from the same nucleus of an idea. Nope borrows heavily from Spielberg and others but creates a brand new way of displaying those influences and in some ways critiques them. But perhaps the criteria for originality is also based on how audiences feel. Personally, I am sick and tired of the constant trailers for new Marvel films and I do feel that the movie arena has been saturated. Does that just make the original films more novel or does it mean that originality is shrinking? Keep in mind much of this phenomenon is based on money and the fears of producers and studios that people no longer care for going to the movie theater or watching films in general. The sequels and cinematic universes pump out the most films because they work--they are a known quantity. Especially after the pandemic, it takes a brave studio or producer to splash out on originality. – zrynhold 4 months ago
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The Accuracy of Book-To-Movie Adaptations

Book-to-movie films (and—more regularly, now—shows) are especially common in young adult franchises such as The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, and Divergent. The first three Harry Potter films are some of the most beloved book-to-movie adaptations in history. The latter movies, while successful in other regards, were criticised (especially by book purists) for cutting out, altering, or ignoring large chunks of the source material. I have heard several fans say that they would watch a Harry Potter reboot if it was a high-budget streaming show that adapted each chapter into an episode, with the dialogue and plots and sub-plots remaining exactly the same as the books. Whether this would ever be done remains to be seen,

Movies face an issue in that they are limited in run-time. While there are long movie adaptations out there (The Lord of the Rings is a prime example), more commonly, they are cut to fit at a little over 2 hours. They prioritise entertainment and a streamlined story. Books can vary in length to a great degree—the first Harry Potter book was around 77,000 words while the fifth (the longest) was around 257,000. Yet the fifth movie (2hrs and 18 minutes long) was actually shorter than the first (2 hours and 32 minutes long). The movie arguably benefited from cutting much of the meat of the book, at least from an entertainment perspective, if not from a story and world perspective.

How important is it for the plot to be accurately represented in films, given that they are, indeed, adaptations of the source material and not direct translations? Is it enough for the characters and world to be represented with care and detail? Are fans right in complaining about inaccuracy and missing scenes in book-to-movie adaptations? What are some examples of book-to-movie adaptations done well, and done poorly?

  • The different approaches to book adaptations and the merits or detriments of shifting the medium of a story would definitely be an interesting topic. Another possible aspect of the topic would be the question of whether a movie or an episodic show is the most effective format, whether this is case specific, and what sort of plots and subplots lend themselves to short or long form cinema. – Quodlibet 1 week ago
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  • Movies and books are two extremely different mediums with unique characteristics, potential benefits, and potential barriers. Consider this example: In the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, there are several significant internal monologues. In my opinion, one of the most substantial ones is Alice's internal monologue while questioning her own identity (inside the rabbit hole); however, I was unable to locate a single movie that featured this internal monologue. In a novel, a character could typically have an internal monologue for a whole chapter, or even more, but in a movie, it would be disastrous. In light of this, I believe the questions to be asked are: Which elements should be removed in order to make room for the new medium? What elements need to be modified to take advantage of the new medium's potential? etc. The issue is not whether there should or shouldn't be disparities between the two - because there will always be disparities between the two; rather, it is how to implement these contrasts without compromising the book's basic concepts and takeaways. – Samer Darwich 1 week ago
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  • The benefits of a series format compared with that of a film would definitely be an interesting topic. In my opinion one of the interesting examples to explore would be the adaptation of philip pulman's series 'his dark materials' and how the movie compares to the HBO series. Whils both effectively translate the novels into another format, both fail where the other succeeds. For example the HBO series is more detailed and has better pacing whereas the movie has a tone that is similar to that of the books. Another example is all quiet on the western front which has been adapted into a television sereis and two different movies, the most recent havign been released this year. I'm sure some interesting comparisons can be drawn between the different adaptations that would help furthere develop this topic. – Matilda 1 week ago
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  • The debate of making a successful book to movie adaptation is great to engage in. There first needs to be an acknowledgement that there ate two different mediums and depending how abstract or explicit, its down to directors' and writers interpretation the book. – ml22370 5 days ago
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The Religious Subtext of The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil is a middle grade fantasy series that received a film adaptation earlier in the year. Beyond the occasional reference to various faiths, the series does not incorporate explicit religious subject matter, but I would like to analyse the unintentional religious subtext I have interpreted from the narrative. I believe there is scope for a discussion of how the series inadvertently engages with concepts such as predestination and the existence of a supreme being.

