Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Grindhouse and B-Movie Homage
An analysis of the appeal behind modern movies that attempt to re-create the aesthetics and storytelling elements of grindhouse and b-movies from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. This analysis could explore themes of nostalgia, kitsch, and DIY film-making. Some examples could include "Black Dynamite," Kung Fury," "Italian Spiderman," "Hobo with a Shotgun," and "Planet Terror/Death Proof."
Sports as Storytelling
An analysis of how sports create a promote story-lines to increase interest. This could discuss how sports journalism and online fan forums find points of interest and incorporate them into larger stories about teams, players, rivalries, etc. It could also discuss how Olympic coverage often use "Behind-the-Athlete" segments to catch-up on the story-lines of sports they might not be familiar with outside of the Olympics.
The progressive side of offensive stand up
An analysis of how stand-up comedy bits deemed "offensive" by many can have positive and progressive effects on society. This could include humor as a method for minorities to gain acceptance, easing tensions between conflicting groups, and necessary questioning of social norms. Distinctions should also be made over helpful, value neutral, or harmful humor. For example, George Carlin’s 7 words bit or any number of Dave Chappelle’s bits on race as opposed to Michael Richard’s racist rant at the Laugh Factory or numerous bits done by Bernard Manning.
Making a "Good" B-Movie
There has been much analysis over what makes certain films "so bad they’re good." This article would take this idea a bit further by discussing what makes a good B-Movie (a movie made to be laughably bad intentionally). The key to the article would be to explore how these films portray "do bad they’re good" material in a way that is entertaining and without seeming overly manufactured. The article would also likely juxtapose what makes B-Movies like Sharknado or Eight-Legged-Freaks entertaining and other B-Movies very forgettable.
The Role of Expectation in Review
A central issue that seems to plague even the most respected media critics (including the likes of the late Roger Ebert) is the potentially unfair expectations placed on the materials they review. For instance, if a film critic went into every movie expecting it to be Citizen Kane, it puts an immediate handicap on all films that do not intend to be critically acclaimed dramas like straight forward action movies, horror, etc. In turn, this can cause critics to give lower scores to pieces of media that are good but simply don’t fit their mold of success. On the other hand, one could also argue that judging a piece of media on what it intends to be lowers cultural standards and gives an unfair advantage to lesser works. This article would weigh both sides of this argument and attempt to find reasonable conclusions.
Battle of the Brows: The preconceptions and allowances given to high and low brow culture on film
An analysis in what the benefits and drawbacks are from the label of high or low brow films. For example, lowbrow film is given low exceptions over depth and large box offices but is often pigeon-held as lacking depth by more high-brow audiences. Conversely, highbrow film is often held as almost always having deep meaning but is often criticized for failing to communicate clearly to their audience.
Thanks! If you use this for a future article, I look forward to reading it
Yeah, Cats is a weird situation because it seemed destined for cult fandom before release. This vulture.com article does a pretty good job of explaining how Cats is already transitioning into cult status: https://www.vulture.com/2020/01/cats-box-office-flop-is-it-the-next-rocky-horror.html
Something that I think could be added to this discussion is how propaganda had to work with real-world events to be as effective as it was in WW2. The American government was selling the war effort to a public that wanted retribution having just witnessed the Pearl Harbour attacks. I believe that this, rather that the propaganda alone, is what made their messaging so effective.
I think you touched on an interesting point in that zombies (despite the fact that they are fairly consistent monsters in terms of appearance, strengths and weaknesses) have the ability to embody a variety of threats that are unique to a given time period. It seems that this ability to stay relevant at any point in time as well as the initial popularity and reputation of the genre has contributed to its longevity.
Great article! It might be interesting to follow up on this article with medium or genre specific writing methods to see if there are any deviations from the general rules.
I briefly mentioned the New Wave of American Heavy Metal which would likely include BMTH, ADTR, and Asking Alexandria (and I actually wanted to expand on metalcore a bit but it turns out that its a much older subgenre than I initially thought). Admittedly, I didn’t spend too much time on it and probably should have fleshed it out a bit more. However, the problem remains that big bands now aren’t reaching the same mainstream as big bands from years ago. This is evident in both mainstream chart success and big concert festival line-ups which frequently place older, and more popular, headlining bands in front of newer ones. Another big indicator is simply how many non-genre junkies would know who Asking Alexandria or BMTH is vs. how many would know who Metallica or Nine Inch Nails is. (I should also note that popularity does not equal quality and that the genre has definitely not seen a dip in skill as evidenced by new bands like the ones you mentioned)
I think a kind of underrated factor in all of this is the role of walkthroughs. As gaming criticism has become less diverse, and arguably more corrupt, walkthroughs seem to be the only way to get a truly unbiased sense of what a game is like. While some mistakes and glitches can be covered up in edits, the gameplay, storyline, and mechanics (the key factors in every game) get displayed in full view for viewers to draw their own conclusions.
I think a lot of what makes a good soundtrack has to do with how and how well a film is edited. Quite often the degree to which the music fits the editing makes the difference between a good soundtrack and the director seemingly hitting shuffle on their iTunes. For instance, the movie Filth has a very diverse soundtrack that fits extremely well due to the cuts and colour correction of the film.