“Predestination” is the idea that God chooses which people will receive salvation and which will receive damnation prior to their creation. As the title “The School for Good and Evil” suggests, the books are set in a world where some people are similarly designated as “Good” and others as “Evil”. Within the story, membership to “Good” or “Evil” is not determined by a character’s actions, but instead, is determined by one’s soul at birth. By presenting a person as intrinsically “Evil” or “Good”, the book echoes the religious idea that a soul is predestined to Heaven or Hell.

The School for Good and Evil also inadvertently presents the idea of a supreme being through the “character” of the Storian. This may sound strange to those unfamiliar with the books, but the Storian is a sentient, omnipotent, and powerful magic pen that preserves the balance between “Good” and “Evil” and chooses people in the world to write about in real time. Characters do not explicitly worship the Storian, but it is treated as an ultimate authority. Two of series’ antagonists – one with an “Evil” soul, and one with a “Good” soul – are defined not only by villainous actions (eg. hurting others) but by their efforts to to replace the Storian as the supreme authority within the world. Through this, it can be suggested that the series engages with the existence of a supreme being and humans’ relationship to that god.

  • Yes! Yes, yes, yes...someone write this! (I would but haven't read the books yet and wouldn't have time to do it the justice I would like). – Stephanie M. 8 hours ago
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Film

Comedy: When the Jokes Go Too Far
Comedy: When the Jokes Go Too Far
Disney, The Little Mermaid, and the Politics of “Woke” in a Polarized World
Clerks, and the value of the “Downer Ending”
The Northman and Cycles of Violence

TV

Bridgerton’s Reimagining of Regency Society
Bridgerton’s Reimagining of Regency Society
How Stranger Things’ Most Important Licensed Songs Compliment Its Story
The Mandalorian’s Response to the Western Genre
Stranger Things: Mental Health and Bullying

Animation

Disney Heroines and Gaslighting
Disney Heroines and Gaslighting
Celebrating, Analyzing, and Resurrecting Fillmore!
Nickelodeon, Disney, and the Story of Growing Up
Ren & Stimpy’s History: 30 Years Later

Anime

Spirited Away as Social Criticism
Spirited Away as Social Criticism
The Legacies of the Atomic Bomb in Anime
Anime Versus Cancel Culture
Perfect Blue: A Genre Study

Manga

Marketing vs. Genre in Manga – How They Can Get Confused
Marketing vs. Genre in Manga – How They Can Get Confused
Elfen Lied’s Eugenic Underpinnings
The Horrifying Appeal of Junji Ito
One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics

Comics

Why Don’t Superheroes Change the World?
Why Don’t Superheroes Change the World?
Continuity and Connectivity in Comic Book Movies
Comics in Education: Benefits and attitudes
How Gwenpool Knows the Unknowable (And Can We Do the Same?)

Literature

Iago – The Perfect Villain
Iago – The Perfect Villain
YA Book Series That Never End
Preservation, Insight and Growth Through Literary Modernizations
BookTok Influencers and Their Impact on the Publishing Industry

Arts

Inside America’s Fascination with Witches
Inside America’s Fascination with Witches
The Mystery Behind the Influence of Instagram and The Popular Culture Industry
“National Anthem” by Lana Del Rey as a Commentary on American Nationalism and Political Structures
Are Immersive Exhibitions Ruining Art?

Writing

Writing About Place
Writing About Place
NaNoWriMo and the Art of Eating the Elephant
Writing in Isolation during a global pandemic
Fantasy Writing in the Age of Reason to Today